John Dodd was a career soldier and had begun his second tour in Vietnam December 1968. He was assigned to the 359th Transportation Company. The 359th had just transfered from An Khe to Pleiku in November and December 1968, and was attached to the 124th Transportation Battalion. It had been attached to the 240th Quartermaster Battalion. Once the battalion had connected the pipeline all the way to Pleiku, this discontinued the need for POL trucks to drive Route 19. However, constant pilferage and interdiction by the enemy forced the Quartermaster Battalion to shut down the pipeline. From then on POL trucks had to drive the most deadly road in Vietnam.
Soon after Dodd arrived the 359th built two gun trucks, Brutus and The Misfits, and a couple gun jeeps. Sgt Prescott along with his crew and maintenance personel built Brutus. It took its first road trip with Prescott as the NCOIC on or about February 1969. Brutus had two M60’s and a 7.62 mini-gun in an armored box. The Misfits was a 2 1/2 ton with a M60 mounted on the rear corner and one .50 caliber on a pedestal in the middle of the gun box. The Misfits was built about Feb/Mar 1969 and hit the road the latter part of March with John Dodd as the NCOIC. Dodd’s crew was a driver John Hodges and Bill Ward M60 gunner. Peter Hish and Alan Wernstrum substituted as gunners when they were not driving.
Escorting fuel convoy”s with each tractor hauling 5,000 gallons of high explosive fuel was probably the most dangerous mission for the gun trucks. The enemy preferred to hit fuel tankers because the resulting fire usually blocked the road and trapped the other trucks.
On 9 June Brutus, The Misfits, and a lead Jeep were escorting about 30 fuel tankers out of the Ponderosa on a return trip to Pleiku. The jeep with convoy commander SSG Hutcherson, M60 gunner Roger Blink, and driver Jerry Usher were the lead vehicle. The Misfits with NCOIC John Dodd, gunners Bill ward, Peter Hish and Alan Wernstrum were in the middle. The Misfits sported an M60 on the corner of the gun box along with the crews M16 rifles. The M2 .50 was mounted on a pedestal in the middle of the box. Brutus was the rear vehicle with Albert Wilson driving, Wayne Prescott was the NCOIC/mini-gunner/radioman and Merton Barrowcliff was the M60 gunner. Brutus was a 5 ton with left and right  M60’s and a rear mini-gun. The six barrel Gatling gun fired 7.62mm rounds at an awesome speed, but was prone to misfiring. The mini-gun’s rate of fire inspired fear in the enemy. The convoy had no air support that day.
Just after the convoy had passed the Korean compound at the base of the An Khe Pass it started receiving small arms fire. Dodd heard several rounds hit The Misfits armor plating. At the same time he heard Prescott screaming “Contact, Contact, Contact”. Dodd saw enemy movement about a hundred yards in the field and returned fire. The gun truck cleared the kill zone and continued up the An Khe Pass. Dodd radioed back to Prescott and asked how he was doing. He answered Brutus was still involved and all weapons were working fine. Mini-guns were not designed for the road and the bumpy ride tended to knock out the timing mechanism. Prescott had to spend a lot of time working on that gun. When Dodd called back Prescott said they had engaged about 40 enemy and fired the mini-gun at them.
As the road leveled out, The Misfits picked up speed again. On top of the pass it received more small arms fire, but nothing to shoot at. The excitement passed as they left the danger behind them and normal “chit-chat” began. They talked about getting a cold beer from the Coke Girls in An Khe. Dodd joked with the others while he kicked around brass under his feet. They crossed the bridge which was the last check point before getting to An Khe. Dodd called in the check point. In a few minutes they would stage along the road in An Khe.
A few seconds later he heard a mortor explosion behind them. He looked back to see that the security force on the bridge were under fire. The lead jeep had been allowed to pass the kill zone. Dodd recognized the sound of AK47’s. This time Dodd was screaming “Contact, Contact, Contact”. He saw V.C. running around the field to his left and opened fire with the .50 caliber, Hish and Ward worked as a team on the M60, while Wernstrum fired his M16. Someone on the radio was asking for their location and size of the enemy force. Right after that an RPG slammed into the front portion of the gun box.. The blast knocked Dodd’s feet from under him, but he did not let go of the machinegun. Wernstrum was bringing up another box of .50 ammo and Dodd had Hodges pull the gun truck over so they could provide fire support until the rest of the tankers past.
The voice on the radio let them know that air support was comming. Dodd would think a short burst with the .50, but his fingers called for long burst. A second RPG impacted about three feet from the rear of the box. Dodd felt blood hit his eyes. He looked down and saw that he had been hit in the leg, chest, and face. But with the adrenaline pumping he felt no pain. As he looked around, he saw that the blast had blown Hish and Wernstrum out of the gun box. Ward was on the floor clutching his stomach. Dodd realized in a flash his whole crew was wounded. He radioed that he had three badly wounded and needed med evac. Hodges the driver, climed out and up on the corner of the box and pointed out some water buffalo where he saw enemy movement. The V.C.  were observing hiding behind the biffalo and old papason was having a fit because he knew he was about to loose his work animals. Hodges was told to get back in the truck and get ready to move out. A call came in that med evac was being dispatched. Dodd picked up another box of ammo and loaded it. Hish and Wernstrum were conscious and had crawled into the ditch on the side of the road. As Pete Hish was standing up to try and get onto the tailgate another RPG hit the rear of the box knocking him back to the ground. Dodd saw the enemy running across the road and firing on a M60 Tank and an M113 APC. Their fire kept the V.C. from over running The Misfits. The V.C. had shot Hish as they passed. Dodd and Ward were to badly wounded to climb out and rescue the other crew members. Ward needed immediate medical attention. Dodd hit the cab top and Hodges drove away. Hish said he was looking up and saw the rear of the vehicle getting farther away and thought “Oh hell” “What am I going to do now”. In a few seconds they had cleared the kill zone, Dodd could see the med evac as the hospital was only a short distance away. Dodd had hoped they would get there very soon. Ward was sitting on the medical box holding his wound. Dodd grabbed a large bandage and had him hold it against the wound.
Dodd had called back to Brutus and found that the mini-gun had misfired/jammed, but they still managed to keep the enemy from rushing his truck. Hish looked up and saw the med evac helicopter, The pilots reported they observed enemy being dragged into the jungle. It was told years later that they almost missed Wernstrum. The Misfits pulled into An Khe where the trucks were assembled. Hodges stopped long enough to tell them to tell SSG Hutcherson they had gone to the Field Hospital. Dodd told him to go straight to the hospital. Hodges drove through the gate at Camp Radcliffe doing about thirty miles per hour. The MP’s saw they were in trouble. Two MP’s jumped in a jeep and led them to the hospital. Dodd was looking after Ward when he saw that Hodges had the bumper of the gun truck about two inches from the jeep. The MP looked back and Dodd motioned for him to speed up or pull over.
Once at the hospital the medics helped the two wounded from the gun truck amd put them on tables in the receiving area. The nurse told them that their friends had already arrived and were in X-Ray. Bill ward was also rushed to X-Ray. They cut Dodd’s clothes from him and the doctor began pulling metal from him. He told Dodd the blood from his face was from a missing piece from the end of his nose. Dodd’s real concern was fartther down. He kept trying to lift up to see what the doctor was doing. THe nurse kept pushing him back down, because Dodd persisted on raising. She took her hands from his chest and grabbed his “Family Jewels” and told him not to worry, everything was OK. Dodd laid back and relaxed.
While the doctors worked on Dodd they brought in a wounded V.C. and put him on a table next to him. Dodd asked them to move the S.O.B. away in a loud voice. Another nurse came in and told him that Wernstrum had fragment wounds and a badly damaged hand. Hish had fragment wounds and had been shot. The crew had a short reunion that evening. They were presented a RPG fragment that EOD had pulled from the truck and decided that Dodd could hold onto it. It was later donated to the Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Hish and Wernstrum were sent to Japan that evening. Bill Ward went back to the 359th, but was immediately sent to the Pleiku Hospital and sent to Japan. Dodd was later flown to the 4th Infantry Division air strip near Pleiku. From there he hitched a ride to the 359th company area. He did light work supervising the local help around the company. He then rode on Vietnamese convoys calling in check points. He rode The Misfits for a month and left country on 4 November 1969. Not a day passes that Dodd don’t think about this ambush.