SSG Rapold and I were TDY with the 3rd platoon, with 20 trucks with trailers, 2 gun trucks (Brutus & Head Hunter), & a gun jeep. We were to haul from Quin Nhon to An Khe with as many trips as we could make. But sometimes we went from An Khe to Quin Nhon to Plieku to Quin Nhon to An khe to Quin Nhon and back to An Khe in one day. We’d leave An Khe before daylight and get back after dark. In Jun SSG Rapold came to me and said He had a 3 day in country R&R. What should he do, I told him he was the platoon SGT. He went on R&R, and left me to run the platoon. I ran the platoon for 4 day’s till the ambush. We where reporting to Col Loddy 8TH Group Commander & Major Smith. On the day of the ambush Major Smith found me at the staging area in Quin Nhon (PX & 54TH Trans Bn area). He wanted to know where SSG Rapold was, I could not lie, I told him SSG Rapold was on a 3 day R&R, and had not seen him in 4 or 5 day’s. He asked who was running the convoy, so I told him I was. His reply was an E-5 couldn’t, I told Major Smith to make me an E-6, his reply was he couldn’t, and I couldn’t take the convoy to An Khe. He left and came back and said we would join the main convoy. I told him we didn’t have enouph gun trucks to cover 50 trucks. He got another gun truck from the 54th Trans Bn. This pissed me off and I told him I was getting a hair cut (hadn’t had one in all most 2 month’s). Well at the barber shop, the barber told a female that a 50 truck convoy was going to An Khe and Plieku. I was on my second tour so I could understand some of there shit. I then went back to the staging area and told Major Smith in total. He asked were I heard this. I told him what I had heard and his reply was “Bull Shit”. We pulled out between 16 & 1700 hrs. I can tell you now I was scared knowing what I did. As we got to the last bridge before the pump station (you had to drive in the creek, it had been blown). I was satanding in the right rear corner, why I don’t know, as we came up on the creek something made me look. Right there were 20 or 30 VC laying along the road. There were bush’s from the bridge to the village, I turned and screamed at Prescott “AMBUSH”. I started for the M60. I looked to the left toward the ROK out post, they were getting mortared, there were some tall trees toward the out post. I then saw two RPG’s or B40’s coming at us. I think I grabbed Prescott’s head and shoved him down. If I had not done numberswiki.com
that he would have gotten hit in the head. Th two rounds landed outside of the truck rocking it good. I then started firing the M60, they were walking mortar fire down the road, two rounds landed in front of the the truck ahead of us, one landed in front of us. I had fired 2000 rounds and told Prescott to get off the radio and get on a gun. In doing so he cleared a path. We called for a body count from Roadrunner, they counted about 150 plus and they were dragging them off.
(more to follow at a later date, Mert)
I’m trying to complete the previous story. We were on our last trip of the day. As we came over the An Khe pass (east side), we changed our radio over to the Quin Nhon net, a call came out to check out a person of interest at the hair pin . I saw a person in uniform, he had on ho chi min sandals and a law on his right shoulder. It was right before the large rock mound on the right side. The law was extended and the site was up. I looked to the front were Prescott was and my heart stopped. I looked back and he was gone, I blew it off till later, his law had miss fired. If it had fired we would have been blown all over the An Khe pass. When we got hit on the way back a sapper ran up a little knoll and started to pull the pin’s on 4 or 5 grenades he had taped together. I shot him in the chest 3 times with the M60. Pieces of his back came out the size of your fist. I ran out of ammo and bent down to get another belt. I looked over the side and another sapper was on the other side. He was so close I could see the hate in his eye’s, I’ll never forget that look! All he had on was a loin cloth and bamako hat. He was pulling a satchel charge behind him. It upset me so bad I put the belt of ammo in upside down. I shot him 3 times in the head, then the M60 jammed. I couldn’t understand why the gun only fired 3 round’s and jammed. Prescott asked me what was wrong, and I said I don’t know. After the anbush we started to look around and Prescott told me I had the belt in upside down. Still to this day it makes my heart race. I never told anyone about it, who would believe it? The main reason I didn’t was that I had tried to tell a Major in S2-3 about NVA being at the top and bottom of the pass, and I was called a lier, so I gave up. I did not tell S2-3 anything after that. I was a RA lifer they’d say. I can still tell you every stone and turn in that road. I won’t sleep tonight, but thats not new.
Thanks for listening.