Several weeks ago, I posted the following statement on my Facebook timeline: “Recount an incident from your days in the service that wasn’t funny at the time, but makes you laugh today” – promising to publish all names and responses in a blog post on my website. The following are their contributions – one friend even submitted a complete poem. I’ve taken the liberty of adding pictures deemed appropriate for each particular incident – hope you enjoy!
John Podlaski I can remember one when I was in Vietnam with the Wolfhounds of the 25th Infantry in 1970. A bunch of us were out on patrol walking through an large open clearing – an area nobody’s been in for a while – as we’re walking, a dusty mist materializes and begins engulfing us all. Nobody paid it any attention and continued moving forward. Suddenly, as if on cue, everyone begins gagging and choking – coughing loudly; eyes are watering and it’s difficult to see; powder settling on our sweaty neck, face and arms then sets off a reaction that feels like we are on fire. Somebody figured out that it was powdered CS gas and screamed for us to vacate the area. There was a stampede as the fifteen soldiers ran forward in an effort to escape the powdered gas; all are in contorted poses, some pulling, and some carrying others, everyone running for their lives – unknowingly activating more of the dormant powder as they shuffle through the area.
The small group managed to escape the gases about traveling almost a hundred yards – all are covered by white powder and look like we just finished throwing flour at one another. Rucksacks were dropped and everyone tried to get out of their clothes as fast as possible and shake them off. Once again, even though they had cleared the affected area, a new cloud was created by their flurry to rid themselves of the nasty powder. The yelling and gagging started all over again.
Finally, everything is back to normal – everyone is dressed and ready to move out again. Suddenly there’s a chuckle and comment made about how somebody looked during the escape and evasion exercise…this sparked comments and laughter from everyone. We laughed hardily for ten minutes and then it was back to work. It sure was scary as hell at the time, but now I laugh about it every time I think about that incident 44 yrs. ago.
Gary Joyner One night my platoon from A co in the 101st abn set up an ambush in the foothills heading into the Ashau valley. Four of us were set up to watch our rear while the other guys were set up to watch a well-used trail in and out of the Ashau. I was one of those watching the rear and I could see the lights of our base camp LZ Sally along with lights from the Imperial city of Hue. I was scrunched up against a huge boulder at the top of the hill on a beautiful night. It was almost 5am as I slid about ten foot down the back slope to wake up the next guy to pull watch. as I crawled back up to the boulder a huge explosion went off but I continued up to the boulder expecting to see a few hundred gooks charging up the hill. instead I saw a flash of light from LZ Sally along with an instantaneous roar and WHAM!
My heart sank as I immediately knew our own guys were shelling us. I slid a few feet back down from the boulder, laid face down, crossed my legs, hands locked behind my neck, all muscles tensed and started praying out loud “God help us”!!! Everyone was awake by now of course and one of the guys tells me to take it easy. I spun around and said “take it easy? You stupid cherry – our own guys are shelling us”. I got right back into position and kept on praying out loud until the fire lifted. It turned out that our ambush coordinates got mixed up with an H&I fire mission by two 8 inch howitzers. They lit up our grid square pretty good and it’s a miracle nobody got wounded. when it got daylight the platoon leader came up and told me he thought all four of us at that position were dead. We walked around to the front of the boulder and could see where one shell directly hit the boulder and another one hit a few feet below it. Episodes of friendly fire are not funny of course but in hindsight all these years later I do laugh when I think about it. Why? Because after me yelling “it’s our own guys” it got stone quiet and not another word from anyone. a few more explosions and me still praying was all. I’m not a church goer but I think praying “God help us” actually got answered that night.
Lee Platt Got my draft notice while I was in boot camp. Too late suckers.
Thomas Hogan Had incoming and a guy with a cast almost to his hip beat me to the bunker.
Tom Peck Throwing a grenade in a tunnel and running into a vine wall and bouncing back over the tunnel entrance doing everything I could to get out of there before the grenade went off .
John Hastings Three of us were on perimeter guard at Quan Loi. Had incoming and the other two guys got stuck diving through the bunker entrance.
Michael Blackwell When I was blown up by a mine and they finally got me lifted out of the jungle and to a field hospital they were cutting my pants off me. One of them reached into my side pocket to get my personal stuff out and jerked his hand out and started flopping it around. Well when I walked point I couldn’t smoke so I chewed. I had several plugs of Apple chews in my pocked wrapped in plastic and it was shredded and he got a hand full of wet tobacco. I guess he thought I had crapped in my side pocket. A bit of grunt humor
John William Murphy Flight Surgeon arrived and was assigned as my roommate. Had a model 1911 issued to him and I was explaining that was a mistake. Was a heart surgeon from Texas. Showing me his weapon it discharged! Neighbors were upset, and Doc changed his underwear. Good thing they do not arm for 2 meters. Addendum to Flight Surgeon report. Model 1911’s have three safeties.
Robert Sincup In Aug of 69, I was in country about a month and volunteered for a 5 day patrol. On the ride out to the drop off point, I rode in a deuce and a half – bandoleers looped over my shoulders and frags hanging on me like bulbs on a Christmas tree. Suddenly, one of the frags somehow came loose and fell in my lap. Needless to say I froze like a deer in your headlights. Here I am with a frag in my lap and the pin still hanging on my belt. Fortunately the guy next to me had enough sense to grab it and throw it out the back of the truck. It did not explode but it scared the Hell out of a few of us. That was my first Patrol and I had to throw away the pants I was wearing. Made sure every grenade was checked twice after that.
Terry Slater We got back to Tan Tru late in the day, after another day in the monsoon rains. Felt so good to put on dry clothes and dry out. This luxury was short lived. I happened to be one of I believe seven selected to go out on AP. Wasn’t thrilled about that, but, we went out just as it was getting dark. Walking the on the dikes hoping to stay as dry as possible. We were near the area we were supposed to be in. Darkness had come and so did the Ak’s firing at us as we dove into the rice paddy and returned fire. Then when it stopped everyone was okay. We were lucky, but, laying in the water with the rain pouring down. We should have kept quiet, but, after the totality of the whole day. A good buddy of mine and I started to laugh. We tried to contain it, but, we just couldn’t. Those with us and the VC must have thought we were crazy as we attempted to stop. Thinking back yes it was crazy. We reached the point of misery accumulated though a hard day. I have a photo album I had over there. George wrote in it. “Remember the A.P. when we lay in the mud and water laughing at each other that night”.
Michael H. Elam My buddy, Ed Snellenberger was the Company Clerk.
by Gary Jacobson © 2002
In Vietnamese jungles darkening lush
Seven soldiers from their company thrust
Set up a “goat” ambush under starry twilight
That did the seven bedight
Along a road Vietcong traveled late at night
Moving supplies and fighting men
Along a network trail called Ho Chi Minh
Alongside a trail lying deep and still
O’er rock and o’er rill.
In blackened midnight coat,
Set seven men on ambush goat
Lying in a prone foxhole
Their whole existence in a scooped out bowl.
Feeling the weight of a war full of cares
They set out trip-flares
The seven warriors forlorn
When Charley in fevered night did roam
Journeying into fragrant night far from home.
The soldiers positioned a claymore mine
To cover with blistering hell the trail-line
Then made themselves hidden to wait in the meantime
Setting back, waiting to ruin Charley’s whole day
To shove back at him this hateful fray
This death on soldier’s minds for an eternity will play.
Under paling light of midnight moon
Dreaming sweet thoughts of death and doom
I slept dark and dreary
Till before my eyes weary,
Came an apparition vaguely bleary
Of hateful war passing dimly..
Hazy night swum by ever so slowly,
As I sweat crazily
When suddenly the sleeping night exploded!
Yellow lightning sparkled!
The trip flare set to warn of danger burst
Leaving beleaguered soldiers foreboding worst.
Sparking automatic rifle fire hot and furious
As my sleeping senses recoiled
As thunder in my beleaguered head roiled
As the whole night around me boiled,
The jungle night filled with things moving
Scrabbling quick-time helter-skeltering.
Specters of death riding midnight air
Filling anguished souls with fearing despair.
Malevolence arousing a seeping anger seething
VC like a bee hive madly swarming.
Only half awake I alligator crawled
Past my line like one possessed slithered
Wriggling on my belly like a reptile
My M-16 cradled in crossed arms style,
Yards from my hole,
The devil seeking my soul,
Crawling like a June bug exceeding fast
With determination I had bypassed
Our prone foxhole’s security
Straight into the mouth of Hell in a Hurry,
Straight into killing zone’s fury
Crawling twenty yards, maybe more,
Into the mouth of VC guns roar.
Straight for the Vietcong I was heading
My frontal assault mounting
At those graciously,
Until a bell sounded in my head, DING DONG!
I still hear that hatefully awful sound
VC bullets pocking ground
Quite suddenly I awoke…
And when I awoke,
I thought someone had played a cruel joke.
My buddies with the sincerest deep felt caring
Started yelling, Started swearing
Get your a__, uh, er, newbie self back
What you doing you sad sack,
At the Vietcong making a frontal attack?
Boy, you’re not where you belong!
Unless you want to sing death’s discordant song!
Well of that night I lived to laugh and tell,
How I almost tripped to hell
Tho still when I listen soft for a spell,
I can hear the devil’s fevered knell.
Next time… You’ll be mine…
For Me and the Vietcong
Are just waiting for you to again step wrong…
So I’ll get you yet!On that Sky Trooper, your bottom dollar bet!
Doug Kirk Jumping over a stone wall on day two of Tet Hue city 68 when I felt a hard hit to my back. I rolled to the ground yelling to my buddy, I’m hit! I rolled over so he could see my back to see how bad it was. He began to laugh as he announced you have been hit in the chicken soup. Seems an AK47 round went through a C-Ration can on my back. He and I still laugh about that today.
Steven Bauman I was a 17K Ground Surveillance Radar Squad Leader and one time we had to set up & demonstrate our surveillance equipment to a contingent of Japanese and New Zealand troops. The Japanese didn’t understand a lick of English & the Kiwis were hilarious. One of them tried looking through a starlight scope with an eye that was black & blue and almost swollen shut from a fistfight! Later that night we all went to the EM club & the Kiwis drank us under the table, which was no easy task! I’ll never forget what a great time we had with some of our allied friends! CSC 1/27th 77-78.
Pablo Bezares There we were, 1998 Delta 2-58 – house of pain. As a young buck I was still resistant to some of the changes and rules the army had in store for me. Anyway not too long before cycle break, our platoon was where the hold overs stayed. They were able to go to the shoppette and obtain “contraband” as they called it in basic…Well anyway I may have purchased some contraband from these Joes and not long after that we had a 100% health and welfare inspection. The whole company is standing toe to line downstairs. Hurrying to get there, this private right here did not secure his wall locker. Several minutes later DS came out and asked everyone to show ID and dog tags, pretty standard shit so far…Well DS found my contraband – a porn magazine page, yes, a single page! After a little ass chewing to start, I was instructed to stand in front of the company and and show everyone what I bought as part of my AR15. So I had to stand there and state loudly…I bought this for one ninety seven. ($197) and we’ll that wasn’t enough for DS I had to start singing it. I bought this for 197 over and over and actually had to make other Joes look. They were eager to say the least. After the entire company was dismissed to our bay I was left to get my ass smoked. When I got upstairs I was in for it – our bay looked like it had been bombed. Smoke everywhere. Everyone’s shit scattered everywhere – beds on top of wall lockers and everybody’s shoes tied together in one big knot; till this day I don’t think I got my original boots back. All that smoke was baby powder in the air – apparently it’s not ok we needed to use Army issue “foot powder”. Anyway, a couple minutes later we were supposed to have unscrewed ourselves, which by the way, was impossible, but we knew that and next thing we knew it was a smoke session in Mop level 4, side straddle hop – in cadence, exercise – this went on for some time – puddles of sweat growing under everyone. God I miss those days. In the end, DS just gave me a warning and took my weekend pass to see the hookers in Columbus. Glad he did, I probably would’ve needed antibiotics followed by a real Article 15. This was one of my most memorable moments of basic. Hooah!
Kevin Mcnair Team spirit 81, CSC 1/27 tent city, closest tent to chow hall & shower hut — furthest from latrine. Bunk right by the door, lucky right, until an all-night guard duty watching wood at the rail head. Starving, chow line around the tent 50 men deep and I had already been standing all night, so my choice is to either eat or lay down after loosening my field jacket and boot laces. I asked to be awakened when the line went down, and this is where the mistake was made. Suddenly, screams of FIRE shattered my peace, and for some reason my ankles were attached to a rope and I’m being dragged from my cot – out of the tent – across the gravel, and dropped next to the 50 now applauding hungry soldiers – my field jacket tangled around my head. I began my assent vertical to the top of the water tower. Not this newbies shiniest moment. Nec asspera terrent!
Bruce Deisinger One night on ambush (and it was so dark you couldn’t see your hand), the platoon had set up and someone set off the markers and lit the whole area up in bright light. Now we had to move and we did. During the night I was awakened by the sound of gunfire and shouting. Here I came to find out we were set right on a trail and two NVA walked or should I say tripped over the platoon sergeant. The machine gunner killed one and after a brief wrestling match, the other got away. Come to learn years later that there was whole company of NVA behind them. They obviously didn’t attack probably believing there were more of us than them. (little did they know).
Joe Jensen C co 1/27, at PTA 06 during part of our Stryker certifications. I’m kind of a lead foot driver, which is great because I make the ride for a helluva roller coaster. Anywho, I’m driving with my squad leader, tc, and a couple of joes in the back. I’m following the battalion xo’s Stryker, and we’re really tearing shit up. Full throttle rally driving. Basically I told my guys to hold on and we rode it like we stole it. Anyways, I hung a hard right drift around a turn and the side access hatch flopped open, which is located about mid center, left side, right by the squad leaders seat. I ask if I should stop, but everybody is having such a good ride and they’re yelling “GO GO GO!!!!” So, my understanding, and mind you this was happening all behind my back, my 5 ft. tall squad leader was hanging out the side of the Stryker, trying to pull up on this 100 lb. hatch, while my tc had ahold of his legs trying to pull him back into the Stryker. Neither was having much success. As we slid around another turn, there, up on a hill overlooking the road, sat a Humvee. And there, leaning against the hood, was the 2nd brigade commander. It was kind of a split second decisions, but the xo’s driver didn’t slow down, so I said screw it and lay in some more throttle. So we’re sliding sideways past the commander in a $14 million dollar armored war machine, with my squad leader hanging out the side hatch, and a cabin full of killers screaming like girls. I guess my squad leader did the most logical thing. He rendered a salute – a drifting salute – getting one right back. Later on there was a battalion AAR with senior leadership. Brigade CO asked who that was. My squad leader stood up and admitted to it. CO said something to the effect of gung-ho and hell yeah. Oh, and he was able to get that hatch back up – right after the salute.
Phonhan Larry Out on an AP one night near Trung Lap, North of Cu Chi, I was pulling guard duty and breaking radio squelch. I heard rustling in small bush very close to me that would start and stop. It was dark but I could see some contrast between the small bush and dry grass around it. I was thinking the bush might be planted in a door covering a tunnel entrance. After many minutes I saw movement and moved over very close and saw a baby rat. I smacked and killed it with the radio hand piece.
Donald Tackett Shit burning detail! Cracks me up now but not funny at all then!
Jonathan Harlow During a Base Camp AO security sweep. Hundreds of clerks, jerks, postal people (me), mechanics and truck drivers with a few grunts to keep us straight wandering around looking for VC. While on break, in the rear leaning rest position, I Looked next to me and saw a millipede crawling next to me. As big around as my index finger and about 6″ long – striped like a coral snake, I COULD NOT SEE EITHER END. I levitated out of my resting position and didn’t sit down again until back at base with a Narragansett in my hand. Creepy.
David Knighton One night before heading out to the perimeter we were given a briefing at Guard mount. Part of the briefing was to advise everyone that we were only allowed to shoot a Panther if it was actively attacking us. Wouldn’t you know it but while me and the other guy with me were in our foxhole we saw something in the darkness moving towards us. At first we thought, oh crap Charlie but it wasn’t moving like a person. We watched as it got closer and closer. Finally it was approx. 20 yards away and I put my flashlight alongside my M-16 and turned it on. It was a Panther but was moving past us towards a Machine Gun Tower. We called CSC to notify them and the guy in the Tower said it was coming up the ladder. He clicked off his safety and the Panther took off. Funny now but not so much then.
Joseph Burkhart One night we were on night shift and word came down that we were on Alert & under threat of being over-run, I was a NAV-AIDS troop but we were issued M-16’s flack vests & helmets and dropped 2 per foxhole along the end of the run-way. Problem was we were given just 2 (two!!!) clips and that’s all. The term “scared-s**tless” comes to mind when you had 40 lousy rounds & and were left on post all night. Never came to anything and funny now NOT AT ALL THEN!!
David R. Gilliam They put me out there one night also Joseph Burkhart. It was in 1970 after a North Vietnamese regular was killed and one captured “leaving” the base. The KIA was laid outside the dispensary in the hot sun. The guy who shot him was inside and so shook up he could hardly speak.
Nick Trtan I really doubt it’s on par with other stories our brothers have, but I unintentionally set a week long brush fire in Iraq with an M203 star cluster used as a warning shot of sorts….. SMH…… There’s more to that of course, but I don’t know if it counts as a good story. Lol
Jim Merklinger I asked a GySgt, “Why?” I spent the next 2 weeks and 3 cases of brasso making a galvanized shit can into a mirror.
Frank Thompson Sr. The time we tried to toss our Lt in the ocean. He was tied to a lounge chair. Wait as you were it was funny at the time .. David Andrews remember that Onslow Beach 1979. We were there for our live fire (HAWK Missiles) afterwards we’d party. At which time all “Boots” would be “Swim Qualified” (being tossed in the ocean). We go find the Lt and decide he’s next. So we tie him to his chair and start dragging him the 100 yds. to the surf. Apparently he got upset when someone pulled his hideous large ears. Got kind of ugly after that (Due to decorum and the G rating of this room, I can’t repeat what was said).
Sabre Clifford One time I was headed to a mission in Trashghanistan at night in a chinook, night vision and all. In midflight a bright pop exploded. I thought the ANA had accidentally shot thru the bottom of the chopper. I started laughing non-stop while my squad leader was yelling at me because he didn’t know what was happening. Come to find out after clearing houses all goddamn day in a place called Oshi Kai that we took fire from an ak-47 armor piercing round thru the bottom of the chinook. That round almost got me. Lol
Amari L. Williams Bro..you don’t even want to know…
Julio Padilla As a fresh butter-bar, I arrived at the 25th ID in the middle of a field exercise. I was introduced to my platoon and confident I could carry a ruck sack better than anyone. During a movement, I seemed to be struggling with the weight…was it the new climate? Terrain? Did I not pack my ruck correctly? No…I discovered that the guys had loaded me with rocks and a case full of “Cherry” MRE drink mix. Assholes every one of them. Today, I would give anything to see those guys together again. They had a tremendous impact on my life. Shomari Carter Ryan Healy Tim Huggins
Charles Davis Not sure if this is what you are looking for or not, but I find it kind of funny now. I was a gunner’s mate in Rivron 15 aboard ATC 152-2. One of the 20mm jumped time I was repairing it. The bolt sheared into the cartridge case just below the primer cutting almost to the powder charge. This caused the projectile, an HE round, to miss feed into the chamber. The projectile was bent just behind the fuse. I got it cleared and took the cartridge to the boat captain to show him what went wrong. He took one look at it and went running out of the well deck. I kind of laughed at that, and then threw it over the side.
Jim Ballinger Here’s one for ya. In mid-February 69, I had been in country a little over a month and was walking point on a night move near Moc Hoa on the Cambodian border. I had already been in a couple firefights so I was in a heightened state of awareness. I came to the crest of a low hill and could see the river down the low grade on the opposite side. And holy $#%& the river was full of sampans! I waved everybody down and hit the ground. Lt. Johnson crawled up to my position and asked what was going on, I told him about the sampans and we could hear them unloading out of the boats right in front of us at maybe 30 meters distance. After what seemed like hours Lt. got up enough nerve to venture a peek at the river. Well it turned out that my sampans was a herd of water buffalo. You can imagine the guff I had to put up with for the next few weeks.
Thomas LaRoe This May be long but will shorten it up. Birddog
In 1962 when I was working on a T-28 at NAF El Centro Ca. My commander a Lt. Colonel had meetings up at Edwards AFB every Monday. He would fall asleep after we took off and I would fly the plane to Edwards. Well he had a pilot teach me how to take off and land. For a few months so all he had to do was go to sleep as soon as he hits the cockpit and strapped in. Well in 1966 while being stationed at a small dirt airstrip between Dong Ha and Khe Sanh the Captain told me with only several ARVN Troops to watch over us if there is an attack you had better be the first one to the O-1E aircraft or I might take off without you and he laughed. I didn’t tell him I knew how to fly and I remarked back “If we are attacked you had better be the first one to the plane, I know how to fly and I might leave you behind” and I laughed. Well needless to say I got my butt chewed out. When we got back to Dong Ha airstrip he asked me “Do you really know how to fly”. I told him I learned in a T-28A back in Ca. He was surprised and after that he was okay with me and we would drink together whenever we got back to Hue Citadel Airfield. It wasn’t funny getting chewed out then but now I snicker every time I think about it.
Richard Brown The fact that I, a 5’4″ 108 pound hippie freak, went in the Marines and stayed there for 4 years.
Jeremy Holbrook Getting detained at the Mexican border by Navy Shore Patrol
Nate Haseleu I had to pull ID 1100 November guard on some padlocks my first night in Giessen
Steve Smith Passed out standing up with my key in the barracks room door….head against the door…..the CQ just left me there until I woke up and said “WHAT THE F*** OVER” in Germany – he and the ACQ just LAUGHED.
Tracee Alexander I Was squad leader in Basic Training at Ft. Dix, NJ in the early 1980’s. A soldier in my squad, she was from Missouri back woods. She had a problem marching not knowing her left from right made it difficult when calling cadence. So I put a leaf in her left hand, and a rock in her right hand and when calling cadence I would call leaf, rock, leaf instead of left, right, left. She learned how to march correctly and actually thrived after conquering this obstacle. I never forgot this after all these years. Seems like only yesterday, instead of nearly 30 years ago. We overcame and conquered the situation.
R.j. Richardson I hit the dirt once right in a pile of human feces. It was right in my chest and I had to lay there for a while. I didn’t know it could smell so good. A2/5 Air Cav. ..1967-68
Grady Howell Being dog-cussed off an Air Force bus in Lackland A.F.B. well after midnight on a cold March, 1966 morning after being dog-cussed onto it about an hour before at the airport. Told, I (we), were lower than whale shit among other choice adjectives (“and there ain’t noth’n in the world lower than whale shit!!!!); marched to a chow hall, ladled out S.O.S. on two pieces of cold underdone toast then marched (if you could call it that) to our barracks. One of the guys stumbling alongside beside me in the dark uttered, “Maybe they’ll let us sleep in since we got here so late!” That was around 4 A.M. Thirty minutes later after collapsing on our bunks – Well, you know the rest of the story!!
Dave Heston The 1st Cav rolled through our camp (1st Inf) late one night. Couldn’t see much of them for the dust, and no one noticed they were pulling a ten-incher. They sat up just east of us and got a fire mission about 2 a.m. When the first shell went off it literally almost lifted me off my bunk. My platoon was assholes and elbows getting to the bunkers yelling “incoming, incoming!” To make a long story short the duty sergeant came by, told us what was going on, called us a bunch of dumb asses and told us to go back to sleep. Then we laughed from relief! Those cannons were SCARY if you were too close. Sure sounded like incoming rockets to us, lol.
Jack Cloud It was funny then and is just as now. Was in Signal School in Ft Monmouth in 1967, we were in the old WWII barracks with the long wide eaves outside the second floor windows. There was a heavy snow and it drifted between the barracks about 3-4 feet. There were guys from Hawaii who’d never seen snow. They were jumping out of the 2nd floor windows in skivvies and combat boots.
Stephen Crowley 1969 at BMB of 199th lt inf bde. We were shelled all night and at dawn were loaded on a deuce and a half and deployed along the bunker line on the perimeter of the base. We were rolling along – half asleep (being up all night) and going down a dirt road when I looked out and saw our driver running beside our truck – running in the opposite direction. He saw mortars walking down the road and bailed. We crashed into a drainage ditch which saved our lives because the shells were zeroed in on that road. It’s funny now, but not then.
Frank Marsh with an Army medical unit up in NE Thailand in 64; we took in a lot of casualties from Cambodia and Laos. Early one morning they pushed the panic button and had all of us in formation (never before, remember we’re a medical unit)…supply was bringing out field gear, pistols and m14’s..we never knew there were weapons there…so we figure this is serious stuff…so we stood around for the longest time, finally the hospital exec showed up (a gung ho major) and briefed us on the gulf of Tonkin that had just happened…and how we would soon be at war…well he succeeded in scaring the shit out of everyone thinking the commies were coming over the hill the next day and we needed to be ready….it was days before things got back to normal…the Thai army were on red alert (guarding the bases at the time)….looking back on it I personally never believed it happened and chuckle a bit now.
Jim Rochelle At Phu Loi in the 34th engineers there was a red alert one night. Everyone in the shack grabbed their helmet and flak jacket and ran outside and into the bunker. All clear came and a light was turned on. All the guys were buck naked except for the helmet and flak jacket.
Frank Thomas Goins One wet and pitch black night on AP lying on my stomach; I heard a rustling in the tall grass behind me. I froze. The next guy was about 10 feet to my right. The rustling got louder and closer and sounded like thuds, kind of a swish, swish sound. I thought someone was crawling up behind me. Something touched my foot and I turned my head to look, but it was so dark I couldn’t see anything. Turns out it was a 10 – 12 foot python. It slithered up the left side of my body and kept going. I didn’t lose any bodily functions, but I think my heart stopped for a few minutes.
Jeff Mott Riverine boats picked us up after a patrol and a lone sniper opened up. Everyone went crazy and poured tons of rounds into the jungle. Zippo boats soaked it with fire and gunships riding convoy put a few rockets into the jungle as well. About 1 minute after we were ordered to cease fire he popped back up from the hole he was in and fired a couple rounds more at us. We laughed that we had probably spent 10 grand worth of ammo and didn’t even scare him.
Kenny Dana Ackermann-Swanson while on a Huey sortie, we got a call to pick up some POW’s, and two hu-1’s replied, on the way, I was a door gunner, this is what happened next, we got there and there was a film crew on the other Huey, the ROK’s had them wrapped in barbwire, as the ROK’s were bringing them to our bird I thought I could get in the film of all this .I pulled out my.45 and went to help them in our bird as I left ,I tripped over my gun mount, and fell flat face down in a rice paddy. (don’t think that made the news)……….now think what an ass I made out of myself – now laugh about it!
Thomas Hogan After TET 68 we had to pull guard duty in the bunkers around the Bien Hoa Air Base and there was a big guy everyone called Cleveland because he played on the offensive line for the Browns. The bunkers all had phones in them so you could call the other bunkers and the towers. He would call bunker 10 which we knew was the 101st and call them all kinds of names. This was before dark by the way. He would tell them to come down to bunker 100 or 105 I don’t remember the number but he would say he was in the 82nd ABN and we would be in a bunker with a number in the 80’s. We would be sitting outside and 30 mins later here they would come. They fixed the bunkers so you could only talk to the towers the following week.
James Prindl Jumped the fence between wheeler and Scholfield back when the front gate was by D quad coming from the NCO club they closed the gate at 10 so us being the infantry men we where we would ranger the fence well the MP’s caught on- we got caught top was so pissed but that’s as far as it went
Ron Garnett while in Afghanistan we were doing a blocking position when we first got there, well we went out one night on a patrol and were on this road set up in an ambush site… Well there was no communication with the unit to our north (who’s AO we were in). Well that other unit was doing a patrol on that same road and well when they showed up we had a Mexican standoff. At the time it was pucker factor 10 but now and after it was over it was funny.
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On the Gary Joyner story, are you from Chicago. This is Budd
I had been trained as an 11B (infantry) but was assigned to Long Binh USARV Hqs as a typist. It was quite safe duty but we did pull both airfield and bunker guard quite often. 1968/1969. One dark night we all thought we saw someone in the wire and called for a starlight scope. No one could actually see if a VC was in the wire or not as the drifting illumination flares threw a lot of moving shadows. The NCO in charge of that section of bunkers went back to his original position. Some time later we reported to him via our phone that we still thought we could see movement so he advised us to fire an M79 round at it to see what would happen. Since I was the only person on duty that had ever fired one and was actually trained on the weapon I volunteered to take the shot. I was a SP4. The bunker commander who was an E5 intelligence type pulled rank though and he took the shot. Instead of estimating the range of about 30 meters and setting the adjustable sight he fired almost straight up in the air! After all these years I can’t remember if I hollered “Get down” or not but we all crouched down on the floor of the bunker behind the sand bag walls. No one got hurt but I’m sure our bunker NCO’s pride was wounded. What a jerk!. No VC was ever found. Dec 1968. USARV Special Troops.
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It was 1964 and my partner and I were on patrol looking for VC. All of a sudden, we hear them walking our way, so we hid in the bushes our backs against the bush our feet straight out and my partner to my left. I felt something touch my left leg and again, I told my partner to stop touching me, he said he didn’t touch me, then I felt it again this time it was going across my legs. It was a snake, I almost shit my pants and figured out I was going to get bit by him, and sure enough he stopped right across my legs. I said to myself this is it, he’s going to bite me an if he does, I will let out a scream and my partner will start shooting and who knows what will happen after that, but the snake didn’t bite me he just keep on going across my legs until he was gone. By this time the VC were gone, we got up and I told my partner what happened, and he started laughing and said it’s a good thing he didn’t bite you because I would have started shooting thinking you got hit. We got back to our pickup point, and I told the Sgt what happened, and he couldn’t stop laughing.
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Actually, I have two memories and the involve the same guy, in 1969. First time, we (C Co., 1st Btn., 7th Reg., 3rd Bgde., 1st Cav Div.) walked into a bunker complex and received mortar and small arms fire. The CO called in an arc light and we had to exit, fast. Everyone began running in a huge pack to a protected area. Our platoon RTO and I looked at each other and decided we weren’t going to mad dash out with the others, right away, so we stayed put. Before we knew it, the entire area was dead silent, we couldn’t hear or see our company and we were still there, by ourselves. Realizing we were alone, we popped a couple of smoke canisters and took off running towards where we thought the rest of the company was. As we approached the company perimeter, we began shouting, “Garry Owen,” to signal we were friendlies. Once we got inside, we only could laugh at how our trying to avoid the initial mad rush to safety almost got us left behind.
The second time, the same RTO, myself and two others went out on our nighttime LP. I took first watch, then, handed over to our RTO. Just as I was falling asleep, I heard him radio the FB for illumination rounds, at our location. After adjusting for distances, he called in two live marker rounds. Next thing, I heard the rounds coming in and one hitting into the trees above us, so that several pieces of shrapnel tore through the trees and the leaves and went whistling just over our heads. At that point, I heard the RTO, panicking, back on the radio, saying, “oh, shit, that was too damn close.” The other two guys never awoke and I never said anything to the RTO but did laugh about it, afterwards.
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In eastern Iraq we were firing illum. at night in support of a border sweep.So during a lull in fire missions, told my squad to stay in place but crash-out.Well about 0300,im in the bed of my m1074 PLS sitting in a folding chair,then hear this scratching and scraping noise.In one motion,jumped to my feet,selector to burst mode,looked down from the truck bed ,and through the NVG S saw a desert fox in our trash bag! Whew!
The George Nolly story made me cry just reading it And thanks to everyone who responded for your service.
I was in the 199th LIB Long Bin June 69-June 70!!! Some is funny but even after all this time some are not!!! My first night we were on patrol I laid down at a fire base behind some 105s and they had a fire mission during the night, I was twenty feet to their rear and when they fired my body came off the ground two feet thought the world had come to an end!!! Spc. Carson M. Finch Delta 2/3 199th LIB Camp Frenzel Jones Long Bin Vietnam!!! Thanks for the memories!!!
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My story is about something that almost happened to me. I spent 14 months at Long Binh. Accept for an occasional early morning rocket, I and the rest of my unit had it pretty easy. Very boring duty. We were Headquarters Company LBP. A bunch of clerks, cooks, motor pool guys.
One morning, at about 2 or 3 am, the CQ came into my hootch, woke me up, and told me to get dressed in my flack jacket and helmet, draw my weapon and ammo and report to the HQ office. There I was told that a chopper was down outside the perimeter and I had to go guard it until it could be recovered. I was stunned. I got into a waiting jeep and as we were backing out, the CQ came out of the office and told us never mind. They got an MP to do it. Whew!!
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After a long day of missions we of Snoopy platoon of the 120th Assault Helicopter Co out of Long Bihn….1971-72 had to maintain and clean up our choppers for the next day….using the old pump type water fire extinguishers we would add soap and squirting into the running intakes while ship was running……also we’d use it to soap up the ship and hose it down. ….on many of these occasions a water fight would ensue between up……soaking each other with soapy water or just water from buckets……I had the idea to stand on top of 3/4 ton truck and have someone drive me around while I tossed buckets of water and such at others. ….we’ll the exact time I decided to launch a bucket full the driver thought he’d move the truck…..over the back I went landing on both my hands/wrists and face…..chipped a tooth and broke both wrists…..spent quite a while grounded and was a head count at the mess hall…..3 meals a day. Still is funny today.
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It was the day before Christmas, 2003. I was a B-777 Captain with United Airlines and had applied for a position as a Federal Flight Deck Officer (armed pilot). I had completed all the written assessments, and all that was left was an interview with a psychologist to see if I had the psychological/emotional qualifications to defend the flight deck. The psychologist was about to go on vacation, and had advised me she could interview me on December 24th or we would have to wait a few weeks until she returned. I had opted for the early date.
We discussed many things, and eventually she asked me if I would be able to kill another human being. “Sure,” I said, “if it’s to save the airplane, I’d blow him away in a split-second and never give it a second thought.”
“You seem pretty sure of yourself,” she said. “Have you ever killed anyone?”
“Sure,” I replied, “plenty of times, at a distance, during the war. I blew away lots of bad guys and never lost a minute of sleep over it. I was doing my job.”
“So, you were in Vietnam?”
“Yes,” I said, “two tours.”
Then she leaned forward in her chair and softly said, “Thank you for your service.”
It caught me totally by surprise. It suddenly occurred to me that this was the FIRST TIME anyone had ever said that to me. It took 30 years. And I started crying. I tried to recompose myself, convinced now that this crybaby would never become an FFDO.
She tried to act like she didn’t notice, and we wrapped up the interview.
A few weeks later I was notified that I had been selected for FFDO duty.
Now, whenever I meet a vet, I go out of my way to say it: Thank you for your service!
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George, I only had to wait ten years, but when it came I reacted the same way. I kept my composure when cursed and spit at when I and about two hundred others arrived stateside in September 1973. Thank God that spit didn’t land on any of us, because there would have been one helluva brawl.
One night in 67 we were someplace building a road. A Sgt was drunk and got on the back of a 3/4 ton truck that had a 50 Cal. on the back of it.We were all ready in our cots. If you were not in your cot you were on guard duty. We had 6 60 Cal. machine guns and about 40 M-14,s on line. This Sgt. opened up with that 50 everybody who was not on guard duty ran to the firing line and opened up.We tough we killed everything around us. Well the next morning we found out that we killed every tree and bush around us.That Sgt. ended up doing 6 months in LBJ.
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I think you are writing a book. I have a story but how can you post it?
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Doc, if you already have it typed and saved, then copy and paste it to the comment section under the article.
Reblogged this on Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel and commented:
Here’s another blast from the past. 52 soldiers related incidents that were scary at the time but makes them laugh today. Don’t miss this one!
I was stationed at Quan Loi with B Troop First and Ninth…First Air Cav. One day our Blues group was flown out to check on some bunkers and huts in the jungle. There was no one there but five chickens in a coup. One of our scouts tied all of these chickens together to take back for his family off base. He kept them in his hootch for a couple of days and they shit all over everything.
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Sgt. Bryant, what a shitty story! Thanks for leaving it here!
I’ll never forget the first “oh shit” moment I had in the Ghan.
Mortars blasting all around us, 3 tubes firing on our Company perimeter in Helmand. Every few seconds a new explosion, and since we were on a mountain top, we had no cover. I buried my face so close to the rocks I almost broke my nose.
Then, one round lands perfectly placed between our own mortars (Who were busy trying to slug it out with the Taliban to really notice), our ASP and my Platoon Sergeant’s position.
Out of nowhere, our medic and FO get up from their position next to mine and the LT’s. As Doc comes running past us to the other end of the perimeter, he screams:
“THEY”RE SHOOTING FROM BEHIND US!”
Doesn’t pause, just screams it while he’s running.
Now, the Taliban’s mortars were on three sides of our perimeter, so no matter what position you were at, someone was shooting from behind you.
After an hour of shelling (And NO Casualties, they couldn’t aim for shit), they finally gave up and went home. Not to mention the B1 that nailed a direct hit on one of the tubes, and our boys managed a close hit that knocked a second out of action. Glorious.
I just remember being thankful to be alive. That lucky shot earlier impacted only a few meters away. Dot a nice dusting of peddles and sand.
Our Platoon Sergeant gets up and casually strolled past us (Hands in his pockets too, it was a classic “I don’t give a fuck” moment). He just looked as us and asked:
“Did you see where my fucking medic and FO went?”
At which point we all laughed and pointed in the direction they ran.
God damn, if that still don’t make me laugh today. XD
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