SHORT & TRUE
Date ; early April 1966. We are on a operation named ? ? ?, we've been out several days, each day about daylight the line plts would be moved by Huey to a different location. From there the plts would be broken into squads or fire teams and would
proceed on patrol, with a common destination that could be reached in 2 to 5 hours
time, if no enemy contact was made.
On this one day my plt had perhaps 6 clicks ( 6000 yards ) to go to where
we would marry up with the rest of Charlie company. The country was fairly open,
lots of rice paddies in the low areas, with wooded rolling hills making up the rest,
As we had a large front to cover the plt was broken into fire teams ( 5 men )
these teams set off in the direction of movement with perhaps 2 to 4 hundred yards
between each team. (no radios for fire teams in those days)
Before long my team came to a rather large wooded area, as we proceeded into the woods we came across a well used trail that was going in our direction. Trails are normally a no-no unless you just have to. In this case there was to much heavy underbrush to move quietly through. We are tip-toeing down this trail when we could smell human excrement.
Now ! we are moving slow. One step-stop-wait & one more step, about the same as hunting white tails in the pacific north west Then I could see where the smell was
coming from, a slit trench with a bamboo cover with a square hole in the center.
The trail continued straight ahead, after just a few more feet we could see this small clearing and there was a open sided hutch. This hutch was maybe 12 by
16 ft, in the center was a wooden table with benches. Several rice bowls and a small kerosine lantern were on the table. Well the farmers in the area didn't live in the bush, this had to be the bad guys home. No place to take a break! just as we started to move out, there was a sudden movement in the tree tops to our left, I think all of us almost had a heart attack, then we saw what was causing the movement, we had walked right into a bunch of big black monkeys. I think everyone was glad when we came to the end of that woods and hit open country again.
In the spring of '66 we were on a Brigade size operation. Our Bn was moving through heavy jungle in three long files. Bn Hqs was in the center file and my company was rear guard, with my Plt being the last Plt and my squad being the very last in what was a very long line. Several weeks before, Bn HQ had got in a new NCO, whom I had seen at a distance once or twice. I thought, This Staff Sgt is the fattest man I've ever seen wearing a uniform!
Anyway, this day was like most days---hot and muggy---and we had been on the move maybe a hour when we came upon this huge NCO sitting on a log beside the trail, red faced, out of breath, huffing and panting like a wind blown horse. As we came up on him he said for us to go ahead and he would catch up as soon as he got his wind.
Well we were the last, and there were not any friendlies behind us, and I was just a little perplexed as to what to do. Too fat to carry. Couldn't call in a medivac unless he keeled over. Ten seconds to find the solution---and then a sudden inspiration. I had one man step back out of sight and backtrack down the trail that we had just came up, when he was out of sight, he ran a full mag through his M-16 !
It was kind'a funny as this NCO was up and off like a race horse at the starting gate. I heard later that he went through our company at a very good pace.
I saw him a few months later and he had really slimed down. If by any chance a former Black Lion NCO, who was a little overweight reads this, drop a note