Thursday, April 29, 2010

29 April 1970

Wednesday morning
29 April 1970

I finally got some mail!  The first in 10 days!  The reason it took so long was that the dumb mail clerk was sending my mail to B Co instead of C Co.  Anyway - I got 2 letters and 2 packages.  Also, a box of slides, the last roll I sent off.

The more I think about Nixon’s speech - the more depressed I become - because he has it set up where he’ll not actually remove troops - but will just stop replacing the ones who leave at the end of their normal time. 

There will be some units pulled out as the people become less - which means I might still get out within the next 3 months.  If any F-4 squadrons leave, my best bet to go also would be about 2 - 3 months from now.  But that is much better than a full 12 months!

Today was 7 days in the bush this time.  Makes about a total of 30 days I’ve spent out in the bush - sleeping on the ground - looking at the stars, sweating and cursing through the long hot day - walking ‘til I’m about to drop - for no apparent reason - all for nothing as I’ve only controlled 1 flight of CAS during all this time!!!  The Marines do not need FACs in Vietnam.

C Co will probably remain out for about another week, then back to Baldy for rehab.  The purpose is to cut down on heat casualties and malaria cases.  When people stay out in the bush for extended periods of time, their stamina begins to break down, making them susceptible to illnesses.  When C company does go back for rehab, I plan to go to Chu Lai for about three days to do some flying, in fact I’m looking forward to it.

I earned my CAR the other night!  It was just about dusk when VC began shooting at us with small arms fire!  Bullets could be heard whistling over head and I was “kissing” the ground!  I couldn’t even get to my fox hole because the bullets were coming so thick!  Fortunately  no one was hit.  An artillery fire mission was called on the area where the fire was coming from, but by that time the VC had run away.  They don’t wait around long, just hit and run, highly mobile and very hard to catch.  One of our ambushes did kill six VC.  One of the VC had about $20,000 in Vietnamese and American money!!!  A big haul.   We figured he was probably a pay master, and we got the payroll!  This ambush spotted these six VC coming down a trail during the night.

The big shots in the Regiment were really impressed.

Today is really hot!  I’m not sure if it’s high temp or high humidity.  We’re set up on a low hill where we spent last night.  We’ve been here all morning.  The sun is glaring down and I sure don’t look forward to having to pack up and move this afternoon.  But we will, because we move every day, if only a little way, just to keep the enemy from being able to really attack us.  What we fear most is mortar attacks, so that’s why we move each evening.  The longer we stay in one place the longer the VC have to set up their mortars and attack us.

My radio operator right now is the  from Amarillo.  His wife is living there now.  He is a Lance Corporal.

This shelter is constructed of four bamboo poles stuck in the ground with a “poncho liner” stretched between them to provide the shade.  A poncho liner is a sort of light weight nylon blanket which is ideal for keeping warm on cool nights, or spreading on the ground, or using for shade.

Since I haven’t been to disbursing since I left Chu Lai, I don’t know for sure how much I now have saved, but I estimate about $460.  Also I have back pay on this new pay raise which should be about $150 more.  I expect the pay raise for me to be about $45 - $50 per month, but am not sure.  Then, if I make Capt, this time, I’ll be making a lot of money during my last year in the Corps.

I intend to go to disbursing at Chu Lai, and see just how much money I do have.  Also I have a very depressing feeling that I’m being over paid since the first of January.  If so, that’ll cut back a little on what I’ve saved.  But I’m not sure.

Photo - make shift shelters

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