Monthly Archives: April 2016



“.…The C-130 rolled to a stop at the south end of the single air strip.  The four of us jumped off, and proceeded to unpack our gear.  The plane turned around, and slowly taxied towards the opposite end, to drop off the other 14 men and supplies, and to pick up any wounded.  This was a warehouse base for distribution of war materials to those allies cultivated by the spooks.  It was located approximately 200 miles from our camp at the border, and the spooks regularly flew in supplies.  It was just another spook base that did not exist, at least according to our government….”

“….We began the ritual preparation of stripping down for the field, and unpacking our gear.  As always, we were in the habit of helping each other to tape everything down, put on our camo, and prepare for war.  I was scanning the terrain through my binocs, when I noticed movement at the tree line.  I could see gray uniformed men coming out of the trees.  The NVA was in those trees, in numbers, and they were moving forward to that end of the airstrip…..”

“.…We were all scared, shitless.  There were probably as many as four or five thousand men, in those two regiments of NVA, attacking the opposite end of the air strip.  We knew if they found us, we were dead.  They might keep Uncle alive, for trade, but they would not keep the rest of us alive….”

“…..Trough our binocs, we saw the plane sitting on the runway.  Men were loading wounded, and within minutes, the C-130 was taxiing in our direction.  It lifted off, and we could see they had not even unloaded their equipment.  Paul informed Uncle that they would be coming back with reinforcements, and to pick up any wounded.  We knew that was not going to happen, and waiting would translate into suicide, so we took our chances and followed Uncle, hoping to make the border, and stay alive….”


“….Our team was targeted after we got out of the firefight.  We cautiously threaded our way through the hills and jungle, then one of us would drop, and the world would change.  A sniper would cripple one of us to slow us down, or divert us from our escape course.  We knew the sniper was calling for his version of the cavalry.  He was forcing us to try and push by him, blindly.  Slowing down meant we all die, going faster also meant death.  We all knew there was no safety.  We also knew we had very little time left to evade the larger units that will soon be pursuing us….”

“….One hundred per cent casualties were becoming more common to LRRP and SF teams.  This was particularly true at the end of 1967.  That was when an American sniper killed the favorite nephew of Uncle Ho.  The NVA started an active policy of running teams to ground with huge numbers of troops.  Teams were vanishing in the highlands, and those countries we weren’t supposed to be in.  We were paranoid as hell, just being in that God forsaken country.  Laos was a dangerous place, without a safety net, or the hope of finding one.  We veered off, every time he fired, but stubbornly kept as close as we could to our east-southeast direction.  Swerving as we did affected all of us by multiplying our anxiety and feelings of desperation…”

“…Wounding any member of the team was a most effective method of causing us to slow down.  We were all paranoid about being captured.  In truth, the prospect scared the shit out of us, and was never far from our minds.  Months earlier, the team had taken a ‘no capture’ oath, nothing romantic, or dramatic, just a soldier’s tontine.  A bravado pledge, made under alcoholic duress, promising ‘No living wounded would be left behind, and if cornered, the last man standing would make sure no others were captured, especially if they couldn’t prevent it themselves’.  Knowing we had committed ourselves to such a promise, added to our tension.  Because after we’d seen what the NVA do to American captives, there was no doubt in any of us, our pledge would be honored.  We promised each other, no matter what, we’d never let them take us alive, and we were all honor bound.  It was a grim topic, never discussed more than once, but it was never far from our minds….”