Where We Going ?  Story by : Cleve Stanley

Even thought most mornings we were up before dawn and ready to fly when the sun came up, but  this morning was a little different when we were woke up. It was different in that we were told to bring our M16 and all the ammo we had . Most flights you sometimes brought your M16 and a few clips of ammo just for the hell of it,  but not often as you had a M60 for each gunner if you got shot down, but when they said  bring all your ammo speculation went wind. Some thought we were going into Laos as it was rumored the 101st was gearing up to go across the border. Some thought North Vietnam. Every time we asked where we were going we were told you will find out when your airborne. This was to keep the VC and NVA from knowing where we were going. After a quick breakfast we started getting the ships ready to take off when a truck came across the flight line and pulled up to ours and the three other hooks getting ready for the mission. This was no big deal as the truck sometimes bring cases of C-Rations and supplies to the ships before take off, but this truck also had a crates of M60 ammo on it and extra chicken plates. Each ship was to take 2 extra crates of ammo for the flight and each crew member was made to wear a chicken plate as well as a extra to sit on. Look out North Vietnam here we come!! We loaded up the ammo and extra chicken plates and took off heading north. We asked the pilots where we were going and still all we got was you will find out later. We landed some where away from anything we knew and other then on our flight line I had never saw that many hooks sitting in a row there seemed like 10+ hooks and god knows how many Cobras and Huey gunships. The sun still was no where to be seen as we set there still trying to figure out where we were going. Finally the pilots returned and said lets get going. We flew to the other side of the area where we had shutdown and picked up a slingload of mixed ammo and off we went to the north a little ways to join up with the hooks that had loaded up before us. Off went all the hooks and gunships to the north flying as low as possible.I don't remember who the CE and FE was that day, but one finally told the pilots that it would be nice to know where we were going to which the pilot replied Firebase Fuller. OUCH!! We had all heard about Fuller and how it was being almost over run and how choppers were having a bad time trying to get in to resupply it as the NVA had it surrounded and pounding it with everything they had. FSB Fuller had been under siege for 42 days and some general had came up with the idea of resupplying Fuller by sneaking in all these hooks just at daybreak... Yeah right sneaking in one hook would be near impossible, but sneaking in that many hooks was the dumbest thing we had ever heard of. Our ship was number four in the long line and I remember looking at number 3 and wondering what he was hauling as it looked like a big black box in the darkness. I asked what number 3 was hauling and was told a radar unit to track the incoming rounds hitting Fuller so they could pinpoint the targets. The sky was just starting to get lighter and the pilots were on the radios talking about us being 5 minutes out when I asked the pilot to check if any friendlies were out side the wire at Fuller and after talking to the firebase he came back with negitive friendlies outside the wire which meant if anything moved we were to fire it up! The first ship in was doing ok and had punched off  it's sling load and was coming out, but then the second ship in was reporting taking fire. The second ship also got out with just a few new holes in it and we watched as the third ship took in the radar unit which he had to position just right. As the third ship hovered trying to position the radar just right here come the mortar rounds hitting the firebase. We watched as the rounds walked towards the third hook and just before they got close enough to  do any damage to the third hook it released it's load and off to the south it went.

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Just as we started moving towards the firebase I saw movement on the side of the firebase and as we were still a ways off  I asked the pilot to check again about friendlies, but before he got a reply we were moving toward the movement I had saw. I switched off the safety and was keeping a eye on what I had thought to be people hiding when all of a sudden a figure jumped from behind a tree and started to run towards what I saw to be 30 or 40 more little people on the ground and all looked to have weapons. Just as I started to squeeze the triggers the pilot came on the radio with... ARVN'S OUTSIDE THE WIRE!! Well that was the closest I had ever come to adding to the killed by friendly fire list! We popped up over the edge of Fuller with our sling load of ammo and the next thing I heard was the FE saying loads off get the hell out of here!! The mortar rounds were hitting all around the firebase as the pilots did a great job of getting us out of there the fastest I had ever saw a hook move. While we had came out without any damage several of the ship I am told came out with holes in them. A few weeks later we had to go to Fuller again, but it was no longer under siege and we did see the burnt out hull of a hook still laying on Fuller and the chill just ran down my spine. I was told it was an A company ship and had been hit by a mortar round. A few days after the mission the AFVN newspaper ran a story about FSB Fuller and how the Air Force had bravely went and and low level air dropped many loads of supplies to keep the firebase going while taking heavy fire!! The Air Force ?? I watched the newspaper for a correction to be printed, but none ever was. Well that's war I guess.

( I have a copy of that newpaper article and will post it as soon as I locate it)

Follow Up Below

I received this email and thought it should be for all of us that were on the flight to FSB Fuller that day as well as all the hookers that ever flew into FSB Fuller...

From : George Ragsdale <benhai@alltel.net>

Sent : Wednesday, November 24, 2004 9:55 AM

To : "sky pony" <skypony777@hotmail.com>

Subject : FSB Fuller

Just read your story about the trip to FSB Fuller during the summer of 1970. I was the radar warrant who guided the Q-4 radar in and fought the counter-battery duals with the NVA during the summer of 1970. FSB Fuller did not fall and we defeated the 27th NVA Regiment in detail.

I have just completed a book ("Ben Hai 211 Alpha") in which there are three chapters about FSB Fuller which includes details about your trip and the "highers" string of CH-47. Also, it has many pictures of FSB Fuller.

I think your folks would enjoy the chapters about Fuller. I have this book at a publishers and hope to have out next year.

Just some facts, the next day after your trip, the first CH-47 to the LZ was hit by a 120mm mortar round while in the air. The NVA had fired two 120mm rounds which hit the LZ as I arrived the same day of your string of CH-47s and another round had hit the LZ as I was guiding in the Q-4. The next helicopter to hover over the LZ was lost, I could not believe that the "highers" did not know that the LZ was zeroed in and as the CH-47 approached I said to the man in the bunker next to me, "...they are dead men".

Hard fight but we won!

George W. Ragsdale


"This Ain't AT&T"  Story by...  Jim Brady

We had a mission to transport some PAX from Camp Evans to a firebase. Pretty dull and usual routine, briefed the PAX about ditching procedures, about muzzels to the floor, helmets on the laps, and no grenades on the web-gear, etc,etc.

The LT for the platoon was late arriving at the aircraft, and we had already boarded the PAX and had gone from 1 and 2 to ground to 1 and 2 to flight. I was still on the ground behind the ramp when a Brand New 2nd LT showed up in a jeep. By his gait as he strolled up, he oozed an air of cockiness. I informed the pilots that the grunt officer had arrived.

The young lieutenant's uniform was very new, and his boots looked like they had never been worn before. He could'nt have been over 20 years old. Brand new in-country. He marched right up to me and demanded that I remove my flight helmet so he could use it to communicate with the pilots.

I got on the intercom and said "Hey guys, watch this.." Both pilots and the Crew Chief and Gunner turned to watch as I pretended that the mike did not work. I told the young LT that we were having trouble with the intercom, and that he would have to use our "Voice Powered Intercom" to talk to the pilots. I handed him the relief tube from the ramp, and he proceded to yell into the funnel and put it to his ear. He tried several times, but could not get the darned thing to work. The rest of the crew were in stitches! After a couple of minutes of this, I told him the Voice Powered Intercom was out of order, and gave him my helmet. I told him that maybe it might work now.

I wonder if he ever got wise to the Hook's "Voice Powered Intercom".

Send me your stories and I will post them here with your name. If you think you can't  write or spell good don't worry I will correct it for you.


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