Stories Page 2
The Army made a mistake Story by : Cleve Stanley
As I went to our ship one morning I saw we had the ladder on the rear ramp which ment we were either hauling troops to a very small LZ or hauling them out of a very small LZ. After talking to the pilots I found out we were going to insert some grunts into a LZ that was to small to get a hook in. Thats good because inserting goes a lot faster then having to hover while 25 or 30 grunts climbed the ladder in a small LZ that could go hot very fast and a hook sitting still is a big target. We got close to the LZ and the FE kicked the ladder out and the grunts got ready to go down the ladder. All went well until there was about 5 grunts left on the ship one of which was the Lt. I saw one grunt still sitting in his seat cradling the M60 in his arms. The LT was the only other non-crew still on the ship and he kept yelling for the guy with the M60 to get up and the guy kept yelling IM not going down that ladder I'll fall !! After about 5 minutes of the LT yelling the guy still wouldn't go and moved the M60 so it was pointing down and his one hand on the pistol grip. I asked the pilots if we could just lower him on the winch and got the go ahead to do that, but when I told the guy that we would just lower him on the winch and still I got a NO! This guy was so scared of falling he couldn't get up from the seat. The pilots got mad and told us to just grab him and drag him to the ramp and throw him out and he would be ok as we where only about 15 feet off the ground. I looked over at the guy and it was just as if he had heard what the pilot said. His eye's got big and he was shaking bad and the M60 had came up a little. I told the pilot how he looked and we thought it was best not to have a scared man with a loaded M60 get any more up set then he was already so we told the LT we had to go and he told us to just drop him off where we had picked them all up which we did. Now why did I called this...The Army made a mistake? Beacuse the guy was new incountry, he was about 6 foot tall and weight was around 270 pounds and looked like he couldn't have humped 50 meters before he couldn't go on. This is not just bad for him, but can get another grunt killed because he can't keep up with the rest. I have humped with 70 - 80 pound ruck and it isn't easy, but with all the M60 ammo and extra junk they had loaded on this poor guy I really felt sorry for him. It looked like they had just had fun loading him up with everything , but the mess hall sink.You could tell the rest had been on him hard and he was trying his best to fit in, but just couldn't hack being a grunt. Because of his weight there is no way the army should have ever made him a 11Bravo! How the hell did he ever get through training?
Running Water ?? Story by : Jim Brady
Being a new crewchief or FE isn't easy. I had been in-country about a month and a half and was only 18 years old. I'd only flown with FE Babb a little over a month when he DEROS'd home. Babb was experienced, and he trained me to take over 857 for about a week. Doing pre flights, start-ups and log books, updating the pilots on the stability of the load in flight, how to guide the pilots in for a sling load was not too complicated. But the details you need to learn (and remember) in operations are something else. One of the last things Babb checked me out on was how to deliver a water blivet to a firebase. The mission went fine, cranking up, picking up the load, hovering over the firebase, everything but one detail. Making sure the the water blivet was chocked BEFORE I punched the release button on the pickle grip. The second I released the load, it began a slow roll downhill towards the perimeter wire. I could only watch in sheer horror and utter embarassment as the water blivet picked up speed, bounced over a foxhole (with an astonished grunt ducking down inside), and the rubber blivet crashing thru the wire and ending up in parts unknown. My FE made absoluIe certain, and with crystal clarity, that I realized that I was an idiot. He informed me that I would probably be the only Hook FE to earn an award from the North Vietnameese Army for an assault an an American Firebase. I was very good at tending to details after that, and became a pretty decent FE. (I'm still waiting for that medal)
Flare Mission Story by: Cleve Stanley
Durning my time with Playtex I only flew on flare missions two times with one being kinda boring as we never was called that night to drop flares so we spent the night sleeping under the hook. The second night I guess will go to hooker heaven with me as I still remember it today as I did the night it happened. The sounds of the voices are as real today as the night this happened. We lifted off of Liftmaster pad and headed north to Camp Evans where we would spend the night until called to drop flares. After shutting down and the pilots going to check in we settled down to making sure the ship was ready and getting dinner before we received a call. Dinner was C Rats cooked over C4 on a pile of ammo boxes. After eating we heard a movie going on not far from the ship so some of us went off to the movies until called. After about 20 or 30 minutes someone yelled for the flare ships crew to report to their ship. We lifted off and headed northwest a while and for some reason the intercom was tuned so the whole crew could hear the conversation between the pilots and the ground unit. It was an australian grunt unit out in the bush (jungle) calling for flares to be dropped. (from the way they were talking they were around platoon size) The NDP they had set up was being hit hard and they needed flares ASAP! We started dropping the flares and the relief in the voice of the guy on the radio voice was something you are not able to put into words. Then as the flares went out he was right back pleading for us to not stop dropping flares as everytime the flares went out the NVA would hit them hard and where getting very close to over running them. I looked at the FE and gunner that were dropping the flares and we all three looked at the flare box and back at each other with a sad look on our faces because we only had around 20 flares left. We tried to time the flares so that we kept one lit at all times, but sometimes the darkest returned and then the australian was back on the radio pleading for more flares. I heard our pilots telling the australian grunt on the radio that we were getting low on flares and that an Air Force C130 flareship was enroute, but would be a while. As we got down to the last couple of flares the battle on the ground was still going strong and as our last flare went down the tube so did our hopes for the australian grunts . Even as our pilots told the grunt on the radio that all flares had been dropped the voice on the radio thanked us for do what we could and if they made it out he owed us a case of beer. We did circle the area until the last flare went out, but had to return to base to refuel and as we were leaving I could still see the tracers going out and flashes of light on the ground. I don't know if the C130 got there in time or if the australian grunts ever made it out, but I do know that the intercom remained very quiet the whole ride back to base. I guess it was the sound in his voice, but I do know I think of that night VERY often.
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