Tales of Viet Nam

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Quick Steel
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Tales of Viet Nam

Post by Quick Steel » Fri May 03, 2019 11:28 pm

Some years ago I wrote some observations of my Viet Nam experience. I did this to pass them on to following generations of family. Here is one such brief extract.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Previously in this commentary I mentioned in passing the beauty of the country. To expand.

Most days in VN followed a routine until broken up by conflict. Whether working in the foothills of the Annamite mountains or up in the Central Highlands, at about 3 to 4 P.M. we would head for and climb the highest hill/mountain in our map grid. We did this because we always wanted to camp for the night on the highest available terrain.

It has been a basic military principal for thousands of years "to hold the high ground." It is a great advantage. Should we be attacked at night we, the ARVN, would have that advantage. The enemy would have to struggle upwards while we were shooting at them. So we would climb to the top of the hill to make our camp. The troops would spread around the perimeter preparing their fighting positions. I and my Sgt would, like the ARVN officers, be more in the center of the camp.

First order of business was finding the two trees I wanted to use to string up my hammock. I would almost invariably use my knife to cut off thin branches sticking out of the tree trunks. [This is the knife given to me by my friends the ------- whom I have often mentioned.] Then tying the nylon hammock to the trees was a simple matter.

An observation: That hammock provided me with some of the best sleep of my life. Very comfortable indeed. There was only one instance, apart from combat, when I had a bad sleep. It was in the Central Highlands and I awoke to find that an army of communist ants was using my hammock, and me, as an expressway between the two trees.

So then the Sgt. and I would make a very small fire to heat up our rations. If we were carrying LRRP [Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol] rations which were lightweight because they were dehydrated, we had to add water, heat, stir and consume. No matter how much water and stirring there were always a few hard bits remaining. Had to avoid biting into them; like biting into a pebble. I assure you that eating rehydrated spaghetti is a culinary experience not to be missed.

After supper, making a quick weapons check and calling in on the radio to report our position for the night came my favorite moment of the day. I would light my pipe and, sitting or lying in the hammock, watch the sunset. This was often beautiful. The camp was becoming quiet, the air was still and one could be deceived into thinking that this was a land of peace.

Sometimes during the night we would become aware of a battle occurring miles away. Usually too far to even hear the gun fire. But we could easily see the lights of battle. The green tracer bullets of the NVA being answered by the red tracer bullets of our side. Often, parachute flares would be launched from a mortar and we would see the flares hovering in the sky like archangels illuminating the battle.

In the morning we awoke to a rising sun accompanied by its rising heat. A few minutes to brew up some coffee, savor another pipe, listen to the insects and birds come to life, pack away the hammok and other gear, then descend leaving the mountain top behind.
"Life is good if you don't weaken." AG Russell

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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by samb1955 » Fri May 03, 2019 11:41 pm

That's a good read! I graduated high school in 1974 and didn't have to go. From what I hear from people that were there I got lucky.

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FRJ
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by FRJ » Fri May 03, 2019 11:53 pm

Well, Quick Steel, I'm sorry you had to be there and I'm glad you came home.
I enjoyed your well written story.
I missed that spaghetti dinner, thankfully.
While I wasn't in a gun fight, I saw many of those eerie flares.
Joe

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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by kennedy knives » Sat May 04, 2019 12:26 am

Nice Story QS ::tu:: ::tu::

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Doc B
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by Doc B » Sat May 04, 2019 12:50 am

Thanks for posting QS. Enjoyed the read!
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by doglegg » Sat May 04, 2019 1:58 am

Excellent story QS. Thanks for the story and for serving. ::handshake::

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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by Mumbleypeg » Sat May 04, 2019 2:12 am

Thanks for that story QS. Reminds me of some of the things my dad wrote about his experiences in the Philippines during WWII.

Ken
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by philco » Sat May 04, 2019 3:02 am

Garry thank you for sharing this with us and thank you, sir, for your service. ::tu::
Phil
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Quick Steel
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by Quick Steel » Sat May 04, 2019 4:40 am

I appreciate all your comments guys. I truly do. But we have many AAPK members who served and hundreds of thousands more we shall never know. In sharing these memories I do so to keep alive the memory of all those who served in any capacity, especially those who made the supreme sacrifice and those whose bodies or minds were shattered in doing their duty. My generation is fading quickly. I sometimes wonder if some of today's snowflakes will ever understand or even recall the generations who preceded them. I do not worry about the fine children and grandchildren of our members who give us the occasional glimpse of the splendid youngsters they are raising.

If it is not an imposition, from time to time I'd like to offer a few more sketches of my experience. It serves as sort of a catharsis which I find personally useful. Thanks again.
"Life is good if you don't weaken." AG Russell

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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by jerryd6818 » Sat May 04, 2019 10:59 am

Please feel free to tell us about your experiences Garry. It's getting to the point where the mind muscle needs jogging now and then. I was not a combat Marine so any tales I would have to tell are not about blood and guts. Carry on.
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by samb1955 » Sat May 04, 2019 11:47 am

I would like to hear from both of you about your time there.

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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by Doc B » Sat May 04, 2019 11:56 am

I find first-hand accounts...of those that served...to be some of the most interesting reading, to be found. Additional stories welcome!
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by Sharpnshinyknives » Sat May 04, 2019 12:01 pm

Quick Steel wrote:I appreciate all your comments guys. I truly do. But we have many AAPK members who served and hundreds of thousands more we shall never know. In sharing these memories I do so to keep alive the memory of all those who served in any capacity, especially those who made the supreme sacrifice and those whose bodies or minds were shattered in doing their duty. My generation is fading quickly. I sometimes wonder if some of today's snowflakes will ever understand or even recall the generations who preceded them. I do not worry about the fine children and grandchildren of our members who give us the occasional glimpse of the splendid youngsters they are raising.

If it is not an imposition, from time to time I'd like to offer a few more sketches of my experience. It serves as sort of a catharsis which I find personally useful. Thanks again.

Garry, Great story. So many times the story focuses on the battles or something unusual. Yet there were many idle moments like these to take in an appreciate. I like reading about Vietnam and WWII and WWI. My cousin was shot to death by a sniper in 1972 in Cambodia I believe, he was 18. My dad served in Korea and my wife’s father served in the Pacific in WWII. All saw combat. My wife’s father wouldn’t talk about all that he went through. He did mention a funny situation when they were watching a western on the side of a hill on an island. He said everyone knew this gunshot was going to happen in the movie and when it did, everyone hit the deck anyway.
I think it’s great that you could appreciate the unusual place you were and the times you lived in. I know it’s said a lot, but I really appreciate anyone who made the sacrifice to serve this great country we live in. Thank you.
Mark
SSk Mark “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Ronald Reagan

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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by fergusontd » Sat May 04, 2019 12:19 pm

:o Those who served all have stories of our military experiences. I was Navy and served on a Destroyer in Vietnam, all vet stories are seen from different ways. Some saw combat some didn't, most of the time it was boring and routine, some things we'd like to forget other things we remember, good friends, good times.Thank you all for your service! ftd
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Re: Tales of Viet Nam

Post by edge213 » Sat May 04, 2019 12:33 pm

Thank you Q,
David
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