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"A" Co, 4th INF, 12th BTLN,.. 199th Light Inf Bgde

prangleprangle Member Posts: 1,462 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited November 2015 in US Military Veteran Forum
REDCATCHER
199TH INFANTRY BRIGADE
(SEP) (LIGHT)

Dec. 1967 / Dec. 1968 **** "A" CO, 4th INF, 12th BTLN ** AIRMOBILE

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Costaldo from California
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That's just a hole hacked out in the jungle, with the pointman in view.
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That's me on the left with Quatlebaum from Dothan, Alabama
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With my Ithaca.
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I was taken out of the field after having spinal meningitis and put in Security Guard at Long Bien.
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Comments

  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,725
    edited November -1
    Red dust. Smell of smoke grenades marking the LZ for a dustoff. Taste of LSA and bug juice in your beans & weinies. Saving a can of pears for breakfast. Mail. Shivering because its 2 am, and the temperature has dropped all the way to 80. PBR. Mama-san selling Cokes and smokes. Mail. Leeches. The "whooof-whooof-whooof" sound that the 81mm illum rounds make when the casing drops off the parachute. Green tracers.
  • 11BravoCrunchie11BravoCrunchie Member Posts: 33,424 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    All I can say is that it had to be scary as hell for you guys. You are the true heros...not me. I've never had to fire my weapon in anger. (So much for being Infantry, huh?)
  • dongizmodongizmo Member Posts: 14,477 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thank you, welcome home.
    Don
    The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools.
  • Horse Plains DrifterHorse Plains Drifter Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 37,973 ***** Forums Admin
    edited November -1
    Thank you guys for your service. Doesn't sound like much fun.
  • whiteclouderwhiteclouder Member Posts: 10,797
    edited November -1
    Sure could have used you two about 8 months ago when I was writing some combat scenes. I've got a pretty good imagination but some of the stuff you men have experienced is beyond me. One GB member was very helpful but three would have been even better.

    Clouder..
  • Dak To 68Dak To 68 Member Posts: 1,404 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It wasn't all bad, had and still have some buds I love like brothers, had a couple of R&Rs that were so good I'm lucky to have survived them.
  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,725
    edited November -1
    Dak To- buds I love MORE than my brother!
  • CHGOTHNDERCHGOTHNDER Member Posts: 8,932 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The wall was a good start but more need to be done to honor the men & women who served there.

    PJ
  • MossbergboogieMossbergboogie Member Posts: 12,211
    edited November -1
    There is a good documentory on the history channel right now. If the home public only known the whole story
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    Only 2 things I like to remember about Vietnam.. The two days that I left there.

    196th Infantry
    1968-1969
    1971-1972

    The media did make a couple good movies about my outfit..IE: Tour of Duty.
  • TexasVetTexasVet Member Posts: 2,847 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The sounds of the F**k you lizards at night, wait a minutes, Banded Kreits, tunnel rats having combat with pythons, tabasco in the C-dig rations, not being able to brush your teeth because VC could smell the toothpaste. Silenced Swedish K's, booby trapping a VC ammo dump, when they used the dogs to track us, sprinkling CS powder on the trail and stopping the tracking. Sending balloons up with burst transmitters, developing trail camera photos with vodka. The rush of extraction in a STABO rig.
  • gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    Picking your head out of that nasty red dust to view the treeline with no leaves, wondering who made Ham'n'limas the most often canned substitute for food, blowing smoke at someone through yer gun barrel, stories of the legendary white/black team of deserters, "It ain't no thing", spider holes right next to your OP, Ba Muy Ba (Formaldehyde in a can), rain without lightning, mud without rain, sleeping for 10 minutes and thinking it was an hour, aftermath of flechettes, impact noises just over your head while leaves and branches rain down, betting how high Charlie would fly on the next blooper, body counts, finding gooks with playing cards on/in them, heat worse than St Louis in August, wondering how things were going in The World, medevac and Lisa at Da Nang.
  • joeaf1911a1joeaf1911a1 Member Posts: 3,340
    edited November -1
    The sights, smells, and sounds of war never change much in all wars. Yes, mine was over 60 years ago but I still recall them. Some things
    can not be forgotten even yet. Things never change in wars, just the faces, dates and countries. Joe, 3rd Inf Div Rifleman in ETO.
  • Locust ForkLocust Fork Member Posts: 30,948 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I appereciate writers....being able to portray events and make people imagine what they are describing using words. Its a talent I think my oldest daughter may have....if I can help her I think that is what I would like to see her try. She is a bit INSANE right now (being 14) so we will have to see???
    LOCUST FORK CURRENT AUCTIONS: https://www.gunbroker.com/All/search?Sort=13&IncludeSellers=618902&PageSize=48 Listings added every Thursday! We do consignments, contact us at [email protected]
  • whiteclouderwhiteclouder Member Posts: 10,797
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Locust Fork
    I appereciate writers....being able to portray events and make people imagine what they are describing using words. Its a talent I think my oldest daughter may have....if I can help her I think that is what I would like to see her try. She is a bit INSANE right now (being 14) so we will have to see???

    If she's truly a writer, her age will make little difference, she'll only be less tolerant of the fakers.

    I wish her well.

    Clouder..
  • dheffleydheffley Member Posts: 25,000
    edited November -1
    Writers do a better job of putting our memories into the words that best describe them than most of us can. I appreciate their efforts to document what we saw, felt and remember.
  • Jake_S-83Jake_S-83 Member Posts: 2,333 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    doesn't sound like much has changed. just the weather.
  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,725
    edited November -1
    Gunnut- Oh LORD- Ham and Claymores! Joe- my Dad was in the Pacific, my uncle in Europe. I appreicate what you gents did so that I did not HAVE to learn Japense or German.
  • Dak To 68Dak To 68 Member Posts: 1,404 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    We called them "ham & MFer's. Remember the toilet paper in the c rats? we called it "John Wayne Paper", it was rough, tough, and didn't take s**t off nobody. The Hersheys tropical bars were known simply as "mud bars".
  • matwormatwor Member Posts: 20,594
    edited November -1
    Thanks for sharing guys, I too appreciate and thank you for your sacrifices.
  • Ray BRay B Member Posts: 11,822
    edited November -1
    I remember the smell of burning flesh- my own; the smell of the disinfectant used in the cooler at graves registration; and the fear so thick it settled like fog on your position.
  • Grunt2Grunt2 Member Posts: 2,527 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It was hot and wet or hot and humid....Red dirt caked on everything.."Pork & Shrapnel" (Ham & Lima Beans),egg c-rations, Care packages, fire ants, worthless LSA, no underwear, leeches, cool-aid and tobasco from home, a real bath towel and how good a rusty steel can of cold beer tasted after a 28-30 day OP (even though it had set on a pallet in the sun for a few years!), mail from home and friends you could count on..
    Retired LEO
    Combat Vet VN
    D.A.V Life Member
  • Salvage33Salvage33 Member Posts: 1,182 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My experiences were just a bit different. Flying off a carrier never put me that close to what the guys on the ground experienced. But, that said, being "bingo'd" to Da Nang for a hot refuel and loaded with napalm, engines still burning, and doing close air support on a firebase that was in danger of being over run, dropping the canisters on the very edge of the 'wire.'

    Or the night that the VC blew the fuel depot at Da Nang. Awesome sight from 30 miles away as we were marshalling for a night recovery.

    Being awakened at 0230 hours for a brief prior to launch where we flew TOPCAP for a bunch of guys going downtown. Or the 'eye in the sky' warning of a Mig launch. And hearing the beep beep beep in the headset as Russian made fire control radar in search mode 'hunted' the skies for us. And worse, when they found you and locked down, knowing that in a few seconds a SAM was on the way up.

    Flying cover for a SAR mission as one of the boys who had been downtown was trying desperately to get "feet wet" before he had to punch out. Worse was when you had to fly cover for a Jolly Green who was going into Indian country to get one who didn't make the beach. Hearing the radio traffic as the downed pilot was using his radio to help vector the helo in, then watching as the Jolly Green was shot down, the feeling of helplessness as it went in.

    Not as dramatic as being under a severe mortar attack, taking fire, bouncing betties, claymores, tiger traps, pungi stakes, but it all takes it's toll.
  • givettegivette Member Posts: 10,886
    edited November -1
    The smell. Upon our arrival the stewardess opens the door on the plane,...dunno how to put it..."sweet, poopty odor" permeating the entire country. Body bags. I could always sense the body bags' presence. Again, the smell. The flies hovering. Why were body bags always laid out in the sun? Breaking whiskey bottles so we could scatter the broken glass underneath the concertina wire. (I don't think the gooks liked that too much)[:D] Feeding the dogs leftovers. Someone learned that if you rolled the meat in hot sauce, then sprinkled it with .50 cal. gunpowder, it would keep the dogs mean, and the chemicals in the gunpowder would make their brains unstable. We alwaystook heed when they started growling. I firmly believe the dogs saved my life. Body count. The body count is important to someone, I guess. And don't forget to count the blood trails too. Fukk-U lizards. Now they were a class act. (At least they told you outright how they felt about the "round-eye"). VN's (friendlies)..seems the closer to the boonies we got, the less they were trusted. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. Yeah, right. Washington. When asked what her husband found most troublesome about the war (Vietnam) Lady Bird said it was the constant rat-a-tat-tat. What a joke. Ever notice the youth of our country go through the same assinine routine again and again, approximately every 25yrs. or so??
  • blackpowdermaxblackpowdermax Member Posts: 130 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I remember arriving in a complete downpour. So much water.

    I remember standing guard at a bunker near the Danang airbase flight line and watching an F-4 coming in, all shot to h*ll and catching the 1st wire. The plane burst into flames on the landing. I remember the pilot, silhouetted by the flames, pulling the unconscious back seater out onto the wing and out of harm's way.

    I remember 2 missions up around Haiphong where the pilot put the plane into such a steep dive that we began to float out of our seats. And then wondered if the wings were going to rip off as he pulled out at the water's surface. First time for a A-3 tanker that had tried to do a barrel roll and didn't pull out of it. Celebrating going home I think. Second time we had discoved a Mig being vectored to our position and had to get below the ground radar before he sighted or locked on to us.

    I remember the two transients going through Danang, waiting for a plane out in the morning. Got caught in one of the frequent rocket attacks and tried to run for it rather than hitting the deck. I also remember the body bags and the pool of blood in the middle of the road.

    I remember two A-1 Skyraiders trying to make it back, one shot to pieces including the pilot. He wanted to get over water and ditch but his wingman talked him out of it and all the way back to Danang. They both landed safely.

    I remember the downed and captured pilots and the helplessness of not being able to do anything, that is the worst memory.

    I remember the guys that I flew with, none better in the world.

    And Salvage33, I was one of your "eyes in the sky". EA-3B, EP-3B and EC-121's.....VQ-1 gave us our ride. Glad you made it back......

    max

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  • Jimboak47Jimboak47 Member Posts: 8 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    M-79 Called mine Thumper.. I ditched my M-16 for my M79 that took of a dead gook in Tay Ninh. Wish I still had one. quote:Originally posted by prangle
    I hated the M-16, and will not have an AR-15 now. But the M-79, now that was fun.
    I remember us being trucked by Phu Tho Race Track (spelling?) in Saigon going down below Cholon. Having a big firefight there with lots of wounded(ours) and deaths(theirs),
    Late in the evening our company set up a chow line(stupid huh?) and our own gunship put a rocket into the chow line. Then they had to call in the DustOff. I don't remember how many casualties. That night we sat up in a tiny house and the gooks probed us and the guy next to me was shot in the knee.
    I had left a picture of my new wife in Ben Hua for a portrait to be made but TET prevented me from ever going back.
    We met in Hawaii for R&R. Didn't see many sights. Didn't leave the hotel very much.
  • Sparty_76Sparty_76 Member Posts: 714 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    THANK-YOU! I pray for the next generation over in an awful place. I'm agiant the WAR but I think all Americans remember how horrible we were to you when you came home and I pray we do not do that again!
  • br549br549 Member Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    outgoing artilary,incoming rockets, arc lights, the heat, the rain, smell of blood,burned flesh,green tracers,red tracers, freezing when the temp dropped to 80 degrees at night,red dust and red mud,hot carlins black lable in rusted cans,most important friends laughter and fright. the People who didn't make it.
  • BulletbuttBulletbutt Member Posts: 25 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The look on my pilot's face when I put my 45 to his head when he was going to fly away from danger and leave some groundpounders in trouble. I hope the S.O.B. still remembers me, too.
    Sorry guys, I wasn't going to register and post on this forum, but I couldn't help myself.[:I]
  • davecampperrydavecampperry Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    On a lighter side, does anyone else remember the 'Recon Bomb'? Upon being extracted, open a coke/pepsi, and as you drink it down replace it with jim beam/jack daniels. By the time the chopper landed you would be too drunk to get stuck on some sh#t detail. (All the REMFs were on liberty and unavailable for fatigue duties.) 'Course you had to arrange it with the jocks first to have the 'makins'.
    Getting on a bird with the floor red and unbelievably slick. Being grabbed by someone before you slid out the other door. Ripping open a sandbag to give a little traction. Reaching the point where you just didn't notice it anymore. WWII had 'Kilroy', we had 'IDMN'.
  • IronrifleIronrifle Member Posts: 664 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    TET! Watching the mushroom cloud at the Long Binh ammo dump, The big pile of VC/NVA bodies near the POW camp, firing illumination (105mm) at high angle over Ho Nhia village most of the first night, while trying to dodge sniper fire.
  • IronrifleIronrifle Member Posts: 664 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I remember it well! Our 3 guns were set up maybe 100 yds. behind it! My time was July `67-Feb`69. Still seems like yesterday?
  • Sky SoldierSky Soldier Member Posts: 460
    edited November -1
    I remember:
    An AR-15 that wouldn't shoot more than 5 rounds before it jammed.
    Malaria tablets (taken every Monday morning) that gave me the "backyard scoots" for five days.
    Humping a PRC-25 through the jungle with an antenna that knocked red ants out of their nests in the brush and down my back.
    Digging a new foxhole every day.
    Collecting rainwater in my poncho so I wouldn't have to strain river and paddy water into my canteen through my t-shirt and then add iodine tablets to it so I'd have something to drink
    C-Rations packaged for the Korean Conflict.
    Not being able to wear underwear so I wouldn't get crotch-rot.
    Burning leeches off my lower extremities.
    Ignoring mosquitoes that were doing blood tests on me while I was in position on ambushes.
    Monsoon season, being soaking wet, and shivering when the sun set and the temperature dropped down into the 80's.
    Trying for the last 40 years to NOT remember.
  • woodshermitwoodshermit Member Posts: 2,589
    edited November -1
    I remember the smell upon arrival at TSN. There are other things, too, but, whenever anyone asks this question, it is always that smell on top of my list.

    I don't think anyone has mentioned the rats. Although they seem to get bigger as time goes by (or in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed).
  • Jimboak47Jimboak47 Member Posts: 8 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hello Brother:
    I was with the 100th Engr Co that was at the end of the road accross from the cematary. The one that had the Big white cross out front . We shot it down during an attack Tet 68..
    J Corso
    Rvn 67-69,71-72
    quote:Originally posted by prangle
    Hey ironrifle, After I got over spinal meningitis I spent several months in the security guard and sat through a lot of days and nights in that 60 foot tower overlooking Ho Nai village(to spot rocket launches). Do you remember it? Dec 67 thru Dec 68 was my year!
    Patch.jpg
  • IronrifleIronrifle Member Posts: 664 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ed, have you ever found anymore Redatchers? I`ve found 15 in the last few years,including my 1sgt who is only 2 hrs from me! Charlie
  • prangleprangle Member Posts: 1,462 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've emailed a few but none are very close.
  • sirgknightsirgknight Member Posts: 109 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Two tet offenses, 1967 & 1968, Tuy Hoa and Tam Ky province, the sound of hueys blades cutting through the thick night air; body bags; the flares being dropped from spooky and then the barrage of the quad 50 calibers bursting that red stream all the way to the ground; body bags; the 105mm howitzers blasting away every two or three minutes; body bags; the screaming on the radio requesting air support because of TIC (troops in contact); napalm exploding through the trees and watching everything immediately burn to a crisp; the monsoon season when it rained for days; the smell of my uniform that needed washing last week; body bags; someone yelling INCOMING, INCOMING, and then that dreadful sound of a 122mm rocket or mortar round landing only a few hundred yards away (thank God); the sirens whaling in the night, night after night; body bags; the sound of jamming a magazine in the rifle and pulling it back out to check the rounds; and sometimes even the silence, when there were no sounds at all; but still had the body bags.


    314th Air Division
    838th and 366th Combat Support Groups
    603rd and 20th Tactical Air Support Squadrons
    Tuy Hoa - tet 1967
    Tam Ky - tet 1968
  • CubsloverCubslover Member Posts: 18,601 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Man, I am so fascinated by history. Especially the Wars of that last century. To sit here and read about your experiances is amazing. You are true American Heroes. Sent to do a job unfit for anyone, coming back after being in that hellhole and recalling certian experiances.

    Thanks so much for the enlightenment. I wish you all well.
    Half of the lives they tell about me aren't true.
  • mopac1968mopac1968 Member Posts: 3 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The smell of the rice patties along the Dong Nai river in Long Binh
    The smell of Mama Sons cooking
    The taste of Papa Son roast beef sandwiches (Dog or Monkey) after a rare evening of drinking in Bein Hoa.
    The taste of powered eggs and milk and meatless meat
    The taste of pre-sweented kool aide in water that was heavilly laced in clorine!
    Water sking on the Dong Nai river 1967
    Watching F-100 from the chow line bomb the hell out Papa sons sapan after the 6pm river curfew.
    Four pair of jungle boots under my bed while the infantry in the bush were using shoe laces to keep the sole on there boots
    It was all surreal
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