2:11 | Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) recalls the airbase at Da Nang coming under rocket fire on his first night.
Keywords : alcohol helmet C-130 F-4 barracks rocket Da Nang Vietnam bunker
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) goes through the mission that led to his capture by NVA forces.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) is moved from his landing site to a small village where he meets up with his flight leader, who had also been captured.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) recalls the moment he faced death at the hands of the NVA, or so he thought.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) narrowly escapes being killed by locals when his NVA escort secretly moves him out of town.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) recalls numerous times when he and the men who captured him had to survive aerial bombing by American forces.
In a medium sized village, on the way to Hanoi, Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) witnesses a Communist Party rally and is almost done in by the frenzied communists.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) remembers the first interrogation he suffered at the hands of the NVA, and how remarkably frightening their first impression was.
Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) gives details about the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, better known as "The Hanoi Hilton," where US servicemen were kept as Prisoners Of War.
While incarcerated at the Hanoi Hilton, Col. Lee Ellis (ret.) and his cellmates have to make a tough decision about a Marine Lt. Colonel who is cooperating with the enemy.
As Marine Captain Ron Christmas fought to regain the city of Hue, he found the enemy adept at concealment and surprise. Every soldier in a spider hole was armed with a rifle and a RPG launcher. He also encountered a nun with an AK-47. His action during this time earned him the Navy Cross.
After some intense time in-country, Bob Averill and his battalion got the chance to take a brief leave to the beach for some recovery time. Following his time on Hill 174, Averill was reassigned to command a Combined Action Company, taking him away from Hotel Company and into a new area of operations.
The RPG that severed Joe McDonald’s foot didn’t kill him. The machine gun fire that hit him as he still tried to help others didn’t kill him. The grenade taped to his hand might have killed him if the VC had found his hiding place.
In a letter home, Tommy Clack expressed his worry that something bad was going to happen and it did when his unit engaged the NVA near the Cambodian border. He saw the enemy soldier stand and fire the RPG that changed his life forever.
Albert Watson discuses the differences in tactics between operating in the delta and operating in the jungle. Encounters with wildlife were constant, from giant centipedes to elephants. Eventually, Watson was made Executive Officer where he had the headache of issuing constantly changing scrip.
The airliner was full of young soldiers and Marines, who left the cold of Spokane for the heat and humidity of Vietnam. Albert Watson was assigned to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, a unit specifically designed for the asymmetric war in Vietnam. Most of his time was spent in the flat delta, where you could see for miles. When they were sent north on an operation, the visibility in the jungle was more like five feet.
After Khe Sanh, Bob Averill and his division shipped down to Cam Lo, where they faced ample NVA fire. Here, he had to take the lead on throwing a grenade into the enemy bunker, leading to a close call as he quickly retreated away from the blast.
There were booby traps galore in the Mekong Delta where platoon leader Albert Watson served most of his tour. His unit managed to avoid any injuries from them until they were sent north into the jungle, where they were tougher to spot. The men had to be crossed trained because of the constant rotation of troops. You had to be able to step into another role to cover for someone who was no longer there.
There was a new Brigadier General and Albert Watson was assigned to him as an aide. General William R. Bond was quite a character with a distinguished career, including escaping from German activity and rolling into Berlin with the Russians. He liked to be in the field with his men and that proved to be his undoing.
Coming home from Vietnam was not pleasant for Albert Watkins. His mother was there at the airport to meet him as he was cursed and spit on by protestors. His parents got harassing phone calls at their home. He felt he had done what was right and he made the Army a career, which helped him get over the divided situation in the country.
Newly commissioned out of ROTC, Albert Watson got to know Fort Benning really well. After his basic course, he went through Ranger school and Airborne school. At his first assignment, a very capable sergeant taught him how to be a platoon leader.
When getting the orders to join his Combined Action Platoon, Doc Groulx thought through the idea of helping his wounded soldiers make it home alive and decided it was worth it. Making relationships with the Vietnamese people was essential to their success as a group.
There are certain memories and sensations that bring Bob Averill back to the Vietnam War and, though they were hard times, he has some memories that he won't forget. Thinking back on the war, he would like future generations to remember the sacrifices that were made by everyone involved.