4:39 | David Harrington describes the harrowing experience that flying in & out of Vietnam via chopper was every time. Facing enemy artillery fire and, at times, total darkness called for precision and focus from every member of the platoon.
Keywords : aircraft helicopter chopper airlift darkness focus precision perimeter VC (Viet Cong) artillery Mekong River Claymore mine
David Harrington recounts his upbringing in a military family which led him to enlist and attend basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
David Harrington speaks on his time in Dong Tam and what it felt like to finally be able to enjoy some rest & relaxation under mortar fire.
David Harrington recounts his time as a platoon leader leading a mission to wipe out enemy combatants. After taking control over a small village, David Harrington called for artillery but an error with the maps led to some rounds coming too close for comfort.
David Harrington recounts a particularly harrowing experience fighting Viet Cong while his platoon was under heavy fire from RPGs at their company basecamp Camp Rowe. Harrington recounts one of his injuries and a member of his company that came to their rescue in that moment.
David Harrington talks about his shrapnel injury that led to his airlift and hasty surgery. For his time on the scouting mission that led to his injury, he received the Purple Heart and was amazed by one of the fellow recipients of the medal.
David Harrington remembers being sent home on leave only to return to combat in rural Vietnam. One particular experience left him without an escape route in the mountains, hoping for some friendly assistance.
Photos of MACV advisors and their South Korean counterparts provided by David Harrington. He fought as a MACV adviser to the South Vietnamese regional forces in 1968-69 after being rotated out of the 9th Infantry Division.
These photos of Mobile Riverine Force troops were provided by David Harrington. Mr. Harrington fought with the 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta to destroy the Viet Cong presence in the Mekong.
David Harrington provided these photos, taken in mid 1971, of aerial views of the A Shau Valley. Mr. Harrington was an operations officer with the 101st Airborne Division and participated in the division's A Shau Valley operation.
Photos of David Harrington and his unit at Camp Eagle, a major combat base garrisoned by the 101st Airborne Division. Mr. Harrington was stationed at Camp Eagle as a operations officer for the division.
Photos of Dong Ha in 1971 provided by David Harrington. Mr. Harrington was at Dong Ha as an operations officer while determining if the NVA was preparing to launch a large scale offensive. That imminent offensive was the 1972 Easter Offensive.
Photos of Fire Base Tomahawk provided by David Harrington. FB Tomahawk was base near Hue that was garrisoned by the 101st Airborne Division. Mr. Harrington was stationed at FB Tomahawk while an operations officer for the 101st.
These photos of the ill-fated Operation Lam Son 719 were provided by David Harrington who was an operations officer with the 101st Airborne Division, which provided assistance to the ARVN forces invading Laos as part of Lam Son 719.
Photos of Hue in 1971 provided by David Harrington. Mr. Harrington was stationed near Hue at Fire Base Tomahawk while an operations officer for the 101st Airborne Division.
Photos of Quang Tri in 1971 provided by David Harrington. Mr. Harrington was an operations officer with the 101st Airborne Division and was sent to Quang Tri to determine if incoming ordnance was artillery, which would signal that an NVA offensive.
After heading to Phu Bai, Bennie Koon and his company went to Camp Evans to be stationed. Facing mortar fire, he remembers feeling terrified and not knowing when it would pass. Bennie explains the defenses they had set up to defend them from the Viet Cong.
With great difficulty, Sardo Sanchez recounts critical events that prove both devastating and fortunate. After taking the life of a VC soldier, he is hit by a sniper and told he may never walk again. In a state of shock, he narrowly avoids a fatal miscalculation.
Under heavy fire, choppers attempt to evacuate wounded GIs from Kontum. After one fatal crash, a dustoff chopper manages to lift Ernest Banasau to safety. Years later, Banasau meets the pilot who saved him, and learns how close he came to meeting a tragic fate. Part 2 of 2
McMahon becomes part of the Combined Action Program (CAP), working with Vietnamese militia to protect villages from Viet Cong thugs. On one occasion, the village is spared from enemy attack by an army artillery unit acting without orders. He and the villagers develop a bond that would last for decades.
He made Buck Sergeant about the time he figured out that he and his buddies were basically fighting for each other and for no other reason. They were taking a large bunker complex and when two others were under fire, he went out to get them. After the fight was over, he was disturbed to learn what his superiors intended to do about the enemy base.
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.
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.
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.
Growing up in the Midwest in a military family, Rick Bates joined the Air Force with the desire of flying fighter jets. He had to learn quickly to prepare himself for the intensity of navigating these huge machines.
Deciding to re-enlist after Vietnam, Donna Lowery deployed to Germany where she had a nice deployment there and found readjusting to post-war life easy. She ended up spending 26 years in the military and retired a sergeant major. Donna also has some thoughts on the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington D.C.
After re-enlisting in the service, Charlie Pocock passed his flight physical and was on active duty in Utah where he lived. When his plane was shot down over Vietnam, he had to think on his feet to run through the jungle and transmit his whereabouts via radio.
After spending so much time in Hanoi, Rick Bates remembers being released and feeling relieved after they flew to a base in the Philippines. Returning home and getting some leave, he decided to stay in the Air Force and finished out his career flying the F-4.
When one of the Marine units supporting them left, Bennie Koon and his platoon had to think quickly to fill in the gaps to stay secure. In their down-time, they played games and drank beer, which became pretty habitual for him.
While stationed in Vietnam, Peter Ruplenas had a number of enemy interactions that turned out to be extremely close calls and left him with a few injuries. Being a photographer, capturing these moments was still very important to him despite the difficulties.