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 the column was devastated by an NVA ambush, wounded Americans were scattered in the darkness. After his captain heard one such group calling for help on the radio, Freddie Owens joined a patrol to find them, guided by a gunshot every few minutes. Once there, medic Daniel Torres volunteered to stay with those who couldn't move and protected them through the night with medicine and a machine gun.
They were hunkered down after fierce fighting when the call came from "Ghost 4-6." It was a group of wounded men who had pulled themselves together after the ill fated march to LZ Albany and were lost in the dark. George Forrest sent a patrol to find them, and in an incredible act of bravery, medic Daniel Torres stayed through the night with them and saved many men. Captain Forrest still had to write a gut-wrenching letter to the mother of a missing soldier. Part 3 of 4.
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.
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.
Jack Martin had no close personal relationships with Vietnamese civilians during his tour, but the children who gathered whenever he stopped his jeep were friendly and curious. They were interested in a physical trait that Americans had that none of them shared. He also hosted the occasional USO visitor, including Tarzan, who refused a helmet.
The Marines did what they could to help villagers with sanitation and health needs, but Michael Marshall could feel the chilly distance between them. His company commander was Captain Jerome Cooper, who held an important distinction.
As a battalion commander, Army engineer Jack Martin had a host of problems. From whether there were enough personnel to get the job done to keeping wayward enlisted men from abusing the Vietnamese civilians. Then there was the grim task of writing condolence letters.
He was used to discipline, so Marine boot camp wasn't so bad for Michael Marshall. When the drill instructor asked if anyone was unhappy and wanted to go to the Army, he thought surely no one would step forward.
Army engineer Jack Martin was offered his choice of assignments. It could be Korea or Vietnam and he hated cold weather so much, he chose Vietnam. His first assignment was at a desk in Long Binh, but his career got a boost when he was offered command of a battalion. He jumped at the chance and faced a host of challenging situations.
What was it like moving through thick jungle? Michael Marshall answers that question and more as he recalls his time in Vietnam. He loved his M14 rifle, but he wasn't too crazy about the C-rations and the old grenades.
Mike Law remembers some of the mechanics behind the explosives they used in Vietnam. Learning the intricacies of the aircrafts and detonatives they used was essential. The connections he made during his time in the service are still with him today.
With not much time left in country, Mike Law remembers being apprehensive about flying with the fear of getting shot down right before he went home. Seeing old friends that he served with was always nostalgic and brought back good memories.
When he stepped off the plane in Da Nang, Michael Marshall knew this was not a place you wanted to be. It was hot and there was a strange smell. Within days, he was with his Marine unit at An Hoa, providing security for bridge building engineers. It did not take long before he saw death.
His first assignment as a new platoon leader was to guard the base at Tan Son Nhut. This gave Greg Camp a chance to get to know his men. On his first foray into the field at night, he was positive he heard somebody crawling up to his position. All night long.
Mike Law remembers finishing school with plenty of flying time where he felt like he began to get proficient at flying. Operating his aircraft in Vietnam was always difficult with the NVA constantly shifting and having to learn their changing routes.
It was early in the battle when Michael Marshall pointed to the machine gunner to show him where to set up his weapon. An enemy round tore into his arm and he was knocked to the ground. The rapid response of his buddies and the evacuation team was outstanding. Back home, his employer before the war continued the good work.
Mike Law remembers some of his more memorable kills over the jungles of Vietnam and some of the funny events that can come from that. Building camaraderie overtime was very easy as the guys got used to serving next to one another.
Off the coast of Hue City, Grady Birdsong and his battalion set up to siege the beach, but fortunately nothing ended up happening. Once they got to a temporary basecamp, they began to prepare for a more legitimate field of defense.
Grady Birdsong remembers one of the funny moments during training. At Fort Pendleton, he went to basic electronics school and was passed despite not passing the class. Arriving in Vietnam, the humidity stuck with him as being one of the hardest parts about transitioning into lifer there.