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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He came out of the field his last few weeks in Vietnam, but Lt. Tom Blake hated leaving his men. He would give them the Mother Hen treatment when he saw them leaving the firebase while he was waiting to go home. On the last leg of that trip, an airline pilot gave him a solid welcome home.
Tom Blake recommends two excellent books on the Vietnam War that he feels give a good feel for what it was like there. He nearly returned to visit the former battlefield, but doesn't regret his decision to stay home. He has a healthy respect for his former enemies in that difficult war.
11 frightening days in the Battle of Dak To, and the bloody fight for Hill 875. When a Marine F4 misses its target, a 500 pound bomb takes out an entire encampment of wounded GIs. The South Vietnamese Civilian Army prepares a Thanksgiving feast, but the meal does not sit well with the American palette.
How did the M-16 rifle function in a jungle environment? Just fine, according to Tom Blake, RECON Platoon leader in Vietnam. As long you kept it clean and dry in the hot, wet mess of the rice paddies. There were less booby traps there than up North, but no less Viet Cong.
His men loved the care packages that Lt. Tom Blake's parents sent to him, full of Kool-Aid and cinnamon rolls. The area they were in was flat, hot and wet and the job was interdiction of the Viet Cong, who were confiscating the rice harvest. To Blake, the constant stalking and ambushes resembled a game of cops and robbers.
Banasau and his team struggle with questionable orders from an inexperienced, egomaniacal company commander. Later, they come across what sounds like a massive army, and are forced to take cover... only to discover their ears have deceived them.
Tom Blake's first assignment was at Fort Hood, where he kept an old Volkswagen in which he shuttled returning veterans around to help them solve medical and administrative problems. He got an earful from them about Vietnam, which he was about to experience for himself. Once he got there, he kept falling into the most difficult assignments and he learned that surprises waited for him everywhere.
Among the spoils of Hill 875, Banasau discovers the gruesome remains of the enemy. After witnessing the loss of so many GIs, he feels only satisfaction at the sight of NVA corpses. Nonetheless, a shell-shocked prisoner is mercifully evacuated from the smoldering wreckage.
Tom Blake was the RECON Platoon leader and he depended heavily on his point man, Tex Quinn. You could bet a six pack on your location on the map and you'd lose. They used characters from Robin Hood for radio code names, but there was no fun and games if you were caught falling asleep on watch.
The first fire Tom Blake received in Vietnam was 50 caliber rounds from his own side. He was mixing it up with the Viet Cong soon enough. In fact, they knew his name. The first man he lost in his platoon failed to heed a very basic rule, rules that Lieutenant Blake tried to remind them of every day.
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.
Lt. Tom Blake had a Kit Carson scout in his platoon and the former Viet Cong was good at getting information from the locals, but, after the My Lai incident, cooperation was hard to come by. The tragedy occurred in the same area and Blake felt the fallout in his civilian encounters.
Bravo Company has been all but wiped out, and Ernest Banasau worries that he and his buddies will be sent in to replace them. Instead, he joins A Company, where he experiences his first enemy contact - in the form of a rice paddy machine gun ambush.