15:07 | 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.
Keywords : Joe McDonald Civil Affairs Team Montagnard VC Viet Cong sapper .45 pistol air evac amputation
Draftee Joe McDonald was in the infantry but suddenly found himself in medic training. Then less than 6 hours after landing in Vietnam, he was on his way to the field.
After his first combat experience, medic Joe McDonald was told he was not required to pull wounded soldiers from live fire, but he felt differently. His chief task was to stop the bleeding and get the wounded stabilized for evacuation.
Just as he heard of his promotion, medic Joe McDonald narrowly missed the mortar blast that claimed the life of his friend. Back in combat, rushing to relieve a unit under attack, he stumbled upon a scene of horrible atrocity.
In Vietnam, Joe McDonald helped Montagnard villagers engineer their water supply and increase their crop yields. But back home, speaking at schools, the parents didn’t believe him, saying in Vietnam we were only bombing and killing people.
Joe McDonald served 6 months each in San Antonio, Ft. Meade, Vietnam, and the hospital. Unfortunately, he had to face the public abuse known to so many Vietnam vets.
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.
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.
Battalion commander Ralph Puckett recounts the story of a night long attack by Viet Cong and NVA Regulars on a position held by one of his companies. He was grateful they had a Forward Observer to co-ordinate artillery support and helicopters for resupply, things he lacked in Korea. For his leadership during this attack, Puckett was awarded a second Distinguished Service Cross.
It was nearly time to go home and Ralph Puckett was trying to rally his successor's spirits while showing him around the battalion's operations. Rely on your experienced men, that was his key point. His homecoming was bittersweet because his father was very ill but he was joyous to be reunited with his wife and children.
Jim Wilson explains the team structure of a Special Forces unit. He was a team leader in Vietnam, working to convince people that Communism was not beneficial for them. He says they were succeeding, until the government intervened, not the South Vietnamese government, the American government. While living and fighting with the Montagnard people, he made them a solemn promise.
He already had a pretty significant career, but Ralph Puckett went to Vietnam as a battalion commander and didn't waste any time getting into the field. His first matter of business was to assure his unit commanders that he had their backs.
George bailey describes Ash and Trash missions. He describes these missions as beneficial and excellent learning tools that aiding him in learning how to manage the use of an aircraft. He also gives an overall inside look at his experience in Vietnam and the different locations he traveled to.
Through his four tours in Vietnam, Special Forces Team Leader Jim Wilson got very good at his job. It helped that he loved the country and the people, even taking a Montagnard girl for his bride. He developed a healthy respect for his main adversaries, the North Vietnamese Army.
It was better to put men in the field and leave them there. That was the philosophy of Battalion commander Ralph Puckett in Vietnam, where some commanders inserted and then quickly withdrew their troops. When the operation was over, the reward was beer and steak and ice cream. Being prepared was very important to him and he illustrates that principle with a story about some soldiers who were not.
A warrior studies the country and the culture he will be operating in, says Green Beret Jim Wilson. This led him to attend Vietnamese festivals and study martial arts in Buddhist temples, as well as living with Montagnards with his team. His only regret? The pullout ordered from above.
The Green Berets thought they were protecting the Montagnard people, but it turned out to be the other way around. Jim Wilson was adopted by them in a ceremony and says that they were like family. For four years, he was one of them. Their weapons were AK-47's. The distinctive sound of an American weapon would have focused enemy fire right on them.
Robert Goddard describes raids into North Vietnam and the devastation caused by the Miniguns, M60 Machine Gun and 2.75" rockets being fired from his Huey UH-1D. Robert tells stories of rescue missions to extract Navy SEALs and Green Berets as well as the constant fear of contaminated fuel.
George bailey Briefly addresses interservice rivalry between the army and the Air force. He also explains what a “slick” pilot is and shares a story in which, while on his first mission, he was shot in the tail boom.
After seven years of military school and four years at the Citadel, it was assured that Jim Wilson would serve in the military, but it was his desire to challenge himself that led him to Special Forces. The rigorous training produced elite troops with elite skills, skills that would be needed in Vietnam.
After completing Mobile Riverine Force Training in California, Terry Sater is sent to Vietnam and assigned to the River Assault Squadron 13 River Division 131. As a 20mm gun operator, Terry describes being ambushed while serving aboard an armored Troop Carrier in the Mekong Delta.
After leaving Vietnam, Robert Goddard reflects on the comradery he developed with his fellow soldiers. In addition, Robert talks about the movie Good Morning Vietnam and how he use to listen to the Armed Forces Radio while flying combat missions over North Vietnam.
Green Beret Jim Wilson recalls his first combat experience in Vietnam during which his eight man A-Team harassed a division of the enemy. Stealth was a big part of their work and he reveals why his team had an extra advantage. His specialty was Psychological Warfare and one of his tactics involved sneaking into an enemy camp and leaving a single feather.