6:38 | It was hard to find the enemy. Charlie would disappear into his holes and only come out once the Marines of Mike company had left. Richard Jackson's men tried probing the ground with sharp sticks, but they broke too easily. What they needed was steel. Thus was born the "Mike Spike." Part 1 of 2.
Keywords : Richard Jackson Vietnam North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Viet Cong (VC) tunnels spider hole Amtrac booby traps Punji Stick Mike Spike
He was going to try out for the Baltimore Colts but he also had a military obligation. Richard Jackson figured the hardy regimen of the Marines would improve his chances with the team so he joined and sought a commission.
He'd made a decision to always take training seriously and learn as much as he could about what he would face in the field, and when Richard Jackson got to Vietnam, it saved his life. As he was walking on patrol, he heard a click, something he'd heard in training, but this time, it was for real.
The first time he came under fire, it was rockets coming out of the DMZ. Richard Jackson got as deep into the foxhole as he could and the thought occurred to him, why the hell did I volunteer to come to Vietnam?
The Colonel told him he was going to take over Mike company. Get over there and straighten it out. Richard Jackson was glad to have a command and he got to Cam Lo by nightfall. He had just settled in when the NVA gave him a welcome.
To beat a guerrilla force, you had to become like them. That was one of Richard Jackson's realizations when he commanded a company of Marines up near the DMZ. He describes a life defining moment during a firefight, when he realized what it would take to be successful in this war.
His company command at the Cua Viet River was just the way Richard Jackson liked it. He was given free reign to take care of his area. He describes the tactics he used to fight the enemy and recalls one memorable fight in which his men and an NVA unit charged at each other in darkness.
While a visiting General looked on, the Marines of Mike company were using their improvised steel spikes to probe for booby traps and hiding holes. He was about to get an eyeful. Company commander Richard Jackson describes that incident and another, in which the Mike Spike was instrumental in locating the enemy. Part 2 of 2.
Company commander Richard Jackson tried to be as unpredictable as he could with his Marines, following no set pattern and changing tactics constantly. This worked so well that his unit received praise from up the chain of command.
When he was company commander at Cua Viet, Richard Jackson had great success in keeping the area clear of enemy. After his combat commands were finished and he was a staff officer, he was asked to visit the replacement unit and advise them. His journey there and back was worthy of a Hollywood movie.
Richard Jackson describes two very close calls he had in Vietnam, both involving Viet Cong guerrillas who emerged from holes in the ground.
It was his last combat operation. Richard Jackson's company of Marines was to be the lead attack company on an assault against the NVA near the DMZ. During the battle, he called in every kind of supporting fire available to penetrate a fortified village.
Richard Jackson recalls the time when he was stuck in a helicopter with a general observing the battle field while his company of Marines were getting battered down below. When he finally got down to the ground, he repositioned the unit with a mad dash downhill from their exposed position.
He'd considered having a longer career in the Marines, but when Richard Jackson returned from Vietnam, he decided to move on. The lessons he learned there would animate and inspire his business career.
Richard Jackson was enjoying football games at Camp Lejeune. His battalion was on alert when the word went out to deploy. Thinking it was another exercise, he was astonished to find himself on a plane to Cuba. Unknown to him, the Cuban Missile Crisis was in full swing. He made a fateful decision on that flight.
His first three year hitch was up and he was going to leave the Marine Corps, but he was offered an assignment in Hawaii. Not wanting to pass up a post in paradise, Richard Jackson accepted. After attending an elite jungle warfare school, he decided to advance his career, he needed some combat experience, so he put his name in for Vietnam.
Ellis shares more miscellaneous stories of his days as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He covers what he and the other prisoners did from day to day, as well as the first laugh they all shared together. Since everyone was on edge all the time, it had been three whole months in captivity before they felt comfortable enough to laugh with each other.
For the final year and a half that Collins was kept as a prisoner of war, he was actually in the same cell as John McCain. As the war was finally coming to a close, the men were told not to show any emotion during the release process. On the way back home, each man was assigned a job. Collins' job was to be in charge of the wounded.
Although prisoners were kept on high lockdown and weren't allowed to communicate with any other prisoners outside their own cell, Ellis and his fellow POWs still found ways to do it occasionally. The North Vietnamese wanted to fool the world into thinking they were treating their prisoners kindly, so they created propaganda to hide how they were actually being treated.
The Marine tank unit, along with some Marine infantry, was sweeping north when they encountered Viet Cong, who were well hidden in a trench. It was there that Milo Plank witnessed the heroics of Cpl. Robert O'Malley, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during this battle.
Being embedded into the deep jungles of Southeast Asia, Mike DiRocco and a dozen other Americans were tasked with defeating the Viet Cong with the help of the native tribes of Montagnards. To assist them, they were supplied using the CIA’s clandestine airline, Air America.
It was a while before the Army could conduct a hoist rescue mission to get Knisely and his co-pilot out of enemy territory. After he was rescued, he was admitted into the 85th Hospital for his ankle injuries. While in recovery he was approached by an Army clerk to get out of the Army, to which he declined, fought to stay in and tried to get back on flight status.
As the Vietnam War was coming to a close, Kirby remembers when the Army closed down her hospital. Afterwards she was assigned to the 27th Hospital in Chu Lai, Vietnam. Upon returning home, she did receive harsh public treatment due to the political nature of the war. After some time home in the states, she was stationed in Germany and then in Italy.
Collins went to command staff school, where he got to fly the F-104 Starfighter airplanes. He also remembers that it was around this time that the Cuban missile crisis was going on. Soon after, he became so good at flying the F-104s that he became the instructor pilot for incoming trainees.
The call went out, infantry platoon in an ambush. Helicopter pilot Roger Cox responded and, during the fight, a Medevac pilot made the unusual decision to go in for the evacuation while the area was still hot. Cox covered him and kept up the fight, even after exhausting all his ammunition, an act which did not go unnoticed.
Ben Knisely was born in Indiana on a farm, but moved to Osprey, Florida at a very young age. His father was a Corpsman in the US Navy. After attending the University of South Florida, Knisely went to Fort Sam Houston for basic training as part of the Medical Service Corps. Following that he went to Fort Wolters for flight training, where he remembers having engine trouble during a solo flight.
When his return date from Europe was coming up, Collins decided to fly the giant F-105 planes as his next military chapter. He flew over Japan and was sent to Southeast Asia after. He spent some time in Takhli, Thailand, where he constantly had to check his boots for snakes before putting them on.
When Bill Knowlton arrived in Vietnam, he found himself under fire in no time. His assignment was to assist the locals in developing and defending their livestock and agriculture from the Viet Cong, He remembers calling for support during one firefight and seeing something he’d never seen before.
Not only did they have to deal with the immediate threat of enemy soldiers, the system of booby traps laid across the region was incredibly saturated and dangerous. Andy Boyko describes the disbelief from the higher ups that the area was as dangerous as they had reported.
Collins went to military school at The Citadel. Upon being admitted, he immediately sought out the school's band and auditioned for that. He talks about the types of tests he had to take to get into the Air Force, and how he was instructed to report to Sampson Air Force Base in New York afterwards.
He did his best to help along the new guys. Henry Templin remembered what it was like when he first arrived in Vietnam. He dodged booby traps, wrote letters home and tried to stay alive. Later in his tour, he was relieved when a skill he'd acquired before being drafted took him out of combat.
The rivers were vital pathways for the movement of enemy personnel, arms, and supplies, so monitoring them at all times was crucial to maintain security in the area. To do that, patrolling the rivers at night was a necessary part of the job. Phil Mayrand describes the terror of moving at night, where the deep foliage kept everything concealed in darkness.
When his tour was ending, the Special Forces camp was being transitioned to be operated by the RFPFs. While they were doing training in the field, a MAC-V group came to be pinned down and Bill Knowlton recalls taking a group of men to pull them out, for which he was awarded the Silver Star.
After he was done with his time at the Air Force Academy, Collins flew over to Europe. He talks about his first few days there, as well as becoming camp commander. Later on, he would go to be interviewed to be an aid for General Frank Everest.
Roger Cox wasn't flying that day, but another helicopter pilot from his unit ran into an ambush when he popped over a hill and the enemy on the ground were waiting for him. He was shot up pretty good, but managed to make it back to base where Cox got him to smile about it.
One of the notable controversies of the Vietnam war was the reported failures of the M-16 rifle platform. Andy Boyko's Marine experience featured both the M-14 and the M-16, and he gives his thoughts on using the rifle in the field.
Ellis talks about the civilian interactions he had that were a little more pleasant, as well as the constant communist propaganda broadcasts he was constantly exposed to from the North Vietnamese Army. He had his first interrogation at a halfway house (Part 1 of 2).
After he was shot down over enemy territory, Quincy Collins noticed his leg was broken in three different places upon his parachuted landing. The North Vietnamese soldiers that discovered him dragged him along, and all the while Collins thought he was a goner. They wound up hiking back up the Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hanoi. Fortunately, one generous Vietnamese man was helping him recover in secret little by little.
Growing up with polio could have meant Bill Knowlton would’ve been unlikely to ever serve in the military, but in his favor he was able to join the Army after he got fed up working on Wall Street. Being placed in Airborne really gave him a love for the Army so he decided to take on more responsibility and go to Officer Candidate School.
Colonel Quincy Collins was born in Winnsboro, South Carolina. His father was in the furniture business and had three separate locations across the country before becoming a member of the Civil Air Patrol during WWII. Collins wound up going to The Citadel for school since he had some connections there through music departments.