7:46 | Vietnam veterans all remember the intense weather they experienced in country, especially during Monsoon season. Andy Boyko describes the trials of trying to stay somewhat clean in the unforgiving rain.
Keywords : Rain Clothes Boots Weather monsoon season
Andy Boyko immigrated to America at a very young age, and growing up he knew he wanted to be a United States Marine. He describes some of the training he received after he enlisted in 1964, and how he was able to share these stories with the others who were there with him.
In 1965, the first Marines were landing in Vietnam and that fall Andy Boyko would be one of them. Stationed at ASP-1 (Ammunition Supply Point), he was tasked with protecting the ammo dump as American forces began to set up in country. After a few months, he’d get some of his first incoming, and then the war would take a serious turn.
Andy Boyko was one of the first troops in Vietnam, but by the time he'd go on his second tour, the entire war had changed. The fighting was fiercer, and the enemy more intense. He describes the tenacity by which the VC and NVA fought against the Americans.
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.
Andy Boyko was assigned to operate the demolitions, so that meant he was face to face with a lot of danger. He let his Corpsman do the honors of detonating a charge one day, but as luck would have it, the charge didn't go off, so he was the one who had to fix it.
Any Marine will tell you the appreciation and respect they had for their Navy Corpsmen. Andy Boyko did, and he shares the sort of relationship they had in the field.
Andy Boyko got to witness the strength of American air superiority when an AC-47 circled above. Affectionately known as "Puff the Magic Dragon," or Puff for short, these aircraft rained down ammunition and anyone within it's line of fire would know what it was.
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.
Andy Boyko came home from Vietnam twice, but the second time, the entire culture had shifted. He still had some time left owed to the Marines, and he describes the following weeks of breaking down and packing up.
Andy Boyko's experience as a Marine made a lasting impact on not only him, but on some of the men he served with. He reflects on the legacy of the Vietnam War, and the Vietnam veterans.
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.
One night, while Laurie was eating dinner, the USS Sanctuary got a call about a plane crash. She vividly remembers the patients coming aboard, and the aftermath of this incident, including one boy who was MIA. However, as difficult as this experience was, this was nothing compared to the Tet Offensive. They had new wounded coming in constantly, and trying to care for all of them at once was emotionally exhausting. (Interview conducted at, and with the assistance of, the Military Heritage Museum- https://freedomisntfree.org/.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Curtis James was the first officer in charge of a Pentagon effort to manage crises during the Cold War. It was a brand new office inside the giant headquarters and, after running that for a while, he served in Vietnam at MACV in Saigon, managing the logistics of the war effort.
Curtis James returned from Vietnam to an assignment as director of personnel at Parris Island. This was the last post for the Marine Corps staff officer. His favorite was the Pentagon, where he initiated a brand new office to coordinate military crisis response.
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.
During his first tour of Vietnam, medic Franklin Monroe was happy to be issued a .45 because it could get pretty dangerous when the compound was attacked. Eventually he sought out some heavier weaponry. He recalls those firefights and also the traumatic time a soldier stepped on a mine.
He was lucky to get a job with an office during his second Vietnam tour, managing a platoon of medics. Then when the war was being turned over to the Vietnamese, Franklin Monroe began medical missions in the streets and started organizing escape for refugees.
Phil Mayrand describes the furtherance of his infantry training leaving Ft. Bragg for Ft. Polk where he'd also meet some lifelong friends. The opportunity to get some additional leadership training presented itself, and anything he would agree to take would delay his inevitable trip to Vietnam, but an unfortunate injury would put this plan in jeopardy.
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.
After basic training, Edwina Morrison was assigned to the 30th Engineer Battalion at Fort Belvoir. The finance and accounting specialist may not have put boots on the ground in Vietnam, but she got the soldiers paid. She remembers the funny looks she got when she showed up and they expected a man.
Fedde talks about an unfortunate event that happened while he was going through a village with his scout dog, after a man behind him open fired on a house nearby. He also talks about another close call he had where he almost got blown up by a hand grenade booby trap.
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.
His extensive training, resulting in bodily injury as well as a debilitating illness, held him back a few weeks, but as he assumed, he'd be on his way to Vietnam. Phil Mayrand describes the conditions of his departure and the foreboding welcome he received there.
Phil Mayrand was drawn to the bravado of the military, and the appeal of being a Green Beret was too big of an opportunity to pass up. However, when his parents got wind of his plans, they pushed for him to go to college instead, but the draft would come for him eventually. He'd end up volunteering, and spent his first days training at Ft. Bragg.