This is my Purple Heart Medal, I was awarded this medal for taking a direct hit from a RPG (rocket propelled grenade) when we were near the Cambodian border on March 5, 1970.  I was an M-60 machine gunner with the BLACKHORSE, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, C Troop, 1st Sqdn, 2nd Platoon(1969-70). We were on a search and destroy mission this day and encountered a bunker complex of North Vietnamese Army Regulars (NVA) when the battle began for three days with about 2500 NVA (or so we were told by locals).

Our Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) C-20, sir Chancealot, which I rode M-60 gunner on, was the point vehicle into the bunker complex. We had gone into the bunkers the day before, on March 4th, but the enemy had just left as we found cooked rice, still warm. We left the area to come back early the next day and kill them all.  Then on March 5, 1970 as we were pushing into the bunkers we started getting hit with gas. It was so thick in the air that we had to pull back out. We were shocked they were hitting us with gas. We were never prepared for something like that so our masks were buried down in side under who knows what. Unknown to us troops, and probably still to this day, it was NOT, the enemy that gassed us and forced us back.  I personally traveled to Washington, DC and went into the original military S-1 S-2, and S-3 reports and I found and copied them for that day.  It says that our Captain in the field with us, Captain Patch, called in a CS gas strike.  Our Captain made a gross error and gassed his own men, that were in there fighting.  He and most of the Troop were still out in the clearing and could not get in to help fight.  So we put on our masks and started back in to kill them all and let God sort em out! We were firing as fast as we could and they were determined to nail us. They were everywhere and we became a sitting duck. I was on top firing the right gun when suddenly, KABOOM, the driver got hit with an RPG. Then KABOOM another RPG hit the Sarge's Cupola and I saw him flying off on my right side to the ground. Instinctively, I jumped down off the side to get him up, I thought he had been hit hard. He handed me his Car 15 and pointed me to go back on foot to the next APC  behind us.  My buddy Jim Taylor was back there on that APC laying down cover fire with  his M-60. He could see the enemy, in a bomb crater firing RPGs at us.  Official records report that 20-30 RPGs were fired.  I sure don't remember that but, I took off running, firing the Car 15.  I looked behind to see where the other guys were and, HUH?, they were not with me. I looked at up at my APC and I saw my other Sarge who was on the left gun, waving me to come back. Well, I ran back, out of ammo, bullets flyin all around me on the ground, I have no idea why I was not hit during all this time. I climbed back on top and he pointed for me to fire his machine gun. I jumped down in the hatch and grabbed the handle and pulled the trigger.........Nothing happened!

It was out of ammo, and there was none on top with us, which was a bad policy. So I dropped down inside to get ammo to spray the area and just as my head came out of the back hatch, KABOOM. The RPG blazed through the left side of the APC and through the fuel tank, and took off my right leg.  My leg was held on by a thin piece of meat about the size of your finger. There was so much smoke and a concussion so strong, I could not see anything when I looked down, but my body felt strange and I knew it was not going to be good when I could see. I was still standing and I just knew I had to get help, so I pulled myself on top and rolled over the side and dropped to the ground. I crawled and crawled for help holding my leg up in the air. As my lifeless leg would swing it would pull that muscle and waves of pain overwhelmed me. I kept catching it on stubble that our tracks left and the pain was unbearable when it caught on the splintered jungle. At the same time I was totally in shock, I could not think calmly as I watched two streams of blood gushing out the end of my leg, one stream was like a hose flowing blood and the other stream was pumping, blood, no blood, blood again. Finally, after what seemed like eternity I saw Doc, running up to me. I was on my back resting my elbows behind me propping me up and I was holding my leg up in the air. Doc dropped to his knees in front of me to put a tourniquet on me to stop the bleeding. Before he could do that, I watched as his olive drab green fatigue shirt changed to black from my blood completely soaking his shirt. What a hero! Doc, God Bless You! Where are you now? Then Doc left me there and took off, I believe to help get the driver out.  Between Jim Taylor and one or two others they killed them and then turned their APC around and lowered the back door level and the Brave Heroes of the 11th Cav, carried me on a poncho liner to that APC.

While I and the driver lay on the back door, I got hit again, in my right arm, nothing to serious, a little muscle and tissue damage, everything else was so bad that my arm didn't feel anything. I saw my arm split open and blood started flowing out the hole. They got us out and a while later the Medevac helicopter came and Medevac'd us to Quan Loi. They just checked me out, put blood in me and then on to the 24th Medical Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh where I laid there for a few days. Then I spent a week or so (morphine was pretty good then) at the 106th General Hospital at Yokohama, Japan and from there it was onward to Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado for the next 13 months of surgeries. I extended my tour in Nam so that I could get an early out, but that never happened. Ah, the good ol' days.








Purple Heart-Vietnam with 11th Armored Cavalry 1970





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