PURPLE HEART AWARDED MARCH 5, 1970 NEAR TAY NINH ON CAMBODIA BORDER
|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.
11th ARMORED CAVALRY, C-TROOP 69-70 PHOTOS
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contact us and a local Bible Preaching Christian Church to visit the Pastor
for further instruction. and Christian growth.
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