War Stories

Hog in my Face

During the war in Vietnam the TET offensive was in full effect. My unit was designated as one of the premiere reaction forces in the 3corps AO. This designation placed us in harms way on a daily basics. Whenever a call came for action we were placed into motion. Eagle flights were our specialty. An eagle flight consisted of us getting a call about suspicious activities in one area or another. The choppers would be told of our location for pick up. Once aboard the AC we would be told where we were headed, and as always be ready for a hot reception from the enemy.

My company was flying along in a trail formation in HU1Bs transport helicopters and HU1Bs gun ships were escorting us. These gun ships were converted transport troop carriers turned into a lethal killing machine. These aircraft were loaded to the gunwales with miniguns and 5inch rockets. This aircraft and others like it saved our ass a many a day while providing us with the extra firepower needed to complete our mission.

Iím sitting on the right side of the chopper and just being mesmerized by the scene before me. I had been on a many E flights and never had the gunship flown with us in this formation. The flight just reminded me of a mother goose protecting its young and I had a feeling of euphoria as we approached our LZ.

The LZ was located in a dry rice patty. The patty had hedge groves located on the right and left of the LZ .As we began our decent the escortís added power to their AC and pulled ahead of our unit. Some of the hogs started to lay down suppressing fire as we came in hot then something happened that truly amazed me. Just before the choppers hit the LZ, two hueys came in low and fast and began to lay down a smoke screen on either side of us, dame what a sight to behold. The smoke screen hides our movement from the enemy as we disembarked from our AC.

Iím running towards a dike and in doing so received fire from thatched hooch that was located in front of me. From behind the dike I began to place fire from my m16. My RTO is in contact with the gun ships and he gave the AC the direction that the fire is coming from. The gunship 10 4s and began his run on the enemy.

I see the AC starting to make his gun pass and his course is headed straight for me. To my amazement he opens up with his mini guns and the bullets are striking the ground and coming directly towards me. MY ass is on the wrong side of the dike so with no further ado I slithered to the other side of the dike and hugged mother earth. I pressed myself so close to the dike I became part of the structure. The rounds from the choppers guns struck the dike where I lay and missed me by inches. The shell casings began to fall on me like hot copper rain, I can still fell the burning when a couple of the casings hit my helmet and lodge themselves between my neck and jungle fatigues. Man was that hot.

The chopper continued its pass and fired a couple rockets into the structure, which silenced the enemy fire and destroyed the building. The RTO got on the net and told the AC he needed to adjust his fire on the next pass because his last one was through our unit. The chopper complied with our request. After I checked my pants I got my squad together and we assaulted the enemy position. To this day I continue to wonder how no one was hit by friendly fire that day. I do know a few of the guys stated that if he came at us like that again they would return fire and shoot his ass down.

War is full of the unknown and if anyone says different he is lying between his teeth Iíve Had a many of close calls while in country and to this day I feel as though Iím the luckiest guy in the world.

The story continues.

WM Roland Hayes.