Sucks to be There

As I have said many times, being in the right place at the right time just doesn't apply to combat.  Being highly trained is also a thing that will get you killed if you happen to be in the path of one weapon or the other.  It didn't take me long to realize that in Vietnam it was either just do your job and not worry or get so nervous that you soon could not do it. 

One of my many duties for the 1st Bn, 92nd Field Artillery was to fly aerial cover for my convoys as they filled up the Ammunition Resupply Point (ASP) in Dakto.  We would go to the ASP in Pleiku and fill 10 or 11 trucks with ammo and haul it to Dakto the next day in a convoy.   Generally the Bird Dog (light Cessna built plane) would sit down in Dakto and the unit would unload they ammo so we could make it back home with the afternoon convoy.

The convoy that morning had been hit with a small ambush  and one of my trucks had been shot up fairly bad.  Seems like it had been towed back to Kontum and it had several bags of mail and some supplies for our forward area.  I talked to the Major at Dakto and he gave me a jeep to go see if I could find where the truck and the mail had gone.   I didn't wait for the real convoy to form, I just drove out to go to Kontum.  Serious bad choice but I did it none the less. 

When I got to LZ Mary Lou just on the south side of Kontum, there was a wrecker towing my 5 ton truck.  I jumped up on the back of the truck and saw several ponchos covering what I thought was the mail.    When I jerked the poncho back, I found that it was the bodies of three soldiers.

Seems like there was a large tracked vehicles in the convoy that had been hit right in the front with a rocket propelled grenade.  The concussion had killed the people in the cab and someone loaded them up in my truck.  I immediately told the wrecker driver to go over to graves registration and we would make sure the bodies were properly taken care of. 

When we got to graves registration, I went into the bunker and told them that I had three bodies in the back of a truck.  They sent a technician out and I told the drivers of the wrecker to help unload the bodies.  The two wrecked drivers were black and they both said that they weren't going to touch no dead men.  That left it to me and the Mortuary technician to do that job.  It was pretty sad that all three if the soldiers were dead but it was the concussion that killed them and they were not torn up.  I was sad to see that they were pretty normal looking but dead none the less. 

I am not sure where this story is going but there it is.  Again I state the lethality of the Battlefield extends through out the theater of the operation and it is sometimes more bad luck than skill that takes the life of soldiers. 


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