Hello Mary Lou 2

One of the assignments I had when I was in the 1st Bn, 92nd FA was when I got to go out as a Forward Observer with one of the Ground units of the 7/17th Air Cav.  It was a mechanized unit and we went all over the place at a very rapid pace.  Probably my biggest job was just to stay located on the map and who to use for artillery support.  I know that the unit commander was hesitant to really use the Field Artillery because he had Aviation gun ships and a lot of organic firepower. 

On one adventure, we were north of Pleiku and were sent to a river crossing site that was not supposed to be there.  When we got to the closest place, the commander requested a bridge and we used it to move along the side of the river to the point where we discovered  telephone poles set up to be a bridge somewhere out in the future.  The unit commander decided that the poles needed to be blown down and he had enough C-4 and Det cord to get the job done.  He offloaded a bunch of the explosives and a team and withdrew the rest of the unit.  It took us several hours to get out there and several hours to get back.  He didn't want to blow the bridge with his unit in what could be a very vulnerable place. 

We left one of the Mortar Recon Sergeants out there and I rode back with the main body of the unit.  When we got back to a good place, one of the guys said that he had just got a package from home and his family had sent him a lot of canned sea foods. I did mention that I was from Kansas and the limit of my sea food was canned tuna.  Well to make a short story longer, they also had a couple of cases of hot beer and we just chowed down.  I can't even begin to tell you just how bad drunk I  could get on smoky herring and hot Carling's Black Label in a red rusty can,  can I? 

The only good thing I can tell you is that we were headed for a stand down and maintenance day at LZ Mary Lou that evening.  It included a trip to a shower point and real hot food instead of the c-rations we had been on for the better part of a week.  I remember sitting down in a lawn chair beside the unit commander's track and then I remember waking up the next morning.  I had been fast asleep and must have needed the rest. 

That afternoon, several of the guys in the unit wanted to go down to the river and go swimming.  That river was probably way to muddy to get in but we went anyway.   am pretty sure that the sight of 25 naked guys must have been pretty funny.  We all had what was called a farmer's tan here in Kansas. The parts of our bodies not normally exposed to the sun were shinny white and our arms and faces were brown form a tan and dirt.  I am not sure what the rest of the guys did, but for me, there was a trip back past the shower point and a good nap.  I'll bet I slept 18 hours in one 24 hour period.  Then I went to bed. 

In the middle of the next day, a Special Forces Colonel showed up and he was mad as hell. Seems he and his guys had been working on establishing a foot bridge across the river and it had taken several weeks.  We blew it all up and he now had people across the river from his Camp that he could not support.  How were we to know.  I guess the ground combat channels were not the same as my Fire Support Channels.  Had we tried to blow up the bridge piling with artillery, they would have contacted the Special Forces and the District Chief.  oh  well what the hell, what the heck did I care.

 We stayed there for the next couple of days and when all the tracks were up to snuff, we headed out to places unknown.  The good news was that we made a trip past Pleiku and my replacement was there.   I had been out with several different kinds of units, but that was my first and last with a mechanized unit.   

My father in law was in a Mech unit in WWII and I was kind of startled when he said he didn't really know where he went, they just played ducks and the officers and their commander had all the maps.  He knew he went in to Anzio as a replacement and at least once went through the edge of Rome.  After trying to keep up with the maps, I knew what he had done. 

The next time I got to Mary Lou, it was with the firing battery and I was assigned as the Battery Fire Direction Officer.   More on Mary Lou three tomorrow.


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