KEN BLACKS VIET NAM PICS
As it existed from mid to late Sept 68 thru the
first week of Nov. 68 all of the guys pictured with the exception
of Harrison and (I'm only 95% sure that was his last name) are from
the 3/18th Arty. Johnnie Wallace and I (Ken Black) are from A Btry.
Sgt Rose is from B Btry and I believe Piccolo was from C Btry. We
joined a-1/14 when they were at the Tien Phouc SFC. A Btry at tht
time was a jump battery from C Btry. Ammo Section had to go out
to the airstrip every day and pick up ammo that came in on a cargo
plane-it was a C-123, I think (it had 2 engines). It was a scaled
down C-130 and in the afternoon we would make the dump run a couple
of guys from the Gun Crews went with us to show us where things
were as things were spread out. The dump was a few clicks away on
the East side of the village on Tien Phouc on one afternoon at the
dump the kids of the village tried to climb on the truck as it was
backing up and one of them fell off the back and the trucks rear
wheels crushed him. We loaded him in the truck and took him to the
aid station but he died soon after that. I remember the driver of
the truck had to pay the family $35.00 and he was told that if he
would be killed a water buffalo, it would have cost him $80.00.
We only stayed in Tien Phouc about a week after that then the Chinooks
came in and took the Guns to LZ Chippewa which is about 8-10 miles
NE of LZ Gator. Sgt Rose, Wallace and I went with the Guns, the
other guys took the trucks back to LZ Bayonet via Tak Ky on the
road that was just recently opened between Tien Phouc and Tak Ky.
I didn't know until recently just how dangerous the area around
Tien Phouc was. We arrived at LZ Chippewa and were only there about
two days and Chinooks came back and took Guns to LZ Gator but left
the ammo. Wallace went with the Guns and Sgt Rose and I were told
to stay with the ammo and they would come back for us the next day.
All we had were our M-16s (which I hated. Give me a M-14 anyday)
and an M-60. We weren't alone, there were a couple of platoons of
infantry with us. They were from C Co 1/52, 198th LIB. They used
Chippewa a lot. After a week, Sgt Rose told me to hop on the next
chopper to LZ Gator to find out what in the hell was going on. I
arrived at Gator and found the battery. When I walked in the orderly
room, they wanted to know what I wanted. I looked like hell. This
was in the middle of the monsoons and it seemed like I had to walk
1/2 mi from the chopper pad to the Battery Area and I told them
that Rose and I were left on Chippewa to guard the ammo and we were
told someone would be back to the next day and that was a week ago.
I don't remember what exactly was said but all I know someone fucked
up. The next day Rose showed up. From then until the time most of
us rotated back to the States (which was a period of 3 weeks) things
were pretty normal. The daily runs into Chu Lai for ammo and perimeter
guard at night. I really have to hand it to you guys in the jump
batteries. I can't imagine moving around every two or three days.
At least, those of us that were on the big guns didn't move that
much. In 10 mos. with the 3/16 were at Dak To from Nov 67 to Jan
68. At LZ Dottie for 3 weeks. In Jan68, at the Tam Ky Airstrip for
TET of 68. Then to Hill 54 from Feb 68 to Sept 68, when I joined
the 1/14. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.