Uploaded on Jul 14, 2007
Not a political statement, only a tribute to men women who gave their lives. Keep politics out of comments and honor those who served their country, especially those paying the ultimate price.
Footage was taken by WolfieRed1 (me) in Vietnam April 1971. I served Delta Company, 1st/20th Infantry, 11th Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division (Jungle Warriors). This unit dates back to Civil War, responsible for saving our Union of these United States.
On April 2, 1971 we were ambushed after 3 weeks in the bush humping back to our base camp. We lost Lt. Glenn Hata, only 1 week in country. Many wounded that day, including Eldred Sadler, hit in the neck, his jugular severed and heroically saved by Sgt. Charles "Coach" Middleton & Tom "Doc" Tierney.
During our days of rest at LZ Bronco, south of Chu Lai, Vietnam I bought a 8mm movie camera. I took many shots at LZ Bronco (see other videos) & decided to carry it on our next combat mission.
We were trucked to LZ Liz, north of LZ Bronco & home to 1/20th Infantry and artillery base. On April 10th we went to LZ Dragon to wait for the 116th AHC (Army Helicopter Company) Hornets for a combat assault into the Song Ve River and Valley, a bad area for NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and VC (Vietcong) activity.
I took movies as we waited for 116th to pick us up. I was a M-203 grenadier, M16 & M-79 grenade launcher combo. In other videos you will see me loading M-79 rounds into my M-203 and pointing it at the buddy I gave my camera to. We dressed up a Vietnamese kid with my hat, rucksack and weapon. It was pretty stupid, but it says we trusted Vietnamese people beyond question, a beautiful country and wonderful people.
When the Birds landed I ran with the camera in my right hand and M-203 in the left. I sat on the floor, legs hanging out (no doors) and as we lifted off filmed throughout the assault, no one said stop. According to the History Channel, I got some pretty rare footage for a grunt, not a media photographer. Footage is in "Vietnam in HD" a 6 hour 3 part documentary. If you know the smiling door gunner (John Roggenbuck?) next to me, please have him contact me.
As we neared our landing zone, we took severe left turn almost sliding out. Kerry Harwick grabbed me and saved my life, I wouldn't stop filming. As we jumped out, the men of Bravo Company got on board and as one of the first Birds in I took shots of those landing & gunships flying overhead protecting us. Shots of buddies: Mark Sutlick, Ed Barraza (hat blown off), Kerry Harwick and Lt. Anthony (Tony) DeCamillo giving me peace sign as his bird landed.
The next day, April 11, 1971 (Easter Sunday) we expected to hump up nearby mountains to relieve Alpha Company. Prior to departing, the Battalion Chaplain Merle Brown landed with hot food and Easter services telling us it was a cease fire. He left our position and flew to Alpha Company's position as we watched. Later, his bird (piloted by Bob Chipley) returned to pick him up and when lifting off, were hit by rockets and grenades instantly killing him and the crew chief. After 5 explosions 9 more Alpha Co. men were killed trying to defend themselves & help wounded off the burning helicopter.
The battle raged on for hours and into the next morning. The sky was lit by flares, artillery, mini-gun tracers from 174th AHC Shark & Shadow gunships. Thankfully, F-4 Phantom jets dropped many 500 lb. bombs too.
My company impatiently watched waiting to be called to the rescue, listening to radio requests for dust-off birds and body bags for KIA's. I was angry waiting, being so close to buddies getting killed. Fortunately, Bravo Co. led by Lt. Tom Dolan was sent in to help wounded and removal of KIA's, Tom has become a good friend and written, "The Mad Fragger and Me".
I have the honor talking Alpha & Bravo Co. men, those flying gunships, slicks, dust-off and Shadow. My footage has been used in documentaries, including "Vietnam in HD" by History Channel.
Bob Chipley, who barely escaped his chopper explosion contacted me in 2008. 7 days after he contacted me he was sitting in my living room sharing memories of this tragic day.
We lost good men that day and 58,000 brave men and women died in Vietnam. It has been my honor to honor so many. It has been painful, but my honor to talk with family and friends of those we lost and tell them about the bravery and sacrifices of their loved ones. Those lost will always be in my mind as they should be to all loyal Americans.
War sucks, but never forget the women & men who serve their country as those in past wars, Iraq and Afghanistan! Please give Vietnam Vets a Welcome Home they never got! And never forget to thank those in uniform for making the sacrifice, the duty and honor of serving their country. WolfieRed1
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