EARLY MORNING BREAKFAST WITH CHARLIE
Well where to start, I have been sitting around a lot lately and with so much time on my hands decided to write about another experience in Viet Nam. I decided this because a couple of friends have asked me to write about more war stories but remember this, they may be called stories but they are true to the best that I can recall after 31 years.
We had moved down south of Danang into a Battalion Main base and we would run Platoon Patrols out of the main base for one to two days . Also on bigger Operations our Company would go out as a unit.
Down south was a very different type combat also. We affectionately called it Bobby Trap Alley. Up north we faced NVA North Vietnamese Army units, well trained and equipped. South of Danang we fought Viet Cong Squads and lone snipers and since we were in a very sandy area, bobby traps of all kinds from punji pits to 500lb unexploded US bombs.
We would be on a platoon patrol and have KIA or WIA from sniper fire or bobby traps and never see the enemy. The Men were really keyed up and needed some VC KIA's to bolster their morale.
I can remember one foggy misty morning we crept along the sand dunes before daylight, because the enemy would leave the villiages just before daylight and go to caves or whatever till night again. Now a lot of you just don't know the turmoil your body goes through as you take a step in the sand and without a doubt, there is a bobby trap somewhere in your line of march and I know you say why go along the top of the sand dunes and I'm here to tell ya it was the only way to get close enough to the ville and be able to spot movement.
Oh Baby!!! I was up with my 1st squad which was the closest unit to the ville and we spotted 7 Viet Cong moving single file slowly out of the ville. Now remember, its misty with dew on the grass and just breaking daylight.
We had to open fire with what we had right then or lose em all. So we opened up on em and 2 dropped the rest melted away running. But with the ground wet I figured maybe we could get a couple more so 1st squad leaped up, all 7 men and me and started down the sand dune and my squad leader set off a bobby trap which blew his leg off . No one else was hit although it did blow us down the dune a little.
My medic was treating Serrano so we started after the VC. You Know, walking on that sand dune was scary but I was following a blood trail in wet knee high grass after a wounded VC and I say to myself I am fucking crazy. But another part of me was saying I have to show my men I will do everything that I would ask them to do because they have to know that and trust my judgement and I felt if I didn't have that in my unit we would lose more men. Not sure if I'm making sense here but I know what I'm trying to get across. I was creeping forward so slow cause lots of blood still and SHIT, I tripped over his dead leg.
If any life remained in this VC I would have been killed with a burst of AK at very close range.
I called my platoon back from any other searches that morn. Beause there were no more blood trails. And to me losing Serrano WIA was not worth 3 KIA VC
I wrote my First Squad leader up for a Silver Star which he received but still is very little payment for his leg below the knee.
March 29, 2009
Sgt Chuck Thompson
I was acting Platoon Commander of 3rd Platoon, Fox Compny 2nd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division.
Sometime in August or September 1968 South of Danang