It's like Sept 1968. In early months of 1968 my company fought up north which was entirely North Vietnamese Army troops which had everything we had except air power.

Around Sept we headed south around the outskirts of Danang. Down south was an entirely different kind of war. It was V C (viet-cong) and bobby traps and ambushes. We had platoon patrol bases(which I would take my platoon out of our battalion base wire for two or three days of patrolling with one squad patrolling and my other two squads in a perimeter defense. At dusk I would call in artillery and mortar concentrations to be plotted on Battalion map in case I needed to call them in while under attack.

We would lose men to sniper fire and also booby traps. It was a frustrating time because we rarely got to see the enemy. Most of our area to patrol was sandy also.

More than once after receiving sniper fire I would call in a concentration near it and when morn came, civilians would bring out their wounded because their homes were in the tree-line where the sniper fire and shells landed. We would just send em to Bn Aid station.

Near the ocean was a village of lepers. Of course this was a no fire zone. Every morning the red-cross jeep would make its rounds to the ville never hitting a mine. Any other vehicle on that road would hit a mine without fail.

OK I'm leading my platoon back in towards my Bn base. We are about 100 meters from the bldgs when a machine gun opens up from the roof of one of the bldgs. We all hit the deck and I call for mortar fire on the bldg. After a few mins the radio crackles that is a No Fire Zone cannot fire mission I'm furious and tell em we are pinned down by machine fire and I see the gun firing. I'm told again that is a no fire zone and disengage. Shit if I had tried to disengage some of my men would have without a doubt been killed or wounded. So I said over the radio… Roger. Disengaging I never used the radio again till we were heading back to base to tell em we've disengaged.

My Ass Disengage. I hollered to pass the word for everyone to open up when I did and for my 3 M-79s to get that son of a bitch. Well let me tell you we destroyed that bldg plus a couple more and when we stood to leave out of there we got no fire at all.

I heard that later in the war they went into that ville and found VC school rooms under-ground for how to kill Americans. Am I sorry some lepers may have died with that machine gun crew. Hell no I wanted to save as many of my men that I could and if it meant disobeying an order like that, no problem
That's the way it was.

Submitted October 27, 2013

Sgt Chuck Thompson
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