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Bridge Duty

Edgar A. Goulet (sp00n)
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2nd Bn 1st Marines
Golf Company 66-67
I had to correct myself as during some of my stories that I said," I never had any fun over in Vietnam and no good memories, well I lied or miss spoke. I somehow had forgotten about Golf Company third platoon had bridge duty in December of 1966.

My first 60 days were over as I was still alive and in one piece when we got the word that for the next 30 days we had the responsibility to protect this Cau Do Bridge from getting blown up. This bridge was a strategic part of Anderson Trail which led to our 2/1 Command post a dead end 26 miles south west of Da Nang.  Other than that no other special instructions from the Top or S-2 nor from the CO. Or anybody else for that matter about how to stop the destruction of this bridge, not even a clue.

Well other than one tank and a very solid 3 foot thick pill box or bunker that was still there from the French Indo China War the French had built for fortification we had a great view of the river flowing in our direction. This was a free fire zone as anything coming down stream in our direction was a good target.

It was great to fire all weapons for distance to see the difference in comparing other calibers of how flat a bullet can go before it drops and loses it's power. Swimming and diving off that bridge was cool in during that Month. I had no idea what to expect in the next four weeks but for me this was R+R.

This Month right thru Christmas Day into the new year would spoil me as it was the best duty that any grunt could ever have dreamed of and it got me past the 90 day mark which is a mile stone for everyone. I was never more rested or cleaner in Vietnam while I was on this bridge security and there were no ass holes around to ruin our time here. In fact I don't even remember getting shot at but thats hard to say that?

I was M-60 machine gunner 0331 and I manned one of these weapons while on watch but when I wasn't, I would inspect the steel girders under the bridge for demolition charges like dept cord or C-4 to insure no one was going to blow this bridge on my watch and screw up this assignment. This is where I started to play this game with death using hand grenades for experimentation and trying some new things like fishing on an air mattress. Now I could go to the ammo bunker where there were cases of these M-26 fragmentation hand grenades and I probably used more of those hand grenades than bullets, that's right!

One day while enjoying the water on an air mattress after my personal inspection under that bridge, where no one else bothered to check because it was not in an official order from the Top as they had no clue that the best and easiest way to demo that bridge was from underneath, I knew that, having watched the Marines in those WW2 old movies where they would do this behind enemy lines against the German's in an occupied Country in Europe, so I knew what to do as I would drop a grenade every now an then to keep enemy forces away.

I had no real plan that was worth sharing with anyone who would want to listen to what the sp00n had to say, like Tet. I kept this to myself as I could use as many of these M-26 fragmentation hand grenades that I wanted to because number one, underwater they made no sound at all. But the shock was something else that I found out first left hand.

That day while fishing on an air mattress I had 6 frags in a pack and I would drop one in the water and a few fish would float to the surface?
Well the third grenade that I dropped I noticed that it was very shallow but the muddy water had hidden that fact. So I started back peddling with both hands like a breast stroke only backwards as 4 seconds isn't very long. Even though it wasn't as shallow as I had mistakenly thought when that grenade blew up my left hand was still in the water pushing me backwards. Holy shit it was like electric shock.

I not only lost the feeling in my left hand but my left arm to as my whole left side was paralyzed. It's a good thing I was close to the shore not that far from that tank in that picture. I thought I was finished as my right side was fine but I had no feeling on my left side at all so how am I going to explain this one, the sp00n fucked up big time. Well I got back on shore as I hadn't been to far out and I sat there thinking that how lucky that I was still being alive.

It took a while to notice that I was getting some feeling back to my body left side but my arm and hand were non functioning. I didn't say anything to anybody and stayed more to my self for a few hours. In about three hours I started getting some feeling back to my left arm. I had been rubbing, slapping my hand and arm to get some blood flowing and that seemed to be working. The next day my hand was still not normal but improving somewhat slowly.

The following day my left arm had improved enough to fake that It was normal but it wasn't there yet. It took about a week of light duty to almost be normal, lucky for me we had this slack duty in which I almost killed myself fucking around fishing on an air mattress as never even poked one hole in that mattress. That ended my short fishing career but I started using more grenades under that bridge now knowing what effect it would have on someone in the water as I felt it, first hand. The shock of sound travels very fast underwater which felt like as if it was electrical thats all I know.

So no one knew where all those grenades went to as no one ever seem to care. That month went by very fast comparing which rifles shoot the flattest as the 30.06 was the winner in the small high powered rifles.

We spent Christmas Day on bridge duty as the VC even sent us gifts and a floating Christmas Tree that was all decorated similar to the one's back home back in the World. That tree almost got blown up but it was to nice as all those decorations had propaganda everywhere as Charlie relatives spent some time on this tree. I had posted this tree in a picture where I did give thanks to Charlie and the gooks in the neighborhood while thanking the NVA and all the Ho's that gave us VD. So thank you Ho Chi Ming for the nice tree as it was more than we got from anyone else that year.

So in the destroyed bridge picture which wasn't our fault as I said that bridge was OK when we left was one of the fondest memory's that I can remember during my tour in Vietnam.

Edgar Goulet (sp00n)