An hour or so later, when we were in the throes of our editing, he asked again. "You sure you don't want some hard candy?" No, no thank you. He pops one into his mouth. "Keeps me sweet... while I'm turning to a hard maniac." (He hasn't struck me as the maniac type yet.)
Today we finished all the editing of his Vietnam tablets. I'm also going to be typing up two other short stories and an introduction for him as well as editing a series of stories about his father! This is the super-super cool part. Get this! His father... was a hobo! for real! From 12 to 17, his dad was a hobo! I've gotten to read two of the stories so far, and I am in love with them. I can't wait to share a couple with you!
First, though, here's the conclusion to the one posted from before.
Even though only a week had passed since the division had arrived, already hovels were springing up, roads were being cut and the pattern for this small city that would eventually arise was well established. It was nicknamed the “Golf Course” in memory of better times in more pleasant places. No golf would be played here; only more serious games.The first lift was on its way. They were scheduled to arrive at the LZ’s precisely two minutes after Bart and his aerial artillery had prepared the LZ’s. The crackle of commands crowded the radio frequencies and everything was going as scheduled.Bart made contact with the C and C (Command and Control) chopper and at 0812 began the preparatory fire.While the 2nd Platoon prepared the LZ’s, firing around the edges of the tree lined LZ’s, Bart and Sam took aim on the suspected machine gun position.Sam was flying, relieving Bart for his command function. He began his run at 1,500 feet above ground level (AGL) and dove pointing the gunship at the exact coordinates given to them by S2.At 1,200 feet AGL he released the first pair of rockets. Slightly left of target, he adjusted accordingly. Strange orange-green baseballs were flying by him on all sides. He didn’t have time to analyze what these unfamiliar objects were as his mind was totally immersed in bringing his rockets to bear on his target.Each pair was closer to his intended target until finally he was dead on. He switched the selector switch to four pair and again pressed the red fire button on the cyclic control.The right rocket streaked towards the target and exploded in a fiery frenzy exactly where Sam had intended. The orange baseballs stopped.“Bullseye!” said Sam, justifiably proud of his gunnery as he began his break.
“Not bad, pad’nah. Not bad a’tall—especially under fire,” answered Bart coolly.“What fire?” questioned Sam.“Pad’nah, those orange-green things flying by were tracers from a 14.5, and I got to hand it to you, Sam, you just held it steady as a rock. Cool Hand Luke.” Bart laughed.“Damn! You mean those bastards were shooting back? Sure as hell ain’t like Benning.” Sam, suddenly relieved, laughed with Bart.Meanwhile, the first lift was dropping its load of infantry into the landing zone. “Armed Falcon 66 this is Skyhawk 6 – over.” This was the Brigade Commander in the C.C shopper.“This is Armed Falon 66 – over.”“Roger. We’ve got a hot LZ here. Recommend you bounce another section or two until we get things settled down.”“Wilco.” On Battalion frequency, Bart bounced the 1st Platoon and then called the 2nd Platoon leader who was above the LZ.“64 this is 66, status please.”“Roger, 66, we’ve still got about twelve rockets each, but, at the rate we’re going, we’ll be dry soon.”“Ok 64, help is on the way.”“66 and 64, this is 64 Alpha, over.” This was the call sign of the 1st section leader of 2nd Platoon. Both Bart and his 2nd platoon leader acknowledged.“Got a small problem here. Took some fire on the second pass and my controls seem to be getting a bit stiffer.”Six four Alpha was Capt. Pete Brokaw former Syracuse right guard and his copilot was Capt. Steve Stumpf who wrestled varsity at West Point. If the controls were stiff for those two…“64 Alpha this is 66. Try your auxiliary hydraulics.”“Roger, we’ve already tried. Doesn’t seem to help much.”“Ok, turn heading 180°. We’ll be there in a minute.”A dirt road ran north/south in the middle of Happy Valley. A small stream roughly paralleled the road and crossed its path several times. At these crossings, the bridge had been destroyed so the road would dip five or six feet to ford the stream before rising back to the mean valley level. Refugees were already streaming down the road fleeing the fighting a few miles north.“64 Alpha, 66. How are things holding up?”“Not too good, 66. Seems to be getting progressively worse.” There was no panic in the voice, only concern.“Roger. We’re going down to clear the folks off the road and I want you to make a running landing. We’ll pick you up and carry you home. Skyhawk 6 have you been monitoring?”“Roger, Armed Falcon 66. We’ll get a platoon over there to protect your bird until you can get a crane to lift it out.”“Thanks, 6.”Bart and Sam buzzed the road sending refugees scattering. They landed nearby and by wild gesturing got the remaining refugees off the dirt roadway as 64 Alpha began their shallow approach. Bart and Sam stood together beside their still running ship and watched. Both were still attached to the radio by the communication cord of their helmets.“Bart, I think they’re going to land short in that dip,” Sam observed.“I’m afraid you’re right, Sam,” said Bart watching the wounded gunship only about ten feet off the ground now headed toward the arroyo-like dip. Suddenly the gunship lurched as the pilots fought to keep it out of the hazard. Their flight now dangerously slow, the tail swung right and into a lovely palm. The entire tail section became detached dropping crazily to the ground.Now in a wild flight, the helicopter began to spin. The door gunner came flying out the door but, tethered by a crew chief harness, was soon lurched back inside like a human yoyo. Bart and Sam stood frozen with their mouths agape. They watched as the spinning helicopter flew overhead and, with its nose pointed straight earthward, disappeared over a hill.“Let’s go, Sam!” shouted Bart jumping back into his seat. And, with Sam beside him, both convinced that they’d be picking up remains in a helmet, they flew over the small hill behind which the crash had surely taken place.And there beside the foreshortened Huey stood two angrily cursing captains, a shaking crew chief, and an infantryman as pale as a ghost.“Well I’ll be…” said Sam as they landed beside the wreck.“Skyhawk 6, this is Armed Falcon 66. Save your platoon, 64 Alpha didn’t leave enough aircraft to save so we’re going to destroy it here. I’ll take them to base and be back ASAP.”“Roger, 66. Is the crew alright?”“Everybody’s A-OK. Somebody up there must have been watchin’ out awful close. Out.”The rain had stopped, and the sky began to clear. The first operation, despite its hairy moments, had been successful and a Special Forces Camp was established in Happy Valley. Capts. Brokaw and Stumpf were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross though both knew that they had not a damn thing to do with landing that bird. No, someone or something else had taken the controls.
|"Needless to say the rainy season sucked at the Golf Course .... |
RVN September 1965 (An Khe) Image courtesy of Ed Lemp"
Via: VHPA Museum
Look! I've found beautiful things to share!
A list of happy December things.
I must paint my walls like this before I die.
Gotta love ninjas. (Or else they'll kill you in your sleep.) (I kid, I kid.) (No really, look behind you.)
Millie and I saw this wallet at Blue Skies in Chattanooga. I instantly fell for it.