ABU/TIGER FORCE Companies ’67/’68
Fischer’s father was a decorated flying ace that was shot down in Korea and ended up in a Chinese prison camp. The name is spelled with a the c in it. Fischer is currently living in San Antonio Texas, and is possibly facing a lung transplant, has a severe case of COPD.
As the medic who saved my life a few times, I owe him much. In my opinion he has a heart of gold and a very solid set of values. He assisted me is saving the lives of 4 Vietnamese civilians, one of them a baby.
At the Tiger Force reunion Doc Strange (Doc Hise-former medic) related the story of this incident as Fischer having treated the Vietnamese women while wounded Americans were being left untreated. I don’t fully comprehend the sources for some of these kinds of inaccuracies, much like the claim that Sgt. Haugh was throwing grenades into a bunker full of civilian women and children. In the case with Fischer, I was the one who called in the medivac on the three women and the baby, and yes this was to Sam Ybarra’s dismay, but there were no wounded Americans. There easily could have been since intelligence had indicated there were three battalions of NVA in the area, and it is true, as we worked the A.O. we saw signs. It was also true that when we took the time to medivac these three women (they had all been wounded and one was a young girl around age 12 -shot in the wrist, may have lost her arm) and the baby, we were putting ourselves at great risk, but Fischer backing me up was extremely appreciated, very significant, and it was the right thing to do.
As far as Sgt. Haugh, the portrayal was completely fabricated. I was his RTO and saw him in action, came to know his heart, and he was one excellent NCO and a very fine man. At one time there were two young boys with baskets of Chi Com grenades and Sgt. Haugh was refusing to shoot because of their age. Grenades were going off all around us, it was in the jungles and I shot past Haugh and shot one of the boys. Haugh was pissed, partly because he was also in front of the muzzle blast. He gave me an angry look, but then, seeing it was me, a guy who also had a history of not wanting to wantonly kill, he let it pass quickly. Part of the reason that he let it pass quickly was that Fague took off after the other kid who had taken off running when the one boy was shot.
Fague was in pursuit and since I had the radio, (the others on the team had jettisoned their rucks) I knew that I needed to pursue Fague with a radio or he could easily get lost in the woods, so to speak. Eventually, after a long jungle sprint Fague crested a hill and was immediately shot. I got up to him pretty quick. He had taken a round in the upper arm. The kid was gone and we were in an unfamiliar and dangerous territory that apparently was all too familiar for our enemy.
We had to use a sling to medivac Fague, and we never went back to the spot where the kids had been manning the Chi Com factory in the jungles so I never really knew if the kid I shot was wounded or dead.
To suggest that Sgt. Haugh was some murderous conscious-less person, could only be advanced by someone who was deliberately advancing negative false propaganda. For those of us who were in the war as honorable soldiers, trying to be the good guys and do the right thing, Sgt. Haugh was a stellar leader and admirable. It is a shame that he lost his life and that he gets false dirt tossed on his remembrances. I followed him very willingly into Hell, and found him excellently trustworthy and therefore worth following, he was indeed a great leader for all who knew him well, and a great man and I continually mourn his loss.
Just like Doc Hise, I don’t know what his problem was, and it was even more remarkable that he was advancing this false narrative when Fischer was right there in the room. Talk can be incredibly cheap, but I went and brought Fischer, over repeated Hise’s story in front of Fischer. Of course Fischer knew it wasn’t true as did I, and further we knew Hise wasn’t even there. As far as the narrative that he was advancing, where the heck was that coming from. Is that some form of twisted PTSD imaginative memory, was it something that had been started by Ybarra, who had been quite pissed about the medivac. Hise clammed up.
He is a veteran with the rest of us, and in my opinion, anybody who spent time in the field deserves respect. If their memories and stories are flawed, that too is a tragedy, but even with these narratives there is at my core and appreciation and an understanding of what was risked to be there, and how we all played our respective parts. Still, damn, it is and has been a twisted weird history. Ybarra, ah, yes he was one mean Mexican Apache, or so he put on a personae to demonstrate. He may have been a frightened guy with a false bravado. Still, he left a few innocents in his prejudicial wake, and he and I did go crossways. In the end, “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord”… I am not that religious these days, but Sam got eaten alive by his own conscience. Sam may also have been responsible for my survival because he never hesitated… There were very hard questions that popped up along with the decisions.
Sam’s heart? Ah, a tough call. In the end I felt like he was the vulnerable kid behind the mask, and his death reflected that. Drank and drugged himself to death. Still tragic, and he wasn’t entirely responsible for getting himself into a Southeast Asian conflict. It took much larger wheels that would also have to bear a bit of the brunt of responsibility.
As Fischer said about Sam. I don’t like him, or his values, but he’ll be the first guy I choose to go on patrol.
As you can see, Fischer doesn’t talk much, but he is very much worthy of quoting, because he describes the complexity of lofty values versus survival. Sometimes as much as we’d like it to be, it just isn’t easy.
Thanks for the commo.
When was the last time you were in Vietnam? Oh, about 30 seconds ago.