COBRA Company ’70
I was assigned to C, 1/327th in January of 1970, after having landed at Cam Rahn Bay, then Phu Bai, then Camp Evans, and finally Camp Eagle. The company was working the coastal lowlands in January, so I was sent out on a deuce-and-a-half to a fire base along the South China Sea, and from there I went along with a 5 day resupply to the company by Huey. The chopper landed on the junction of two rice paddy dikes, and I was pointed in the direction of some cemetery buildings where my new company was deployed.
After I carried my gear and two cases of C-rations to the company area, I went back for more. No one came out to help, so I went back for more, and more, until I had carried the entire resupply.
Then, a bare-chested old soldier called me over with a gesture and a commanding “Troop!” I met Top Millirons who was a WWII, Korean War, and third tour RVN Veteran. He had noticed and appreciated my initiative, and when he found out I had been a H.S. English teacher in Minnesota before being drafted, he told me he didn’t want to deprive me of some time on-line, but after a month or so, he wanted to sneak me back to the rear at Camp Eagle to help out his company clerk (Dave Garrison).
I was thinking, “Deprive me, deprive me.” I was assigned to first platoon, headed up by Lt. Bill Collier and SSGT Woods, who had come from NCO School and was a “Cherry” like me. We worked in platoon sized operations, so I didn’t even see the First SGT again until we headed into the hills, up where the platoon had hit some contact the last time in the area (Lonnie Bradley from the 1st platoon had killed one enemy and wounded at least another with a short, seven round M-16 magazine, (the enemies) who had followed the claymore wire in, only a few feet from his NDP.
Anyway, we landed on a booby trapped LZ, and were sent scurrying to safe areas by the early arrivals to the hill – me ending up a few feet from Top Millirons. I nodded to him, and he nodded back, but nothing was said about the rear job.
After 109 days in the hills (somebody kept track), we were on our way back to Camp Eagle for a three day stand-down. At the end of the stand-down, we got a three day resupply before heading down to the chopper pads, and back to the hills. I had my ruck sack all packed, and we were in formation before the short hike to the “birds”, when Millirons shouted, “Teach, fall out!” He was keeping me back.
I became mail clerk first, then started to take over more of the clerical tasks as I learned them. We got a new battalion XO who thought there were too many troops in the battalion rear, so after a few months at Camp Eagle, I had to dust my ruck sack off and head back to the hills; but Top promised to sneak me back to Camp Eagle at the first opportunity.
We were working a much more “active” area now, than when I had at first been in the field. It was now that I officially qualified for my CIB, finding out how it felt to be in the land of the two-way rifle range. Before Millirons derosed, he was good to his word, and I finally returned to Camp Eagle.
Eagle received rockets once in awhile, and our ammo dump blew up one day: I remember sitting at the typewriter in the front company office. We had an RPD machine gun which we had captured, hanging proudly from the ceiling. When the ammo dump blew, the concussion in the office was felt so sharply that the RPD was knocked from its chains, landing vertically on its barrel tip, taking a big gouge out of the plywood floor.
When the company would hit the sierra, we’d get called down to battalion to listen to the radios. That was not fun. I can still recall the pit in my stomach when motoring to 85th Evacuation Hospital to meet our incoming wounded, or worse, the trip to Graves Registration to identify our men, and to collect personal effects, and the subsequent letters to families which I was asked to compose.
I served with some fine men who really were “Above the Rest!”
J. Mark “Teach” Reisetter