Erick W. Miller

Ever hear of a hot LZ in reverse? This was a surprise to us too. ‘ Us’ was 1st platoon and the company CP. This was early in 1970 when the platoon was still fairly large. Nixon’s plan of Vietnamization may have sounded good to the liberals protesting the war, but to us, it meant fewer and fewer men to do the same job it always had been. That’s a topic for further discussion, just not now.
Now, I’d like to pass on a story with only one fatality. The death of any human is a sad thing. As an act of war, it seems easier to digest if it is an enemy fatality. That was the case this time.

We were on a ‘knuckle’ of a finger of land coming off hill 602. Our second tour man said that this hill was a bad place early in 69. It seemed deserted to us. We had just chopped an LZ for re-supply. Foolishly, many of us were on this bare piece of high ground. We were trying to enjoy a rare bit of sunshine in the middle of the monsoon. Tired of being wet, that sun looked good.

The first shot sent everyone scrambling for their positions in the jungle below. It seemed like there was only one adversary. Nothing to have nightmares over, just a wake-up call. Our wise Captain Feliciano didn’t send a squad to look for the sniper. That ends up with American casualties, that would be playing into the sniper’s hands. The CO called for a pair of Cobras and a LOH. (Ioach) Shortly a LOH arrived all by it’s lonesome.

Normally, as most of you know, the loach would hover in and out of the contours of the tree tops trying to draw fire to locate the enemy. Then they would mark it with smoke and the Cobras would spend our tax dollars.

We were still waiting for the Snakes when the loach opened up with a mini-gun of it’s own. The sniper was on my side of the little hill and I nearly jumped out of my skin. The gun sounds like a chain-saw only louder. I’d never heard of a mini-gun on a LOH. That was the last thing that the VC ever heard.

Erick W. Miller 22 Nov 1997