Pictures were submitted by Kim Crumb
E Company 1/327th – 1971
These are photos of our arrival at FSB Maude outside of Danang in November of ‘71. We’d flown from Camp Eagle via Chinooks, our first time on these helicopters. This spooked a bunch of us, because we flew down the coast, at one point a experiencing a very bumpy ride through the gap in a mountain running out to sea.
This was actually considered “down time” for us. Most of the mortar teams and the line companies were dropped in Danang for a sort of In Country R&R with access to Gunfighter Village and the rest of the Rear. Those of us placed on Maude were told that this would be slack time where we would break in some new guys.
During the first week we were there, Danang suffered no rocket attacks, which our cadre attributed to the NVA fearing the 101st. For Thanksgiving the mess hall personnel set up tents and tables for dinner. Things went to hell when our RECON team with a new LT and several cherries doing a practice mission, stumbled onto one of several NVA rocket positions. From the edge of the Base, I’d been observing and working with the team via my radio, passing info to our FDC, and two mortar teams, plotting potential targets. I could hear the weapons fire and see the rifle smoke when the AK’s opened up, RECON returned fire and the LT immediately called “fire mission! This is for real!”
The story is a lot longer than I have time for tonight. But the turkey dinner was never eaten, RECON survived, our mortars and then several Cobras took out the enemy positions, Danang was spared a rocket attack, and the new guys were no longer “cherries.”
I took these while we were on O.P. Destroyer during Operation Lam Son 719 (or 19, I’ll check into this) in March and April of ’71.
This was after of fun filled excursion to O.P Destroyer. We went by truck from Bastogne, on up past Camp Evans to Fire Base Barbara located up by the DMZ. We took the base over from the ARVN’s. During our time there, nearby Fire Base Fuller was attacked and overrun. In the rear of the truck I’m sitting on the far right. Upper left photo is of our mortar team getting ready to go.
Lower photos were taken along the way.
In a truly “small world” event, I ran into the brother of our truck driver one night a year later at a gas station in Cotati, CA near where I lived at the time.
Along the way to Barbara, the driver had pulled over at a “Mama-san’s” tiny roadside stand where she sold soft drinks to passing vehicles. The driver and I ran back (I’d collected a bunch of MPC from my buddies) to the stand. We were last in the convoy and kind of in a hurry. The driver bought sodas for himself and the guy with him in the cab, and hurried back to the truck. I’d bought a dozen or so and was running back to the truck, with the drinks gathered in my shirt. I tossed them up to the guys and was getting pulled back up to the bed when the truck suddenly lurched forward. The driver had thought that I was aboard. Anyway I slipped, fell, and managed to put a pretty good cut on my left butt cheek. Someone yelled, the truck stopped, the driver ran back, I was yanked aboard and we were back on the road.
So, at the gas station that night the guy had noticed my Screaming Eagle patch on my field jacket. Turned out he’d been a truck driver in Vietnam down south of us the same time I’d been there. We talked a while and then he told me about the time he’d taken an In Country Leave to visit his brother, also a truck driver but for the 101st up north. The guy went on about riding along shotgun with his brother on a trip hauling Screaming Eagles from Bastogne to Fire Base Barbara. I was going to tell him that I was probable on that trip when he laughed and told me. “We made a fast stop for sodas at a mama-sans stand by the road. A guy from the back of the truck was getting on with sodas for his buddy’s and fell off as we got moving. The poor guy cut his butt pretty good.”
“That was me!“ I laughed too, told him I still had the scar, but didn’t offer to show it to him.
He was headed up north where he lived and I never saw him again.
Shots of Birmingham, Highway 1 and river (I forget the name…Perfume?…but it ran south out of Hue) from Huey. My knee can be seen on right…at least it’s not my thumb over the lens. Long strip on the north end of the Fire Base was for the slicks to line up and take us out on operations.
Lower right photo. Me with my 24 lb. Pr-25 radio along with another guy getting ready to head out somewhere.
These three shots are of Bastogne probably in January or early Feb. of ’71. Though possibly as late as May.
Top photo: Little white structure house a movie projector, which played on the white “screen” to the right…set up over the shower bunker. At upper center of base is the TOC. Hard to make out is a long Navy ‘white water’ boat hull with a cover. This housed our water brought up from the nearby river on the east side of Hwy. 1 which passes by the base. The Perfume River, I think. To left of Jeep is the “Welcome to Bastogne,” sign.
Center photo: Looking south east. Mess Hall bunker center left a couple dozen meters back behind sandbagged top entrance to an unknown bunker which is on the far side of a rifle company bunker in the foreground. ‘Hump’ in sandbags on the left of that bunker is the entrance.
Bottom photo shows ammo bunker for our small arms, grenades, etc. on near right of rifle co. bunker. Road on far lower right (with soldier walking) was entrance to Bastogne. The one angling up to the left from the truck ran to an artillery position.
Up and right behind Jeep is the above mentioned ‘boat hull water storage.”
Phred was a monkey one of the guys on a mortar team bought from a Vietnamese road side stand for 5 MPC. The Viet’s had chopped off his tail to keep him from escaping. Mostly he hung out of the firebases. ‘Got a couple of funny stories about him. The ‘In country R&R at B-ham was in May or so of ’71. Guy on far right of lower photo was one of our FDC, John Cox of Texas.
Top photo is fellow FDC member Bill Riffle preparing a c-ration meal cooked over a C4 powered ‘stove.’ I painted the sign a week or so into our “four day stay,” at Destroyer. Middle is me at the luxurious FDC bunker. Bottom; guys from Alpha and poncho roofs.
I spotted this heavily modified Army Mule while walking through Camp Eagle one afternoon. This was where Motor Pool mechanics worked on various vehicles. The story went that they would sometimes modify damaged Mules for drag racing. This particular one sported a 1.5 kw generator engine for power. Tires and wheel were from a Chinook helicopter. Note spiffy bucket seat and three on the floor.