We all looked forward to paydays. Two of the men would set up a small
casino in the company bar during this time. There would be a lot of
money floating around. People getting drunk and gambling away their
money. Sometimes the officers would bring in a movie projector and
we would watch “XXX” movies. That would always draw a large crowd.
I would always try to buy enough cigarettes to last a month. Box fans
and small refrigerators were a luxury item if you could find them.
When men rotated back to the states, they would sell those items to the highest
bidders. Fred Stewart who bunked next to me had a refrigerator.
I always used his. I had my own fan that I bought from one of the men
that had rotated home. Everyone needed a fan because it would be unbearable
at night sometimes without one.
Mike Brandon would always come to me wanting to go to the whorehouse and
spend our money. Sometimes, we would go to the Thailand whorehouse.
The women there would charge ten dollars for one hour or twenty dollars for
all night. Sometimes we would spend ten dollars but when we paid the
twenty for all-night we would take them back to the hooch. We had to
be careful walking back because if caught, they would arrest us, it being
The whorehouse was a converted barn. There was eight-foot by eight-foot
partitions that were seven foot high with nails on top pointed straight up
every inch apart to keep you from climbing over. It also had a wooden
floor, which was very squeaky. It always had an odor of animals but
you got use to it or didn’t think about it.
There was an enlisted section and an officer section. We knew them
well enough to always get in the officer section. The conditions were
a little better. The mattresses were four inches of foam pad, single
size. They would give us a sheet each time we came.
Thailand M P’s raided one night we were there and everybody went crazy.
There were sounds of people running across the tin roof with lots of yelling
and shouting throughout the place. The MP’s were trying to catch someone
as we found out later but didn’t know at that time. Mike came up with
a quick plan.
“Jay! We will hide in the rooms at the end of the hall. If he
catches you I’ll jump him from behind and likewise if he catches me,” I agreed
and we hid up against the wall on the inside each of the doors. The
M P shined the flashlight into each of the rooms we were in but didn’t look
to the right or left. After they had gone, we were saying how close
of a call that was. After all the confusion, we left and on the way,
I was thinking. What would we really have done if caught?
“We would go to prison if we tried jumping the M P. He may even have
shot us,” I said, shaking my head and thinking how stupid that was.
“Your right! That was dumb,” he answered thinking the same thing.
Either way we were lucky and realized later how stupid that would have been.
Nevertheless, we kept going back.
Can’t Stay Out Of Trouble!
I was an E-3 when I arrived in Vietnam. Two months after I made FE,
they promoted me to E-4. Whenever we came in from flying, we were to
check in our weapons at the armory. One night we were late coming in
about eleven thirty and I was exhausted. I took a shower and went straight
At three o’clock a weapons inspection team awakened us. When I opened
my locker, they saw my thirty-eight hanging in it. The next day there
were three of us in the company commanders office-receiving an Article 15
for weapon charges. The other two were crew chiefs. There wasn’t
anything to explain because there was a zero tolerance on carrying weapons
in the company compound. They demoted me to E-3 again. I was
again, the only E-3 Flight engineer in the battalion. All the other
Flight engineer’s were E-5’s. It didn’t bother me except for the money.
I felt I was the best FE in the company and I thought the CO felt the same
way by the way he talked to me. I was always helping the other FE’s
to solve problems. Even Smitty, the Line-Chief would ask me to work
with the others when they needed help. That day after my demotion and
the others had gone, the CO stopped me outside the mess hall.
“Private!” he said smiling and shaking his head. “You are a damn good
FE. If you would change your attitude, you could go a long ways in
the army,” he stated. I laughed to myself.
“Sir! I do my job the best I can.”
“I know you do and you’re good at it. But wouldn’t you like to make a career of the Army?”
“Sir, I believe I’m doomed to stay a private!” I replied.
“No you’re not. Let me take care of that. Now get your ass to
work!” he said ordering me. As I left, I was thinking I wasn’t going
to change. I don’t know why, but I knew he liked me. I was curious
as to what he meant by taking care of it.
The reason they made us check in our weapons was that there had been men
shooting their guns off at night in the compound. They were probably
smoking pot or something. A couple of men were shooting at each other’s
feet playing stretch or something. The way you would play with Knives
except using pistols. That sounded stupid to me but I saw many stupid
things while here. The CO found out and banned all weapons in the company
area. This happened before I arrived.
It wasn’t long before I found myself promoted to E-4 again. When the
CO handed me my orders he just smiled and shook his head. I knew now
what he meant, but he wasn’t going to change me.
During one week, some enlisted man threw a gas grenade into the officer’s
section. The next night I was awakened, and choking on the smell of
gas. This went back and forth a couple of nights and finally one of
the officers threw a Phosphorus grenade outside our hooch. I went outside
and there were drunken idiots walking around near the phosphorus. There
was so much commotion the CO was out there. He called everybody together
and said that if anything like this happened again that he was going to prosecute
someone. Everyone knew he was serious so that didn’t happen again.
Although, another time I was at the flight line on top of my chopper working
when suddenly I was choking and couldn’t breathe or see. I knew someone
had thrown a gas grenade near me. With my eyes shut, I slid down the
side of the helicopter to the ground and ran a few yards to get fresh air.
I looked over and beside one of the revetments and there was Stevens laughing
“Stevens, don’t ever turn your back on me you sorry shit! You got yours
coming,” I said. I never did anything to him, but I knew he would always
watch out for me.
One of the funniest things happened. A Vietnamese man that drove the
water truck to fill our water tower for our showers came one day to fill
it. He had a small boy with him. He was an old Vietnamese man
about seventy-five years old and the boy was his grandson. Mike and
I were having fun with the boy who was probably seven or eight years old.
We were trying to get him to hit his grandfather. He wouldn’t do it
so we kept teasing him and trying to coax him by offering him two dollars.
He took the two dollars, went up to his grandfather, and hit him. His
grandfather then grabbed him by the arm, pulled a stick out of the cab of
his trunk and beat the living shit out of the boy. We laughed so hard
at the boy but we also felt sorry for him because the old man had beaten
him so bad. The boy never would get out of the truck after that.
We had fun with that for a while.
It was the monsoon season and most of the time it was raining. During
one flight, we had landed outside of an LZ on a riverbank. We had shutdown
for about an hour to eat lunch and there were several kids from a village
nearby and had come up to the back of the chopper asking for food.
I reached into one of the boxes of c-rations and pulled a few cans out and
began handing them out but one of the boys, the bigger boy grabbed most of
them and took off running. I knew better the next time and would hand
a few out one by one.
A few minutes later, that same boy and a few others along with him came asking
for c-rations again. I knew it was the same boy. When I handed
a box of rations to the boys to split between them that same boy grabbed
the box and tried to run but I grabbed him and held him. I made the
other boys slug him a few times.
I knew this was how these kids had learned to survive, but I didn’t care.
I was going to teach him a lesson. It probably didn’t change his ways,
but I had fun trying. The other men just laughed and said I was crazy.
However, I told them that I was sick of the way these people are. I
guess that I just couldn’t understand the way these people had to live.
You try to help them and the act like that in return. I would just
say, “Fuck them!”
Days later, we had just dropped a sortie and the pilot got a special request
for another. General Davis’s helicopter had been shot down somewhere
in the jungle. We were to go pick up a platoon of marines and drop
them at the crash site to secure it. We flew to Bin-Hoe air base, picked
them up, and flew to the crash site. When we reached the site, it was
about seventy-five feet down in the thick of the trees with nowhere to set
down. I had to lower my ramp, hook up my rope ladder and throw it down
for the marines to climb down while we hovered over the site.
One by one, they climbed down the ladder. The last marines to climb
down waved at me to come closer and he spoke loud so I could here him.
“If anything happens to me, tell my wife and kids that I love them.”
I nodded that I would, later finding out that he and his platoon were ambushed
and all were killed.
More time went by uneventful. Things were boring at times. Long
days, short nights and to make it worse the humidity was making everyone
miserable. The only relief would be when we climbed above five thousand
feet where the air was much cooler. I spent time reading manuals to
learn all I could about CH-47s. Everything about the helicopter seemed
to come easy to me. Other FE’s came to me with questions and problems
they had and I would help them. On my down time doing PM’s I would
spend a lot of my time helping the others. I was getting the big head
but I tried not to be a show off. I loved helping when I could.
Not often, but sometimes I would be alone at the flight line while working
on my chopper. I would lie back on the aluminum and nylon bench seats
that lined the insides of it, napping or sometimes thinking about where I
was. It was at these times I felt most alone. The world I was
use to was a million miles away and almost forgotten. All my thoughts
of my friends and family had slipped away into another dimension.
My time here was near half completed and I was still alive. I knew
I couldn’t plan my death and time wasn’t yet running out. I knew that
new situations would arise. I needed only to wait for that right moment.
It would have to seem unplanned by others to have been a natural occurrence.
I knew all in the celestial including my father, would know what had taken
place. Nevertheless, my concern now was to prove myself here in the
flesh, leaving no doubt I was willing to give my life.
Rest and Relaxation!
I had been here six months and it was time for me to take an R&R so I
chose to go to Taipei Taiwan. Two of my Friends Taylor and Buddy had
been there before. Buddy was going his second time with me and said
he had a great time before. They were both from Tupelo Mississippi,
which was about an hour and a half from were I had lived. The Army
allowed us seven days of R&R and seven days of leave. We caught
a flight and landed Saturday morning in Taiwan. Buddy kept trying to
explain the best way to schedule the week.
When we reached the hotel a pimp would approach us. He would take us
into a room with many girls we could select. We could pay one day at
a time, but Buddy said the best way is to pay for a full week up front.
We could choose a girl, give her three hundred dollars and she would take
care of all our needs and be our guide for any sight seeing. That sounded
good to me so that is what we did. The girl I picked out called herself
“Where the hell did you get that name?” I asked but she never gave
me a good answer. She picked that name is all she would say.
She wasn’t the prettiest but she was nice looking and had large breasts.
Buddy chose a girl that went by the name, Lucy.
Taipai was beautiful, especially out in the country. We did a lot of
sight seeing at first, Buddy taking many pictures. As I looked up into
the mountains, they were beautiful, almost manicured. The streets in
the city were clean given most of the hi-rises were older. There were
plenty of new office buildings and hotels. The restaurants were modern
and nice. I ate sirloin steak twice a day. We also spent a lot
of time in the hotel room. I had sex four or five times a day and toward
the later part of the week, I was getting bored with Snow and had decided
that I wanted a new girl. I had seen two other girls in the bar earlier
that week I wanted. I told Snow that I wanted the rest of my money
“No! You had agreed on me for the week and there was no money left anyway,” she said.
I began cursing her. “You Fucking Whore!” Give me my money and get the hell out of my room,” I yelled at her.
She left and I thought she was going to bring back my money. I waited
an hour, until I knocked on Buddy’s door. When he opened the door,
I saw Snow sitting at a table in the corner of the room.
I shouted at her. “Where is my fucking money whore?”
“Settle down and come with me, I want to talk to you.” Buddy demanded
as we walked to my room. “She can’t go back until the end of the week,”
he tried explaining.
“Bull-Shit” I said, to him angrily.
“It would be an insult to her and she would lose her job,” he tried explaining.
“I don’t give a “Fucking Rats Ass” about her.”
“She’s also using her own money now because she has spent all that you gave her.”
“What the fuck do you think I should do?” I asked.
“It’s not but two days, let her finish out the week,” he answered.
“Well, tell her to get her fucking ass in here then. But this is bullshit,” I raved.
“Don’t give her a hard time!” he pleaded.
“I won’t, just send her ass back in here and I’ll put her ass to work,” I replied. He laughed and went back to his room.
A few minutes later, she entered the room, walked to the bed, removed her
clothes and knelt down in front of me like a whimpering dog. She began
undoing my pants as though she were begging me not to throw her out.
I said, nothing else to her. I just stood there while she went down
on me. I had been trying all week to get her to go down on me but she
kept refusing. I said, hardly anything else to her the remaining two
days, except to tell her what I wanted. I didn’t even say bye when
On the flight back, I told Buddy that if I went again I would know better next time. I would take it one day at a time.
“You shouldn’t get so bent out of shape,” he said.
“It was my week off and I should be able to enjoy it the way I want,” I responded.
Overall, I had a good time and I was glad to get away from Vietnam for a week.
Back in Nam!
A week after we had gotten back to our company Buddy told me that he had
gotten VD from Lucy. In addition, that Lucy was the same girl Taylor
had been with when they were there the first time, and that Taylor had gotten
VD from her.
“How stupid can you get?” I said, to him laughing.
“Taylor never told me he had gotten it.”
“The two of you’re from the same town, joined the army together and were
in all the same places together and Taylor never told you. What an
Ass-Hole. Why would you want the same whore he had anyway?” I
asked being curious.
“I thought she was beautiful and I liked her when I was there before.”
“What a fucking dumb-ass! You’re fucking stupid!” I told him
as I laughed. I never told anyone, but I didn’t let him live it down.
I kidded him about it for a long time after that.
I was back to working long days, flying routine missions. Sometimes
we wouldn’t get back to the hooch until ten or eleven at night. My
job had consumed every minute I was awake. I had totally forgotten
everything on the other side of the world, home, family, friends and freedom
to go where I wanted. Even though I had new friends, I couldn’t shake
the loneliness. I knew when the right situation came before me what
I had to do. I couldn’t discuss it with anyone. I kept it to
Everything continued routine during the next few weeks. At six thirty
on Friday morning, we were on the line doing pre-flights. I was walking
toward my chopper from the parts room when we began getting incoming from
a mortar attack. Explosions were going off all around us.
“Incoming! Incoming! Everyone was shouting. Our helicopters
were inside ten-foot concrete revetments but they were open on each end.
I heard about six explosions before I got three quarters of the way to my
revetment. I felt a sting on my side and fell to the ground.
I grabbed my side as I got up and ran inside Holloway’s revetment.
I sat next to him as we heard four more explosions and then they stopped.
We sat a few minutes making sure it was over. I pulled my hand away
from my side and blood was running out of my side onto the ground.
I had been sitting in that spot for a couple of minutes or longer and a small
puddle of blood had accumulated.
“Damn Jay! Were you hit? Holloway asked.
“I think so, I don’t know what happened. I was knocked down,” I replied holding my side.
“Medic! Medic!” He yelled.
“Damn Holloway! There are no medics around here. Get the first-aid
kit from your chopper,” I said, trying not to laugh.
“I know! I was calling for help Dumb-Ass!” He yelled at me.
Several others arrived as he got the first-aid kit. I had my flight-suit
on which was one piece. I tried unzipping it but I began feeling too
much pain. One of the others unzipped it to my waist and they pulled
it over my shoulders and down my waist. There was a steady flow of
blood so Holloway put a pad on it and applied pressure. I had a sudden
thought. Could this be it? In my heart, I wanted it to be but
I didn’t know how bad it was.
I looked up and there were at least twenty men standing around staring at
me. The Flight-Line commander came over and took charge.
“Chief! Is 022 ready?” he asked looking at Fred.
“Get it up and running so we can get him to the Medi-Vac Hospital in Long-Bin!”
“Petry you and Walker fly him up there!” He picked two pilots at random.
I passed out and awoke a few minutes later. The CO was squatting in front of me.
“Are you alright Lamour?” he asked. I shook my head yes.
“You can’t keep your ass out of trouble can you!” he said smiling and trying
to keep me alert. I tried smiling back but there was too much pain.
“Just hang in there. They will have the chopper ready in a minute,” I heard the engines starting on 022.
“Put him in the chopper!” He ordered. Several of the men picked
me up and placed me in the chopper. The loss of blood made me light
I knew I had passed out again because when I looked up Fred said. “Hang
in their Jay. We will be there in five minutes. That meant we
had been up for thirty-five minutes.
After landing, the ambulance transported me to the hospital where they removed
the shrapnel and stitched me up. I woke up an hour later. The
doctor came by and said it wasn’t bad enough to go home but I would be out
of commission a few weeks. I wasn’t sure how to react.
Four days later, I flew back to the company. If I had the money, I
could have gone to the beach for a week or two but I was broke. I would
hang around the company doing nothing until it healed enough to return flying.
All the men would ask me how I felt. I would pretend and say “Fine”.
I was getting bored after a week and a half. I went to the CO and asked him to put me back flying.
“It’s going to be four weeks before the stitches are out. What is your hurry?” he asked.
“Sir, I’m bored. I can’t stand sitting around doing nothing all day.”
“Go to the flight office and help out.”
“Sir, don’t do that to me. I can’t sit in an office all day.”
“Do you think you can handle it, flying ten to sixteen hours a day right now?”
“Yes Sir!” I said, trying to convince him.
“Your back on 055 starting in the morning.”
“Thank you sir!” I said, smiling.
“Have you thought more about staying in the Army?”
“Yes sir I have,” I answered not wanting to tell him.
“Well!” he asked wanting to know.
“Sir, I love what I’m doing but you’re asking me when I just got my ass blown
off. What do you think my answer is? Besides, I can’t handle
all of the chicken shit things that go on back in the states. I’m not
cut out for someone telling me what I can and can’t do other than my job,”
I explained not wanting to make him mad.
“To be honest with you son. I don’t like it either. Get back
to work tomorrow and take care of that side. By the way, this is yours,”
he reached in his drawer, took out a small felt case, and opened it showing
it to me. “It’s your Purple Heart! I would say congratulations
but I’ll just say thanks for your service.”
“Thank you sir,” I said, leaving his office.
I was back flying long hours and the only breaks we had were at fifty and
one hundred hours maintenance checks on our choppers. At fifty hours,
we would do a complete maintenance check and replace the main transmission.
This would take two or three days. At one hundred hours, we would be
down a week. The line chief would inspect the chopper from top to bottom
and we would have a long list of items to repair. During this time,
we would replace all three transmissions and two turbine engines along with
the six blades forward and aft. It was nice because as long as we stayed
on schedule, I worked when I wanted. I would assign the ground crew
most of the small items but always check their work. In addition, I
would be there to supervise larger items like the engines and transmissions
because it was my life on the line.
I enjoyed the down time because the CO allowed us a couple of days to drive
up to Long-Bin. There we would eat at different restaurants, do a little
sight seeing and enjoy the different nightclubs. However, most of our
off time we spent in the Company bar drinking. The men were always
talking of home and wondered why I didn’t have anything to say about it.
We were in the bar one evening just after payday. I had just lost five
dollars on the Miniature Roulette Wheel and sat drinking a beer and watching
a poker game when the CO and some of the pilots walked in. He had come
in our club before to make sure everything was okay so everyone remained
informal. He walked over to the radio and turned it off. That
caught everyone’s attention and the club became quiet as all eyes were on
“I would like to announce that A Company has its very own Medal of Honor
winner. Sergeant Jay Lamour!” Everyone looked at me and began
clapping and coming over to pat me on the back. The CO and pilots worked
their way toward me shaking my hand. “We’re going to Brigade Headquarters
tomorrow. Don’t stay up too late tonight!” He said smiling.
He and the other officers left. The beer drinking and congratulations
went on for another hour until I left going back to the hooch the get some
sleep. I lay there not able to sleep thinking about it. Fred
came in sitting on his bunk next to mine.
“Are you asleep Jay?”
“No, what’s up?”
“I wouldn’t be able to sleep either. I can’t believe it. You
are getting the Medal of Honor tomorrow. How does it feel?”
“I don’t know, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” I replied.
“Jay, are we friends? If we are, I want you to tell me something.
Are you afraid to die?” he asked. I was lying on my back as I looked
“Why do you ask that?”
“The things that have happened to you. I couldn’t have done them. I think to much about my family.”
“If you were put in the same situation Fred, I know you would do the same.”
“No I wouldn’t! I wouldn’t crawl to the enemy even if they shot me
in the neck,” he stated. I looked around to see if anyone else was
in the hooch and we were alone.
“I just don’t care about anything Fred. I don’t care if I live or die.”
“Why man? You are getting the Medal of Honor. They may even let you go home early.”
“Hell no! I ain’t going home early. Better men than me have put their time over here!” I said, angrily.
“What the hell’s wrong with you? Do you want to die?”
“I just told you I don’t give a damn!”
“What happened to make you like this?” he asked. I knew he wouldn’t
say anything to anyone but I didn’t want to tell him anyway.
“I can’t explain it. Life has dealt you a hand and me a hand. That’s all I can say.”
“If you ever want to talk about it, you know I won’t say anything.”
“I know. I just can’t talk about it,” I said, as I rolled over and fell asleep.
At eight o’clock the next morning, the CO and I were on our way to brigade
headquarters. The ceremony was to take place at one o’clock.
We arrived at eleven thirty and immediately went to the mess hall to eat
lunch. Afterwards we went directly to headquarters. They performed
the ceremony in front of a company of men in front of the Headquarters Building.
Four Star General Steven Cowans’ presented me the Medal and a promotion to
E-5. We then attended a celebration party where there were an even
amount of officers and enlisted men. I didn’t know anyone except the
CO but I had a good time. Lots of beer and whiskey floated around.
I tried not to drink too much and stay looking a little dignified.
Everyone congratulated me and seemed genuine. The party lasted three
hours and I met with General Cowans’ privately in one of the rooms.
I was offered to rotate home and complete my last months stateside or any
duty I wanted to finish my time but I declined.
We arrived back at the company a little before eight and went to the officers
club for another party. Normally Officers and the enlisted didn’t mix
but all the company was invited. I didn’t get drunk but I drank a few,
enough to get a little stupid sometimes. Some of the men were telling
me their stories of close encounters with death. I enjoyed all of them
and felt some of them deserved medals for what happened to them. This
party was less formal so I enjoyed it a lot more. Most of my friends
were there to talk to and I was able to relax.
The next morning I was back to my old routine. I think I was happier
flying during the day than any other time. The days and weeks passed
quickly. All of the excitement had calmed and I was flying more hours.
At least it seemed that way. I didn’t mind because I was so busy and
consumed with my work it made for quick days and nights.
I had gotten several letters over the months from kids and girls I knew from
home but I never wrote back. I thought of Sue a couple of times but
I knew the distance between us would cause any thoughts of me to fade away.
I got a letter from mom. The army informed her I had received the medal
and she begged me to write her. She had written my CO and told him
she had not heard from me. He called me into his office and made me
sit down and write her. I did and felt better by writing it but it
made me think of Dad. I still didn’t want to go home. I felt
there wasn’t anything there for me. My world was here or wherever I
was at this time. It was as if I had no hometown, as the other men
would refer when they talked of home.
Ambushed- My Third Encounter!
I had been here eight months and we were flying sorties into Cambodia on
a daily basis. They told us it was top secret, which we weren’t to
write home about it. This particular day we had carried three sorties
of food and ammo into an LZ. After dropping the load, we were taking
off. We were about seventy-five feet up and a couple hundred yards
out when I heard a popping sound. The pilots voice came over the headset.
“We’re under fire chief, we’re taking rounds!”
“Yes sir!” I yelled back over the head set. I was still lying with my head over the hole looking down.
“Chief, Get up here, Curtis has taken a round!” I moved up to the cockpit
to see what I could do for him and when I looked at his arm, half of his
wrist joint was gone and bleeding profusely.
“Is that the only place you were hit Lieutenant Curtis?” I asked him.
“I think so,” he answered. I unfastened his seat belt and told him
to come to the back so I could give him first aid. I pulled the first
aid kit down and opened it.
“Chief, let one of the other crewmen take care of that, get up here in the
right seat!” Captain Henderson yelled at me over the headset.
I told my Crew chief to finish the wrapping. I went forward and strapped
“Can you take the stick while I call it in chief?” The captain asked.
“Yes sir, I can handle it.”
“Okay, maintain that heading and hold your speed at eighty knots.
“Yes sir,” I answered being nervous and excited at the same time. Everything
happened so fast that it had finally hit me that this was really happening.
The pilot was calling in co-ordinances of the location where it happened
back to the LZ and calling forward asking them to have a medic ready when
we arrived. After about ten minutes of being on the radio, there wasn’t
anything else we could do except get Lieutenant Curtis to Medi-Vac hospital.
“Do you want the stick back now Captain?”
“No, you got it Chief,” I was surprise he said that because we were in the clear now.
“Do you want me to check on Lieutenant Curtis Sir?” I asked.
“No, I want you in the right seat in case something happens, we don’t know if we will take another hit,” he responded.
It was quiet for the next thirty minutes and I knew we were just minutes from Phuc-Ven.
“Do you want me to land it sir?” I asked with a little smile.
“No, I’m sure you could chief, but I’ll take it now. After we had landed,
they took Lieutenant Curtis to the hospital. I began to inspect the
chopper for any serious damage. I counted eleven rounds that we had
taken but no serious damage. We went ahead and flew back to Bearclaw
so I could begin the repairs. The line chief and I were doing a detailed
inspection and found three holes in the blades. Probably the same rounds
that came through the body.
We looked where I was laying and determined that one round missed my head
by about eight inches. I was thinking, “fuck! That was close!”
Everyone on the flight line was there looking and asking us questions.
After awhile we went to the club and drank a few beers. It took a day
and a half doing repairs and changing the blades. During this time
Major Davis, the CO gave my crewmembers and I time off to rest.
A week later, the CO called me into his office. After entering, I noticed Captain Henderson was with him.
“Chief, after talking to Captain Henderson I’m giving you both the Distinguished
Flying Cross. You will be awarded in a few days.” Captain Henderson
looked at me and said.
“Chief, you know only pilots receive the DFC don’t you?”
“I never thought about it sir, but I do now, thank you sir,” I said, to both of them.
“I have something else to say.” The CO stated. “You may have
a problem with some pilots or with your own men. If you catch any dissension
you come to me personally, do you understand?
“I can handle it Sir,” I said.
“Either way you can come to me,” he asked.
Four days later, they flew me to Ben-Hoe. I was standing with Captain
Henderson in Battalion Headquarters, in front of the battalion. The
Brigade Commander was pinning a DFC on me. After they read the orders,
I felt numb and wished my Dad were there to see it. “It might cover
a small portion of the shame I had caused him.” After the ceremony
I went up to Petry, we shook hands and thanked him for the stick time.
“Maybe I’ll teach you a few tricks now,” he said as I laughed knowing what
he meant. The stunts he had pulled in the chopper were what he was
I soon learned why the company commander was concerned. I could feel
the animosity from some of the other pilots. I’m just an enlisted man
and being awarded the DFC didn’t sit right with some. I was the only
enlisted man ever in my battalion, to receive it. I didn’t act any
different, especially around those closest to me. Things did get better
as time passed.
The CO and a few others had given me somewhat of a VIP status. I didn’t
want special treatment, but when a couple of the pilots were given a day
off to fly to the beach, they requested my chopper. On the other hand,
maybe the CO told them to take my chopper but either way I was going to the
We arrived on Saturday morning around ten o’clock. There were already
quite a few people soaking up the sun. It looked as though there were
people from all over Vietnam taking a day off. I strolled down the
beach with Fred, as we looked the women over. He was married and always
remained faithful to his wife. I had other plans.
Two Vietnamese women approached us wearing bikinis and they looked nice. They were prostitutes looking to make money.
“Do you want sex?” one of them asked. I looked at Fred.
“Where the hell do you fuck, in the shower? I asked looking around for a room.
“In the ocean, inside the tube,” she explained pointing out to the ocean.
“How much?” I asked.
“Get lost!” I said, turning away and began walking off.
“Ten dollars!” She shouted. I stopped and looked at Fred.
“Don’t look at me, she was talking to you,” I turned facing them.
“I’ll go ten dollars,” I told her. “I have never done it in the ocean
before. Are you sure you don’t want to?” I asked Fred.
“Your on your own,” he answered shaking his head. I took ten dollars out of my billfold and handed it to her.
“Come with me,” she said. I handed Fred my Billfold as the girl and
I walked over to the showers. She picked one of the inner tubes that
looked as if it came off a Two and a half ton truck. We walked to the
water and waded out to the deeper area, which was almost up to our necks.
She removed the bottom half of her Bikini and I followed suit by pulling
down my shorts. We entered the center of the tube with our arms hanging
over. I reached down to feel of her and I got an erection immediately.
It was somewhat awkward but I managed to get into her. After the cool
water had lowered the temperature of my body, it felt warm inside of her.
I had never experienced anything like it before. I was amazed at how
good it felt. It didn’t take me long. Afterwards we paddled to
the shore. I looked around for Fred and as I located him, I walked
to where he was.
“You ought to try that. I have never had anything feel so different in my life. It was really good,” I explained.
“Maybe the next time,” he responded knowing he wasn’t going to do anything.
I knew there would be no next time for that to happen again. We laid
on the beach the rest of the day and occasionally under umbrellas to take
a break from the sun. We ate shrimp and lobster for lunch at a restaurant
After returning to Bearclaw, I told the others in my hooch about what I had
done that day. I was still excited for days afterwards thinking of
what I had done in the ocean.
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