A black army sergeant manning this 50 caliber machine gun was severely maimed when a B-40 rocket burned through the one inch armor. He was a true hero. I was medevac’d that day and have never been able to learn his identity. I’ve heard conflicting stories–that he died, that he lived and received the Silver Star.
Two rockets struck the cox’n flat. The first tore the bar armor aside, the second burned through, spraying me and the radioman with shrapnel. Usually when this happened, the sailors inside were killed.
Forty-five years have passed since that Sunday afternoon. This evening I sit in my meadow and reflect on the years I’ve been gifted. Evening rays pierce gray clouds as dry west wind rattles reed canary seed heads. In the distance two bald eagles spiral on thermals, high above an angus carcass decomposing in the neighbor’s pasture. And again I wonder why I am here when men a few feet away were maimed or killed. It was just another monotonous operation. Travel up another narrow river, search for the elusive Viet Cong.
Five men died–four sailors and one army corporal. Eighty-two were seriously wounded.
For the full 18 August 1968 Operating Report go to: http://www.mrfa.org/rpts/aug68/R181530Z.pdf
Killed In Action that Sunday afternoon:
08/18/68 – Stephen C. Brunton, BM3, Ukiah, CA – ASPB-112-2 (Dinh Tuong)
08/18/68 – Billy D. Roy, BM3, Oklahoma City, OK – ASPB-112-1 (Dinh Tuong)
08/18/68 – Edward R. Darville III, GMG3, Hialeah, FL – ASPB-112-2 (Dinh Tuong)
08/18/68 – Patrick J. Griffin, RM3, Topeka, KS – ASPB-112-1 (Dinh Tuong)
08/18/68 – LUGO-MOJICA HECTOR CPL Toa Baja, Puerto Rico E Co 4th Bn 47th Inf Dinh Tuong
Mobile Riverine Force Association website provided the details for this post; http://www.mrfa.org/
We will remember all who have gone before us at the Mobile Riverine Force Association Reunion, August 28-September 1, 2013. For more information go to: http://www.mrfa.org/2013.Reunion.htm
This past year, after I published Muddy Jungle Rivers, I’ve been humbled by the comments I’ve received from the men who served on the boats. Thank you.