View Full Version : 35 years ago, today.....In Vietnam

05-30-03, 01:05 PM
May 30, 1967
By Cook Barela

from the book; "Dreams of Glory," unedited

The morning was as usual, road sweep with nothing different. We turned over the convoy we were escorting to “Charlie” Company 1/7. They were to escort the convoy the rest of the way to the Special Forces Camp, west of Hill 52.

We were on our way back when they got hit. We turned around and at the outskirts of the battle the enemy engaged us.

Up ahead Charlie Company was taking a beating and as the platoon engaged the enemy I ended up running forward in between the convoy’s trucks that were being ripped apart by bullets holes, shrapnel, mortars and rocket rounds.

Many of the drivers and passengers had been hit. They had been killed or wounded. I left Rahm my A-gunner behind. He and the squad of Marines from 1st platoon engaged the snipers and a harassing force the enemy had set up to keep us from getting to Charlie company, who were in the middle of a kill zone.

As, I crawled and ran forward, I could hear the cry of “Guns Up.”

The call was coming from where the thick of battle, where the fire fights was heavily being waged.

When I reached them, I was told that two of their gun teams were out, wounded or killed.

For the next 45-60 minutes Marines I had never seen like a relay team were being shot and replaced to my left and right as I engaged the enemy. Soon it was an NVA m-60 machine gun team across the road that I was firing at.

The bullets from the two guns streaked across the roadway like two red beams of light, a stream of red tracers being fired at the source of their origins.

The Marines from Charlie Company were risking their lives to keep my machine gun fed, as I unloaded hundreds of rounds into the enemy forces that just kept firing back.

In front of me were the disabled trucks, tanks and other vehicles, riddled with bullets. Grenades, mortars and automatic rifle fire were striking the ground all around us. Bullets were bouncing off the trucks under carriage and bouncing every which way.

For what seemed like hours we fought this way, as 1st platoon remained pinned down forty-fifty yards to my left. They had no choice but to wait for reinforcements to arrive from Hill 65.

I was alone fighting alongside “Charlie” Company Marines and as they kept feeding my machine gun, I felt that they were being slaughtered left and right. The enemy force was unrelenting. They were determined to wipe out the Marine force on our side of the roadway.

It seemed like hours before 1st platoon Marines swept in from our left, Rahm who had been searching all over trying to locate me found me, still behind the gun.

The guns barrel melted.

He bend over to remove the barrel. In my mind. I was still firing, my trigger finger frozen on the trigger, pulling back hard on the trigger, but the bullets were no longer coming out.

I had seen them, the bullets, drop, slowly as they came out the barrel just a few feet in front of the gun.

I was not moving, and Bruce Rahm thought I was dead.

How long I had been firing while frozen in that time zone I cannot recall. I only remember that the enemy’s machine gun fire finally stopped.

When I saw Rahm, I really saw him it seemed for the first time in months. We had been on patrols and many night ambushes since Operation Foster, but the Rahm I once knew was now different and as I looked up at him, I saw him differently.

He was not the Rahm I remembered before Foster, he was not the laughing caring, joking Rahm. This Rahm before me was a warrior, a killer.

He was a Marine who had shot and killed many of the enemy. In my mind I had not seen, Rahm for months not since operation Foster and the battle we fought there together. The time he helped carry me back from when I had been wounded, when he picked up the pieces of the machine gun torn apart by the enemy’s grenade. Now, I saw him differently. He was mean and a killer. He had changed.

At that moment in time it was as if I had awaken from a four month long dream. A dream of shadows and vague images, I had awakened from my dream only after the worst and most fierce of battles, I had seen in months. The worst I had ever been in. When the battles roar ceased its clamor and wailing sound, I came back. Came back to life and Rahm was there. A Marines Marine, a friend at my side, and I knew everything was going to be all right.

A poem written a couple of years ago, about this day...

http://vietnamdiary.bizland.com/cookpoems.jpg (http://vietnamdiary.bizland.com/ScentofIndiscreation.chtml)