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Not long after my arrival at Binh Thuy, R.V.N., home base of the Navy HA(L)3-SEAWOLVES I started flying SEALORD's, running mail, parts, supplies to the various gunship detachments throughout the Mekong Delta, from 8/70 to 12/70. During this time I was also involved in SEAL insertions and extractions.
In September 1970 an operation was planned near Det.1- Nam Can/ Solid Anchor at the southern end of the U Minh Forest. We/ SEALORD would insert the SEAL Team up river from a blocking force of River Boats; have a look see and sweep back to the boats for extraction. After insertion we/SEALORD would remain at Nam Can in case the SEAL's needed a quick extraction.
We came under intense fire during the insertion and the SEAWOLF gunships rolled in to quiet the situation. During the second run, one of the gunships came under intense fire and sustained numerous hits and the co-pilot was hit in the leg. CHARLIE broke contact and the SEAL's decided to continue with the mission. Not long after we had returned to Nam Can to asses the damage and get medical for the wounded co-pilot, we received an urgent call from the River Boats. Two of their men were hit- one critical. They had broken contact and headed back downstream for the medivac.
It was decided- do to the severity of the wounded man- to go against the usual procedure of flying into a situation with only one gunship. Det.6 out of Song Ong Doc would be "SCRAMBLED" to assist. We departed Nam Can to do the medivac with the lone gunship and Det.6 would join ASAP. Upon arriving on station we were informed that the boats had moved back down river out of contact and all was quiet. The other gunships were not on station, but it was urgent that we get the wounded medical help ASAP- it was life or death.
We all decided to go in with the gunship covering us. As we came in- low and slow- to land on the Tango boat, all hell broke loose. I was in the right-starboard- door with my free 60 ready. The adrenaline was rushing through my body as I scanned for "CHARLIE". We were approximately 40 meters from the boat when a Lotus-3 man VC- team popped up from behind a bush , about 40-50 meters away. Ol' slow mo set in. I keyed the intercom-TAKING FIRE- 3 o'clock-TAKING FIRE- 3 o'clock. They had their AK 47's on full auto as I let loose with the 60-everything was in slow mo it seemed-my heart pounding-mind racing. I could see the impact of the M-60 hit the first guy in the chest, his AK went up and back as the 60 tore through his chest, second guys head exploded, third guys chest exploded-no more bad guy's for now.
We landed on the Tango boat with the M-60 in my right hand I grabbed the first wounded, then the critical sailor- I keyed the intercom- wounded loaded, clear for take off. As we lifted off, I became aware of the gunship putting in a strike where I had just got my first confirm. Then the call from the Det.6 gunships as they joined in to suppress the fire from the tree line. Welcome to WAR. The wounded all made it-SEAL's were extracted by the boats.