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Posts Tagged ‘Camp Evans’

I still vividly remeber the first time I saw the Rakkasan’s symbol.  It was outside the battalion headquarters at Camp Evans.  I came around the corner of the building and saw it standing there.  It was in stark contrast to the olive drab, the Vietnam dirt and the gray brown wood of the buildings.  I pretty much stopped in my tracks and just looked the big red inverted arch.  I thought it looked asian, like Chinese writing.  I thought it odd that the 3/187th would have such a symbol.  I never took a picture of it.  I think it was becasue I hadn’t received a camera from home yet.  I do remember that it was big and solid, not some flimsy thing.  I vaguely remember a ring of rocks around it and the ground was well kept.  It felt like a shrine or somehting.  I probably asked a few people about it, but I don’t remember.

It wasn’t until years later that I really came to understand what it really means.  The symbol is actually a Tori.

I took the picture of this Rakkasan Tori at this years “Hamburger Hill” Reunion Ceremony, which was held at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 

Active duty soldier at the Rakkasan speakers poudium

Active duty soldier at the Rakkasan speakers poudium

Also see:

View of Song BO River, where we ambushed vietcong in a sampan.

After striping down to his fatigue bottoms he dove into the river and swam out to where we last saw the sampan.  When reached the middle of the river he dove down and it wasn’t long before he located the sampan.  After a few more dives he came up with an AK-47.   He swam it to shore and then returned to dive a few more times, but didn’t find anything else to retrieve.

Our platoon leader wanted us to do some sweeps of the area on the other side of the river, so he requested helicopters be sent out to ferry us across the river.   We patrolled down the side of the river to see if there was anything before the helicopters arrived, then moved to an area where the helicopters could land to pick us up.  The Huey’s arrived and picked us up for the short hop across the river.  The AK-47 we recovered was given to one of the door gunners to be returned to Camp Evans.

Once everybody was on the ground we did a sweep of the area along the river.  We didn’t find any dead VC or anything to indicate that anybody made it out of the river.  While checking the shoreline, I found a piece of shrapnel from the big gun’s rounds.  The piece was about eight inches long and as sharp as a knife.  I showed it to all the guys and at some point trough it aside.  We were glad that none of us got hit by any of the shrapnel.

Our platoon broke into squads to RIF the entire area.  We spent a good part of the day looking for signs of the enemy, but found nothing.  Late in the day we picked out an area near the river the setup another night ambush.   The area was flat so there was room to set up a good ambush NDP.  Watch detail was assigned, those not on watch went to sleep.  I was one that didn’t have to pull guard until after midnight, so I went to sleep shortly after nightfall.  I’m not sure what time it was, but those who were sleeping were awaken by those on guard.  One of the men said they had seen two or three VC approaching our NDP, appearently they heard something from our position, turned and disappeared into the dark.   We went on high alert, not knowing if they would return and attack our position.  The remainder of the night was quiet.

The next morning we patrolled the hills above the river, looking for the enemy or their caches.  We didn’t find anything.  We heard that there was another platoon downstream from our ambush site.  We were told that they found atleast one VC body along the river.

When we returned to Camp Evans, there was an article about our night ambush in the Stars Stripes newspaper, it said the enemy body count was close to 400.  We couldn’t believe what we were reading, we thought maybe we killed 4 VC, not 400.

I heard about a new soldier that shot himself in the leg shortly after being assigned to our platoon.  He was one of two guys that joined out 1st platoon.  The guy that shot himself had not even been out on patrol yet.  We didn’t know for sure if it was an accident out not, but we figured that he probably shot himself on purpose.  We figured that he had because we were all trained on how to handle weapons safely.  Recently, while talking on the phone with Alvin Dunn, our squad leader in Vietnam, he told me that he was in the barracks when the guy shot him self in the foot.  He said the guy intentionally pointed his M-16 at his foot and pulled the trigger.  Alvin said he couldn’t believe what he saw.   I don’t know if the guy faced a court martial or not.   A self inflicted wound was and still is considered a serious ofense.  I need to ask Alvin if he knows what happened to the guy the next time I talk to him.  I wonder if the guy is still alive today.  I know now that he wasn’t cut out to be a Rakkasan in the 101st Airborne.

Troops waiting for Hueys at Camp Evans

The picture attached to this post was taken by one of my friends.  You can see me sitting in the front row with my helmet on my knee, close to the center of the picture and below the tower.  Staff Sergeant Mayhew is standing on the very right side of the picture.  We were ready and waiting for the hueys to come in and pick us up.  I’m not sure if we were head for a fire mission in the jungle or to a fire base.  Most of the time I didn’t know where we were being airlifted to, it was usually some where in the jungle.  We spent a lot of time humping through the jungle.  We also spent a good deal of time on fire bases located mostly on the top of hills and mountains in the jungle.

Val Wuthrich and Crutz

Val Wuthrich and Ralph Crutts at Camp Evans

This picture was taken at Camp Evans.  Ralph Crutts, ‘Little German’, was a good friend.  Most guys went by their last name, so that’s usually the only name I can remember.  Crutts and I spent a lot of time together in the third squad.  He will be in a lot of my Vietnam stories.

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