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Dick Ellis, SP5, USA (1967-1968) - 2

         Cal....  I remember Sgt. Munson saying: "Calvin is going to get that young fool killed yet!"  Actually, what I was doing was working for several "branches".  They first wanted me to travel up country and teach the local guys how to be TV weathermen.  (That's what I did before being drafted).  The engineers would say since you are going, take this part.   Then someone in photo said, "Hey, let the kid shoot some raw 16-mm while he is traveling because we have had a request from the Pentagon for documentary stuff."  Then you said."Since he is going anyway, why not give him a tape recorder" (Naugra III)  Then you started booking trips for me that were not to a detachment!  Like a leaflet drop in Cambodia-in a Beaver or Otter or whatever that thing was-a FAC flight out of Danang, (we took two rounds through the right wing).  Then a Cobra ride (we dusted some trucks and trails while I just hung on.)  and a Jolly Green ride 26-miles north of the DMZ to extract a Navy Jock who tried to "milk" the thing home and almost made it.  We winched him up with a broken leg.  A ride on the Long Tau River with the Vietnamese Navy looking for mines.  I still don't know what that S**T was I ate for lunch that day!  A ride on a "Spooky" all night long as we circled a Special Forces Camp under attack.  I will never again experience the feeling of helplessness being a couple of thousand feet up watching those tracers flying both ways until the dawn finally broke.  And finally the granddaddy of them all!  You booked me with the 9th Inf. Division and we went to a place called Dong Tam in the delta.  I was given the job of a gunner on a LOACH.  (2-man scout helicopter for you Navy pukes).  We rode that little thing all day looking for bad guys and sinking Sampans.  We finally found a bunch around a camp fire and laid it to em'!  That's when the kid jumped up out of a reed patch and fired about three rounds at us with an AK.  One hit the skid and burst apart, one small piece hit me in the shin and the rest felt like sand up my left arm and into my cheek.  A medic "fixed" it when we stopped for lunch but I never had guts enough to put in for a purple heart.  I just didn't feel like a Saigon warrior needed one with all the real wounds out there.  I did get a Bronze Star when I left and I always felt it had your wording in the citation.  I will never forget my experiences-my friends-and the special group of heroes I worked with at AFVN!   Dickie