Viet Nam Feb63-Aug63 Continued

The team members took turns up on the outpost. We probably spent about a week at a time. Meals for the troops were carried from camp each day, along with water. It was as I remember it at least a 30 minute climb especially if you were carrying a load. Life on the outpost wasn't bad, there were great sunrises and sunsets and the pace was a bit slower than in the camp. One evening one of the troops shot a deer from the watchtower and there was venison for the whole camp. Another night we listened to a tiger coughing and growling as he wandered up and the slopes below us. The time I was in country we really had no hostile action. The outpost would fire a few mortar rounds across the valley, but I don't think it had much effect. There was one night when I was on the outpost that we saw lights on the mountainside across the river, an area which was considered enemy territory. We checked in with Hq, but they didn't know of anyone in the area, so we started to fire mortar rounds. After a few minutes of firing we picked a frantic call in English on the radio. It seems an Army advisor was out with a Vietnamese army patrol and they were moving through the jungle at night using flashlights.... Luckily no one was injured.

One evening after returning from a trip to the market I was told to get together with the Vietnamese SF Sergeant who set out the nightly booby traps. I was to go along with him to see where he set them up along the sides of the airstrip and other places outside the camp. They consisted mostly of hand grenades attached to trip wires. Well as luck would have it, he met with an accident during the night. I don't remember exactly what, but it was serious enough that he was unable to go out the next morning to disarm all the traps. Guess who was out at first light trying to remember how many and were all those grenades were. Fortunately I was able to find them all, but it was a pretty tense time for awhile.

Once a month, two team members took a plane to Saigon for several days of R&R and shopping at the commissary. I was paired up with the Lieutenant for my trip. As it turned out a cousin of my fathers was living in Saigon with his family at the time and I was able to stay with them while I was there. This was very nice since I was not interested in the "usual R&R activities", I was able to enjoy good home cooking, good hot showers, a comfortable bed and was able to see the sights around town. They had a membership in the "Cirque Sportif (sp) " an exclusive country club in the city frequented by all the upper classes and diplomats. I was able to go as their guest, and spent a good bit of the time at the large pool. As I remember, the Lieutenant did most of the shopping and I didn't see him till it was time to load up back at the airport for the trip home.

While we were there, planes of various sorts that visited the camp. During our time at Gia Vuc, we had several parachute jumps, to keep up our status for jump pay. A Huey would fly in with parachutes and would be our "elevator" so every one could get a couple of jumps in.

Sometimes we would get a C-123 (?) for a trip to the market. This would be an overnight trip usually to Da Nang. We would come back with the same sort of supplies as we had carried on the trucks only more.

I can remember offloading 200 kilo bags of rice. I also remember that the air crews were not to happy with the mess left by the livestock after flight. We had occasional visits by piper cub type spotter planes. The pilots would drop in for lunch or some coffee. I remember one day the sergeant took a ride around our area and was firing out the back window with his Thompson. Another time we were returning from a trip to the markets. The road was a one lane dirt road in the middle of a valley, with rice paddies on both sides. The pilot had been flying cover for us because one of the bridges had been burned out the week before. Well I guess he was getting a bit bored, because he came flying the road from behind us and just over our heads then turned around ahead of us and came back the road playing chicken with the Captain's jeep, pulling up at just the last moment. Needless to say the captain was not too pleased. Several times we were visited by several Mohawks, who were carrying out operations in the area, but I don't think any of the landed, just buzzed the camp. One day we had an old marine twin rotor chopper land up on the outpost hill

I don't remember the reason but do remember that we were afraid it would end up staying there. The bailing wire and chewing gum had done about all it could do and it was barely enough.

That's it for now. I may add some more tales as I remember them.. RBC

A Gia Vuc Web site has been created by Jean-Luc Delauve and dedicated to the men of the 1st, 5th and 7th SFGA who served in Vietnam, but especially to members of the Gia-Vuc A-teams

Link to Jean-Luc's Web Site about Gia Vuc
Patrick Loughney's Vien Nam Site
The Vietnam War Historical Society

Photographs from Viet Nam
A trip to the Market
Bob's Page