Monday, July 13, 2009
The following is from a close friend who lives in Hawaii, a comrade in arms/ Vietnam Veteran that I respect very much, who had much contact/ combat, and dealings with my old Army helicopter outfit-- the 240th AHC at BearCat, RVN. [if my readers need more 'interpretation' just email me for the answers-- I speak the 'language'].
Thank you and Bless you, Bro. Dick!
Your friend, forever,
Great pix of a Huey gunship you posted. As a grunt, I loved the hell out of those birds. When in-contact, an ongoing firefight, we would yell over the net for a pair of them to hurry to our rescue. Their fire support gave us our chance for survival. Just behind them were the slicks that lifted us to safety. Thanks to them, we got to live through another day and drink warm beer that night. Yes, at rack time we checked to make certain that our weapons and extra magazines were at the ready and then thanked God for keeping us alive that day and asked for His help for the days to come. During the terror of a firefight is when you really feel close to Him. He also helps to comfort the involuntary body shakes that follow after the firefight subsides. You do not survive these experiences without being a committed believer .
Thought you might identify/appreciate the following. I blatantly stole it from another site I frequent.
Man In The Doorway - The DoorGunner
They came in low, fast and hot, just skimming the tree tops, dropped their tails in a flare and rocked forward, and we grunts raced for the open doorway. This was always the worst moment for us boonie-rats, we couldn't hear anything but the roaring whine of the straining engine and our backs were exposed to the hostile tree line. The best we could hope for was a sign on his face, the man in the doorway, as he leaned out with a strong arm to help us up or lay down a steady stream of suppressing machine gun fire.
Sometimes you could quickly glance at his face and pick-up a clue as to what was about to happen. We would pitch ourselves in headfirst and tumble on the slippery riveted aluminum deck, grabbing frantically for a handhold and will that son-of-a-bitch back into the air.
Sometimes the aluminum deck was slick with blood or something worse. Sometimes something of human origin had been left in the shadows under the web seats. And sometimes they landed in a shallow river to wash them out. Sometimes they were late and sometimes they were waiting in an alternate LZ with their blades turning in a lazy arc, while we scrambled towards them.
After the ride, the getting-off and going-in was the worst part for us grunts. But this was all he knew, this was his world, the man in the doorway. He was always standing there in the noise, watching, urging and swinging out with his machinegun. He would grab one end of the plastic body bag and heave with all his strength. Then he would lean out and spit, spitting the taste away, as though it would go away. It didn't go away, it stays with you forever.
They came in low, fast and hot, just skimming the tree tops, dropped their tail in a flare and rock forward. He began to kick out the boxes, bouncing against the skids and pilling up on each other on the ground. Food and water and ammo --- a thousand pounds of C's, warm potable water and rounds, rounds for the M60, M16 and the much needed 40-mm grenade rounds for the M79 grenade launcher. A half a ton of life and death to keep us going till his next arrival. When the deck was cleared, we would pile on the body bags, swinging them against their lifeless weight and throw them through the doorway, his doorway, onto his deck and nod. He'd speak into that little mike attached to his helmet and they would go nose down and lift into their flight, their latest extraction completed.
Sometimes he'd give a thumbs-up, sometimes a clenched fist or sometimes just a sly, knowing smile. We knew that he was going and that we were staying, but we also knew that he would be back in a blink when we called for him. He'd be standing in the swirling noise and the rotor wash, back to let us rush through his doorway and skid across his slippery deck and will that son-of-a-bitch back into the air.
They came in low, fast and hot, just skimming the tree tops and drop their tail in a flare and rock forward. He'd kick out the boxes and help slide the litter across across his deck. And sometimes he would reach down and grab the IV drip or brush the dirt from a bloodless face. He'd hold still arms flailing in pain, wipe away stinging tears and give a thumbs-up to the pilot and you're only minutes away from white sheets, surgical saws and plasma.
They came in low, fast and hot, just skimming the tree tops and drop their tail in a flare and rock forward. We grunts, we boonie-rats would never, ever, hear that sound again without our hearts pounding in an adrenaline rush. We listened for the staccato gunfire from his M60 machinegun and looked up to the courageous man in the doorway.
It may be a case of Post Traumatic Stress Denial, but every time I hear a copter flying overhead I stop and look up. No longer are they Hueys and they don't have doorgunners anymore, but I love the chop-chop-chop sound and gratefully recall the times they lifted my sorry, tired, sweat soaked, muddy butt out of more than one hell-hole.
Trust that you enjoyed.
Take good care -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am a soldier. Pray for me. Pray that I will always be here for you. For when I disappear from this land, so will you.