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ďDocĒ Watsonís Tall Comanche Diary

May 23, 1969 - August 7, 1969

 

            The following are the writings of the diary that I kept while I was a Combat Medic with Tall Comanche. It has been transcribed just as it was written, and no corrections have been made.

             Much of this diary was written at night while in my foxhole and by the light from the moon, or the from the glowing embers from my cigarette. For this reason, much of the text wanders across the pages in an disorderly manner. At times when I didnít have the time to make entries or it was too dark to write, I had written about the events at a later period of time making the exact dates difficult to determine. The diary is very short, and starts about a month and a half after joining up with Tall Comanche and ends after I was wounded and recovering in the rear. 

The hole in the pages is from a piece of shrapnel that went through my chest pocket, through my Cav wallet, through my diary and stopped at the back cover of my address book.
 

Diary

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Today is Friday the 23 of May 1969. I thought Iíd start this diary so that I could remember some of the crazy and hectic moments here while Iím in Viet Nam.

The days here in the field really havenít been too bad. There has been a few hairy fire-fire in which a total of three men were killed.

One that was killed I helped treat along with two other Medics. We kept him alive with Albumen and Artificial Respiration. He was sent out on a Medavac; but died shortly there after.

This was my first contact with a seriously wounded person. His arm was busted in many places and hung like a rubber hose. The side of his head and upper back were partially blown away.

At first I remember acting panicky, but shortly was suprisingly calm. I think it was because of the help of the other Medics that kept me that way. I was not needed for the other two KIAís, because they killed instantly by incoming motar.

The days that we were hit by the gooks, we killed many and took quite afew unhurt and wounded captives.

After all this; it luckily was our turn to go in and secure the LZ. We sure needed the rest.

Since Iíve been here in ďCĒ company alot of weird things have happened.

The first day I got to the company, the company decided to use a mule in the jungle to carry heavy weapons. That didnít work to well because the mule slowed us down too much, so about four days later we sent it bach to LZ Jess on the log bird.

Another weird thing that happened was on one of our CAís. One helecopter crashed to the ground about three clicks from our target. Luckily there was only minor cuts and scratches.

Just a couple of days ago just after recieving log; with our platoon in the lead for point, ran into a hive of bees. Boy, Iíve never seen anybody move so fast in the opposite direction. Two men from our Platoon, and one from the CP were Medivaced back to Tay Ninh. We now still have a couple of men running around here with fat arms or faces. I thought I was to escape the bees; but I didnít. One of the men came running up to me yelling ďMedic, MedicĒ, with bees swarming around his head. Well instantly one of the bees decided to stick his little stinger in my ear lobe. We got most of the bees out of the area bf popping smoke. When I needed mine most; I reached back for it, but found out someone had barrowed it earlier without letting me know.

That wasnít all that happened that day. The day was late when we got to out FOB area so we were digging our holes in the dark. We only got about half way finished with our hole when it started to rain. Everything was getting wet, and the foxhole was filling up faster with water then we could dig it. After finally setting down to rest on the nice wet ground, the gooks decided to return to their bunkers located just out side of our perimeter. Everbody got up and jumped in their fox holes of mud. What a mess. Iíve still got mud on me now from that day. Sofar I think that that day was the most miserable of them all.

I could go on and on with the little crazy incodents that happen day after day. But I would be witting in this book for ever.

From here on in this book Iíll be writing about the things that seem interesting to me; when I have the time.

 

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Saturday May 24, 1969

Today we CAíd from our old location to a point near LZ Ike. It was heard that he NVA might be in this area. Well we did find out that they were in this area. You wouldnít believe that they would still be here after the area had just been bombed earlier by B-52ís.

Our company had to find out the hard way. Our 1/6 element was walking point when two men got wounded. One was Seargent Dodd on the left file, and the other was a man from the right file. Dodd was wounded on the lower portion of his right leg. I applied a pressure dressing; and gave 1/4 gram of morphine. The other man was shot in the stomach.

Both were Medivaced about 25 minutes after contact. Dodd will make it for sure, but I would put only about 60% odds on the other man making it.

After we pulled back I noticed two bullet holes through the right side of my pack. At the times the rounds went through it the pack was to my right side luckily. The only things damaged in my pack was a bottle of calamine lotion, desenex ointment, and a pair of scissors. Makes me mad, now my packs no longer waterproof.

Right now we are set up in an open field just outside of the bunker complex. After we left the attack area Jets and Choppers came in and took over, so I hope there arenít any gooks left because were low on ammo, and this open field is kinda flakey. Especially with a full moon out; just enough to try to write this in the half clouded moonlight.

Well all thatís left is to see what happens.

 

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Tuesday May 27, 1969

Well the area was gas before we went in. We found some of the packs; but were torn apart by the gooks. The two guys are okay, and are being transferred to another hospital.

Nothing happened lately. Looks like we Charlie Alfa tomorrow. Sounds like another bunker complex.

Canít believe it. Has rain in the last four or five days.

Think Iíll get an Army ring.

Better start plans on tha ďAĒ Frame.

 

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Friday 13 June 1969

Well weíve been out of the LZ for about a weeks now. We went into the LZ the day after we spotted the gooks in a trail near a bunker complex. We killed one and couldnít find the other. We were near one of their training areas. What a layout. Just like back in the states.

Well everything went okay at the LZ. A few gooks here and there tripping flares, a few mortar rounds close, thatís about it.

Then it happened. One day after coming out of the LZ. First off earlier in the day we ran into a couple of gooks riding bikes down the ole Mustang. We fired at em and chased em into the woods. So no more of em. We recieved log and was waiting for a CA. We had eighteen birds to pick us up for the CA. The first eight were coming in and all hell broke loose. We were getting AK fire and mortars. The first lift got out and left the rest sitting (down low). I was lucky and was on the first lift. We were heading for our destination, but turned back to help out the rest of the company.

Well when we were back we jumped out of the bird and stayed low because there was still small arms fire. We ran to an old FOB area where everyone was setting up. We all dug those old foxholes deep, believe me. Well after getting half way organized I had heard about the wounded. 3/6 Mike India was killed while trying to get on the chopper. Our Mike (1/6), RTO (Frank), and Logman (Rick) were all wounded. There was a total of about 14 wounded still havenít heard any word on any of the wounded.

We left on foot to get to another clearing to make another CA. As we were leaving we had more small arms fire and mortars. No one was hurt, except a few of us got sick after lying down by a CS canister.

We got to our clearing and was ready to CA again. The birds were coming in, but one recieved fire. That was the one our CP was supposed to go out on. Boy you should have seen that bird coming in. He was coming just perfect, we thought. He was just about to land and he started spinning right between us. I back up about 20 feet to avoid the rotter tail blade. Boy did it come close. Well the Chinook came in and hauled the bird out. Then we were on our way with a safe CA. The bird was shot by a couple of gooks walking on the Mustang Trail below.

Anyhow we CAíd out of the area close by. We then humped back into the area where we first had contack. We saw bookoo gooks, but none ever got close enough to kill - - - Sofar allís okay. No contact, no gooks, and weíre still working on the Mustang.

8:00 AM

2/6 just got back after chasing chickens with HE rounds in a 79. Missed the chickens.

 

Sunday June 15, 1969

Well Friday the 13th definately showed up as bad luck. We had one man killed and one wounded. Both in two six. But later that day we ran across ten thousand pounds of rice (40, 120 pound bags).

Iím 6 Bandaid now. Big deal. At least I donít have to risk my neck going out on patrols. It was on a patrol that we got the one KIA and one WIA.

 

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Tuesday June 17, 1969

Well right now itís raining, and Iím nice and dry in my hooch. Just got through filling my canteens.

Last night we had a freek accident from the artillery. One of their marker rounds landed in our perimeter at our night location. It was a dud round until it exploded in the trees: injuring five. One seriously in the arm.

6 Bandaid should be coming back next week. Iíll be going back to 1/6.

 

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Saturday June 21, 1967

6 Bandaid came back for one day, so I went back to 1/6. 6 Bandaid stitches came out; had to go back in. We then merged with Ridgerunner. Ridgerunner had about 35 wounded men in three days.

We FOBed together one night. Then another when we were up all night and and morning with small arms fire, motar and B 40.

B 40 killed 3 men. One was 3/6 Bandaid. 3/6 was injured pretty bad with wounds on side and side of head. Medivac took him and 7 other wounded. Four other wounded were sent in on the Medivac with the dead a break of day.

We are now about to CA and get the hell out of here. Ridgerunner to the LZ and Commanche a click out. Probably to go in tomorrow.

Sofar in the past two weeks we have had 5 killed. Flakey

 

Monday June 30, 196

Just set up on a trail near where SGT Dodd got shot about a month ago. Before the holes were dug or anything four gooks walked into a man setting up trips. Neither had a weapon; turned and ran both screaming from fright. 79ís were used, and a little 60 fire. Donít think we got em though, they were probably running too fast.

Another gook came down the trail in the other direction. He passed over one trip and hit one further in. Clamors were blown, but were too far out for effect. Gook was killed with 60 mm. He dropped 6 feet in front of hole on path. Papers showed he was NVA Log man.

Only 94 days left in Nam. Should be going on R&R first week in August. Its 7:00 P.M. now and getting dark.

 

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Thursday August 7, 1969

Iím a little behind in my book.

August 24, 1969 I was Medavaced only with twelve others to 15th Med in Tay Ninh.

We were just Fobbing at about 4:30(civilian time). About a hour after getting into position and getting the fox holes half way dug we were hit by a rocket of some kind by and unknown source. Some movement was heard earlier so evidentally it was NVA. The explosion was reported as a B-40 rocket, but everyone else thought bigger.

One man was almost directly hit by it instantly killing him. His right leg was blown some 30 feet away. Only three were seriously hurt. they are now in Japan. Frank, Bob, and Harold.

The rest of us were wounded slightly. Whapp, Berry, Routhier, and a few others. We met some of the others wounded the day before at trans. DeJesus, George Stappleton and Dave.

My R Leg still has shrapnel in it even after the doctor tried to dig it out.

Iím working at the Aid Station now. Easy Job. Wasnít suppose to come in this early but being wounded helped.

I leave for R&R the day after tommorrow and hardly wait.

We should be moving up to Quan Loi soon.

Got my Air Medal yesterday.


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Updated February 23, 2003