7 Oct: Just got back from Can Giouc-have to go back tomorrow. Had to check out the casualties, pick up their clothing and ID the KIA. The casualties were unnecessary. They got lax and were riding topside in the sun. They got hit with 4 rockets. They got excited and reported 2 casualties that weren't and missed 6 that were. Had a time straightening out the casualty reports. Had to go all the way to Saigon to ID the body. He'd already been moved before I got there. I commandeered an E5 from the field for the rear area.Carried a whole case of candy on the way back from Can Giouc to give to the kids. I gave it all out before I got to Tan An. The bridge is out and there's a 30 minute wait. Must have been 200 kids come by while we were waiting to cross the river. I've got at least 3 days work in Can Giouc and we got a new Sgt Major in. He'll probably want to have a meeting.
11 Oct: My clerk has been messing up. Having problems with supply and had to go to Can Giouc to straighten out the equipment and weapons. After I got through, I rushed back to work on the promotions . My clerk had lost all the paper work.I started back checking him and found that he messed up everything he did for the past 2 days. I was really hostile over that and trying to calm down when I got a hippie replacement in. He's really weird. He gave his rifle away at Bearcat, refuses to get a haircut, wont go to the field or carry a rifle. I called him in for counseling and he told me that he didn't even kill little birdies when he was a kid. I got him up for a Special Courts Martial. He's RA with 2 years in and now he's trying to ghost. Lose my leave. Can not leave my clerk alone for 12 days. It is not all his fault. He does OK on Morning Reports. The old clerk did not teach him the other forms and we are having a excess of courts martial and flagging actions right now. They're having problems in the field again. I'll have to go back as soon as I catch up here.
13 Oct: The XO had to go to Can Giouc for a courts martial so I'm holding down the fort here. I've got 4 men waiting courts martial in the barracks. Two are for drunk and disorderly and two for refusing to go to the field.I have quite a few duds in the unit right now. I don't know what the trouble is- I'm moving back to the field tomorrow to try to find out. My clerk turned out pretty good after I trained him but, he can't get the field report straight. My hippie finally made it to the field. The XO had to supervise him getting on the truck. He tried to get away again. I think he is a little crazy or pretty slick. He's trying to get kicked out of the Army. I am going to stay out till the company is back in shape. It may take 3 or 4 weeks so I may not be able to write.
16 Oct: Been on the move since I left Dong Tam. The unit was in the field when I got to Can Giouc. I spent the day checking into my troubles there. I got 2 of the troops that wouldn't go to the field squared away. They're ready to go now. I got the details organized to build more bunkers. I went to the field with resupply. Couldn't get a chopper so I went on an armored boat. I had a good talk with the CO about our problems and got the accelerated promotions signed. We set the CP up on the boat and slept of the metal deck. We were cruising down the river the next day and got in a pretty good shootout. It's a lot better from the boat. It's armor plated and mounts 6 machine guns. Had to walk back a mile back to base camp from the docks. After I finished running around, I found that my feet are infected. The Doc got carried away and put me on 3 days bedrest. Cant stay in bed-the phone rings about every 10 minutes.
18 Oct: The doc say's if he catches me out of bed he's going to move me into the Aid Station.I've got all 4 of my men who refused to go to the field squared away and they are going out now. If they do good I can get the charges dropped. Afraid we'll get all the Battalions problem cases now. The other units try to put them in jail. Have about 12 waiting for Courts Martial now. That's one reason I go to the field. The troops all try to outdo me in the field. I'm the "shortest" man left in the field. If I go out "short timers" can't holler about not going. The other First Sergeants don't go out and their troops sure talk bad about them.We have routine blocking positions now. Stay in one area for 3 days. Sometimes we ride around on the boats for half a day. I think we've about cleared all the big VC units out of our area.
19 Oct: Meeting scheduled with the Sgt Major today. After the meeting I have to organize my NCO's and Sgt of the guard. Got to get things ready for the field. We'll be out for 3 days and wont get any resupply.
20 Oct: Hectic day. Trying to get ready to move into the field tomorrow. Really enjoyed myself today. Division called and asked if I wanted to go before the E9 Board. I told them to shove it. (Going to the field instead) I didn't want anything from the 9th Division but a port call.
25 Oct: Interesting field move. We had a last minute change of mission and had to go out on a goose chase after some VC they thought were near the base camp. Shortly after the troops moved out, they decided to change the money. What a mess that was. Most of the troops money was in the unit safe in Dong Tam. The XO brought it out and we had to collect everyone together. There was a lot of paperwork so we didn't get started until 1300. We just got started and the S3 wanted us on the boats. Everything was hectic until we moved out at 1530. We didn't get into our area until after dark. We stumbled around and found a place to set up. We left the equipment on a dike about 4 ft above water level. The next morning, everything was under water. The tide came in. There was a Vietnamese family there that was something to see. The old man had been stooping over his rice fields so long he couldn't stand up. The mother only had one leg. Her crutches were 2 different sizes. She hobbled around pretty good though and took care of 5 kids.The smallest kid, about 2, had put a rubber band around his finger. The end of his finger had died and turned black. The medic said it was about ready to fall off. They had a one room grass shack. The mother sat on a small board on a dirt floor and cooked over a small fire. She washed her pots in the muddy moat water. The whole family was happy.They laughed a lot. We traded them C Rations for cooked rice. We tried to talk to them, but didn't do to well. We did manage hand signals though. I hope we can get back to see them again.
26 Oct: Good day yesterday. They canceled our mission so we had maintenance and training. We finally had time to talk to our young NCO's. About dark we scarfed a case of steaks and had a cookout. We have a half of a fuel drum cut into for a wash rack. We put a screen over it and made some wood chips an had a nice barbecue. The troops really enjoyed it. It was after dark when we got it fired up. Everyone drank beer and told war stories while we waited for the steaks.Everyone enjoyed it. Going to do it again when we come from the field if we can capture some more steaks. Quit hoping for me to come home early. I'm hardcore. Going to stay for the full tour.The rainy season is finally over. It hasn't rained for 3 days. The ground is starting to dry up enough to walk around in shower shoes. Got word from the rear today that they had caught one of my deserters who's been missing since 13 May. Probably have to go back to the rear and work up Courts Martial charges on him. I'd rather stay here.
28 Oct: Been in the field a day and a half. Had to move out fast. Got 3 VC and think we got 2 more so it was worth the effort. We're packing up to move out for 3 days tomorrow morning. Hope to finish our bunkers before we go. Intell says they are due to hit our base camp during the first week of November. The Captain is building his own bunker-don't know if he'll finish it today. Having trouble filling sand bags,. Have to carry them about a mile.
Click here for November 1968 Notes