Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chapter 12: Mine Sweep

2 NOV 68, Saturday
Co B NL loc vic Trang Bang Bridge. 2-12 Inf (-) opened Hwy 7A for resupply convoy. 1 element of Co B escorted minesweep team fm XT496235 to vic XT487206, and rtn to NL.

Today we were assigned as security for a mine sweep team while they checked highway 7A for mines. A supply convoy was scheduled to use that route and as usual, a mine sweep team checked the road for mines before hand. This was almost a daily occurrence because many nights the VC would plant mines at random points along the route that the supply convoys took to resupply units.

They picked us up with trucks very early and took us over to where they were starting. We were riding in the back of open trucks through Trang Bang that day. It was the first time I’d seen very many men of fighting age other than the ARVNs. We received so many dirty looks, even little kids were giving us the finger as we rode by. I saw young many in what looked like black pajamas pointed him out to someone and asked what that was all about. He told me he was probably VC. As the minesweepers progressed along the route, we were dropped off at different places to provided security for the convoys return trip. They did find some mines but nothing else happened. I only did this once.

That same night I was jarred from sleep by mortar fire. It seems the radar on the bunker by the bridge, or it could have been on a tank, had picked up enemy movement so the mortars fired at their location.

At 2060H Co B, vic XT501194, radar observed movement and eng with 81mm. Results unkn.

This reminded me one of my first nights at FSB Stuart. I was assigned to man the bunker of a squad that had been sent out on night ambush. It was my turn to sleep so I was lying on top of the bunker catching some sleep. All of a sudden there was a loud explosion, which sounded like it was right on top of me, woke me up. I must have jumped a mile and in one motion, jumped down and got inside the bunker, I thought for sure we were being attacked. It turned out that it was just the large howitzers firing. I had seen them when I arrived, but this was the first time I heard them fire. I swear, the ground shook when they fired.