A Lighter Moment at O-3

"CAC 3 was preparing for a night patrol when word came from the Khe Sanh Air Base saying they were receiving some incoming rockets and for our patrol not to go to far from our home base. We were also instructed to launch a green star cluster flare in a certain village as there was a another friendly patrol in the area.

As we approached the village, Brooks was told to fire the green flare. Brooks took the flare and tried to launch it in the normal way by hitting the flare in the palm of his hand. After 3 tries, his hand was hurting, so he squatted down on his hands and feet and struck the flare on his kneecap. The flare shot out at a low angle and caught on the roof pole of a hooch. The parachute wrapped around the roof pole and the flare entered the hooch then went off.

The hooch had about 12 people in it. Most people ran out to their deck. One man got confused and went through the back wall and fell about 10 feet. I was laughing so hard my side hurt. Someone said, "Doc, you better check on the guy to make sure he is OK." He was. Having one more green flare left, Lynch was told to launch it. He did, but he launched it sideways instead of up. The flare just missed the villagers on their deck.

Out of flares, we had to change route. We then received notification to double time it back to camp as incoming rockets were increasing. We had to cross a small creek (about 6 ft wide and 3 feet below a single small log crossing. The log was wet and slick with the muddy red clay. We were told to instruct the person behind us that it was very slippery before we crossed. Lynch forgot to tell Brooks until he was half way across the log - then Lynch fell into the water. We couldn’t get him out as the creek banks were concave. Finally found something that would reach him and got him out. I could not stop laughing. Then we took off fast.

We had to cross another creek in a small canyon. We crossed on a log sawed in half. Brooks was last man. He had never crossed before, so he sat down and scooted across the log. When he got to the other side he could not hear the patrol. This was Brooks' first patrol and he didn’t know what to do. He took off running up the hill. The trail turned 90 degrees but Larry didn’t know that, and so he ran head first into a large tree. Then someone tapped Larry on his shoulder. Larry, still shaken, almost crapped his pants. It was the PF in our patrol. Larry rejoined the patrol. Again word came to get back ASAP. Everyone in front of me took off a a quick pace. I did not. Still laughing I went slow. When I thought the patrol was about 1/4 mile ahead I then took off fast. I soon left Lynch and Brooks. They began to run to catch up. There were two barbed wire fences on the way back. Lynch hit both at full stride. I spent a couple hours patching up Lynch and Brooks that night."