Cacti War Stories


Edited by Wiley "Tiny" Dodd
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Guinn

by Jim "Doc" Hall
June 3rd and 4th 197

3 June 1970

Bravo 2/35th

Submitted by: Jim "Doc" Hall

On June 2, 1970 Bravo Co. was CA'd off of FSB Lance. 1st platoon along with elements of the mortar platoon (which were integrated into various platoons during our incursion into Cambodia in May) and the CP were inserted into a low hilly area which was fairly heavily covered in mixed bamboo and hardwood trees. The area at the fringes where we were inserted had a couple of clearings that appeared to have been made by farmers. In fact the LZ where we were inserted was actually a corn field. This is probably the only corn field that I ever remember seeing in Vietnam.

After insertion we moved slightly down hill and crossed a deep irrigation ditch which separated the corn field with a larger clear area. This area looked like it was being prepared as a "potato" field. The opening was probably just a little larger than a football field.

We cut across the corner of this filed and moved up hill through a fairly thick stand of bamboo and then into a hardwood stand as the hill leveled off. Here we set up a night laager.

During the day on June 3 we sent out sweeps but maintained the night logger from the night before. At about 1600 a shot or two rang out from one of our OP positions. After the usual initial lull in the response fire I called out to find if anyone was injured. I got a positive response from the OP position and worked my way to the fringe of the perimeter. Here I found the injured man, Kenneth Bone. He had a wound in his leg that was not life threatening but did require a dust off. I bandaged him quickly and we carried him down the hill to the "Potato" field clearing and placed him on the dust off with no further problems.

By this time it was pretty late and we settled back down in the same night laager as the night before. That wakeful evening was filled by reports of movement from the LP's but no further contact occurred that evening.

4 June 1970

Bravo 2/35th

Submitted by: Jim "Doc" Hall

On June 4th we awakened (at least any of us who slept that night) at our night laager location which we had used for the 2nd night.

It was decided that we would need resupply after expending a good bit of ammo during our little contact the day before. It was further decided that we would use the same clearing where we had brought in the dust off for Bone the day before. ( this was within 100 yards of the LZ where we were inserted the day before that) This didn't appear to be a great idea but then they usually didn't ask opinions on such things and a squad was told to secure the "potato" field for resupply.

The main body and I remained at the top of the hill and waited. It was quiet for nearly an hour when suddenly a lot of firing was heard at the bottom of the hill. There was a lot of confusion as we tried to determine via radio just what was happening. Finally it was reported that someone was wounded at one edge of the clearing. I was chomping at the bit to get to the bottom of the hill but had to wait for a second squad to form up and move out. This seemed to take forever for some reason. In fact I eventually told the squad leader, Phil Lorino, that I couldn't wait any longer and started down the hill. I was held up for a few seconds though as he hastily got his point element started out and we ran down the hill in a somewhat disorganized charge. We made the 300 yards or so in pretty quick fashion and came upon the 1st squad leader at one edge of the clearing. I asked who was hurt and where but they really didn't know. I yelled out and asked who was hurt and got a response at a point that was furthest away from our current position diagonally across the field. They said that (Bob) "Guinn was hit". At this point I had two choices. One was to work my way from position to position along the edges of the perimeter until I reached the other side. This offered some cover as the firing continued. The second choice was to charge directly across the opening which was a really exposed area. I really had no choice, especially after hearing Guinn was hit. Guinn was my best friend in Vietnam. I started off at a dead run straight across the opening. By the time I had gotten half way across I began to hear secondary cracks pass near my head. I thought then that someone had a good bead on me and I immediately responded by picking up my speed. I can almost guarantee that in combat boots and loaded down with my medical supplies that for a short period of time I was moving as fast as any Olympic 100 meter runner. Trouble was that though my head and the top half of my body could carry this speed the bottom half of my body just couldn't keep up. I found myself slamming head first into the ground. I hit hard and my glasses were thrown off somewhere. As I started to pick myself up I felt someone grab my shoulders and help yank me up. It was only then that I discovered that Phil Lorino had joined me in the dash across the opening. It was only later that it dawned on me that those secondary cracks were actually from Phil shooting over my shoulder while providing us both with cover fire. I never found my glasses as we continued the dash. My eyesight was such that I could only see clearly for 5 feet or so without glasses but we found our way to Guinn's position without further problems. I found Guinn laying on his back not responding nor breathing He was so pale that I could hardly recognize him. He had a small entry wound in the meat of his arm and a small entry wound in the middle of his chest. Neither of these wounds was bleeding. I quickly covered both of the apparent wounds and prepared to do CPR. I instructed Phil and Alan Olsen (who was at the position along with Guinn and Herbie Sapp when the firing started) on how to do the chest compressions while I initiated the mouth to mouth. We began a short series of this before I stopped for a second to turn him over and check for other wounds. Much to my distress I found an exit wound in his back that was slightly larger than a softball. It was fairly apparent that our efforts would come to naught at this time but there was nothing else to do but to continue. I covered the back wound as best as possible and we continued CPR. In a short period I again halted the process in order to begin a unit of Ringer's Lactate fluid. It was only then that I discovered that I had landed on my "cutter" sets (the plastic tubes that connect the fluid bottles to the insertion needles) and broken all of the connections (that insert into the bottles) when I had fallen. This left me unable to begin the Ringer's. I was beside myself at this further bad turn but we turned back to the CPR until the dust off came and we placed Guinn on board. There was no question that he hadn't made it. For years I carried a guilt over my inability to help my good friend. But then I sat down and wrote the story out on paper. It was then that it dawned on me that my Buddy Guinn had such a great sense of humor that he would of gotten a kick out of the story of that day and how I had fallen on my head and all. I knew then that he would forgive me and I could do no less.

Later that day we did receive resupply at that very same LZ (the 4th time we'd used it in 3 days) We moved a very short distance that night and established our new night laager. Again the night was filled with reported movement but again we suffered no further contact. Here's your story Guinn, old Buddy. Hope you enjoy the tale. Doc