Cacti War Stories


Edited by Wiley "Tiny" Dodd
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52 years ago!

by Tom Birdsong
1968

52 years ago

Tom Birdsong

Fifty two years ago today ended my time in Vietnam.

We were on the move, as usual , the day before. Lt Nogles was up front on a trail when we encountered a enemy soldier. He was probably a hundred and fifty yards down the trail and firing his weapon at us. Nogles aimed and fired one shot and dropped him. When we reached the guy we discovered a grease gun that he had been firing at us. He was too far away to be accurate, lucky for us.

Nogles wanted to keep the enemies weapon.

As it turned out, we were very close to a vietnamese cemetery and our entire company set up a nighttime defensive perimeter in the cemetery. A fifty caliber was sent out to us by helicopter to use if needed. We were expecting bad things to happen that night. As I recall, it was uneventful.

The next morning we ate a quick meal and I remember Sonny, our company commanders rto, calling out Alpha niner six.

As we all reported in, we were told to saddle up. We were about to move out.

I remember our 1st platoon moving towards the trail we came in on and very near the location where Lt Nogle shot the nva.

Before I became a rto, I walked point a lot.

I had a bad feeling about the way our point man was taking us.

The explosion took out two rtos and I have wondered for a long time if it wasn't command detonated?

My friend Jim Holleran was behind me and he was severely injured. Jim and I were medevac out to Lz Baldy. I went to Da Nang after that and the wounded were being lined up and treated on the air strip as they came in.

TET was in full swing.

I went to Japan for awhile then to Letterman hospital in San Francisco.

It was there that I came across Jim in physical therapy. I was so happy to see him.

His dear wife Kathy was at his side and I have much respect for both of them.

There were many more wounded later on that day in 1968 and days to follow.

RIP my brothers who didn't come home alive and blessings to those who did.

Thank you all.