Recollections of the Vietnam War

Recollections of the Vietnam War


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Stories about Recollections of the Vietnam War

The Death of SP/4 Robert Parcher

  • Central Highlands of South Vietnam

As I remember, the day was sunny and hot and right in the middle of the dry season. The red dirt of the Central Highlands was ground into a fine dusty powder on the roads, trails and firebases. The foreward firebase that we called home was blessed with an artillery unit equipped with 105mm howitzers. Most of the firebase was denuded of trees to make clear fields of fire but left absolutely no shade. We are Company C. First Battalion, 12th U.S. Infantry and every time those howitzers fired a round, it kicked a ton of that red dust into the air. Soldiers were always without their shirts and flak jackets on the hot days of the dry season. The red dust coated everyone. Some of the guys thought that this is how we got our nickname "red warriors". The only problem was that little rivulets of sweat that ran down the hard working grunts left streaks in our red complexion. Little did we know that only a short time later we would be near the business end of an artillery barrage from the same 105s that kicked the red dust all over us. It started out as a typical hump in the boonies. As our luck would have it, our point man suprised a North Vietnamese Army sentry who was out on Observation Point for his unit. We were in column formation and going around the crest of a hill. There was higher ground to our left and a steep slope to our right. As we rounded the crest of the hill that we were on, we came upon a small clearing in the jungle with a huge teak tree that had fallen across our path. As we approached, an N.V.A. sentry jumped to his feet from behind the fallen log. I'm sure the wide eyed look of suprise on his face gave away his thoughts.  He thought his comrades had caught him during a little nap. His image remains seared in my mind. His uniform was Khaki, he was without his helmet so i could see his jet black hair, and he held an AK-47 at port arms. He and our point man were both so suprised that neither fired their weapon.  The N.V.A. ducked back down behind the log and vanished. Our Platoon Commander called for our M-79 man to come foreward and use his bloop gun to lob a couple of 40mm grenades up behind the log. Bob Parcher was carrying the M-79. He cautiously worked his way foreward to a spot where he could get a shot at the log. We did not know that the main body of the N.V.A. was intrenched on the hill on our right. We did not realize that they had cut fields of fire on our hill. They had aiming and range stakes set out and they were ready. I saw the bright red tail fire from their rocket propelled grenade. I heard the deafening roar of its detonation. Bob was killed instantly by shrapnel from the RPG. I yelled at the Lt. and told him where the rocket had came from. Soon our dust kickin' 105s  were hitting the hill next to us on its reverse slope. It gave me great satisfaction to know that the N.V.A. had to run. Their small arms fire abated quickly so we took their hill and began to cut a Landing Zone. Re-supply and Med-evac helicopters were on the way. Our squad went back to get Bob. We cut bamboo poles and used them to carry Bob on a poncho. To my horror, Bobs arm kept sliding off his chest and becoming tangled in "Wait-a-minute vines. It was like he wanted to stay in the Vietnamese jungle where he died.

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billkahl -Contributions private
28 Apr 2008
29 Apr 2008
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