Bravo Company's CO Gives Advice

by Richard Dieterle

A Dopey Idea. One night we were sitting on an LZ - I don't recall which one, and we were feeling pretty safe, as we considered LZs to be the rear. I was visiting some of the guys at other bunkers on the perimeter of the LZ. We were engaged in our usual leisure activities which included reminiscing about The World, when someone jumped in and warned us that Bravo Company's CO was making the rounds of our bunkers. First Platoon of A Company was set up adjacent to B Company, so their CO was not too far from his own command. No sooner had we put away everything that we thought unfit for his eyes, he dropped into our bunker. He was completely new and I don't think he had been in the field but a few days and his naivete had been a source of humor. Now it was obvious that he was excited about something and was anxious to get it out, so we listened with eager anticipation for the Wisdom of Lieutenants. "Now listen up," he said in a tone of voice in which gravity and excitement competed equally for salience, "I expect at any time now we will be under heavy attack!" We all raised our eyebrows simultaneously, wondering to ourselves just how he could know such a piece striking intelligence. "There's been a heavy smell of marijuana coming from our perimeter. Before they attack, the gooks get hopped up on that stuff, so if you smell it, it means they are getting pretty close to launching their assault. You men will want to keep on 100% alert tonight." We gravely growled, "Yes sir!" as he left the bunker, and once he was gone we all had a good laugh. Needless to say, we didn't hear a peep from the enemy, in the words of the comic strip character Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us." We, and probably most everyone else on the perimeter, were the ones smoking pot. We had created so much smoke that the CO could smell it from his position nearer the center of the LZ. I had never known the enemy to smoke pot, as none was ever found on the body of an enemy soldier to my knowledge.

Something for Us to Think About. APRIL 22, 1968 — On another occasion, not long afterwards, we met up with this Lieutenant again. We had joined up with Bravo Company and the rest of the battalion to execute a rare battalion size operation. A Company was in front and I myself was only about three or four back from the point man. The night before we had set up on a mountain top in heavily forested and mountainous country. That morning we were beginning to wind our way down its slope, headed for the mountains opposite us. There was the Lieutenant from Bravo Company, just off to our left standing on rock outcropping which he was using as a podium to address his men. He was saying such things as (and I do not remember his exact words), "I want you men to keep your eyes open for booby traps! If you get careless, you'll find yourself with a stump of hamburger for a leg! You could get your guts blown out, and let me tell you, you don't want to be laying there looking at your guts scattered out all over the ground!" He glanced over at us, the people who were really pulling point, and I barked back, "Do you mind?" It struck me as stupid to try to scare the hell out of the point man when he was responsible for setting the pace. Besides, what did he know? He was still a cherry. Had he succeeded in scaring his own people, I don't know how aggressive they could be expected to behave if we did make contact.

The only other memorable thing that happened on the hump up the side of the mountains opposite us was that when we reached an opening where we had a really good view of the whole area, Gunzaules came by and asked me if I would like to get rid of a piece of ordnance here. The item in question was a LAW anti-tank rocket. I don't remember why we were getting rid of it, but I volunteered to fire it off. I stood there alone and put the LAW on my left shoulder (I am left handed) and aimed for a distant point below and squeezed down on the trigger. It seemed as if something exploded right next to me, as the firing of the rocket was about as loud as its impact. Several seconds after this deafening bang I could hear a distant noise as the rocket exploded far away in the valley below.