Please comment & Subscribe. Video is not political statement, only tribute to men & women who gave their lives in Vietnam. Please honor those who served their country, especially those paying the ultimate price.
Footage taken by John “WolfieRed1” Wolf in Vietnam, April 1971 using 8mm camera I bought in PX at LZ Bronco. I served Delta Company, 1st/20th Infantry, 11th Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division (Jungle Warriors), unit dates back to Civil War. History Channel’s Lou Reda Productions, said my non-media footage was rare. I sent original 8mm footage, they upgraded to HD and now part of documentary “Vietnam in HD”.
On April 2, 1971, after 3 weeks in the bush we were ambushed while marching back to LZ Liz. We lost Lt. Glenn Hata, only 1 week in country & many wounded, including Eldred Sadler. He was hit in the neck severing his jugular, was saved by Charles “Coach” Middleton & Tom “Doc” Tierney using a sewing kit. During our days of rest at LZ Bronco, south of Chu Lai, I took movies & decided to carry the camera on next combat mission. We were trucked north to LZ Liz, 1/20th Infantry and artillery fire base. On April 10th trucked north to LZ Dragon to wait pickup by 116th AHC (Army Helicopter Company) Hornets (Jim McDaniel – Pilot) for assault into Song Ve River & Valley, bad area – lots of NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and VC (Vietcong) activity.
Clips include waiting for Hornets to pick us up & shots of yours truly with M-203. I can be seen loading rounds into my M-203 & pointing it at Kerry Harwick taking movies. We dressed up a Vietnamese kid in my hat, rucksack and weapon. We trusted him (yes stupid). Soldiers shown: Bill Hamilton, Ron Robbins, Don Hyson, Ron Griffin, Rex Cowan, Milt Hardin, Steve Lintl, Mark Sutlick, Ed Barraza (hat blown off), Kerry Harwick and Lt. Anthony (Tony) DeCamillo giving peace sign as his bird landed. When the Birds landed for pickup I ran with the camera still taking movies. Sat on the floor, legs hanging out and filmed throughout the assault. No one said stop! Want to find smiling door gunner (John Roggenbuck?) next to me? During the flight I almost slid out, Kerry grabbed and saved me, I wouldn’t stop filming. As we deboarded, men from Bravo Company got on board.
Next day, April 11, 1971 (Easter Sunday) we were told to hump up nearby mountain & relieve Alpha Company. Battalion Chaplain Merle Brown landed with hot food and gave us Easter services, he said it was a cease fire. We watched him fly from our position to Alpha Company’s position. As his bird was lifting off, it was hit by rockets, instantly killing Chaplain Brown and crew chief Wayne Baggett. 9 Alpha Co. men (James Armstrong, Jack Begley, Jean Humbert, Jon Melin, Edward Pilkington, Joseph Schoolmeesters, Joe Silva, Douglas Varner, Richard Warren) were killed defending and helping wounded off the burning Bird. Battle raged into the night, the sky was lit by flares, artillery, mini-gun tracers from 174th AHC Sharks (Fred Thompson & Chuck Blake), Shadow gunships and F-4 jets dropping 500 lb. bombs. We watched hoping to be called to the rescue, painfully listening to radio requests for dust-off birds and body bags. Our anger grew, waiting, being so close and unable to do anything as buddies were getting wounded & killed. A team from Bravo Co. led by Lt. Tom Dolan was helicoptered in to help. Tom has become a good friend & written, “The Mad Fragger and Me” about his experiences. Have honor of talking to Alpha & Bravo Co. men, those flying gunships, slicks (Dale Spratt), dust-off 54 (David Wyatt) and Shadow. Bob Chipley, the pilot of the Chaplains Bird, barely escaped the explosions. He saw my videos in 2008 and 7 days later he was sitting in my living room sharing memories of this tragic day.
We lost very good men that day, adding to 58,000 other brave men & women who died in Vietnam. It has been painful to talk with family and friends about how their loved ones perished, but helping them find some closure has been my honor. Those lost are always on my mind as they should be to all loyal Americans. War sucks, but never forget the women & men who serve their country! Please Welcome Home Vietnam Vets they never got and thank those in uniform for making sacrifices serving their country. WolfieRed1