Tom Vehe's Vietnam Photos & Memories - 1967
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If you can help identify anyone in these photos please send
an email. Please mention Tom Vehe Photos and Photo Number
it is, John. I had a tough time doing this. It brought back
some memories that I thought I would never have to remember. This is
also the main reason I am unable to view the "Wall".
I was assigned to Alpha Battery 6/27thArtillery, 23rd Artillery Group. I arrived in country on May 7, 1967 and then shortly went to Quan Loi. I was trained as a "Gun Bunny" at Ft Sill, Oklahoma but when I arrived the firing batteries were full and the CO asked me what I did in civilian life. I told him I was a truck mechanic, so he put me in the motor pool.
It happened July 14, 1967, about 2:00 a.m. Charlie started dropping mortar rounds into the compound. This was our second big attack in about a month, so we all were somewhat expecting it to happen again so we all slept with our clothes on.
The first round landed in front of our hooch. It also got me out of my bunk. The second round landed inside the hooch about 8 feet behind me as I was on my feet reaching for my rifle and gear. The explosion knocked me unconscious and on my ass. When I regained conscientiousness and tried to get up off my ass I discovered my arm didnít work. Somehow I got to my feet and tried to run out the back door but someone was there blocking the doorway. I told him "to get into the f'kn bunker" and kicked him out the door. To this day I do not know who this was.
I followed out the door running as fast as I could while holding my broken left arm. I could see the rest of the guys in the entrance of the bunker yelling to me to hurry up. Instead I fell. I didnít know why at the time and later found out I had damage to my left leg also. I crawled into the bunker on my one good hand and my knees. I donít exactly remember what I said but it was something to the effect that I felt like I was bleeding like a stuck pig.
That is when Gary Couch, one of the guys, ran to FDC for a medic for me. I was then taken to FDC and the medic patched me up as best he could and gave me a shot of happy juice to help stop the pain that was coming on.
I left on a Medivac chopper before the sun came up and while there was still a lot of small arms fire. I can remember saying to myself ďPlease donít hit this ChopperĒ when we were taking off. I was on the bottom rack as I was the worst wounded at that time and they wanted me to be first off to receive medical attention. I am sure that they (the NVA or VC) tried to get through the wire but I donít know if they were successful.
I was airlifted to Saigon for surgery. It was in the hospital there that I learned that Mike Berek had died during this attack. Mike and I were both from Chicago so it was natural that we became good friends. I spent 6 months in hospitals in Japan, Camp Zama about 1 1/2 months, and then to Ireland Army Hospital in Ft Knox, KY until I was released around Jan 1968.
The Army kept me in the 3rd Artillery, basically doing nothing until my term was up November 28 1968, 1 year, 11 months, and 28 days.
After a couple of years I looked up one of the guys I served with, Ruddick (sp), he lived in Seymour, IN. He told me that everyone in the hooch had received frags from this incident except one soldier who fortunately for him was on Guard Duty. His bunk was next to Mike's bunk.
P.S. A couple of these photos were of an old M38 Jeep that we traded some old radios for that got blown up the night they did get in around June 18th. It happened the same night they blew up the 8 inch about 50 yards from my tent.
|Tom Vehe Then and Now
Alpha Battery 6/27th Artillery
May 1967 to Jul 1967