In March or
April of 1969, we were having our
mm gun pad replaced. Later that night we had a fire mission. We had fired
about three rounds when one of them went off in the tube. It was like a huge
muzzle blast. When the smoke cleared I heard the XO, who was at the
aiming circle, yell "Anyone hurt?" I started checking myself out. I
couldn't figure out why because I was about fifty feet back from the track, but
had blood spurting from my right shoulder. I thought I was dying but it
was really just a small piece of shrapnel that cut a vein in my shoulder.
Before the gun
blew up, I was standing beside the track with
Wiggins. He was also injured. I
believe he got a laceration on the arm. The gunman, whose name was
Aiken, might have been in shock, but I
don't believe he had any other injuries. I don't remember the name of the fourth
man on the gun, but I believe he received perforated eardrums from the blast.
After all these
years I remember faces but names don't come easy. I guess its called age.
As I sit here trying to put these events into words, I can't help thinking how
young all of us were when we went to that place in Vietnam and how much we grew
up while we were there. I just hope and pray that no other 18 or 19 year olds
have to endure what we endured and then have to come home to what we came home
I remember one
other thing that might bring back a memory or two for someone. That
damn walkway we had to build so
that the brass wouldn't get their boots dirty. All of that work and , then they
didn't even show up.