|A Night at Thunder Three|
During my time at Quan Loi I had on occasion made trips by convoy to Long Binh.
It was a nice little get-away for one or two nights not having to worry about
incoming or pulling guard. I looked at it as sort of a mini R&R; you know just a
place to relax.
On one such trip the ride to Long Binh and the stay were uneventful; it was the convoy back that I remember well. The road [See Small Map or Large Version] from Service Battery all the way to Lai Khe was paved, and from Lai Khe to the border Old QL13 was gravel at best. When we got to Lai Khe the convoy was held up for a time as they were doing a mine sweep on the gravel road, this built my confidence.
After a time we started moving again and I thought it would be easy going from there on. Wrong! About one mile from Thunder Three I noticed something didn't feel right so I pulled over to check out the truck. I found my right rear tire was flat and I had no spare or jack. As I stood there looking at the tire an MP jeep pulled up behind me. They got out, surveyed the situation and offered me these words of wisdom. ”Better pull in to Thunder Three and call for help". That I had figured out on my own, so I limped on down the road until I got to T-3's compound.
Now at that time Thunder Three was manned by the 1st infantry Division and was a battery of 155's. I located the Commo bunker, went in, explained my problem and ask to use a radio to try and contact HHB at Quan Loi. They granted permission and showed me which radio to use. The radio was a PRC25 and didn't have enough range to reach Quan Loi. After making several attempts to contact HHB I ask for any Haymaker station to answer. Fortunately Service Battery had a jeep with the radio on in the convoy, and answered. They informed me they didn't have any ¾ ton truck tires but would relay my situation to the Battery Commander and Commo. They also told me to sit tight and wait for someone to show up. So that's what I did.
This was about 10:00 a.m. and I thought they would send someone out with the convoy returning to Long Binh. Wrong again. I sat there in the truck and watched as the convoy went on by going the other direction and no one turning in to where I was. Now this meant I was going to be spending the night out there in the truck with the 1st Division and no way to find out when I could get out.
That night I think they fired more rounds than we ever did, and the seat in the truck was worse than the ground for sleeping. By morning I was ready to get out of there, so I walked to the road and hitched a ride with a five-ton bobtail going to Quan Loi in the daily convoy. That was one ride I wasn't to crazy about, but it got me back to the battery.
When I got back to Quan Loi I found that they were not very concerned about me, and had not made any plans to rescue me. That was very disconcerting to me, to say the least. I thought every one liked me - guess not.
Finally I and E-4 Caldwell got a tire and jack and headed out with the convoy going to Long Binh. We made it to Thunder Three, changed the tire and headed back. By now it was late afternoon and we were the only vehicle on the road. I had my foot glued to the floor but it sure didn't seem like we were moving very fast. I was having all kinds of ideas about what could happen to us out there, I guess you could say I was just a little worried. We got to Quan Loi just as they were closing the main gate, and I for one, was glad to be back to where I could at least get a shower and some food.
Roger Mallory Then and Now