Doc David Hasting's Additional Memories of Charlie Battery

Charlie Battery 6/27th Artillery
August 1966 to June 1967


It has been 9 years since writing  about C battery.

A story that I want to tell is how in my first few days in Nam in HHB I was on guard duty at the main gate (perhaps 100 yards from Phuoc Vinh),  3 men on guard in that large bunker.  A convoy had been ambushed and 4 or 5 APCs in single file each packed tightly with infantry came to the gate and stopped - the sergeant on guard told me to open the gate, so I did (this is much as how the story ends).  During that week the battery commander expected an attack so he had me and another new medic issued rifles immediately.  Once during that week a machine gun in our bunker line commenced firing, in order to turn a man who was trying to run from the ARVIN police.  Also during that week a siren blared to get us to man the bunker line - a rectangle of bunkers surrounding HHB.  Also, one day, I went in an ambulance to get a man from Bravo Battery who had fallen off his gun and hit his head on the spade (he was sitting up when we got there).

 After the first week I was assigned to Charlie Battery, on the opposite edge of the base camp, because an attack was expected.  But in C Battery everything was relaxed (though heavy artillery is noisy) - some sandbags from around the tent nearest the wire had fallen off.  The view extended for a thousand yards of open land.  After a few months an F-100 Super Sabre was flying by in the distance and the BC (Battery Commander) took a Polaroid picture of it to prove to his wife that he was in the war.

 For the last few months of my time there, things got tighter/ more dangerous/ more active. 

 Less than a month from the end of my tour (which ended in early June, 1967) all 4 guns of the battery (2- eight inch and 2- 175mm) went a few miles outside the wire to be in a position to support an infantry operation.  A few hours later, after not yet firing in support, a VC bunkered base camp was discovered, so we relocated to fire on it. We fired, but it was late in the day.  Most of the unit went back to base but one of the eight inch guns had broken down and so was rigged to be towed by the other eight inch.  It was almost dusk and we were so few troops (I was standing alone in an APC) for such a tempting target that I had already taken off the safety on my rifle.  Then, surprise, an F-100 fighter/bomber came over my right shoulder, low, and a few seconds later it was shooting  in the direction my rifle was pointing, then another F-100 came over my right shoulder, low. 

The tow of the eight inch was successful - During this I remained standing on the sandbagged floor of the APC, the other passenger, an infantryman, apparently confident, calm and relaxed, sat on a slanted back corner of the (wall); and I felt my time too short for this, but I didn't tell him that opinion.  We got thru the gate just before dark.  Along the left side of the road were 4 or 5 APCs packed tightly with infantry.  Then in the battery area, a soldier came hurrying out of FDC and told me the (infantry scouts) had seen the VC coming in our direction, and so "we" had to call in the F-100s.

 In my last week I took some pictures as a finishing gesture.  Here are photos of (Photo 1A, 1B, 1C) a newly arriving artillery unit moving-in near the air strip (the mayor's house is a landmark), (Photo 2A & 2B)  a helicopter (pilot) posing for me, and  the final two overlapping photos (Photos 3 & 4) are taken from the wire at C Battery,  the mayor's house is seen to the right in the second overlapping photo. 

 I wanted to take a picture of the bunker at the main gate where I had stood guard, but there were about 10 men standing in a group a few feet north of that bunker (HHB was on the west side of that road), so I chose to turn 180 degrees and take a picture of the empty road, with the mayor's house perhaps 50 yards further north (Photo 5) - another picture I wanted.  I had walked the round trip between C Battery and HHB more than 100 times, usually to bring in a man or two on sick call to see a doctor. On "today's" trip on that route (by myself) I was walking toward the mayor's house when I saw a helicopter landing, and veered right to look closer (it was all very quick).  Next I kept going east to get around the end of the air strip. but an SP artillery gun then drove in between me and the mayor's house (Photo 6).  After getting around the air strip and heading north I saw the activity -- orders and running and a helicopter -- but I didn't want to just stand there, so I continued north, back to C battery.

Doc David Hastings    Then  and Now
Charlie Battery 6/27th Artillery - Medic
Aug 66 to Jun 67

Charlie Battery 6/27th Artillery
August 1966 to June 1967


A Different View of the Same Photos Mentioned in the Above Narrative



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