A Grunt's Life Around Quan Loi - 1969 
Doc Levy at 1/7 battalion rear, Quan Loi 1969. Note the chrome plated forty five to the left, the leech straps below the knee, the pen in the pocket of the clean fatigues, the carton of beer I am sitting on.

Photo Marc Levy (Click Photos To Enlarge)
Quad Fifty mounted on a mule and being fired during a mad minute on LZ Compton An Loc 1969. Photo Marc Levy

The photo was taken with a Yashica5. The roar from the firing probably caused my hands to shake. I lent the photo to a guy in my squad. Never saw it again. Thirty35. The roar from the firing probably caused my hands to shake. I lent the photo to a guy in my squad. Never saw it again. Thirty years latere and Jim Lamb, our machine gunner/RTO met up and after a time we go through his flicks. There was the long lost photome and Jim Lamb, our machine gunner/RTO met up and after a time we go through his flicks. There was the long lost photo.

Aerial View of Quan Loi. Photo Jim Lamb.
The things the medic carried. Quan Loi. While on Green Line with D 1/7 Cav 1969.

A lifer gave me the forty-five. The story begins with me wearing a retainer in the bush. You know, the plastic and wire mouth piece the dentist gave you after the braces come off. Every night I took that thing out, let it soak in a C ration can made bubbly with Efferdent bought at a PX on Quan Loi. And brushed my teeth often. Yes, because in war we must fight Mr. Tooth Decay. But one night the retainer broke and the jagged edge caused much pain. In Bien Hoi I found a dentist who fixed it. While waiting at the airport I started talking with a lifer. He asked if medics carried weapons. I said yeah, and told him what I carried. He asked if I wanted a forty five. I said yeah. What you got, man? What you got? We go to an alley and he whips out a chrome-plated-never-been-fired-parade-drill-beauty and I take it. Thank you very much. Your welcome. I get a box of green tracers. I get a holster. One day someone's M-16 breaks and the LT says got to give him mine. Then we go on patrol. Me and the boys and the forty-five. Men look at me like I'm crazy. Nothing happened on that patrol. Later the pistol got good use. Beneath it, a LRRP meal. Claymore bag carried bandages and morphine. Smoke. Baseball grenade. Pretty sure the book is by Robert Gover, author of "One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding", and "The Return of JC".
Brother Al. Quan Loi Green Line D 1/7 Cav 1969. Photo Marc Levy

Brother Al was a militant son-of-a-bitch. Black Power vs the White Man's War. Well and good and maybe true (some might say more than maybe; some might not) but what do you say or do or think about a man who drags the sixty ammo, stuffed in a claymore bag, along the ground as we walk patrol in the rubber. I'll tell you this: the first dead American I saw was black. Carried to an LZ by another platoon who'd walked into an ambush. It was cold and muddy and they'd wrapped his body in a poncho. We followed a deuce and a half to the tree line and helped them pass the corpse hand over hand, like a fire brigade, as if the dead man were a bucket, only dead weight is hard to move when it's not stiff and the steam was rising from his jungle fatigues and a hard rain was beating and his eyes were not blinking and it was the saddest sight I'd ever seen black or white no matter.
Mini Cav 3rd Squad Third Platoon D 1/7 Cav LZ Compton An Loc 1969 Photo Marc Levy

They line up like this: First Row left: Shake 'N Bake. Didn't know him well but he did the job. Gary William's, with beer can (zoom in, it's Pabst!) got his ear drum blown out by the 60. Lamb on the gun had one PH, the long thin scar stitched like a constellation over his right fore arm. Melhop, heart of gold, hard as nails. Back Row, left: Derrig, shot by an NVA at close range after a ninety day wonder order him out on flank with the 60. One bullet traveled up the barrel of the gun
and lodged atop his arm. The other went elsewhere and was not pleasant. Waiting for the medivac he threw me his dope. Didn't want to get caught with that in the rear. Ray William's, cross in the helmet, kicked a hand lume the day after a mad minute. It ignited, hit him square in the nose, then shot skyward, deployed, and floated to earth, hissing, as I patched him up. He returned a month later. Lawrence Knowles, aka Knuckles, farm boy from a Southern state who took charge of log days and made it look easy. Should have been Spec 4 quick but the Captain, as the story goes, put in orders for "Knuckles," which the company clerks tossed out. Roop the Troop, with his warm Oklahoma voice, oldest of the lot at twenty-one. Dorio, teen age New York tough guy. Cursed me when I wouldn't medvac him after he took shrap and the platoon was down to nine men. The head medic made the right call and sent him to back. Nothing happened on this patrol. Just another vill blown away by artillery and rockets.

Ft. Compton An Loc 1969
 Inside the aid station on Compton.

The floor is clean so it must be dry season. Don't know who is sitting in the chair. It's not the doctor someone tried to frag. It's not the 91C who got chased and Chicomed by a sapper on LZ Ranch in Cambodia. It's not Lt. Dennis Noble, the 1/7 Medical XO who everyone liked. "Call me Dennis," he'd said. But one night on Phuc Vinh, after the rockets and mortars stopped and the medics scampered out of their bunker and raced toward the casualties, there lay Dennis, glasses knocked off from the blast, the body intact. I found his daughter in 2001. She was six months old when he would have turned twenty five. Never knew him. Her mother never remarried. Daughter and I traded emails, then hard copy, then talked several times by phone. "What did he look like? What sort of music did he listen to? What kind of voice did he have? What kind of man was he? How did he die?" She is happily married with two kids and looks very much like her father.
Marc Levy        Then  and  Now           
D 1/7 Cav '69-'70
Also Read Marc Levy's 1995 Travel Journal Entries with Photos  - Song Be to Breakdown  -  With Jim Lamb at LZ Compton - Quan Loi to Cambodia - Song Be Patrol - Bunker Complex Return to Quan Loi - 1995 

(All content and photos on this site are the property of their named owners and may not be copied or used for any other purposes without permission. Please contact webmaster for permission)