Eye Witness To History

The Quan Loi Queen - Memories From Fred Masters

I was a Combat Engineer, C Company, 168th Engineering Battalion. Came in Country April 1969, and left April 1970. I started out in Lai Khe (for a few months), moved up to Quan Loi (most of my tour), day trips to Loc Ninh (bad place to stay overnight), and finally, my last month, Phu Loi. Most of that time I was an E-5 driving a bucket-loader, working the clay pits with the big Twin 90 earth movers, building red clay roads and drainage. Oh yeah, since I was an E-5 (or lower), guard duty every third night my entire tour (except my last month in Phu Loi). It's amazing the lack of sleep didn't kill us - good thing we were young!

I remember the C130 (The Quan Loi Queen),  but let me add a few more details.

She was full of holes on one side, but I don't remember the wing being that damaged (initially). She received more damage sitting right there a few nights later, in a rocket/mortar attack. I know - I was on "interior" guard duty that night sitting right next to it!

Three of us had a 1/4ton backed up to the plane with a sandbagged M60, and we were supposed to walk around the plane every 1/2 hour - thinking was they'd try and get through the wire and blow it up. Talk about a big target - that thing was huge. Instead, incoming!!

We bailed out of the truck, I ended up inside one of the many "L" shaped revetments lining the sides of the runway (for the choppers). When it was over, our truck was gone, one of the large black rubber fuel bladders (for the choppers) was gone, and the C130 had more damage. Luckily, none of us seriously was hurt, and if it wasn't for those sandbags, I probably would not be writing you this!

Another thing they did right after the attack was put a large "gage" in the mortar holes to try and re-target where they came from, but they were probably long gone by then. I had never seen that done before.

The basic problem was that the C130 was right at the end of the runway - too close to the perimeter, a real easy target. They actually "walked" the mortars in that night, which is why we had the time to get out of there.  It was moved further into the interior of Quan Loi right after that.

I can't believe they got that thing flying again - I was moved to Phu Loi by then.

Fred Masters  Now and Then
Combat Engineer, C Company, 168th Engineering Battalion
April 1969 to April 1970

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August 12/13, 1969 - Quan Loi Ground Attack

I had been in country only two months. I was attached to HHQ BTRY 1/21 ARTY. My job was Base Defense RTO. Call Sign, Scarlett Gideon 8.

I was on the night shift in the Fire Detection Center (FDC)  when the the attack started. The Captain that was in charge sent most of us new guys outside to defend the bunker, just in case any of the NVA were able to penetrate the base.

It seems to me that the fighting lasted until dawn. At early morning, the day shift showed up and relieved us. I remember walking across the runway and seeing one of the Cobra's that got hit.

As I reached our hooch, I remember seeing a stack of dead bodies (bad guys).....just like a cord of wood outside the wire surrounding the base.

Bill Rubenstein  Then and Now
HHB Btry 1/21st Artillery
July69 to July 70

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