SOG ‘Bright Light’ Mission – an unpublished account from ‘BlackJack’
September 9, 2019 at 11:12 pm #118671MaxKeymaster
Edit: format may read better on the original Blog Version at this link:
I recently read ‘Whisky Tango Foxtrot‘ by Lynne M. Black Jr. I read it after Scott had regaled me with the tale of the amazing battle that RT Alabama had in ‘Oscar Eight’ in Laos as part of SOG recon operations. I had to buy the book and it is excellent.
I was able to get in touch with Lynne Black (callsign ‘Blackjack’) on Facebook and had the privilege of having a conversation with him. He is one of the legendary SOG One Zero’s from Vietnam. He was also kind enough to share with me some additional unpublished stories, which I will put up in a couple of separate blog posts.
A ‘Bright Light’ mission was a rescue mission for downed / lost / overrun missing / troops ‘across the fence’ in places like Laos. Recon Teams such as RT Idaho (Black’s team, where he was the One Zero, or team leader), would volunteer for these often incredibly risky rescue missions. The HF in the story stands of ‘Hatchet Force’ which was another SOG formation at greater strength than the Recon Teams, used for cross border company sized raids and such. I hope my description here is accurate!
Here follows the account:
“Black … Sergeant
“What? What time
is it?” I ask, prying open my eyes.
“It’s 2250 hours.”
“11:00 p.m.! It’s
the middle of the damn night.”
“They want you in
the TOC, now.”
“OK, I’m on my
way.” I close my eyes.
“You want to see
“I need RT Idaho
for a Bright Light mission … right now.”
“You don’t need to
ask us to volunteer, Sir. We’re geared up and ready to go for a trail watch.
We’ll dump the food and add more ammo.”
“I didn’t ask you
to volunteer; I said I need Idaho
for a Bright Light right now. We’ve been working on extracting an HF platoon.
Their last extraction chopper has been shot down; several were killed on
impact. No sooner had the chopper hit the ground than NVA swarmed it executing
the wounded. The good news is there are survivors. The bad news is they’ve been
overrun twice and can’t last much longer.”
“Do you have a fix
on the survivor’s location?” I ask, yawning.
“How far from the
downed chopper are they?”
“They’re approximately fifty meters directly
in front of the chopper, waiting for pick up. That position isn’t defensible
and we don’t have any gunship support to provide cover. Their shit’s flapping
in the breeze. Be careful out there, to the east of them is an extensive NVA
bunker complex. Don’t wander too far in that direction.”
“Half a dozen,
maybe less. Has Idaho
worked at night?”
“Yes, Idaho’s good with night
movement.” Where did that dumbass
statement come from? Am I nuts? Maybe all that playing with C-4 has addled my
“Great. Get your
team and gear … load all of your heroes on one Kingbee.”
“Will the altitude
allow us to put all five of us in one chopper?”
“Yup … by the way,
you’ll have to rappel in; there isn’t enough LZ space to land.”
“Gee, this just
keeps getting better and better. If it’s an LZ, why can’t we land?”
“It isn’t big
enough for two birds. Get a move on, there’re survivors and they need your
help, right now. Move it Blackjack!”
“That means we’ll
all have to come out on strings … crap. Radio frequency … what frequency are we
survival freq … use your URC-10. Take a couple extra batteries, just in
“Good, I don’t
have to carry that heavy ass FM field radio. OK, let’s go.” A Kingbee begins
cranking up its engine, coughing and sputtering its way to life. Lights around
the compound snap on revealing flying hordes of critters fluttering in the
brightness of the lights blue-halo. “Idaho!
Get your gear and load up. Grab rappelling equipment, we’ll rig it as we fly!
Come on, move! Wake up Point! Somebody wake up the damn point man!”
Idaho scrambles to life, grabbing gear,
heading for the waiting Kingbee. The Mai Loc Ops is up on the Pilot side of the
chopper, holding on to the flight cabin window frame with his right hand,
jabbing his left index finger at a position on the pilot’s flight map; who’s
nodding his head in understanding.
“Hey! Who are
you,” I yell in the racket of startup. He’s standing with his back to the
lights his face obscured in shadow.
shouts. “I’m going with you. There are wounded.”
“Get on board
then!” That’ll make six … an even number.
That’s good; the Vietnamese don’t like uneven numbers. Superstitious little
I’m the last man
to throw my gear on board grabbing the handrail next to the door and stepping
up onto the first rung of the two-step ladder as the Kingbee springs from the
PSP headed for Laos.
VN team leader and the door gunner reach down and pull me in. Wind wildly
swirls through the open door and windows of the ship; our clothes and gear
erratically flapping and snapping. The Kingbee’s tail is up and its nose down
as it moves at full speed chugging its way through the moonless night. “No moon
… there’s no moon. It’s going to be darker than all hell on the ground,” I
yell, pointing skyward, nudging Idaho’s
“Sau say no
problem,” Hiep the interpreter yells into my ear. “Much green tracer light,” he
grins. “You go, we go.” Two Scouts are rigging the rappelling rope. I grab one
of the extras, stuffing it in my rucksack.
yells the Crew Chief. “Fifteen minutes!”
Idaho gets ready. Final weapon and gear
check. Looking around the ship, “Everyone’s OK?” They’re all smiling … shifting
around … nervous, ready for the fight. I sit in the door to be the first man
out. Everyone lines up behind me in order of descent. Swiss seats, snap links
I grab one of the
aluminum ship spars with my left hand and lean out into the torrent of wind
trying to get a fix on the downed chopper. There
it is! The Door Gunner squawks in his helmet mic to the Pilot that we’ve
spotted the LZ. “Take us down! Take us down,” I yell back over my shoulder. The
gunner jacks a round into his thirty-caliber door gun, then leans into it and
out looking for the LZ and any sign of muzzle flash.
fires flare around the downed chopper, which is lying on its side in the middle
of an LZ. A silhouetted jungle reaching up into blackness jumps to life with
each spontaneous blaze; shadows dance and weave, popping in and out of focus,
giving a surreal life to the impenetrable black on black of the moonless night.
From my doorway perch, I can see our people in the downed chopper. My heart
jumps into my throat as one of them waives … “Oh God!” It’s just the fire
reflecting off his freshly bloodied arm, his ghoulish death mask smiling,
chilling me to the bone. How the hell did
the Pilot find this little hole in the Laotian jungle in the middle of the
The Pilot turns
the big exit door of the Kingbee to face the downed ship. RT Idaho’s guns are
at the ready, poking out of every opening, ready for anything. Flying his ship
sideways, the Kingbee pilot moves directly over the downed chopper, placing one
of the Kingbee’s balloon tires on its shell. We’re approximately eight feet off the ground. “We don’t have to
rappel,” I yell over my shoulder.
Struggling out of
my rucksack, dropping it to the ground before jumping the eight feet with the
other five following suite; the Idaho-6 form up in a defensive circle, each of
us facing out, at the ready as the sound of the big Kingbee radial engine
disappears into the inky night leaving us with the flitting, popping, dancing
shadows. Pungent smells of fuel, oil, hydraulic fluids and exhaust saturate our
nostrils. Occasionally fires pop and crackle forcing us into an even higher
state of alert as we get used to our surroundings. Slowly I come to the
realization that I’m fixating on the light of the fires and not on their
encompassing darkness, that darkness holds our survivors. It’s under the cover
of night that our survivors are for the moment hopefully safe. It’s in that
impenetrable gloom the enemy waits for us.
childhood fear floods through me with the memory of the boogey man in my bedroom
… the unseen … the unknown in the night. “If you close your eyes and go to
sleep it will go away,” my mother would say. My father, on the other hand,
would say, “As you get older you will learn to face your fears. For now close
your eyes and go to sleep, or I’ll whack you on your butt.” Time to grow up and face the boogey man. “Point,”
I motion him to the ships front.
Sau taps me on the
shoulder, waving a forefinger in front of his lips. Using hand signals, he
motions the two Scouts and Interpreter to East, West and South security
positions leaving Point at North. The Medic squats in the shadows, waiting for
orders. Sau and I climb into the wreckage looking for survivors. All five on
board have been shot in the head execution style. “Bastards,” I mumble.
Sau again puts a
finger to his lips, signaling me not to speak. I nod my head in compliance.
“Keep your cool. Listen to the experience. Don’t let the NVA psychologically
get to you.” Sau shrugs giving me the what-next gesture. I point North beyond the
nose of the ship, he nods his understanding. Back outside he motions the
interpreter and Point to my side. He and the other two Scouts will remain with
the ship along with the Medic. Sau pulls an Air Force Survival radio from his
rucksack, turning it on, waving it at me as he plugs in the ear jack and
whisper mic. Idaho’s
interpreter reaches for mine, I hand it to him.
moving north, the three of us searching for survivors at the edges of glowing
pools of light provided by the subsiding fuel and oil fires. Suddenly I become
aware of moths and insects fluttering up and about intensifying my awareness of
our surroundings even further. The three of us now online, Point to my left, Interpreter
on my right, conducting our search forward; moving away from the firelight into
the inkiness of night. The terrain is becoming unreasonable; it’s overgrown
with a thorny vine that grabs and tugs at our boots and pants. Slowly we move
through the blackness struggling with the demonic vegetation. A rush of wind …
a swishing sound of unknown origin blows past my face. I turn back toward the
last fire and … there it is again … and again. A fuel fire silhouettes bats
swooping in and out catching the myriad of moths and flying insects that are
attracted to its illumination. The three of us are unsuccessfully making every
attempt to move quietly as we tear our way through the undergrowth; trying to
dodge hovering bugs that are haphazardly flying into our eyes and mouths. I’m
beginning to welcome the unintended protection afforded by the feeding bats. Focus … stay focused on what we are out here
for … concentrate Blackjack. An occasional crackle from the fires snaps us
to full auto readiness. Once again, I turn looking back in the direction of the
downed chopper; no longer can I make it out. We’ve crossed over into the
netherworld, unseen forces tugging and pestering us from all points on the
compass. The further we make our way into this world, with our newly honed
night senses, the more we become aware of the small eyes of thousands of
animals peering at us between jumbles of leafy branches, and barbed vines.
Snakes and small furry nocturnal creatures scatter under each footstep. This is like trying to work your way through
Brer Rabbits Briar Patch blindfolded.
three of us crouch, thumbing the selector switch of our CAR-15’s to full auto.
Straining to listen, straining to see … Where
the hell are they? In this position closer to the ground, straining to
sharply focus my eyes, I can discern faintly glowing objects on the forest
floor. I relax my concentration attempting to take in as much of the void as
possible and am further surprised by small, constantly glowing lights that are
floating down from the blackness of the forest canopy, hovering and bobbing
like helicopters looking for a place to land. Millions of fireflies flash their
signals from all strata of vegetation.
To my left, a low
mooching sound; Point is calling me to his location. The unseen undergrowth
grasping, tearing at me, I make my way slowly to his location. Seconds seem
like torturous hours. Finally, I barely make out Point motioning me to him;
reaching out into the darkness I take his hand and he guides me to his side. I
turn to see Interpreter moving in behind. Point raises his hand, getting our
attention, and then motions down directly to his front.
Three bodies. We cover one with a
poncho. I fish a penlight out of my One-Zero vest and crawl under the poncho
for a view. His hands are tied behind his back, he has been executed, a single
shot to the head. Ops said there are
supposed to be half a dozen HF, maybe less. There are five at the chopper and
three here, that’s eight. The chopper crew would be four and add the six from
the HF that would be ten. There might be two more bodies or two survivors
somewhere in this blackness. Quietly we listen for any sound of life other
than our own.
Waving my hand in the
interpreters face, I get his attention and retrieve the survival radio;
whispering, “This is Blackjack, over.” Nothing.
“This is Blackjack, over,” I whisper into the mic a second time sucking a
moth down my throat … choking … finally spitting it out.
you ready for extraction, over?” Comes the low steady voice of Pat Watkins, the
standby … this is Blackjack, looking for HF survivors, over,” I whisper.
“Blackjack, we can
hear you above us.”
Whoa! … there you are. “Where are you
from my locations, over?”
“I don’t know,” the
“Do you have a
“No. Where are
Where are you? Sure, tell the enemy where
you are. Oh what the hell it’s just as dark out here as it is with my head up
my ass. “We are several yards out in front of the downed chopper. We have
found three bodies, over.” That’s general
“I will give you
directions to our location from there. The nose of the ship is north. Turn
ninety degrees, facing west and proceed.”
“Negative HF, you
come to our location, over,” I calmly demand.
Blackjack, I have broken bones and am with three other survivors who are all
wounded. We need help. Please come to our location. Be careful.”
Goddam it! How do I know this isn’t an
ambush? We can’t see shit in this no-moon gloom. Goddam it! “Point,” I
whisper motioning in our new direction of travel. “Be careful … maybe ambush.” Interpreter
quietly interprets to Point. None of us like the odds. Point strongly objects
to walking off into the darkness with only three of us. I take the lead.
Thumbing my CAR-15 selector switch to SAFE, I use the weapon like a blind man’s
cane to sound my way carefully, slowly forward. Fireflies advance before me,
rippling out like a stone thrown in a pond, leading the way. I whisper into the
mic, “HF, this is Blackjack, over.”
“Blackjack, we can
hear you. I think you’re about twenty feet from us; be careful.”
Twenty feet … there’s nothing but pitch
black in front of us. I can’t see a fuckin thing. Whispering into the mic,
“HF, I’m on my way.” Twenty feet … just
twenty feet. I position the Interpreter and Point to provide covering fire
in case of an ambush. As I move into position to make the final advance, I
sense a shadowy presence moving up on me from the rear. The hair stands up on
the back of my neck as I thumb the CAR-15 to full-auto.
“It’s me, Medic.
We’ll cover you.”
Where the hell did he come from! Scared the
crap outa me.
Ever so slowly,
tentatively, blindly searching for footing and a handhold I step into space
sliding several feet down the face of the briar-covered cliff taking the skin
off hands, knees and the right side of my face; sounding like a herd of
elephants rampaging through the jungle. Crouching painfully at the base of the
rock I listen.
that you,” a voice whispers.
Who the hell else would it be? I doubt even
the NVA would be stupid enough to venture out in this god forsaken place at
night. Straining my ears and eyes to determine exactly where the voice is
coming from. I need a couple million
fireflies to show me the way, where are they when I need them?
that you,” the voice pleads.
intently, as he calls for help, for any indication of an accent … I just can’t tell. Suddenly, a
frightened Cambodian voice cries for help in its native tongue. I hear Hiep the
Interpreter tell him to shut the hell up or he’ll grease him.
that you?” comes the plaintive voice again.
Oh what the hell. “Yeah, it’s me. Keep
talking quietly while I come to your position.” I can hear weapon selector
switches being flipped to full auto. FUCK
ME! I do the same. In a crouching duck walk, I inch forward until I can
barely make out the face behind the voice. He lowers his weapon and motions me
into their position. Its four wounded men with their backs to a tree with
weapons at the ready.
“Did you bring
enough men to hold out till daylight,” he asks.
“Screw that, I
ain’t sticken around here until daylight. We’re going home in just a few
minutes. We’ll patch you up as well as we can and then take you out on strings.
I don’t want to fight it out with only five of us and a Medic.”
“Five! You came in
here to rescue us with only five guys?”
“Quiet down damn
it. Five and a Medic, yes. You want to debate this or go home?”
“Get us the hell
out of here. You goddam recon guys are crazy.”
Blackjack, we have linked up with the survivors. Tell the Kingbee’s to rig two
ropes on each chopper and be ready to take out four of us at a time, over.”
Blackjack, Kingbee’s rigged with one rope containing three snap links. It will
take two trips to get you all out, over.”
Blackjack, the wounded will go out first trip and then my team second trip,
their wounds,” the Medic quietly pushes his way past me.
“Goddam it, quit
sneaking up on me like that, you’re going to get yourself killed.”
“Sorry man, I
thought you heard me. Maybe you should get your hearing checked.”
“Just do your job
and shut the hell up.” I pull the rope and snap links out of my rucksack and
rig Swiss Seats and chest restraints for all the survivors. “You’re ready.”
Kingbee One, need location, over.”
“Kingbee One, look
for small light.” I grab my penlight, turn it on and stick in the ground facing
skyward to mark our position. “Can you see the light, over?”
“Move light, up,
down, right, left … yes I see light. Many lights.”
Fireflies, goddam bugs. Panel. Orange panel.
I remove the orange panel from my survival vest and lay it on the ground
with my pen light in the center.
“I see color
light. Orange light. Many small fires.”
Moment later ropes
are dangling into our location. I get three of the survivors snap linked and
the chest restraints tied in so they don’t flip upside down. “Kingbee One, OK
to go.” Slowly up and up they go. That’s three.
Two moves into position for the next survivor and the medic. “Kingbee Two, OK
to go.” Slowly up and up they go. Green tracers and rockets light up the
midnight sky, illuminating the survivors dangling under Kingbee Two, hanging on
for dear life. Antiaircraft fire begins to punctuate the moonless night. The
Kingbee applies full power to it engine swinging a wide arc in the direction of
safety. Bright Light accomplished. Now
Sau and the two indig have joined up with Hiep and Point, holding their position, not returning fire. I toss a rope up to them, and scale the small rock face, joining our little four-man force on the rim.
The NVA fire
shifts from the out of range Kingbee’s to the downed helicopter and then
generally sweeps across the landscape. From the firing pattern, we quickly
realize they don’t have a fix on our location. “Thank you God,” I whisper.
“Buddha too,” says
Sau puts his
finger to his lips, “No talk. Numba ten.”
I have an idea. “Covey, Blackjack, over,”
“Are you in the
“Yes, what can I
do for you?” Mandolin asks.
“Did you see where
the NVA firing is coming from?”
“Roger that. As
soon as we get first-light I’ll have assets go to work on them.”
“Circle to the south
of the downed ship and fire rockets in a southerly direction. Try to make the
NVA believe you are over us and are providing covering fire. That way the
Kingbee’s can come in here and pick us up while you run the distraction, over.”
“It’s worth a try.
I’ll time the distraction for the return of the Kingbee’s, over.”
The six of us bury
ourselves beneath the fireflies in amongst the brambles waiting for the
Kingbee’s return. An hour goes by, then another before we can make out the
sound of those big radial engines. Circle up, snap links ready. Sau, B-Team on
the first ship and me and mine on the second.
The Kingbee’s are
flying at tree top level. I twist on the penlight shining it in the direction
of the first ship. He swoops in drops a rope with three snap links about six
feet apart. B-Team snaps in, up and away they go, the rope end dragging through
At the crack of
first light, Hiep, Point and I are dumped unceremoniously onto the PSP at the
launch site. The extraction rope is detached from inside the hovering Kingbee
and piles down, burying us under its 100-foot length. Lying there, we watch as
it disappears into the first reaches of morning light in the direction of its
Phu Bai base.
CO yells as he approaches the three of us buried under the pile. “Damn good
“Thanks. Can we
get some, water and food. I think I’m going to sleep the rest of today.”
“I don’t think so.
The Marines are binging in a Sikorsky Flying Crane and a recovery crew. CCN has
ordered me to send you back out there to secure the LZ so they can bring home
the bodies and the downed ship. You and your team have just enough time to get
something to eat and get your gear ready.”
“Where’s the mess
“Come on, I’ll
“We’re going to
need body bags and rigging for the ship in order to get it ready to be lifted
“The Marine’s will
take care of all that stuff. They just want you to secure the LZ for their work
“I don’t know if I
can secure the LZ with just the five of us. We could use the help of The
“The Shadow? Who
the hells The Shadow?”
“The Medic who
went out with us last night; he did a good job by the way. Covey will be
running air strikes in the surrounding area while we’re onsite. You’re aware of
“Can’t do that
either. Covey will be running extractions for the four teams we have in the
field and The Shadow is scheduled for duty in the dispensary. The Shadow, he’ll
“The LZ’s going to
have to be made larger to get the Flying Crane in. I’ll need blasting caps, a
spool of det cord and a case of C-4.”
Lieutenant from CCN who’s bringing in Tetratol, he’ll take care of felling
trees on the LZ. You’re not to screw around with explosives, remember?”
won’t do the job on those trees.”
“What do you mean?
It’s the most powerful military explosive in the world.”
“Tetratol is a solid, a brick. Those trees are
heavily barked and fluted. Tetratol will do nothing but blow the bark off.
He’ll need to use C-4 and create shape charges in the crevices of the flutes.
Then wire all the shapes together with det cord cutting the tree off at the
base. If he wants it to fall in a particular direction he’ll have to put a
kicker charge at least half way up which goes off after the cutting.”
hanging around that damned Supply Sergeant too long. The Lieutenant will take
care of clearing the LZ. You stay away from the explosives. That’s an order.”
“Yes Sir. That
stuff gives me a headache and makes me talk funny anyway.”
“Hiep, take one of
the other guys and go get what we need from the Ammo Dump and distribute it
amongst the team.”
“ALL the stuff we
“That’s right …
ALL the stuff we need.”
breakfast, we hear several helicopters land on the PSP. Marine flight crews and
a Lieutenant wearing a green beret saunter into the mess hall. The LT looks
around sizing up everyone in the room. “You Sergeant Black,” he asks me.
“Yes, Sir?” I
“I’m taking over recon
team Idaho. We’ll
be securing the LZ so the Marines can get their helicopter back and we all can
bring out the dead you left in there last night.”
You sorry sonofabitch. “I don’t think
so. You might be going with Idaho,
but you are not going to take it over. Right now I’m the One-Zero. Your role is
demo and mine is team leader.”
“You want to be a
“WHAT! You want to
ride with Idaho…
FINE! You’re not going to be the team leader, get that through your thick skull
right now, SIR!” Jesus Christ Black,
that’s a little over the top. Calm the hell down.
yells the launch site operations officer.
“Yes Sir,” the LT
“Blackjack is the
team leader of Idaho.
You have responsibility for clearing the LZ and that’s all, do you understand?”
bout I buy you a cup of coffee,” I offer.
“How about I Court
Martial your ass when this is all over, soldier?”
just fucking wonderful,” I sarcastically reply.
“OK, you two knock
Sir,” we both reply.
This asshole is out here to do nothing but
get his CIB … REMF prick! Hiep pokes his head into the mess hall giving me
thumbs up. “Excuse me, I have to get ready to go to work.”
prick,” mumbles the Lieutenant as I brush past him.
Hiep has procured
needs, enough to take down several trees. We check our gear, weapons, and fill
our canteens with fresh water. “There’ll be no fire support, so tell everyone
to bring extra ammo. This time we go in extra heavy.”
replies Hiep. “If we have fire fight, Sau say he kill Lieutenant for you?”
don’t do that. He just needs to do his job and we need to do ours. When he’s
finished screwing around we’ll do his job as well.” Fucker might have the education, but not the experience. He’s one of
those assholes you might want to salute while an enemy snipers looking at you.
1000 hours we are
standing back on the LZ. Sau and I survey the area to determine where we’ll be
most vulnerable to attack. We set the team up in that area, with claymores, toe
popper anti-personnel mines, hand grenades at the ready, and 40 mm grenade
launchers loaded with tear gas and fresh magazines in our CAR-15’s. The Marines
are busy bagging the dead and rigging the downed chopper for extraction. I grab
Point and we strip the chopper of its two M-60 machine guns and all the ammo,
carrying them to the two ends of our security position. Boy that was dumb. I should have taken these guns last night. We’re
damn lucky the NVA didn’t rush in and use them on us.
I sit back
watching the Lieutenant rigging Tetratol at the base of three trees. “Fire in
the hole!” BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Large chunks of bark fly hundreds of feet in all
directions. Leaves, twigs, branches and bark rain down on all of us. None of
the three trees topple. Each of them is still standing waving in the morning
“Damn, I’ll bet we
killed every enemy soldier for five miles with flying bark,” I say to Hiep. He
starts laughing and spreads the word down our perimeter. Pretty soon we’re all
Lieutenant inspects his handiwork. “I don’t have anymore Tetratol, we need to
come back tomorrow for the chopper.” The Marine Recovery Crew is pissed;
complaining the NVA will burn the chopper in place before it can be recovered.
More than likely they’ll move a larger force
into the area and wait for us to return. I don’t think I want to come back
tomorrow. “Sir, now that you have debarked the trees it will be easy to
take them down. I’ll give you a hand.”
He storms to my
position, “What the hell are you trying to do make me look stupid.”
With a big smile
on my face, trying not to laugh, “No Sir, just trying to help.”
“What do you think
you can do that I couldn’t,” with his hands on his hips he bitches.
I collect all the
explosives into two rucksacks. The Lieutenant and I begin rigging each of the
trees with shape and kicker charges. Then I serially wire one tree to the next
and finally the entire series to one hand generator. The Marine recovery crew
has finished bagging all the bodies. “Here you go Sir. Phase two ready. Fire in
the hole!” The Lieutenant cranks the generator, each tree jumps up clean from
its base; cut clean and its top kicked outward from the downed chopper allowing
enough room for the Flying Crane to do its work.
“Will you teach me
how to do that,” the Lieutenant asks as he hands me the generator.
“I just did, Sir.”
“I’ve heard about
you. They say you’re a good field soldier but have a tendency to cause trouble
in garrison when you get bored. They say you spend a lot of time in the club
playing dice and debriefing recon teams.”
“That’s a fair
“I’m glad you and
your team are here.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“You get the job
done; you look out for your team … you protected us and taught me something
new. I shouldn’t have been such a bulldog.”
roi,” interjects Hiep.
“What’d he say?”
“I don’t know,
Sir. I’ll have to ask my interpreter.”
“Isn’t he your
“Him? That’s just
some dumb indig,” I respond with a straight face.
“I’m tired. I need
sleep,” I complain getting off the chopper at Mai Loc.
Blackjack,” gruffly states the Mai Loc Ops officer.
“Man, you guys
sure beat the hell out of your backup Bright Light teams. What’s next?”
“Get the hell back
on that chopper and out of my launch site. Your job here is finished,” the
Launch Commander smiles.
I wonder who that American is we extracted last night? Hope he made it … later. Not now, I need sleep.
Blackjack sends this as part of the intro to this story:
The rescued office was Lt. David Gordon. He lives in California. Before he retired Dave was a Fire Chief. I met him at a reunion several years ago. He walked up and introduced himself, grabbed me and we both had an emotional moment. Today Dave is a landscape and underwater photographer who’s enjoying life.
The medic is now Dr. Ron Williams. He lives in Texas. He introduced himself to me at another reunion where my wife and I had dinner with him and his son.
The launch site commander is Major Clyde Sincere. He and his wife live in Utah. Highly decorated career soldier, great leader and friend.
This is a really great book, and set me off on my current reading-frenzy on anything SOG-related.
September 10, 2019 at 1:59 am #118685JohnnyMacParticipant
September 10, 2019 at 2:26 am #118687Joe (G.W.N.S.)Moderator
219th’s Kingbee Pictures
September 10, 2019 at 3:37 am #118702First SergeantModerator
Signal Out, Can You Identify
Je ne regrette rien
In Orbe Terrum Non Visi
September 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm #118814MaxKeymaster
September 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm #118818hellokittyParticipant
HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
HEAT 2 (CP) X1
September 11, 2019 at 2:41 am #118867HealthhokieParticipant
Great book. Synchs with MVT training. Shocker..
October 6, 2019 at 3:44 am #122575
October 7, 2019 at 1:47 am #122661IncipientParticipant
Awesome read. Definitely picking up the book and look forward to more of the unpublished stuff.
In an initial stage; beginning to happen or develop.
October 29, 2019 at 2:55 am #125393AndrewParticipant
October 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm #125462AntManParticipant
October 29, 2019 at 1:33 pm #125467JCParticipant
I recently finished “Across the Fence” by John Stryker Meyer. He is another legendary SOG One-Zero. His book dedicates a chapter to a mission that ST Alabama has in which Lynne Black is the One-Two (junior American on the team) and radio operator. The team was inserted into the A Shau Valley in Laos on 5 OCT 1968 with a substitute (non-SOG) One–Zero. On the way in Black notes that he observed an NVA flag flying from a hill top and he concluded there was a regiment of NVA in the area.
After they land, the One-Zero quickly leads them down a trail (against the objections of the rest of the team) and into an ambush. The One-Zero is killed instantly. Black stands up – in the middle of the ambush – and coolly shoots NVA ambushers. For the rest of the day the team fights against overwhelming odds. Black is credited with saving the team that day and is awarded the Silver Star (the One-One spent the entire engagement with his face in the dirt praying). Throughout the day airpower was used to keep the NVA from overrunning the team. Multiple aircraft were damaged and/or shot down. The two H-34 Kingbee’s (flown by South Vietnamese pilots) that were sent in to extract them were both shot down. Three HH-53’s were eventually sent in to get them. The 1st was heavily damaged but made it back to base. The 2nd one was shot down. The 3rd hovered in the trees, below the tree level until the team could get to it. It managed to get them out, but was heavily damaged and controlled crashed a few valleys away. From there they were all successfully evacuated. The team had 3 KIA, and there were 2 KIA from the HH-53 that crashed, and at least 4 KIA from the Kingbee’s.
Thirty years later Black assisted with the recovery of the KIA. He then received a call from the Commanding General from the NVA unit. He asked Black who it was that was standing up shooting during the initial ambush. Black tells him it was him. The General tells Black he shot him 3 times. He also tells him that they did not have a Regiment in the area, they had a Division – 10,000 men. And they took 90% casualties!
It is just an incredible account. I could not put the book down. I’m looking forward to reading Black’s book.
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