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Normal lighting would make us an inviting target from the shore even though we’re anchored in the middle of the huge Soi Rap River. The ATC’s pull up to the side of the pontoon, three at a time, and take their passengers on board. Only one man can climb over the rail and onto the ATC at a time. One slip means falling into the rapid, murky current. I’d just as soon forgo a night swim, thank you. Caution in loading takes considerable time. The navy has expert swimmers for rescue should a soldier accidentally fall overboard, but no one wants to put them to the test.

Tom Kirk carries an M-79 grenade launcher. As he’s doing his check, he discovers a VC bullet has hit and passed through an M-79 round that he’s carrying in his ammunition pouch. Within a few meters, we learn why the VC have hit us. We come upon a huge VC base camp, supply depot and hospital. All the VC have apparently left. We find rice still cooking and many blood stained rags and blood trails leading away from the camp. The vegetation is so thick that I don’t even see the rice until I’m less than five feet away.

I will, when possible, go on combat operations with the troops. I will be where they are, regardless. They may even call my action one of defiance. But, they’re not on the ground where I am. I will do what I must do to provide pastoral care to these heroes. This Page Intentionally Left Blank CHAPTER TWO August 19– September 26, 1967 SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 1967: The Mobile Riverine Force base is anchored at the junction of the Soi Rap and Vam Co Dong Rivers south of Saigon. Our area of operation will be about twenty miles away northwest of Ben Luc.

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Armor in Vietnam


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