William (Bill) Warren had an Infantry MOS and in late 1967, transferred into the 161st  to serve a Pelican door gunner.

These days Bill lives in Royersford, PA, just a few miles from Valley Forge National Park.


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No, I was not part of the MP's.

I was at Fort Dix and was suppose to come over with the 196th, but developed pneumonia just before leaving. I followed two or three months later (August 1967) and was assigned to a transportation unit in Chi Lai as part of Operation Oregon, riding shotgun for JP5 fuel tanker trucks running to LZ Ross, Tam Ky, etc. I think it was the 225th or something. A few ambushes and command detonated mines later, some friends dead, I wanted to do more to fight this war.

I felt very guilty, my friends in the infantry were dying, Friends from school were already being buried and I was relatively safe. I asked my First Sergeant what my options were. He said infantry or door gunner were the only options I had to get out of this unit. I lost two of my infantry friends to personnel mines and three that lost lower extremities and had a fear of them, so I opted for door gunner.

Within 24 hours I was delivered to our unit on the south side of Chi Lai the night it was mortared, rocketed, and the ammo dump going up. (Tell you my story if your interested later). I believe this was sometime in the Dec/Jan 1967-68 time frame.

Then I met and served with some of the finest men I've been fortunate to meet in my life.  Brave and honorable men who would sacrifice all for the good of their ship, crew, ground forces and mates (Pilots, Crew Chiefs, Gunners, Maintenance, etc). Many times we were near going down, but if a sister ship from our unit was in the area, I knew, if there was anyway humanly possible, I would be back in our hooch that night. The flare ship missions were enjoyable because of the cool and stable air, but scary because you would be down all night, if you went down!

Also remember that we were suppose to come off line somewhere around two weeks before we were to go home. I remember our unit was short of gunners to support the 5th Special Forces, so I stayed out with them The morning I was suppose to leave, I flew an insertion, flew to Chi Lai, got on a C-130, went to Saigon and was on a 707 (last person to board) at 7:00 PM that evening.

Someday I would like to write of my experiences and read yours and others from that time. A majority of my flights were with WO Pete France. He was my hero. When I flew with Him, I was very confident in the mission. The second most frequent pilot I was assigned to (and had confident in) was a Captain (He's the black and white picture I sent you, but cannot remember His name (my age I'm sure). This Captain was responsible for more foliage caught in our skids then any other I flew with. He must be working for Chem Lawn now. He also caught the perimeter wire at Hill 29 once.

As I keep writing things keep coming back to me. Sorry for going on so long.

I wish you would share this with my friends and hero's (Tuttle, Whelan, etc).

My prayers and best wishes,

Bill Warren

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