William (Bill) Warren had an
Infantry MOS and in late 1967, transferred into the 161st to serve a
These days Bill lives in Royersford, PA, just a few
miles from Valley Forge National Park.
[Taps] [Reunion] [Stories]
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
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,