"Small World" by Bruce Raught

While I was in Viet Nam I met five guys from my home town Quincy, Massachusetts, at different times in different places, four that I knew from my high school. One I met on a convoy we were escorting to Dalat. He was filling in on the M60 on our armored jeep but I did not realize he was from Quincy until after we had been riding together for some hours and I happened to ask where he was from. But that was later in my other life in the 218th MP.

One night when I was with the 127th I was out on the perimeter at the far end of the camp on guard duty. I was in the bunker where we had the M60 set up. It would be another long twelve hour all night tour sitting on that big pile of sandbags, covering my self with bug repellent and trying to stay awake. Everyone will remember that a couple of thousand yards out in front of our bunker was small compound at the base of a radio tower, there to provide security for the tower. We all spent many nights in that bunker staring out at the rocks, bushes and shadows wondering who was out there staring back. This night turned out to be a bad one for the guys guarding the radio tower. It was typical beautiful warm quiet evening, but the peacefulness was broken by explosions and then automatic weapons fire all around the base of the radio tower. They were hit by a sapper team. One of the kids guarding the tower ran out of his bunker and took the full force of an explosion in his chest. He was killed and to the best of my memory despite all of the return fire none of the VC sapper team were killed or captured. At least none were found.

Fast forward to a week later and I am driving into the hospital compound by the air field and as I glance over at the side of the road and I see a face that I never expected to see in Viet Nam. It was a guy that I grew up with, went through grades one through twelve with, Dave Lindholm. He lived two blocks away from me in Quincy . He was one of the guys I hung out with and was someone I had literally known all my life. Of course I was shocked to see him and hadnít seen him since I was drafted and sent to PanamaÖ didnít even know he was in the Army. But the real shock came when I talked him and found out that he was sergeant of the guard at the radio tower the night they were attacked. I was stunned to find out that I was sitting that night watching a good friend fighting for his life just a few hundred yards away, right in front of me and did not even have a clue he was out there.

Daveís brother Bobby was older by a year had an even stranger experience. Bobby was also a good friend. He was a member of a company of Marines working out of the Da Nang area and while out on patrol they were caught in a very bad ambush. There were just a few squads left out of the company and they had to call for extraction. The helicopters had to come in to the hot LZ to pull them out. Bobby came running out of the bush, bullets flying, in the best B movie tradition and dove on to a ship. As the helicopter lifted them out Bobby looked up he realized that he was staring into face of another one of our good friends from Quincy, John Paul Rogers. John Paul was the crew chief on the bird that pulled him out. John Paul told me that they got together later at the base and drank all night. He said Bobby couldnít stop shaking and hardly said a word the entire night. Bruce Raught