Those Gentle Heroes
March 29, 1968 — ARVN Rangers and U.S. advisors came under attack as their helicopters landed near A Luoi, RVN. Several choppers were destroyed, and there were many dead and wounded. Maj. Jim Morris, a former Green Beret working as an Army Public Information officer, was along on the mission and told of encountering a “redheaded trooper” in the middle of the firefight.
“The trooper looked to be about twenty-three or so,” Morris said, “and following him was a slender, clean-cut kid with black hair.”
The redhead called to some Vietnamese Rangers who had sought cover among the trees. He told them he and the kid needed help hauling about fifteen wounded men out of a bomb crater, but the Rangers stared vacantly as though they had not heard. From the hillock, Morris could see the crater filled with wounded Rangers, Green Berets, and U.S. Marine chopper pilots. They were pinned down by enemy machine guns firing from bunkers across the open field.
“There was scarcely a twig or blade of grass between us and the crater,” the major recalled. The redhead stopped and looked back at the lone young man behind him. He shook his head and broke into a lopsided grin. Scrambling down the steep earthen bank, he burst through the trees with the kid on his tail. There were thirty yards of open space between the trees and the crater.
The two Green Berets made a broken-field run toward the crater with machine-gun rounds kicking up sprays of red dirt all around them. “I didn't see them get hit,” Morris said, “but if they weren't, it was a miracle.”
My Special Thanks to Two Friends who are Vietnam Vets and Gifted Artists:
Front Cover by Don Reber, 146th Aviation Company, ASA, Saigon, RVN
Cover photographs: “Fog fills the Khe Sanh Valley below FSB Sarge” by David Ward, 407th RRD, ASA, FSB Sarge, Quang Tri Province, RVN