U.S. Army's 6th Battalion/14th Artillery Regiment

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The 6/14 Arty is officially open but is still a work in progress. We hope that it will soon take form and someday proudly stand as a testament to the brave men of the 6th Battalion 14th Artillery Regiment.

Welcome to Pleiku - by Alan Dingman












The 6/14

 Holloway Entrance
Hi Patrick, 
I am not a writer and I have a minimum working knowledge of the english language. I'm sure the story of my 1st day with the 6/14th is full of mistakes. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if there's not one correct sentence in the whole rambling. 
A picture of me?  I'll try. Over the years I've left many things behind that I forgot about in boxes up in closets or down in basements. In one box (if it still exists and I've heard it does) are many pictures of me in Viet Nam. If any become available in the future I will send them to you so that you may put them on the web site.

Thanks ever so much,
Alan "Al" Dingman 

incoming mortars

Welcome to Pleiku - by Alan "Al" Dingman

Welcome to Pleiku... 
I am about to land at a place called Camp Holloway. 
As I walk to a building the Air Force sergeant directed me to I say to myself, "Just as damned hot here as Cam Rahn Bay". The ride to Artillery Hill is on a road with deep ditches on both sides, bare dirt banks on the other side of the ditches. As we approach Artillery Hill an 8 inch self propelled fires a round, then the other gun next to it fires a round,  I am fixed with fascination, my knowledge of artillery guns are the 105's I just left back at Fort Sill Oklahoma. I begin to feel some apprehension about being assigned to this outfit... these guns are on tracks, tracks are tanks and anything to do with tanks is hard work. This is gonna be a long year. 

I am pointed to the office of the 6th Battalion 14th Artillery. 
The first person I meet is a guy named Pat Yanni from Buffalo New York... it's 5 PM and the office is about to shut down for the day.  I won't be processed in until the next morning but until then I'll stay in a tent up the hill a ways from the office. Pat Yanni took me down to the mess hall for something to eat then showed me where the "Club" was. Eight inch guns were firing from this position and the "Club" will be open tonight??? I may like this place after all!!! After my mess hall experience I made my way to this "Club". 

Not being on any duty roster, not being on any roster, not really even being assigned to the 6th of the 14th...
yet. I closed the "Club" and made my way up to the tent that would be my "temporary area" and crashed! 

Whoop whoop whoop whoop... BANG !!
Whoop whoop whoop... BANG! Swwwiiiiisssssssshhhh.... BAW-WANG!!!! Swwwiiisssshhh... BAW-WANG!!!
Then more "whoop whoop whoop BANG"!! 
Someone ripped open the flap of the tent yelling to me,... 

I Jumped up off the cot going out the flap before it closed after he let it go and I'm standing outside...
not having the slightest idea of where to go, what to do, not even a weapon assigned to me yet.
Whooop whoop whoop... BANG!!  Right behind me. 
Then an a solder who I don't know to this day was running by me and just grabbed my arm saying, "you're new aren't ya"? All I knew I was running to where ever he was running and hoped he knew where he was going... 
I sure as hell didn't. 
Swwwiissshhhh... BAW-WANG! 
One slammed in right next to us and we got sprayed with stinging dirt... thank God no shrapnel. It was later explained to me we were close enough to be under the "umbrella". Whatever. We were back on our feet at a full run as we went into this hole in the ground... the bunker. What a way to meet the guys of my new unit... out of breath, scared shitless and shakin' with fear. Shakin' so bad I couldn't lower my self to sit down. This long arm reaches up and slowly pulls me down next to him. I'll never forget his voice (and recently visited him 33 years later) as he said, "you the new guy"? I couldn't get anything to come out at first... then I squeaked out a "yep". 
He said very calmly, "I'm John and this is Mac. Don't worry, this ain't nothing much" Then I noticed everybody was somewhat calm and it was just a little re-assuring to me and helped me get my shakes down to goose bumps. 
Then, "I need rifles down on the perimeter... Evensizer, McKagan, Sullivan, Harris let's go"!!!
When those guys said, "aw shit"... I knew it wasn't over.
This gonna be a long year I thought to myself. 

Well, it was over. That was just a precaution... 'til daylight. 
As for the rest of the night... I didn't sleep a wink.
I think I never slept soundly again. 

 Alan "Al" Dingman 
  Level Cross NC 
   Clearwater FL

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