am about to land at a place called Camp Holloway.
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.
am pointed to the office of the 6th Battalion 14th Artillery.
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".
being on any duty roster, not being on any roster, not really even being
assigned to the 6th of the 14th...
I closed the "Club" and made my way up to the tent that would be my "temporary
area" and crashed!
whoop whoop whoop... BANG !!
whoop whoop... BANG! Swwwiiiiisssssssshhhh.... BAW-WANG!!!! Swwwiiisssshhh...
more "whoop whoop whoop BANG"!!
ripped open the flap of the tent yelling to me,...
Jumped up off the cot going out the flap before it closed after he let
it go and I'm standing outside...
having the slightest idea of where to go, what to do, not even a weapon
assigned to me yet.
whoop whoop... BANG!! Right behind me.
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...
sure as hell didn't.
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
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.
"I need rifles down on the perimeter... Evensizer, McKagan, Sullivan, Harris
those guys said, "aw shit"... I knew it wasn't over.
gonna be a long year I thought to myself.
it was over. That was just a precaution... 'til daylight.
for the rest of the night... I didn't sleep a wink.
think I never slept soundly again.
Level Cross NC