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.

The Ambush at Kontum - by "Al" Dingman












The 6/14

Hi Patrick, 

In this story (The Ambush at Kontum) I used the word *"gook". It has always bothered me to use that word even going back 30 years ago in Viet Nam. 
I had the opportunity to work with some of the ARVN's at one of the fire bases. I sensed that they wanted to be free... free from the communists but not "freedom" as we so easily speak of it. I guess that comes from never really having and not ever really achieving the freedom we know and were trying to help establish with them. 
Anyway, just wanted to let you know, that "word" I used in this story bothers me. Yes, I've said that word many times but I think every time I have said it... each time... something "twinges" ever so slightly in my mind. 

There, now I feel better. 
Alan "Al" Dingman

*Note from the Webloader: I did a little research on the orign of the word "gook" and if you are interested in reading what turned up click on the following word, "Gugu".


The Ambush at Kontum - by Alan "Al" Dingman
A jeep sat first in a line of "deuce 'n a halfs", 5 ton ammo trucks, track PC carriers, two 8" guns, 3/4 ton trucks with trailers and several "low boy" tractor trailer trucks just outside Artillery Hill's east gate... the gate to the 6/14th Artillery Service Battery. The weather was clear just coming out of the Monsoon Season, the road had yet to build up dust nearly a foot deep... that would come in months to come in the "dry season". 
This convoy was plagued before it started. A 5 ton ammo truck parked back up the hill rolled free into the back of another before the driver could catch up with it to jump in and stop it. BAM!! The other truck it hit had it's driver and shotgun jumping out ready to start a fight with somebody... they exchange some compliments with the driver of the run away truck rating his ability as a driver. A track PC carrier broke a track before the convoy even started and the potable water trailer also had a flat. I'm driving a 5 ton and my shot gun is a guy named Louie Clevenger.
(Louie, jump in here if you're reading this... add some more details)

We finally begin to roll on our way to Dak To, we'll be passing through Kontum... we thought. 

As we come to Kontum a convoy begins to go by us from the other direction... the Dak To to Pleiku convoy. Just looking at the drivers and shotgun riders and the looks on their faces told me something wasn't cool. Just outside of Kontum our convoy stops. A jeep rides down along the convoy and the rider in the jeep is standing up making a slashing motion at his throat to all of us... we know that to be the sign to shut our motors off. We're gonna be sittin' here a while. 
You guessed it... 500 sellers, peddlers, beggars and "you gimme GI" gooks (sorry, that's what they were called at that time) began to swarm the convoy. Word makes it way down the convoy that the road between Kontum and Dak To has been mined... two trucks from the last convoy got it. We waiting for the mine sweepers to clear the road. The locals are sellin', beggin' and takin' turns putting their faces in the window... both sides of the truck, every truck. 

I manage to doze off... for how long I don't know. Then... Louie Clevenger says to me,  "Ding... where are all the gooks?" 
I may have said, "Who cares... ain't it great!" But... then one "ping", Then two "pings"... three, four, then more, then as fast as you could say "pop, pop, ping, pop, pop, ping, ping, poppidy, pingidy and a ploof ga thunk" from tires getting hit the convoy was getting ambushed. Louie and I (like everybody else) dive out the doors and for underneath the truck hoping for some kind of cover. Shattered glass somehow sprays on us even under the truck. Louie fires his '16 in the general direction of where he thinks some small arms fire is coming from. I yelled to Louie, "if you see tracers coming at us, but high... cease fire"!! (From a previous experience I'll write about later.)

Finally the incoming small arms fire ceases and all of us gradually do the same. The convoy got pretty tore up, don't know who got hurt or how many but flat tires and damage from the ambush had us spend that night in Kontum. 

But,  "where did all the gooks go...?" 

 Alan "Al" Dingman 
  Level Cross NC 
   Clearwater FL 

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