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".
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.
jump in here if you're reading this... add some more details)
finally begin to roll on our way to Dak To, we'll be passing through Kontum...
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.
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
manage to doze off... for how long I don't know. Then... Louie Clevenger
says to me, "Ding... where are all the gooks?"
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.)
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.
"where did all the gooks go...?"
Level Cross NC