Four Months In Vietnam War

 

late66

25th Infantry Division Base at Cuchi, Vietnam

This photo was taken in 1966 the same year I was in Viet

Nam. We found out after the war that the Viet Cong were 

living in tunnels they had built underneath our base. One

day a sniper came up out of the tunnel system, began firing

at us and we stayed in a foxhole outside our post office tent. 

I had only four months left in the Army so decided not to re-enlist while in Vietnam. Later on in this post you will see, that if I had re-enlisted I could possibly been killed or injured in a mortar shell attack.

One of my first memories after arriving in Vietnam was working in the post office, and hearing a loud noise over our post office. Turned out it was our outgoing artillery being fired toward the enemy.

I can recall a soldier working in the mortuary asking to be sent to the infantry, because he couldn’t handle the stress of working with dead bodies.

One of my friends from the Public Information Office was killed, when he became involved in the war he was covering from the reports I heard.

43c8f198aba1ca0156aea07120fa713a

 

I was sent to Vietnam with only four months left in my enlistment. I decided to not re-enlist over there, and was told that if I had 3 months left, that I could have stayed in Hawaii. It was culture shock to say the least, when I had to leave Hawaii and its beaches, for the heat of Vietnam and can still remember the time I was so hot, that I drank two 46 ounce cans of apple juice back to back to cool off.

Viet Cong Built Tunnels Underneath Base

I didn’t realize it at the time, but learned after the war, that the Viet Cong had built a network, of tunnels underneath our base. They built the tunnels so small, that an average American couldn’t fit through them.

Extricating the Viet Cong from the tunnels was a deadly exercise fraught with  the danger of being killed.

Sniper Shot At Us

I can remember one day when a sniper, or snipers started shooting toward our post office tent. We jumped in our foxholes outside the post office.

There were some soldiers walking between us and the snipers oblivious to the situation. It amazes me that none of them were shot and killed with us watching.

The bullets were ricocheting, off the Conex containers behind our foxhole making a pinging sound I will never forget. Reminded me of sound I had heard in movies.

Eventually the shooting stopped and evidently the sniper or snipers went back underground.

The only time I saw a Viet Cong soldier was when I saw one riding in a jeep, with his head covered so he couldn’t reveal any information, if he escaped or was returned to the Viet Cong.

Working in the post office I sometimes would see a soldier picking up mail one day and then be told later he had been killed.

Guarding Vietnamese Church

One night I had guard duty and was guarding a Vietnam church from being attacked. The night was uneventful, except that the lieutenant in charge that night was killed before I left Vietnam.

I even helped load his body on a helicopter and some of the soldiers looked, in the bodybag that contained his body but I wasn’t that curious.

Replacement Killed Two Months Later

In April a soldier reported to be my replacement. Little did I know that two months later he would be dead, after a mortar shell hit the post office and killed two and injured seven in June.

I had left in May so I didn’t know about the mortar attack, till one of my co-workers in the post office wrote me about it.

The real heroes of the Vietnam War were the infantrymen, who went out on missions looking to encounter the Viet Cong.

When I would see them walking down the road, on the way to combat I would wonder how many of them would return safely.

What I encountered in Vietnam was nothing compared to what these infantrymen faced.

westmoreland007

Commanding General of Armed Forces General William C. Westmoreland talking with

the Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division Frederick C. Weyand, who was

the Commander of the Armed Forces in Vietnam during the last year of the war. 

Westmoreland died in 2005 at the age of 91, and Weyand died in 2010 at 93. 

Brother Captured Viet Cong In River

My brother was also serving  in Vietnam and captured some Viet Cong hiding in a river.

He had been given a Fulbright scholarship to Germany, but couldn’t use it because of the war. Later he contacted malaria and was returned to the United States.

About the 18th of May of 1966 I boarded a plane that left Vietnam and headed to Japan, as my enlistment had come to an end.. I will never forget how exhilarating it was, as the plane gained altitude and knowing we were safe from ground fire.

Cousin Died Piloting a Helicopter

I lost a cousin James Godfrey, who was from Maine I had only seen once in my life, when the helicopter he was piloting was shot down and he was killed.

It has been 49  years since I returned from Vietnam, but the memories of what happened over there will never be forgotten.

Minor Part in War

I had a very minor part in the war. I only sold postage stamps and money orders and gave soldiers their mail, but maybe that little bit brought some happiness, into their lives when they received letters from home.

Looking back it is hard to believe a little country in southeast Asia could defeat a country as powerful as the United States.

Our superior weapons were not enough to defeat them and bombing missions in Hanoi were not enough to defeat them.

The saddest part of the war is that over 50,000 American soldiers returned home in coffins.

Advertisements

Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

7 thoughts on “Four Months In Vietnam War”

  1. 58,000 dead to be more precise.

    It wouldnt have been a DRAW, not a DEFEAT had the politicians not gotten in the way. We had the capability to win if the right people were in charge from square one. Unfortunately the whole thing was FUBAR right off the bat.

    1. It is hard to believe a smaller country like North Vietnam could defeat the United States despite us having a huge advantage in firepower. The Vietnam war was a prime example of politicians running a war instead of the military people.

  2. Andrew, enjoy your info about your experiences in vietnam. They parallal a lot with my experiences. Even thought I was not stationed in Vietnam I was tdy for 4 months in udorn, Thailand as a medic and was involved with missions that flew out of there into Vietnam. I have got a lot of war stories about things that happened I will share with you sometime.
    Ron Anderson

    1. Looking forward to sharing war stories with you. About the only thing I know about Thailand is that they have some real long names over there but am looking forward to learning more about Thailand from you.

  3. I’m so glad you came back alive, Andrew! That war was so unnecessary and it just dragged on (I learn from history, as I was just a baby and little girl at the time). My uncle’s friend Lenny was in Vietnam. He died later in life.

  4. Maryanne, I will never forget as the plane gained altitude over Saigon the feeling of safety for the first time in four months. When we got to San Francisco to be discharged will never forget the cold milk and a steak. We ate out of cans a lot in Vietnam. I have never taken for granted being able to return safely home. I remember seeing someone in Vietnam one day and then told the next day that he had been killed. The real heroes to me were the ones that went looking for the enemy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s