I am back in my room after having dinner with Mike and David. We decided to eat at the hotel restaurant again because of the long travel day. The meal was good, and a little different for my taste. I had “beef” and potatoes with a strange sauce. It was the same meal Mike had last night, so I thought it safe to eat, Mike was still with us. They had pizza.
After we left FSB Debbie, we headed south towards the fire we outran May 24, 1969. We located the hill, but the highway was moved about ¼ up the hillside, therefore by the pictures it does not look as tall. We walked down a trail on the other side of the road, and you could easily add another 200 or more feet to the elevation. Chuck I couldn’t find the stagnate pond we drank from that day.
Next, we headed north toward FSB Charlie Brown and the bridge. We had to make some corrections with my navigation instructions, but we made it to Charlie Brown without a problem. After stopping alongside the road Mike, David and I got out and started taking pictures. We didn’t try to go to the island, seeing it from a distance was good with us. Charlie Brown was the first firebase that Mike and I served on. My memory was mostly pulling KP and poop burning duty. We did get to swim in the South China Sea. Getting to know the platoon members was my best time at Charlie Brown.
After taking many pictures, we loaded back into the van and started driving to the bridge which was only 10 minutes away. At first, we couldn’t find it, but Mike and I saw terrain we recognized and had the driver pull over. We crossed through a small neighborhood and found the road where the bridge should be located. The bridge was moved about 500 meters south, and the river rerouted. However, the area to our front was identical to the last time we were there in 1969, I mean no changes that we could tell.
While standing in amazement of our view, we talked of the patrol that Mike went on into the foothills to our front. The patrol ran into about 17 NVA soldiers, but the platoon sergeant told them to remain hidden. I talked about the Buddist Temple that played strange music, and the monks chanted at night, making the darkness even more strange. David overheard me and saw part of an ornate building through the trees to our rear. We retraced our steps and walked up a path right through the gates of the Temple. I couldn’t believe it.
Tomorrow we are going to My Lai and then the Combat Center in Chu Lai.
When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir and Soldiering After the Vietnam War.