I rested better last night and was up by 5:00 am for our second travel day. Our goal today was to visit the August 13 ambush site and the Quang Ngai airport that we secured one night. It has been closed for years. After a great breakfast at the hotel, we loaded into the van for the long 2 ½ hour drive back to Quang Ngai.
David became an excellent navigator and worked well with Vinh using my cell phone and Google navigation system. We arrived at the August 13 location, and some landmarks were familiar, but a lot of changes have been made over the years. We walked along a trail and then rice paddy dikes to reach the ambush location where Jerry, Rebel, and Swindle were killed, and Brown wounded.
The large ditch that separated us from the enemy was now used to store water for the crops. It appeared the area was now a flood zone, with markers and foot and car bridges. Mike and I were pretty sure we were “close” to the area where it all happened. We walked and talked for about an hour to make sure this was the spot.
After we said, our goodbye’s to our fallen brothers we drove to the Quang Ngai airfield. We found it deserted and assumed it hasn’t been used for many years. The company had us fly from the mountains to the airfield to pull security for one night and Mike, and I thought we would check it out.
Mike and I decided we would head south to the location were Bruce Tufts was killed, and Mike was wounded. Looking at the Google Maps, I thought we could climb this hill. Once we arrived we knew at once that it would not be possible, there were homes at the base of the hill, and any trail leading up was overgrown. Even if we tried, we would need to cross private property which was not a good idea.
After viewing the hill and talking about that night, we decided to visit Duc Pho (FSB Bronco), the 11th Brigade, Battalion and Company Headquarters. We headed north and arrived at FSB Bronco. We found the company location and nothing appeared the same. It appeared public cemeteries and Martyr (NVA or VC) cemeteries were used where military units built firebases.
I can write much more but getting tired and need to meet Mike and David downstairs for dinner.
More tomorrow, LZ Debbie and the rice bowl on the schedule.
When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir and Soldiering After the Vietnam War.