We played a lot of volley ball when we wasn't filling sandbags,cleaning our weapons,
or working on our equipment that seemed to break down all the time. We really had a lot of heated games, sometimes a couple of guys might really get ticked off and want
to fight, or we would just have a free for all. We were burning off stress and didn't know
it, we didn't know anything about stress, but it was there.
Just young kids having fun in the Southeast Asia sun. The volley ball games gave us a
chance to get some payback if someone had made you made mad about something
earlier that day or a few days back. I took a lot of pretty hard hits myself right after I was
promoted to sergeant. But we were like family we had good times and bad times, bro's
sometimes do fight but we were no less brothers of the Nam.
One time someone brought us some steaks up from down south, we made a makeshift
grill and cooked the whole case, we ate steak all day, you would have thought it was
the last meal we would ever eat, and it could have been. I don't know who sent the steaks
to us but I think it was LT. Oscar Shaw, he was that kind of guy, always concerned about
his men, even though he was at Marble Mountain and we were up North at Khe Sanh he
would have someone call our com bunker and check on us every once in awhile, we all
respected LT. Shaw and he respected us. Our unit was MAG-16 FWD,Aircraft Firefighting &
Rescue, we were under the authority and control of the 26th Marine Regiment. We did our
job in day light hours and at dark we were on perimeter guard. All Marines are riflemen
first and what ever your MOS job second.
Tanks at Khe Sanh click on picture for lager view
One afternoon a French made Air America air plane landed and pulled up in front of
air freight area, it was a turbo prop and was dropping off some Vietnamese officials.
The exit was at the rear of the plane on the right side, several exited and walked to
the tail of the plane,except one, he walked toward the front of the plane, it was at a
very fast idle you could hear the engine roar. The Vietnamese official walked along
the right side of the plane right into the prop. We had to take a water tanker over to
wash the area down, looked like blood and hamburger meat slung every where.
Someone had adopted a dog with the name of "Gunny". Well Gunny thought it was
dinner time, he started eating the flesh that was scattered all over the area. Some
one started yelling and trying to chase him away, but there were to many small pieces
and Gunny ate his fill and then went and throw up, that made me start gagging and
half sick, if I hadn't seen Gunny up chuck,I would have been alright. My mind went
back to the steaks we ate a few days before this incident.
Phil Wipperman told me "Gunny" came down with PTSD because of all the incoming
rounds and was sent to Da Nang for R&R. No one knows what ever became of "Gunny".
I had spent 3 days at China beach and was at Marble Mountain waiting for a chopper
that was heading up North to Khe Sanh. A 6X6 drove up and a LT. jumped out and
went into the air frieght office. He came out and asked where I was headed, I told him
Khe Sanh. He said there is a chopper taking of shortly on a mail run to Phu Bi, Dong Ha.
and Khe Sanh, and I have several boxes I'm sending to Phu Bi, I want you to guard them
with you life, there will be someone waiting at Phu Bi air frieght to pick them up. Well
after we were in the air, I decided to open one of the boxes to see what was in it that
was so important. I opeded the box and to my delight it was cases of OLD GRAND DAD.
Well because Khe Sanh was a dry county, I took one bottle from four different boxes, a
total of four bottles, put two inside my shirt, and one in each side pocket of my utility
trousers (Marines don't wear pants).
The chopper landed at Phu Bai and a 6x6 truck was waiting for the boxes, I asked the two
guys that were loading the boxes on the truck where they were taking the boxes, they said
the officers club, I just smiled and said see you later and we were in the air in no time, I
knew I was home free, by the time they found out there was four bottles missing I would be
at Dong Ha, or Khe Sanh, and the best part no one ever ask my name or unit, cool, I pulled
it off smooth. My friends and I knocked out all four bottles that night. I'm glad that Pappy
Hess wasn't at Khe Sanh yet, because OLD GRAND DAD was the only whiskey that he would
drink, if he had been there, he would have drank all four bottles by himself. Pappy was a
cool dude he had seen combat in Korea so he knew alot more of what could happen at
any time than us kids could even guess. Pappy made it up to Khe Sanh a few months later.
Memorial Monument placed at Arlington National Cemetery Washington D.C.
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery St. Louis, Missouri
Before the siege there was an area that had a row of state flags on each side of the road, several states had donated their flags. I didn't see a flag from Missouri, so I wrote to the
state capital in Jefferson City, Mo. and asked for a state flag so Missouri would be flying
with the other state flags. My request was denied, so the Missouri State Flag never was
seen at Khe Sanh. That really made me #$^&*--MAD.
Me at Khe Sanh Village 1967
The only woodstock I remember was on my M-14 Rifle
This page was last updated on: July 6, 2009
The airstrip at Khe Sanh was made of metal marshall matting, when the KC-130 transports landed
it took every inch of the airstrip and then some to get stopped. When the Navy Sea Bee's started to
extend the airstrip they first had to remove this old matting then started using road graders to get
the area leveled out. While the airstrip was being repaired all of our supplys were air dropped in
by KC-130's or helicoptor's like CH-53's or 46's. The air delivery teams were very busy and hit the
drop zone most of the time. The airstrip was a very nice target for the artillary the NVA had up in
the mountains that over looked Khe Sanh, Guess where my tent area was, within a 100 feet or so
from the strip.
One night while we were playing poker in our tent we started to receive incoming rounds at least thats what we thought, every one hit the closest bunker for cover. It turned out to be a short roundlick of our own artillary, if it killed you it was called death by friendly fire, really don't know who came
up with the term "friendly fire"my thoughts are like, no matter which side killed you it couldn't be a
very friendly act.here to add your text.
While we were in the bunker I noticed that there was only one explosion,we were waiting for more
to hit. Then from outside our bunker came a voice sayng, come on out there are some tents on fire
you guys need to help put out the fire. A voice from inside our bunker replyed screw you we ain't
com'in out during a rocket attack. The voice from outside said, "this is LT. Warnack and I said to get
your a----- out here now". Voice from inside the bunker replyed, We ain't com'in out. LT. Warnack
said that was not incoming rounds, that was a short round. Well we all came out of the bunker and
got the fires put out in the tent area. After it was all over, LT. Warnack started to chewing on us bad.
He wasn't very happy about someone disreguarding his orders and replying with smart remarks.
LT. Warnack was really a cool dude, he was a mustanger (was an enlisted Marine before getting a
promotion to a commissioned Officer). LT. Warnack had an idea who was the smart guy in the bunker
was,but really no way to prove it, and I wasn't going to tell on myself. But I know that he knew all along
who it was, because during some of our briefings he would look at me and say, " Sergeant, when I
say come out of those bunkers, I don't want to get any smart remarks back, got that". I would say,
"yes Sir" got it, I'll make sure it doesn't happen. Then he would smile and say, Sergeant Weldon, did
you ever find out who the wise guy was that like to run his head while hideing in the bunker. "No
Sir, never could find out who it was".
In memory of all the pilot's and air crewmen killed in and
around Khe Sanh, medivacs, air support, delivering supply's
by a parachute was a live line.
Khe Sanh was a in a remote location like all base camps in I Corps so there wasn't anything like a USO
show in these areas. But there were people like Floyd Patterson, World Heavy Weight Champion boxer
who flew in by chopper to visit the troops for a few hours. My friend Phil Wipperman's brother had just
got into professional boxing and was doing very well. Phil got to talk to Floyd Patterson and asked him
if he knew his brother. Floyd Patterson said, I sure do know your brother, he's coming along very well.
That really made Phil's day, and he had the right to brag about his professional boxer brother, Phil was
very proud of him and he couldn't wait to get back home to watch him fight.
My mother wrote me a letter and said, Bob Hope and company is coming to Viet Nam to put on a show
for all you guys, maybe he will come up to where you are. Bob Hope wasn't coming to Khe Sanh, not
because he didn't want to, the military wouldn't let him because of the location. we had a lot of very un-
happy North Vietnamese around our area who just wouldn't get the punch lines of his jokes.
Robert Stack (Elliot Ness) also payed us a visit as well as Hugh O'Brian ( Wyatt Eurp).
I couldn't get close enough to them to even get a good look, forget about talking to them.