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good evening vietnam live from lz bunker
this is the veterans live show i’m your
host ronnie embrass
i serve with 101st airborne division of
vietnam from december 67 to december 68.
tonight’s guest is sergeant james harris
from the detroit michigan area
who served as an armored cav scout with
the ninth id
in tang on and with tanghan and the
light infantry brigade in chulai we will
speak to
james in a few moments but first i’d
like to let you know that the program is
brought to you by
the book the vietnam memorial’s book
fall and never forgotten
vietnam memorials in the usa featuring
over 50 memorials in the united states
one from each state
district of columbia and the territories
there’s a great book go to the phone page for more
information on how to purchase it
today’s headlines from vietnam the bong
historical society in superior
wisconsin is putting the finishing
touches on its new
50 000 exhibit about the korean and
vietnam wars
because of great grant funds and private
donations the center was able to make
this exhibit the largest built
since it opened in 2002 because of the
pandemic however
management is currently working on how
to conduct a soft opening
let’s go to the vietnam timeline
okay this date in vietnam february 10
1965 vietcon guerillas blew up a u.s
barracks at quinon
with a hundred pound explosive charge
under a building a total of
23 u.s personnel were killed as well as
two viet cong
in the response attack president lyndon
baines johnson ordered a retaliatory
airstrike operation in north vietnam
flaming dart 2. the number one song on
february 10th in 1965
all right where was it guys you’ve lost
that loving feeling by the righteous
brothers okay big time hit
this date in the war february 10 1968
hop tech one was a road security
operation by the
u.s ninth infantry division along route
four in dinton province
the operation resulted in 345 vc
killed and 92 u.s servicemen lost their
the number one song on february 10 1968
was love is blue by paul muriat
nice instrumental there and let’s go to
vietnam veterans photo club segment
okay let’s get that first photo up here
oh boy you remember chris noel i got
this took this new spy sent this
newspaper home and i think yeah
it had to be sent home i couldn’t carry
it for six months uh it’s the girl who
made the mini skirt
swing in vietnam chris noel the great dj
from armed forces radio
look at that hairdo okay all right guys
take it easy
next picture gary r
adams sent a picture in of a destroyed
church highway one south of quang tree
battle damage during a 72 easter
offensive the scene of heavy fighting
and grenades thrown through the windows
to clear the interior a lot of a lot of
protection behind those concrete walls
uh for both of us next picture
okay richard ray bathhurst is
r r haha nothing like a hot beer and a
smoke break
a recep the tropical wonderland
no slack that’s uh with the 101st
airborne division
327 uh infantry and there’s a
screaming eagle newspaper on the ground
next to him
very good troop nice way to open that
beer too you could just chug it down
instead of
the little can opener thing very good
next picture
okay david pendergraft 50 years ago
february 7th i came home after 14 months
on a 105
102 howitzer he was still 19 years old
another guy would suck can in his hand
what’s that a little rock and roll boom
box there very nice david
thank you for that picture next picture
tommy hammack from truly 1966
first battalion shore party these look
looks like oh you get back up please we
just look at that bunch of marines there
and uh that looks like a squad yeah
there you go got enough guys for a squad
guard leader nice picture tommy thank
and this here uh another one from tommy
says your party first battalion know ye
all men by this hallowed scroll having
duly indoctrined in the fine arts of the
shore party in the marine corps
tradition is hereby designated as
honorary shore party man
dated 12 december 1966
you are officially a party boy okay
thank you tom
okay here’s our card of the week great
cards for village defense forces right
we tried to set these up
with the education and the medical
treatments that we used to give the
in 1960 american military advisers
a self-defense program for the south
vietnamese remote villages were provided
with arms and training for their own
surrounding villages would be armed and
as well to create a safety network
against communist infiltration by 1963
30 000 villagers had been armed
there you go okay
okay james how you doing here pretty
good all right
james served you served with uh
196 light industry began in july correct
uh all right tell us about your time in
country at the beginning when did you
get there
you got there uh excuse me on my
birthday may
9th 1967. there you go that’s a that’s
one okay happy birthday
and did you return pardon me didn’t did
you come home on your birthday
yes i did oh hey okay good for you man
1967 we lost one of our own
in our own units uh sergeant dillard dry
he was at the end of his tour he had the
orders in his pocket to go home
he decided that he wanted to drive the
track with m113
back to the base camp unfortunately he
had a mind
that killed him oh my gosh it’s really a
hard time for us that was our first
uh when i was in that unit that was the
first kill that
first killed that i knew and uh
wow february 10th 1967.
well god bless you
1968 of me 68. okay
gotcha but noah go ahead tell us when
you’re in the country go ahead when you
got in the country where you go
i arrived at town sanut just outside of
i was assigned to the ninth infantry
division the fifth of the sixtieth
uh to drive a truck uh
i was kind of confused because i never
drove a truck before never trained for a
truck before
i was an apc driver but i was assigned
to drive a truck
so i sent out to the supply area and my
basic duty for the first 30 days i was
was to drive a pol truck down to ben
fuch which is a base where the fifth of
the 60th was
it was a lone straight road that they
mine swept
every day the guys told me i said don’t
worry about when you got a full tank
don’t worry about taking it around
because it’s not going to blow up
but on your return you might have a
problem when it’s empty
i did that for 30 days and then i asked
the sergeant if i could uh
change out assignments he said oh yeah
we’ll give you a
regular fort deuce and you can run that
supply supplies during the daytime
pick up stuff from scigirl and go on
around first night i was in bed
at the base i got woke up
i got to make a run down to ben poop
because they’re under attack they needed
ammo they needed supplies
i asked him to watch a flight in said no
you know the road
you’ve done we’ve run that road for 30
days you know the road better than
anybody else so
okay in daytime or night time you had to
go it’s a night time that’s about 11 00
in the morning
the escort vehicles they gave me i told
them to stay behind me
i didn’t want one in front of me because
i’d run your hats over
i was yeah so after the two months there
i got orders
to transfer up to uh 196
at july so i got to the 196.2 live
reported to my duty station which was
the 17th cab
and i’ve seen the atcs which i was
trained on in which i knew very well how
to run
so i did i i spent the rest of my tour
with the 17
cab uh we stayed at 2 live for about
uh three or four months when i was there
then we moved up to lz baldy which is up
around 10am
and i spent most of the the rest of my
during during uh in that area
doing patrols and whatnot
some pictures that you got from over
there okay matt we got some pictures
okay what do you got here hey we were on
an escort
run uh the road that we were
traveling on was known to uh
take rocket attacks so they had a
that would fly along with us on actually
on both sides of us
to watch out for any uh vc activity
before we uh
before we got hit and give us a heads up
okay this was a helicopter that was shot
i believe from what i remember that the
crew got out okay
the guy rotated down our unit was sent
out to secure the area
and the helicopter came out and picked
this one up
it was uh that was one of our
worst assignments was go out and recover
these helicopters
sometimes in very remote areas
pretty amazing uh operation they have
getting that usually uh
what does it call that the workhorse
helicopter the big one
came in handy all right next picture
okay there’s a map okay
down the bottom i see ninth infantry
division yeah down the night that’s like
where i spent the first
two months of my tour uh basically
running uh gas the first month and
running uh supplies the second month
i didn’t know at the time but my future
unit was about 10 miles from where i was
they got moved up to july they
originally had
jeeps like the old desert jeeps
this with the 60 mounted jeep yeah when
they got to july they changed over to
the 113s
which i was trained on so
gotcha next picture
okay this was a village sweep we were
inspecting the village
those are our vehicles out front there
the infantry
started the village they rounded up all
the uh residents
into one area and then they did a sweep
of all the huts and
the rice patches and looking for tunnels
and looking for arms
did you ever find anything on this
particular sweep
i don’t believe so okay
all i know is i woke up at three o’clock
in the morning to start getting over to
that village they wanted to sneak up on
the unfortunate part is our vehicles are
kind of noisy
that gotcha yeah yeah that’s true you’re
right next picture
okay here you go so now this is what a
picture of one of the village huts than
the family that was in it
uh yeah like a
whole family of vc in black pajamas
right yeah oh they were all in black
pajamas you couldn’t tell them apart
you’re right that was what they wore
yeah i can remember uh going into those
villages and and
not being you had to watch everything
you did man the guys had to watch you
you had to watch each other’s back
it was crazy you had to be on your toes
amen no slouching around there next
here we go spider hole spider hole yeah
we found
i found this one uh well we found it
and i went inside it was big enough to
hold about 67 bc
uh wow actually the hole’s a little bit
bigger than what it was because we had
to break it up so i can get in there
and check it out yeah oh yeah right
they’re kind of small
undernourished whatever the thing about
that too when you drop the grenades down
in there
the concussion would get them and uh you
had to be careful
if you didn’t have a booby trap and that
would definitely not only
deafen you for life but maybe do some
other further brain damage or whatever
so uh yeah in fact we had tunnels under
the hooches
the regular in the in the village uh i
walking around the side of one house it
seemed like it had a basement apartment
and walked around the corner and sure
enough there’s this old lady standing
there like
if it was charlie i wouldn’t be here it
was like
the tunnel network telling network down
around coochie in the south is just
was yeah unimaginable
that they even tunneled under one of our
units brigade headquarters
yeah we had uh we had one we found um
they said at least a battalion size
operation going on in one right they had
a battalion
like what three or four companies
three four of our companies would be
three or four hundred guys
and yet they had hospitals mess halls
ammo stuff uh uh you know the arsenal
the whole deal it was crazy
well during along the uh ho chi minh
trail a lot of that was uh tunnels they
went underground because they
the bombers yeah
abominable the only way that they uh
eliminated was the b-52 carpet bombs
yeah have you ever used any cs gas on
those things
no we didn’t use those no okay
uh next picture punji k
what is that that’s a tunnel entrance
a long bamboo pole right
with a c4 attached to the end
and uh that’s we jam it as far down that
hole as we could
and light it up how’d you light it
but we had a fuselage before we had a
few all the way down
to it right well okay i got you and what
does this concept
same concept they use in world war ii to
take out bunkers
yep i got you okay like a bangalore
like a bangalore torpedo like a
bangalore torpedo right
a little modified well it’s okay did the
next picture oh yeah this is a big
operation we had the infantry was
involved with it uh we were caught we
placed in a uh hold position and while
the infantry swept the uh bill
uh these were the prisoners that were
captured at the time they were still
bringing them in uh
it was an all-day operation
that you got one guy in the back with a
hood over his head yeah they’re bringing
more in
yeah and you guys look like you’re
slouching around you got a couple of
guys there with no weapons you got your
shirt undone
nobody has a helmet on what’s going on
at this point in time
it was over we were just scared we were
everybody up and it was the fighting was
i got you all right just checking there
you go what’s this one say
same area uh we found uh
this particular picture is uh
interesting because if you look behind
where the bushes are we had about four
or five guys
sitting down there having sea rats and
uh getting something to drink
and just taking it easy and we had a
fellow walking
by and he seen some movement in the
bushes right behind me there
and he come around to the side and
walked over and
grabbed this vc and pulled him out of
this hole but vc had a gun with him
we don’t know if he was going to open up
on the guys
right or whether he was just trying to
hide out but yeah
why would he try to hide out with that
amount of people around you know yeah
but i don’t know but the gun was just
exposed so it was out front oh yeah yeah
hard to say those guys really
learned a lesson that day all right next
here we go it’s a continuation of the
same uh
same operation this guy was we were
waiting for a better back to come and
get him out here’s a vc
i see he’s got an iv on him yeah and i
see you guys got some nice camouflage on
your helmet
yep these guys are looking ready you got
the battery
these guys with the infantry right here
yeah you got they got the uh bandoliers
wrapped around their
shoulders and it looks like the
lieutenant there with the hands on the
most likely most of the time that’s what
they did yeah exactly
all right next next picture
all right oh bath time what’s going on
here yeah we had uh we got orders to
drive out to a village it was kind of a
remote village
with blankets and uh food and medicine
and uh trying to take care of the
village make sure that they they were
all okay and a couple of our guys
noticed that all the kids were like
really dirty just like caked in dirt and
so they decided to have a bath time so
they turn around and give the big all
the little kids a bath out of a
bomb crater yeah the american savage
right yeah and i got you next question
next picture i’m sorry
five guys on top of the mountain
listening post yeah they would fight
when i was when i first got to chew live
one of our assignments were to
man this mountaintop and they’d take
five of us
and fly us up to the top of this
mountain and we’d stay up there for a
and it would be a listening post an
observation post we could see
in the far back there you see a brown
stripe that’s a road
kind of a kind of like a road that’s
going through there we would sit up all
night and watch for activities
lights whatever we could see and then
report them to uh
back to headquarters and then they would
send out a team next day to
check out the area interesting
that’s a nice bunch of photos it’s uh so
what was your
most interesting experience uh time in
most interesting
i uh i mean interesting doesn’t have to
be critically
battlefield stuff or i don’t know if
you’re familiar with the 113 but it’s
got the big sprocket on the front
it’s heavy steel sprocket that turns the
it’s very strong piece of equipment
i was considered uh the old
an experienced driver one of the top
drivers in the unit
i was coming through this village over
this hill
over this about a four foot drop
and i didn’t see this big rock and i
came down on the rock and tore off the
final drive
oh man well the uh the mechanic had to
be flown out to the
village to fix it and i can say he was
quite upset
first thing he said he’s never seen
anybody tear off a final drive before
he didn’t he didn’t really like working
out in the field so
did he really fix it i mean did he have
the price yeah
yeah we fixed everything out there so
you guys knew what it was
obviously so you got grunts like us we
wouldn’t know the difference of uh
a pc or a three-quarter ton truck you
know what i mean the only time i wrote
in the apc was in the uh
with the 11th cav up in the uh
michelin rubber plantation area
northwest of kuchi
and the thing that bugged us the most
was riding on an apc
and you’d hit these trees and all these
red ants would fall down on you
and you would have to get naked real
quick because your red ants went down
your shirt and on your belt and up your
socks and oh my god
we hit the same thing we did the same
thing we used fire extinguishers and
everything trying to get
trying to get those ass off of us it was
terrible i’m telling you man
god forbid you had to be i never was in
an ambush with one but imagine
if you were like you know you you give
yourself away be crazy
yeah all right well that just happened
oh what about the spider
in the tunnel this tunnel in the spider
yeah that’s a good one
i uh we come across this one tunnel and
this is
the reason i was picked is i was long
tulse and very skinny i could fit in the
tunnels so yeah we saw the picture
i went down the tunnel with the 45 and a
the guys tied a rope to my legs in case
something happened and they had to pull
me out they didn’t want to go back in
after me so
going down this tunnel back at about 20
feet come to this corner
and i’m all tensed up because i knew
corners were bad
you don’t know what’s around the corner
i come around that corner and the
flashlight hit this huge
spider about a foot from my head
and i jerked and fired the 45
i screamed the guys up top
were panicking wondering what the hell
what the hell is going on down there
all of a sudden i get jerks on my foot
telling me to come out get out get out
they had a kick when i told them exactly
what i shot at
so you fight like you filed a 45 at a
spider and a spider
and how far away was it well it was
about a foot away from my
oh my god that’s crazy good for you man
that’s a good one
all right else could you wrap it up with
any other interesting tidbits here
no the uh the last month i spent in
vietnam we got
transferred the whole unit got
transferred up north to about 10 miles
from the dmz
really and i was not really a happy
camper because i had what
would you go up there with uh the 196
went up there to it was after tet
yeah and they needed some reinforcements
up there
so they sent the brigade up there and
who were you attached to up there
were you independent independent okay
you work with a lot of marines up there
okay so it’s kind of like a they’ve
worked together
right sure so so that was not happening
we were not happy with that we didn’t
patrolling highway one towards the south
china sea that wasn’t bad
but when they we got a couple
assignments to go to the uh
interior from highway one up there
and it was not i was not happy was that
by the time i break
did you go by the downhill bridge and do
some swimming in there
no we didn’t i don’t know
this place man i’ll tell you we stopped
one time
at a river we had not taken a bath in
like a month
we’re all nasty and this river was nice
cool clean running water and we begged
the lieutenant to uh
let us take it get a bath and he said
well that’s good so we took half the
half of our platoon
jump in the water get all washed up and
everything in the second half
they would come up and they trade out
but while we were in the water along
with the lieutenant
myself and another six seven guys
a sniper shot one of our guys on a visa
on a pc
so here we are a bunch of naked guys in
the river
up across the bank yes that was always
you’re right but this guy was he was a
brand new recruit you just got there
a week in country you took one in the
it was a million dollar wound wow
he was going home i got you brother well
thank you very much
stick around for the uh wrap up section
here okay we got some questions
comments comments yeah people are gonna
okay what’s the first comment or
okay marie how you doing thank you
caught us live on facebook appreciate
that thank you very much
what is your opinion of the m113
well it didn’t have enough armor
i mean the walls were only about uh a
couple inches
thick it’s all aluminum and our rpg
would go inside one of those suckers and
bounce around
yeah yeah very prone to mine we lost uh
my platoon alone lost three vehicles
by mine the company it was
they’re better than i would say they’re
better than infantry
because you could ride instead of walk
and the 50 caliber yeah really a game
yeah that’s for sure so i i would say if
i had a choice i’d stick with the one
one threes
okay next next question let’s comment
reminds me of afghanistan men and man’s
what does that mean
you know what i would say uh
people dress the same way similar
my son my son spent some time over in
iraq three tours and uh
we had the same comments it sounded like
this sounded like vietnam all over again
i got you thank you nick bailey for that
kilo 19
questions for both of yours do you
remember your drill sergeant’s name
yeah i do sergeant west how about that
company a62
fort gordon georgia july august 1966.
next you how about you you know you
remember your drill sergeant no i don’t
all i know is it was a fort knox okay
yeah there you go where all the gold is
that’s where all the gold is right fort
knox yep or not
okay okay any more comments or questions
uh yep there you go
uh do you remember what ue crew if that
was sidekicks or ghost
nope i don’t remember that that’s a
tough one
deborah kelsh thank you for sharing all
your pictures and information
there you go jim where’s deborah from
where you from deborah
okay i think some of those tunnels go
back to world war ii
and that maybe the french and french
indochina war
yes yeah for sure that uh
yeah but then again the japanese fought
in vietnam right i mean
there were two against the chinese
vietnam is one of the few countries that
actually never been defeated even the
chinese couldn’t take them over
you’re right yeah okay ever swim in
m113 yes
kilo right well okay next point next
a little more comments or questions all
right thank you very much
james appreciate it we’re going to get
you a book oh hey here’s another one
hold on
patrick blaise balzer god bless you
brothers hawk killed first time at cab
division headquarters company americal
tet 1968-69
fighting parkinson’s from agent orange
but i’m still hanging in there
well hang in there brother and sister
patrick send us your
name and address on the facebook page
vietnam veterans photo club
and we’ll get you a hat and some pins in
regard to and some patches and stuff
in regards to uh agent orange okay
appreciate that
and i know hawk hail well there you go
okay dang ants uh yeah how about those
ants right
never forget those ants man nope
i mean the step in half the leeches the
whatever else they had there snakes and
you know nothing like the red ants man
they began
the jungle rats oh my god it was fun
people thought you had more ways of
getting with the diseases
dysentery and malaria and and whatnot
compared to
getting shot i think you had a better
chance of getting one of those other
things done to you
yeah okay what’s this well that was a
hard hit i drove up 113 for a little
over a year
jumped it once on accident and broke the
shock mount
how about that there you go so i guess
this was like routine
yeah well yeah they would they were not
invalid they were not like tanks
they were yeah
they were okay a three-quarter ton truck
with the track
there you go next one oh out the valdez
here you go if you ain’t cavs that
sounds like you ain’t nothing
there you go there you go there you go
so let me beat with that that’s what the
apc’s that’s all armored cav right
right well now i’m well the cavalry was
earth cab too you had air calve out
there yeah
first to first yeah first air cab and i
was we
we worked at the 11th uh 11th cab
in uh around coochie down there during
in their mission implementation okay
figma calendar a short time at calendar
do you have one
yes yeah everybody kept the calendar i
used to write it on the letters home
253 days to go 147 days to go
29 days to go i got some letters like
maybe i should put them on a show one
that yeah i was talking to my mother and
my sister
okay what size engine was in the apc
from al
zanetti i can’t tell you what size i
know i ran a gasser
it was a gas engine and uh before i left
they had changed most of our vehicles
over to diesel
okay thank you for that next comment the
charlie lee fraley what year are you all
talking about
67-68 yeah that’s when i was there he
said i was there from december 67 to
december 68.
hey welcome home brother eagle at 8327
see company second 505. with the first
of the fibo deuce welcome home charlie
thank you next question or comment
kilo 19 my old man was a drill sergeant
at fort gordon around that time
well he never got me kelo what was his
last name
kilo charlie fraley oh okay gotcha train
scouts at fort knox
there you go there you go that’s you
that was my that was my last assignment
my last six months in the army was at
fort knox
training scouts gotcha
okay we’re going to wrap this up let me
get a book here zach
thank you very much james you’re welcome
we’re going to be sending you a book
and where is it there you go
there’s a book full of never forgotten
them vietnam memorials in the usa
and uh one memorial in each state
lists all the guys who never came home
state by state and he gives a profile on
one particular memorial in each state
okay so
we’ll be sending this out to you just
remember to send uh send us
send uh you know message us your address
do thank you very much pleasure okay
time to sound off here thank you very
much welcome home and god bless you
and good night