MARINE CORPS TANKERS VIETNAM HISTORICAL Foundation's
Vietnam Personal Accounts
A Cup of Cocoa
by Lloyd "Pappy" Reynolds © 2005
This little incident happened
during the summer of 1967 when we were operating out of Phu Loc 6, near An
Hoa. We were in the area called Goi Noi Island.
My Platoon (1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 3rd Tank Battalion) was operating with a Grunt Battalion (2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division). I was the driver of Bravo one one (B11) the Platoon Leaders Tank. Just before the operation we had gotten a new Platoon Leader.
It was the first day of the operation and we were setting in for the night about half an hour before sunset. The grunts were dug in and the tanks were dispersed around the perimeter. I had done the engine and track check. The LT was off at a staff meeting, Bud Coyle and Jerry Whall were in the turret setting up for the night.
I got on the engine deck behind the turret and started to brew up a “C” ration can of cocoa. About the time it was hot I saw the LT returning, and that’s when I saw he was wearing a white “T” shirt. Wishing to explain to him the error of his ways, but with him being a new Lt. I didn’t know how he would take it. So I asked “Say LT how about some cocoa?” He said “Fine.”
Just as I was handing a can of cocoa to him a Machine gun opened up on us spraying the front of the tank, and shot the can out of my hand. The LT disappeared. Bud and Jerry started yelling at me to turn on the master switch. I’m crouched down behind the turret yelling back “Fuck you. Traverse by hand.” They did and got off about two rounds. The Machine Gun stopped firing and I scooted into the driver’s seat and turned on the master switch. Through the periscope I could see in front of us what looked like a large pond or flooded rice paddy. A mortar round landed about a hundred yards in front of us. Then two more each one closer and on line to the tank. I could also see the twinkling and green tracers of the Machine Gun firing again. Bud and Jerry used the coax and fired of some more 90. Then all the firing stopped. It was quite the rest of the night but we spent it in the tank.
At the 2003 Reunion in Seattle I ran into this former Platoon Leader and recalled this story to him. We had a good laugh over it and he gave me a tin of cocoa.
Also at the Seattle reunion were other two former Platoon leaders of mine and one from another Bravo Company Platoon.
Below from left to right. One of my Platoon leaders, Harris “Alfie” Himes, retired as a Lt. Col. And is now a “Sky Pilot” in Montana. Mike Flick another Bravo Company Platoon Leader. Fred Revero another of my Platoon Leaders now a School Teacher in Georgia and Tory Cole of Cocoa fame now in Real Estate in Seattle.