Vietnam Personal Accounts


by Lloyd "Pappy" Reynolds

Pappy Reynolds

 The below happened some time in late October 1967.   I was with the 1st Platoon, 3rd Tank Battalion at a position called the “Rockpile”.  The monsoon season was upon us and it had been raining hard for about a week.  A grunt patrol came back and reported that the bridge across the river was still there but that both ends of it were gone.  This was our only access to supplies as all the helicopters were grounded due to the weather, except for emergencies.

A. Approximate site of Sep. 7, 1967 Double ambush.

B. Location of bridge that washed out and where we drowned Super Goof II.

C. Where we saw a Tiger on the road. (See RatsnSnakes.)

D. Where a Tiger tried to get a Marine one night. (See RatsnSnakes.)

From map Sheet Cam Lo 6342 I

Yep, I guess the report was right.  The bridge is still there, but under about two feet of water and the ends are gone. 
The next day isn’t looking any better although it has stopped raining.  For awhile anyway.  By now we are getting hungry and we shot something about the size of a deer.  It was Black with two white stripes along its back and had two horns like an Antelope.  What ever it was we cooked it and ate it. 
On the third day the water was down a little and we could see the top of the bridge.  We tried to get a line over to the people on the other side.  No go.  Almost lost a Marine trying. 
Tanks to the rescue.  By the fourth day we thought the water was low enough for a tank to get across.  The Grunt C.O. of India 3/3 is in photo center.  His XO is giving the signal to get started.  T.J. Wharton was the T.C. and Jerry Whall was driving.  The "Razorback" is in the background.
Looks like a good place to cross.  Wide but should be shallow, just above a bend in the river, upstream from the "Little Rockpile".  A real good spot.
Well maybe not such a good spot.  Jerry tried to keep the engine going but when the water got up to his neck, it was time to pull him out.  He couldn't get out on his own by then as the water pressure was to great. 
As Jerry gets a blanket on the C.O. of I/3/3 tells T.J. "you said this thing could make it".  Just like a Grunt to believe a Tanker.  We're good but we don't walk on water.
All ashore that's going ashore.  But it's not for liberty call.  It's abandon tank.  Hell we never even got 100 feet from the bank.  There sat a $250,000.00 rock.  We had to leave security near it until the water went down enough for us to strip it of anything useful like weapons and ammo.

It was eventually salvaged and returned to service.  But only after a lot of hard work by Battalion Maientence.
Photos courtesy of Charlie Clements and Lloyd Reynolds