|If anyone recalls this incident
please email Mike at the address below.
Below is a description of a rescue performed by a tank from 1st Tanks on 3Sep68 on Go Noi Island. I am the person that was rescued. Do you happen to know if any of that crew is on line?
I was on the point of a wedge that assaulted a treeline. I wound up right in front of an enemy RPD machine gun in a bamboo thicket about 25 meters out in front of the treeline. All were killed except me.
Somewhere with one of the other companies on Go Noi were a tank and an amtrac. This was the one and only time that I ever saw either with the bush companies in the bush. The tank was sent up to get me. I did not know there were tanks out with us. Until I began to hear and feel the rumble. The tank approached the island straight ahead about one hundred meters to my right. I heard the yelling of the Marines to tell me that they were sending a tank to get me out. I suddenly returned to the normal world. I was no longer alone waiting to die. I was elated momentarily. Then slowly the elation began to die down as I tried to figure out how this tank was going to "get me out." I couldn't see any reasonable way. The elation dissipated but not the new found hope.
When the tank got to the same distance from the island that I was, it made a 90 degree left and came straight at me as if to drive between me and the bamboo thicket. Once it had made this turn, one of the crewman reached up and grabbed the 50 caliber machine gun mounted on top of the tank and began firing it as he swung it in a wide arc spraying the island from the top of the trees to the bushes on the ground. And the tank continued to come at me. I realized that the driver probably couldn't even see me laying in the grass and the guy up on the 50 wasn't looking at anything but the island. I was watching 52 tons of steel come at me and it wasn't slowing down or turning.
From some two to three hundred meters back, I could hear Marines yelling, "Run! Run!" It was becoming clear that my options were limited. I watched as the tank rolled up on me. I was waiting for the last second to get as much tank cover as possible from the snipers back in the trees and hopefully the closer it got the more likely the gook in the thicket would have his head down. Just then the Marine up on the tank firing the 50 cal turned and looked at me and yelled at me to run behind the tank. In the blink of an eye, I did just that. The tank stopped right in front of the bamboo thicket as I got behind it.
From behind the tank, I yelled up to the Marine telling him that the gook was in the bamboo. He yelled back at me to run straight back to the company keeping the tank between me and the island. He turned the 50 cal almost straight down and fired into the thicket. I began to run. As I moved away from the tank I knew that I was presenting a target to the snipers in the trees and so did my feet because they moved like they never had before. The last grenade in my pouch flew out somewhere in the grass as well as several other unidentified items in my pockets. It didn't matter what it was, I was not slowing or stopping for anything.
As I made my mad dash, I could see the heads of a couple of Marines as they yelled for me to come to where they were at. When I got close enough, I dove for them. As I slithered around in the dirt to bring my head up with the other Marines, I realized I was in the same shell hole that I had sought cover in early in the morning. But now it seemed like it was years ago. One of the Marines looked at me and asked if I was okay. I said that I was but asked, "Is it like this in Vietnam every day?" He responded with, "Nah. It only gets this bad two or three times a week."
I lay there thinking of what had happened to me in front of that machine gun. I had been irrevocably changed. I had accepted my own mortality and was no longer afraid of it. And it was a good thing because it did not look like surviving 13 months of this at two to three times a week was a good bet.
The tank withdrew some 20 meters, swiveled its cannon around and blew the entire thicket away. Then it retreated to the CP area some 100 meters behind us in some trees. END EXCERPT
After Action Report: 1st Tank Battalion
03 Sep 1968
031515H Sep. 1968 - While on a sweep with Co. M, 3/5, two tanks from Co. B received heavy automatic weapons and B-40 rocket fire from (BT048534). The tanks moved on line with the assault force and fired 90mm, .50 caliber and .30 caliber. Eight NVA were Killed.
Ref: S-3 Journal, 03 Sep 1968, Entry 4
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