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Subject: Re: Running Amuck in Vietnam


Author:
Greg Chew
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Date Posted: 17:26:18 02/05/11 Sat
In reply to: Bobbie Joe Meredith 's message, "Re: Running Amuck in Vietnam" on 14:17:09 10/30/05 Sun

Bobby Joe, I don't know anything about the 56th Maintenance but you might try the ATAV Army Transportation Association vietnam at http://grambo.us/atav/default.html Good luck with your search

>I am looking for any information from June 1966 to
>July 1967 on the 56th maintenance or 79th
>transportation company in and between Qui Nhon and An
>Khe pass in Vietnam. My memory is very haizy.
>>Most soldiers survived their tours in Vietnam without
>>too much trouble. Some ran amuck and some paid the
>>dire consequences. A few paid with their lives.
>>Early in my tour in Vietnam I served on a Summary
>>Court Marshal panel. We tried a soldier who got drunk
>>one night, took an Army jeep and went into Qui Nhon.
>>He had accident and a Vietnamese woman was killed. He
>>was charged with manslaughter and misappropriation of
>>a government vehicle. The panel found him innocent of
>>the manslaughter charge by a 3 to 2 vote and guilty of
>>the lesser charge by a unanimous vote. The panel
>>consisted of a Captain, a 1st Lieutenant and three 2nd
>>Lieutenants. You can guess how the vote went.
>>Enlisted men usually chose to have all officers on
>>their court marshal panel, believing that they would
>>be more lenient. The defense presented extenuating
>>evidence in the sentencing portion of the trial. This
>>soldier received a weird letter and poster from his
>>girlfriend, which he claimed caused his behavior. The
>>panel didn�t buy it and he was sentenced to six months
>>in the stockade.
>>
>>Sometime in the summer of 1966, the 5th Maintenance
>>Battalion CO decided to have a �Dining Out� at the Qui
>>Nhon Officer�s Club. It was an opportunity to
>>socialize with all the officers in the Battalion. I
>>remember being concerned, because it meant that we had
>>to drive back to Phu Tai at night along QL-441 and
>>QL-1. Since we expected to be drinking that night, we
>>arranged to have drivers. My company supply clerk,
>>SP4 Schribner, was the driver of the jeep I was in.
>>I don�t remember much about that evening other than
>>drinking a large quantity of beer. I do remember
>>smuggling out a cold beer to Schribner, who was
>>waiting patiently with our jeep. We arrived back at
>>the 56th Signal Company (554th LEM) compound without
>>incidence. I gave Schribner a couple of beers from
>>our cooler in thanks for his driving and patience.
>>Later that night Schribner and two others slipped out
>>to go across the street to visit the Vietnamese
>>establishment, which was off limits. They simply
>>walked out the front gate waved at the guard telling
>>him they�d be right back. After enjoying some warm Ba
>>Mi Ba (33) beer the MPs showed up. The Vietnamese
>>kept them out of sight and the MPs passed on by. They
>>then made a beeline back to the company. They were
>>lucky, they could have been picked up by the MPs or
>>worse. They were unarmed and in a civilian
>>establishment that was off limits at night. The only
>>thing that happened other than the bad hangovers was
>>that they missed bed check.
>>
>>After the reorganization in August 1966, I was
>>transferred to the new 85th Maintenance Company. A
>>2nd Lieutenant arrived to replace me in my old job as
>>Supply Officer for the 56th Signal (which became the
>>554th LEM). One day he went with some of the unit
>>members to the car wash by the river in Phu Tai
>>Valley. Someone had a camera and took pictures of
>>him with a half naked Vietnamese woman. Not the kind
>>of thing that you want out there if you ever plan to
>>run for public office!
>>
>>When the 85th Maintenance Co. was located in Charang
>>Valley, we had a soldier who went on guard duty very
>>tired after drinking all night before. He left his
>>post and fell asleep at another location. He was
>>found asleep after his relief arrived. He was charged
>>with sleeping on guard duty. At his court marshal,
>>his defense council, 1st Lieutenant Alfred Pelham of
>>the 618th HEM argued successfully that he was not at
>>his post when he was found and that he had in fact
>>been relieved. He was acquitted. The Army should
>>have charged him with abandoning his post. He was not
>>re-tried.
>>
>>In the fall of 1966, I served my only duty as a
>>defense council in Vietnam. The Army was trying a
>>soldier from the 526th for disobeying a direct order
>>from his First Sergeant. This soldier had an injured
>>right wrist and had been put on light duty by an Army
>>doctor. The First Sergeant ordered him to dig a
>>trench. He refused to even try. I tried
>>unsuccessfully to show that the First Sergeant�s order
>>was invalid because of the pre-existing Army Doctor�s
>>order. He was convicted and sentenced to six months
>>in the stockade. I was told by the Court Martial
>>Judge that had he just picked a shovel and attempted
>>to dig that he probably would have been acquitted but
>>he did not even do that.
>>
>>In 1966 alcohol was the drug of choice in Vietnam for
>>most GIs. However, some did do hard drugs. One night
>>in Phu Tai Valley I was summoned from a sound sleep by
>>one of the Company NCOs. He told me that SP4 F. was
>>going berserk, ranting and raving and lashing out at
>>everybody and everything. It was obvious to me that
>>he was either going to hurt himself or somebody else.
>>I had several Soldiers subdue him. We piled him into
>>the back seat of a jeep and I drove him up QL-1 to the
>>medical unit that was next door to the 554th. They
>>took one look at him and gave him some type of
>>sedative or something and kept him there under
>>observation for the night. He showed up back at the
>>company the next day as good as new. I don�t know
>>what he was on, but he was certainly hallucinating and
>>having a very bad trip.
>>
>>Later, after we (85th Maintenance Company) had moved
>>to Danang, SP4 F. got into another more serious
>>pickle. He and two other soldiers from the 85th
>>decided one night to leave the Danang Sub-Area Command
>>Compound (DASC) and visit some of the local
>>establishments in East Danang. These guys were armed
>>with their M-14s. There was a disturbance and one of
>>the soldiers was shot in the leg. The MPs showed up
>>and one of the soldiers pointed his loaded M-14 at the
>>MPs. After thinking better of it, the soldiers were
>>taken into custody. They were charged and released to
>>the company. I was assigned to investigate the matter
>>and recommend an action. The soldiers would not talk
>>to me, so all I had to go on was the story according
>>to the MPs. I recommended a trial by court marshal
>>even though the DASC Commander wanted to give them an
>>Article 15. I felt that the offense was serious
>>enough to warrant a trial.
>>
>>In early 1967, the MACV Officer�s Club in Danang had
>>several very nice looking young Vietnamese women who
>>worked in the bar. They were stunning in their white
>>Ao Dais. One in particular was named My. (They were
>>all named My weren�t they.) One night after consuming
>>a large quantity of beer I closed the Officer�s club
>>(last man out.). I offered to drive the girls home.
>>This was normally done by the club manager but he was
>>more than happy to let me do it. So here am driving
>>the streets of Danang about midnight with two
>>Vietnamese girls in my jeep. You guessed it the MPs
>>stopped us. After checking ID�s and my drivers
>>licensee and some fast-talking they let us go on our
>>way. After dropping the girls off I went straight to
>>my BOQ. Enough excitement for one night. Here I was
>>driving around the streets of Danang alone after
>>midnight. Not too smart. On another occasion I was
>>walking around Danang alone at night looking for a
>>place called the �Take Ten Club�. I was told there
>>was going to be a party there. Everything in Danang
>>was off limits and there was a curfew so this wasn�t
>>too bright either. I found the �Take Ten Club� later
>>but the party was over. It was a Navy club. I could
>>have called a Navy �Taxi� and they would have taken me
>>right there. Dumb guy!
>>
>>In the spring of 1967, two soldiers from the 85th
>>Maintenance Company�s Detachment in Dong Ha and two
>>soldiers, who I believe were from 2nd Battalion, 94
>>Artillery, decided to drive into town one night. They
>>were probably headed for Quang Tri along QL-9 and
>>QL-1. The roads in Quang Tri Province were dangerous
>>during daylight hours. At night� They drove into an
>>ambush. Two soldiers were wounded and two were
>>killed. They paid the ultimate price for their
>>foolishness.

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Replies:
Subject Author Date
Re: Running Amuck in VietnamAl Pelham (Interested)19:29:18 04/23/11 Sat


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