Roughrider

This roughrider took place in March 1967. India Company was security for a convoy going down Highway I from Chu Lai to Da Nang.

Why they needed to send convoys down that highway I’ll never know! Sitting on those trucks, going down that road, you are sitting ducks for ambush or any sniper who wants to take a shot at you. Anything going from Chu Lai to Da Nang could very easily go by air or by ship down the coast. When I asked why use a truck convoy, I was told it was a show of force.

I was particularly nervous about going because my 13 months were up. I figured if I was going to get hit, it would be on this convoy because I should have been home by then.

Somewhere between Chu Lai and Da Nang we were ambushed. The lead truck was blown up and we could not get around it because the road dropped off into rice paddies on both sides. We were taking fire from a village across from the rice paddies. The order was given to bail out of the trucks. We dived into the rice paddies and returned fire. I clearly remember as I lay there in that paddy, looking up and seeing Jerry Richardson kneeling and firing his rocket launcher. I remember yelling at him to get down before he got hit. He ignored me, stayed up and calmly fired his launcher until he was out of rocket rounds. As I lay there face down in the rice paddy sucking up that filthy water, I remember thinking he was either an idiot of very courageous. I’m sure it was the latter.

Once they pushed the destroyed truck off the road, the order was given to mount up so we could get the hell out of there. I believe that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, to climb out of the relative safety of the paddy and back into those very exposed trucks. I think the only casualties we had were the men in that lead truck. After arriving in Da Nang, we were happy when they decided to fly us back to Chu Lai.

Author/Gary Campbell

Posted in Vietnam War Stories