Vietnam Pictures In Our Heads, f*cking Amazing!

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I did OK in reading it.......But at times, I sure as hell did some f*cking time traveling good and bad....Was sent to me by a Nam vet door gunner........Vietnam pictures in our heads, f*cking amazing!!!!


The sound of main rotor blades beating the sky into submission

The thump of out going mortar fire

The whistle, thump of incoming mortar fire

The smell of rice patties in the heat

The feel of rain so heavy you think you're going to drown.

The taste of ice cold "33"

Or luke warm "33"

Heating C-Rats with C-4

The ever-present smell of hot JP-4

The scream of 30 turbo-shaft engines under load

The beautiful dark green of the mountains

The smell of burning diesel fuel and shit

Flying lazy circles at 10,000 ft to cool off the beer
The sight of unfamiliar constellations viewed from the top of a sandbagged bunker on a pitch-black night

The chatter of a M-60

The smell of hot gun oil, burning gun powder and overheated metal

The sight of green tracers reaching up

The feeling in the pit of your stomach when you look around and realize that all the civilian workers have disappeared into the bunkers for no apparent reason

R & R in Vung Tao

R & R any place

The whistle a main rotor blade makes when it has a bullet hole through it

The call of a "f***kyou" lizard in the middle of the night

The breath taking beauty of the country from 5000 ft.

Waking up in a panic in the middle of the night because the Artillery at the end of the field isn't firing and it's to quiet.

The scream of the scramble siren in the middle of the night

The feel of your M-14 on full automatic

Drinking Jim Beam straight up and chasing it with warm black cherry soda because that's all you've got

A kidney busting full throttle run down Thunder Road in a sandbagged duce and a half

The feeling when fewer ships come home than left that morning

The mind numbing sight and sound when Puff lights up the night and saves your sorry ass

The absolute silence when Puff The Magic Dragon is done

Flying over the mountains and seeing a high valley still covered in the early morning fog.
And the fog spilling out of a high pass, like cream out of a cup.

Cloud skiing :-)) Get to the top of a puffy cumulus over the coast during the rainy season. Get right on top and dump collective. Try to keep just the skids in the cloud while following the contours.
Sliding down to the ridge lines in my Loach and pretending to do a recon while riding the updrafts like I was in a sail plane as the fog starts burning off. In my mind sailing a small "cat" in Cape Cod bay.

Cool night air at one mile high and one mile out over the coast.

High "pucker factor" while hovering up a road into 200 & ¼ with rain and fog.

The smell of human blood.
What a hard sideways flare feels like when started at 120 kts and 30 feet AGL.

Over the high plateau during the monsoon, cruising along a road in 200 & 1/4 (or less) and having to pull collective to miss a deuce truck coming at you and going IFR.

Sitting on the ground, looking up at a clear blue sky through whispers of ground fog; then flying over that same fog bank towards Dak To, finding only one FSB poking up through the fog. Then sitting on that FSB, drinking varnish removing coffee made in an aluminum pot over a Mo-gas powered squad stove, waiting for the fog to lift.

Foggy days at Bao Loc. Lining up, one by one, between the revetments and taking off into the fog at 30 sec intervals. Breaking out at 4000 msl, PZ was at 5000 msl and the LZ was still higher.

Running thru the rounds to get the team airborne when it was your turn on counter-mortar standby.

Insect repellant on your testicles...burns!

Blowing up a leaky air mattress!

The 'rush' of short final into a hot LZ!

A jammed M-16 during a "white" moment!

A howitzer firing over you in the middle of the night (during your two hours of sleep)!

Watching the ground come straight at you during a high overhead approach (in trail formation)

Realizing you're lost and have crossed the border when you can't see anymore of those little round yellow circles on the ground!

Realizing you're in the wrong place when the arty response is "Sorry sir. Those coords are out of range."!

The silence when the "whop-whop" and "whine" stops!

The realization when the "whop-whop" and "whine" stops that the only place you can see the ground is the nearby sewer called a "rice-paddy"!
Dry season integration (everybody is red)!

The joy of a ride home!

Hearing, "Move your tail left, sir." and "Move your tail right, sir.", at the same time in a hover hole!
Hearing, "What the hell was that!", "Awww shit!", and noticing little yellow rectangular lights out of corner of your eye all at the same time!
You notice how small trees look when you had a blade strike at 2000 feet.

You notice how many lights are not lit up on a master control panel.<zero>

The beautiful curving red lines of tracers at midnight.

The look of rice in the rocket pods.

The look of blood on the windshield.

The horrifying basketball size green tracers going upward in slow motion at

The eerie light of a parachute flare.

The true beauty of a mini-gun when you are down in the rice, and your wing ship is above covering your sorry ass.

The surrealistic sight of Nui Ba Den as dawn breaks the horizon.

The mosquitoes that carry harpoons

The sting of a rocket cap hitting your shins.

The taste of crushed cookies.

Pinto Beans cooked on a popcorn popper.

Measuring the grease in C-rat beef stew.

Finding a use for powdered eggs.

The thought of watching momma son pop the heads off those big roaches in the mess hall and eat them.

The whistle of a 122mm rocket inbound...right in the middle of The Good The Bad & The Ugly

Taking a shower at the edge of the roof during monsoon season.

Missing the submerged boardwalk during the monsoon on the way to the club and finding the 6' deep ditch instead.

Naming all the rats.

Roach races as a sporting event.

Scrounging missions just for the hell of it.

The white cranes that are bullet proof

The humidity in August.

Finding the true meaning of rocket city.

Plugging hydraulic leaks with bubble gum just to get home

The smell of Napalm.

The smell of rocket fuel

The cherry glow of a red hot M-60 barrel.

The pop of a .51 as it flys by too close

The incessant dust of Cu Chi

The sucking mud

Honolulu looks clean enough to eat off the street from the air.

The ring of the telephone that sends you to action station.

The ring of the phone at 2 am in Hawaii that almost sent you off the 17th floor balcony.

The backfire of a car .. the embarrassment of being face down in a ditch.

The joy of DEROS Day

The loneliness the days after Travis.. and ETS

Wondering why the grunts don't shoot your hook after it blows the air mattress out of their poncho tent and onto the concertina wire at LZ Leslie

Watching the rotor wash of your hook dismantle a hooch and not even care

Watching the water buffalo drag the farmer and plow across several dikes cause the boo doesn't like hooks

St Elmo's fire on the rotor blades

Wondering why the marines at Phu Bai don't have counter mortar anything

Listening to 2/20 ARA birds salvo doing counter mortar in Cav. controlled area

Swimming with sea snakes at Wonder beach

Watching how high a blivet can bounce when punched off at 50 feet

Being damn glad to be in Hooks when the last flight of the day you sling back a dead Huey and you can see the pilots helmet rolling around in there. Knowing he wouldn't have left it if he was okay............

Flying through the Mang Yang pass from Pleiku to An Ke and seeing the French graves from Groupe Mobile 100 on the hilltop

The smell of RVN

Flying out of Evans, over the mountains and low level over the rice paddies early in the morning. Looked like jewels sparkling in the morning sun

The sound of Armed Forces Radio at 0600...Goooooood Morining Viet Naaaaaammm!
The click as a round went past...

The sounds of the Mama's and the Papa's "Monday, Monday..." and you start another day, another one down and ??? to go.

The quite voice of the FDC..."On the way, wait...." and you wait for the bright flash of the parachute flare to see if you can see Charlie...and you can't.

The voice from the GCA controller, Hey are you hovering up there???

The whispers of the FO..."The Fu..are close, be careful"...

Y'all OK down there?..."click, click"....sigh of relief

The crew chief..."I think we took some on that last pass!"

Sleeping Dragon

Something I wrote a long time ago:

Rain on a wet poncho as I hugged my knees to my chest, trying to stay warm
Whispered voices and clicks on the radio as the ambushes and listening posts checked in
The thud of four duce mortars and the roar of a 106 recoilless rifle
Helicopter blades pounding the air at the LZ as wounded were carried off to DaNang
The roar from Puff’s guns as they ripped through the jungle and the Vietnamese

These were the sounds burned into my memory as I stood with men of honor by my side.

Mist hanging over the river and valley below as the morning sun appeared
The dirt covered mountaintop with sand bagged bunkers and trenches cut into its surface
Thin tired faces, dirt covered flack jackets, and sweat soaked uniforms of my brothers
Eerie green shapes from the pitch black night in the eyepiece of infrared binoculars
My brothers lying in rows on the LZ, waiting for their last helicopter ride home

These were the sites burned into my memory as I stood with men of honor by my side.

Cold, lonely, endless nights trying not to think of family, home and friends so far away
The warmth and comfort of my brother’s laughter when there was nothing to laugh about
The damp cold and suffocating heat that penetrated to the center of my bones
The confusion and despair as my dragon turned me into a heartless killer
The emptiness as I looked into the lifeless face of my best friend

These were the feelings burned into my memory as I stood with men on honor by my side.

The people in the airport back home who moved away and avoided me as they passed
Family and friends who didn’t know the killer who returned from Vietnam
My hometown where I no longer fit, the one I had to leave
Drinking alone, unable to find anyone who understood or could relate
Moving from place to place, trying to find something that made sense

This was what I found when I left the men of honor by my side.

We were all so young and full of life with our whole future ahead
Each of us had the same dreams as those who stayed behind
But our dreams became clouded and very hard to find
These dreams were mixed with memories of blood and pain and death
Memories that stay with us all the years of our lives

This was the legacy of the men of honor by my side.

We had no homeland to welcome us back
Few understood and fewer cared
We seldom spoke of the war, no one wanted to hear
We struggled to bury memories that will always return
We fought to control the killer who lurked inside

We were left with nothing but each other, the men of honor by my side.

We weren’t in Vietnam to defend our homeland because we hadn’t been attacked
We didn’t fight for riches, power, or glory; we fought only to stay alive
We risked our lives to save our brothers as they risked theirs for us
We grew close to one another because one another was all we had
There was no justification for our suffering, no reasons for the losses

So why was I sent to Vietnam with those men of honor by my side.

I will never find a reason although I’ve searched for many years
But, what I’ve found amazes me because it went unnoticed for so long
It’s the common men, my brothers, who did such extraordinary things
Those fine young men who walked through hell each and every day
And I’m filled with pride and am privileged to say



This is the stuff that the Beast puts on our plate each and every day. Some days I can deal with it - others not so well. Today I can laugh and recall what was good. Tomorrow may be altogether different. Today I kicked the beast in the nuts and moved on.

Truth is that there are things that I choose remember for the sake of those who choose to forget.

"Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another" Semper Fi... SD

Thanks JR...



Being an old Herk addict, I often wondered what it was like for choppers. Thanks for that, said a lot. Often wondered how Huey's stayed in the air with that many bullet holes.


I rode the Black Herc one time. Love that aircraft. The hum of the engines was really assuring. I'll take an old prop plane anyday over some of these jets. At least you can hear those engines. In a helo I always worried (so did everyone) about the tail rotor. In a Jolly Green it was out there naked as a jaybird and so easy to hit. It had a nut we called the Jezus Nut. 'Cos when it was shot out, we would yell, Jesus.

I can say it never happened to me.....

donald ayers

New Here
I have to say thanks to the vn vets . i went in the marine corps in 76 and was trained by vn vets .they taught us how to stay alive.they are also the ones that brought PTSD to the front of the line.they have done alot for the vets who have come behind them.thanks to all of you.


And we learned from the Korean war vets, who I think are really the forgotten ones. I am alive today because of one KW sergeant who kicked my ass when I thought I was dead. Do you want to live, asshole? Then breath and f*ck the blood. He was Sierra Hotel.
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