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We had taken sporadic incoming rockets in the preceding few days, but none that caused any concern, or any change in our normal routine.  One of the attacks however, that has always stuck in my mind, occurred an evening while Johnny was at the Detachment with us.  Johnny was playing cards with a few of us in the hooch (our home) and had just gone out to our "two-holer," when two or three rockets hit about 300 meters to the northwest of the compound.  We all just sat there for a second looking at each other, waiting for the attack siren to blow, when into the hooch hopped Johnny, dragging up his drawers!  It obviously wasn't very funny to him at the moment, but his retelling of the incident later always drew a good laugh.

Our first tangible indication of an impending attack had come a few days prior to the initial attack on the fire bases, when the refugees began their frightful retreat to the tenuous safety of the Imperial Capital of Hue.  The sad and weary faces on every member of this seemingly endless parade, was a picture I've never forgotten.  Men, women and children alike wore the masks of fatigue and battle, burned onto them by decades of war.  This trek to the south was not new to them, nor would it be their last.  Too poor to afford the luxury of motor driven vehicles, each packed what they could carry, some even pulling two-wheeled carts filled with what they deemed their most important possessions, quite possibly their entire existence.  A few, the more affluent ones, had water buffaloes to pull their carts stacked high with goods which also provided a place for their children and elderly relatives to ride.  This surging flow of displaced humanity continued unabated throughout the NVA offensive, despite the indiscriminate artillery and rocket attacks that severely decimated their ranks.

Around the 27th or 28th, the rocket attacks seemed to be coming a bit more regularly, but still it was nothing to really get uptight about.  It was probably the 29th when everyone got hit really hard for the first time.

site created by Creative Jules 2009

Monday-Wednesday, March 27-29, 1972
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