Mike "Mac" MCGuire's Side Of The Story
Regarding "The Trouble with New Guys"
Story by Mike "Mac" McGuire
I am kind of fuzzy as to if I was c&c that day or if we got scrambled due to Frank going down. You are right about not remembering the c&c as he was a Capt. with the Knives which was unusual and he was on the older side. I was later with him when we caught them mortaring Dong Tam from the island when we were coming back from FSB Moore. I remember coming up to the AO and everyone was on the radio and you could still see some smoke or c.s. coming out of the loch in small puffs. My first thought was who left it so close to the treeline which was the nippa rather than the stuff around Ben Tre. It was very wet and I was surprised to see the aircraft not deeper in the water. I was a little upset because my intercom was working fine but I was having trouble with receiving UF and FM. After we got the info on what was happening there was a big debate in my slick as what to do. Heck, I knew what to do and that was to send in the Doughboys and then pull it out. I was absolutely shocked when the c&c asked the pete if he could fly a loch. My first thought was fly it yourself. The pete was new and was shaking his head with a lot of movement for wearing a flight helmet and I felt he was making the right decision. I got an even bigger shock when he asked me. I did not think this was very funny and made a comment to such. Then he went and started talking to the guns about it and I thought these guys were not here in Sept as I remembered the area and this was definitely tough street for Charlie. At one time he owned that whole area until Dong Tam was established and it was clear he was back. The little MacV camp had had a lot of trouble until Moore went in. We had really had some trouble with Airboats in that area months earlier. I was listening in to the radio talk and remember the lead gun telling the A.C. that they wanted to drop their front seat in there and that was when I got busy getting ready to go down and get somebody because I figured that we would be with the situation. I will say that everyone was sure that the V.C. were further down the tree line and we would probable be alright. I think we all convinced each other of that but like I said I do not think everyone knew the history of that place. I saw you guys going to short final and thought I saw a couple of flashes from the tree line but it was behind you from the nippa. The radios were very quiet and I was sure it was going to happen when the Cobra touched down and you popped open the canopy. I was even more sure of it when you jumped into the water. It seemed like the minute you got around and started heading for the loch that everything started happening. I was not very impressed with the C&C location until I realized that our A.C. was going to go after you by heading directly toward the tree line, smaller profile. This still had me in a good view and I suddenly saw the water kicking around you. I had inserted enough 9th Inf boys to know that we were in the "shit" now. I was really surprised to see you pick up the speed getting through the water and mud as fast as you were. I was real impressed at how fast you got into the bird and got her off the ground. Trail was putting it to the tree line just as you got off and that's what got you out because the tree line just hit full flash. For every yard you got out of there I just knew it was your last. The c&c turned then started a dive for you as we figured that you would not make it and especially after the bird jerked hard and then was flying sideways. I lost sight of you and was concentrating on the ground as we got some altitude. We all were throwing things out on the intercom trying to speculate as to why you were flying the way you were and you being wounded was the best answer that I could think of. I guess I had never thought I would ever see an aircraft all over the sky like you were. I'll tell you something else is that my aircraft 938 was jacked up on the governor and although we did not have a L-13 engine that L-11 was fast. We had serious trouble catching up to you. We finally got near you but did not want to get to close as you were everywhere. My gunner came around and wanted to see how bad you were hit. I think the Capt. was the one that figured out you could not see and told me to get your attention. I was sure glad to see you pick up on us and I think the first thing we were going to do was get you into a rice paddy and get you out. We were no longer worried about the aircraft but as to your getting out of this as I think everyone knew we might have bitten off more than we wanted. The A.C suddenly realized we were not to far out of the MacV base and headed us in as we could get you better taken care of if you were wounded. You did an absolute great job of setting the loch down. Yea you bounced the skids side to side on the dike but what the hell. By the time we got down to you, you were getting out and the grunts were walking up to you. After you got out I was worried about the aircraft still running and I was trying to figure out how to shut it down. The real problem was the c.s. gas. I do not know how you flew it out of there. It was thick and all over the inside of the ship. I was having a tough time with just my head in it when someone tapped me on the shoulder and yelled out that you were going to take it home after we got a gas mask. I started looking it over when you came over and jumped in. Mike you did a great job of getting it back, and to fly it in that gas mask they gave you was a interesting experience I'll bet. I had flipped off my radios in case the bird was not sound and came apart on you as we were going to show you the way back but once again you left us in the dust. It was obvious that you knew where home was and had every intention of getting there a.s.a.p. I recall the A.C. talking to the tower and that flipped us off of what Lighthorse was asking on the ground but I do remember everyone waiting on the ground for you. We went straight to P.O.L and by the time we got to the revetments the party had already started. I had hit 100 hrs and went to the hanger that night but I heard it was a great party. You deserved a medal for that one. I had forgotten Brofer until your mail but what was the XO's name besides Chickenman. Lewellen??