the 458th Hq moved to Saigon from Vung Tau in Jan or Feb 1969. We moved onto a MP
compound right at the Edge of Ton Son Nute (wrong spell ) Air Force Base.
Two, two story tropicial buildings had just been built, which we moved into. The bottom of one building was gave to me to use as a supply room, the bottom of the other was for the Orderly Room, with the top of both being used for barracks. Before the move I had shared a jeep with the 1st sgt to deliver supplies, now that we were a half hour away from the closest PBRs, I needed a vehicle of my own. A trip to the boneyard
at Long Ben and I had a Army 3/4 ton of my own. It did need some minor repairs that the 92nd MP Patch on my left shoulder soon provided. Such as 4 new tires, new windshield,
replacement seats, replacement radiator, both head lights and a brand new paint job. It did
have to go to the welding shop before the paint job, to have small square steel plates welded over about 20-25 bullet holes on its right side and front. The old gal had went through a ambush and had been a complete write off.
With the paint job came a big white strip just below the windshield and stenciled on this
white bar was 92nd MP BN. Now for those of you who have never been in the military, some
places on a military compound the average GI is not allowed to roam freely. Places like supply
stock piles, weapons & ammo depots, DOCK OFF LOADING AREAS ( my favorite ) ect.
With that old 3/4 ton and its MP insignia, all gates were wide open. A supply sgts dream !
Now this old 3/4 ton with its patches drew a lot of curious looks, then with me wearing a BigRed One on my right shoulder and a CIB over my left shirt pocket, wellllll I was allways pretty good at shooting the bull and keeping a poker face at the same time. When ever a stranger asked what the story was about the old 3/4 ton, I would invent one on the spot. (Always a ambush on such and such highway, just a few weeks before ) this would always leave my questioner glad he didn't have my job. Didn't hurt my rep either, I think perhaps some of the Sagion Warriors were just a little leary of crossing my path.
Any way soon after moving to Saigon someone decided that I needed anouther clerk, and soon there he was. Young, timid, if a door slamed he jumped ! GUN SHY was the way my
Dad would describe a youg fox hound, and my clerk was gun shy.
I did not go out of my way to wet-nurse him, he could learn the ropes like every one else.
At this time I had been put together a load of supplies to take to our detachment at Vung Tau.
However the highway from Long Ben to Vung Tau was and had been closed due to Charlie
firing at convoys. Almost every day there was a convoy scheduled to leave from Long Ben,
every morning I would get ready to Go to Long Ben to marry up with this convoy. Every morning I would call before leaving, every morning the convoy was cancelled, then one morning, the word was its a GO ! Me and my new clerk hit the road, about 40 minutes to Long Ben Junction where the convoy would be forming up
I was pulling a 3/4 ton trailer, with the wooden slates on the sides and the wooden swinging gates on the back, no canvas top. # I should explain for those of you who don't know the old army 3/4 ton, in 1968 it was the fastest wheeled vehicle the army had, and unlike the jeep, it handled and rode good. top speed of that flat head Dodge was 75-80 mph. While we had been loading up for our trip, my new clerk had noticed the patches on the
3/4 ton, when he asked about them, wihout even thinking I spun him a story. I really thought
that he would ask my chief clerk about it. Sp4 Pender would have told him the truth I think ?
Any way when we reached the Junction no convoy ! I drove up to the main gate and asked the gate guard if the convoy had already left. CANCELLED AGAIN ! 40 minutes from home, about 100 minutes to Vung Tau. Its a clear Sunny day, and not
a vehicle in sight on the road leading south. I mentality fliped a coin and Vung Tau won. For
those of you who never travelled this road, it was mostly flat country, two or three good sized villiages that you had to drive through, parts of it still had some blacktop, but most was gravel & dirt. Rice paddies along
most of the road, very little underbrush close to the road, fairly straight in most places.
Well we are cruising down the road about 1/2 way there, My foot is stuck in the carb
when we cross a rough small bridge. The wooden swinging gates on the trailer pop loose
and are swinging in the breeze. Its about time for a pit stop anyway, so I stop in the middle of the road, we get out, go back and fasten the gates, and about then their is this loud explosion
behind us about a 100 yards. It was either a claymore or a motar round, needless to say we
were back in the 3/4 ton and off down the road with out much delay. I have often thought about this incident, and am covinced that charlie was laying out there someplace with a claymore pointed at the bridge, knew we were way out of the kill zone, but thought it would be funny to see us jump. I think that someone had a good belly laugh.
We made it on in to Vung Tau, unloaded the supplies, had to stay a coupla days waiting for the road to open ( it never did ).As I getting ready to leave my clerk tells me ( I really do not want to ride back with you. Can I fly back ?) no big deal I got him a ride on a Huey and drove back by myself. When I got back I found that my clerk had went in and asked for a transfer, no more riding with that crazy supply sgt! Never did see that young man again, but I think some one clued his replacement in to maybe take with a grain of salt anything he might hear