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A bad day at Wunder Beach

Date: Oct. 28, 1968
Location: South of the DMZ near Quang Tri City and points East
C Company, 1/12th Cavalry, First Cavalry Division

We arrived at LZ Sharon for a little stand down late in the afternoon about the 20th Oct. I was with the gun squad and still kind of the FNG having only arrived about July 20. The 60 was assigned to guard the main gate where a big road from Quang Tri entered the LZ. The Gunner was a black fellow named James Bobbitt. He left me to man the 60 and everyone else split to get a shower, hot meal, a couple of beers, and because "champ" as we called him liked a puff or two on the funny cigarettes he indulged in some of that also. It was getting late and I was hungry and dirty when he finally came to relieve me. He was kind of fucked up, but he told me to go get a shower and some chow. I left. It wasn't very long after that when the CO of Sharon and a bunch of his toadies came strolling down the road. I think they had probably had a few drinks and more than likely been to the local bath house in Quang Tri City for a nice relaxing steam-job and blow-bath. Anyways, the bird colonel decided to have some fun with Champ by jacking him around. My observation always was that grass and beer made most folks mean. Couple that with Champ's participation in the 68 new year's ceremony at Quang Tri, Khe Sanh, and a valley called A Shau and it was a bad combination. The bird chewed Champ's ass briefly and Champ picked up the 60, nearly buried the flash suppressor in the colonel's belly button, and offered to cut him in half. Of course the disposition of the colonel and his toadies changed abruptly. They all became quite a bit nicer and convinced Champ to put the gun away. When he did, their disposition changed once again; and not for the better. The whole company was in trouble now. Champ was going to LBJ for sure, and I was hauled in for questioning and accused of abandoning my post to a drunk. I didn't talk -- wanted a lawyer.

The very next day our stand down was cut short and we were sent to Wunder Beach. I think we spent a day there - I remember that awful white sand that stuck to absolutely everything and also riding on the BARCs. The next day we were sent on patrol North of Wunder Beach. I think 2nd platoon had point and Champ's gun team (me included) were the front gun. I remember the point man saw a booby trap in a clump of that salt grass. He stopped and everyone was ordered to move back as they had four-niner come forward to look at it and blow it in place. We were walking away from the point and met 4niner and 4niner mike heading towards the booby trap the point man had spotted. To this day I still can't believe the idiot 4niner walked right through a clump of salt grass. He tripped a booby trap, badly shredded his lower legs and the resulting shrapnel punctured Champ's liver and sent him home, far away from the bird colonel's wrath. I had frag wounds in my upper thigh, arm , wrist, and face. They sent me and four niner to the USS Sanctuary. I heard that four niner lost his genitals in addition to the wounds to his legs. I had a roaring case of jungle rot on my lower legs at the time. Standard treatment for shrapnel was de-bridement of the wound, then they cleaned it 4 times a day with a q-tip and betadine solution. After ten days they sewed the hole closed, dressed it, and sent me back to Sharon. Because the booby traps were sometimes covered with human excrement, massive doses of anti-biotics were also given for the ten days. A triple way cocktail of drugs prevented any infection, but they also completely cleaned up my jungle-rot. I was never bothered with it again.

I know that the bird colonel held a grudge against the whole Co. and probably reserved the shit details for us as long as he was in command.

Ed Boysun 2002

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