NO LONGER CHERRY BOY, DIVORCE, R&R, PROMOTION, WOUNDED
After six days of battle, we were air lifted out like we came in. We arrived back LZ Sharon. My wife wrote me a letter to tell me she was pregnant and I was going to be a Daddy. Wow. I was on a happy high! I sat down and wrote everyone at the news. After a shower and a little R&R on LZ Sharon, we got out next mission. We were going Air Assault into Ashaw Valley, a strong hold of NVA Soldiers was receiving supplies from North Vietnam. When we entered the Valley, Anti-Aircraft fire came from the mountain side. Gunships took them out. I had a feeling this was not going to be a good day. We got on the ground and prepared for attack from the NVA but none came.
That afternoon a C-130 was delivering 105 Howitzer rounds and C-Rations for us and the other units, when it was hit by Anti-Air-Craft Fire. It circled the Valley and started to crash land, but pulled up to keep hitting company on the ground. They turned into some tree line and exploded on impact, killing all five Crew members on board. We could not go to rescue mode because Artillery rounds was exploding all night long. Recovery was done the next day by another unit. During this Operation we found Russian Weapons, Chinese Weapons, Cashe of Rice, Under Ground Hospital, Trucks, Anti-aircraft weapons and Medicine. It took several days to get these weapons out and destroyed from the enemy. In about two weeks we left the Valley and went back to LZ Saron for showers and clean clothes.
We were sent out to Jungle and Hills of Quang Tri and did normal sweeps of villages around Quang Tri River. I received another letter from my wife stating she had a miscarriage of our child but she was doing ok. My prayers were becoming weaker and a few weeks later I received another asking for a divorce. I wrote home asking my mom and step-dad what was going on there. The went over to our house and approached Margret abut the letter she wrote. They found another man at the house with her and my family went loose on all of them. My family was escorted off the property by the local Police Chief who knew me. He apologized to them but he had to ask them to leave. I asked my mom to represent me in the divorce and it was started in July 1968.
On August 28, 1968, I was wounded on Hill 101 in Quang Tri Province. I received shrapnel wounds to my back and legs. I was sent from Field Hospital to Hospital Ship in the Bay of Tonka. Thinking I was going home was only a dream. I went back to LZ Sharon for a three-week rehab and then sent back to my platoon in the field. I applied for Out of Country R&R to Sydney, Australia. What time I had there!!!! I was already specialist 4th Class and when I came back from R&R the First Sergeant said to me “Congratulations, you have been promoted to Sergeant #-5 and you will be taking over 4th Platoon when you get back to the field. Sergeant Coomes said “You have earned this promotion to take the next Cherry Boy down the path.” We had a good laugh over that.,
This is a very sad but compelling story. Thank you.