Hoc Mon


  
THIS IS JOHN ROURKE REPLYING TO BIRDWELL'S MESSAGE ABOUT HOC MON.

 

THE EXACT DATE I AM NOT SURE OF BUT AS THE RECORDS SHOW ON THE 6TH OF FEB IS WHEN WE GOT HIT.

 

ON THAT DAY LT RUSSIN WAS IN CHARGE AND WE HEADED OUTSIDE OF TAN SON NHUT TO GIVE ASSISTANCE TO AN INFANTRY OUTFIT THAT WAS PINNED DOWN. WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY INFANTRY GROUND TROOPS WITH US THIS DAY. WE MOVED SLOWLY AND STOPPED OFTEN [ AS I BELIEVE RUSSIN WAS GETTING MORE INFO] AFTER MOVING THROUGH A SHORT AREA THAT WE HAD DISMOUNTS, INCLUDING ME TO LOOK THROUGH STORE FRONTS TO OUR RIGHT THAT WERE VACANT BUT HAD SOME DEAD NVA IN UNIFORM LYING IN FRONT OF SOME STORES [ IT WAS AN ODD AREA THE STORE FRONTS LOOKED LIKE AN OLD WILD WEST TOWN] RUSSIN HEAD US STOP.

 

THROUGH THE TOWN AREA WAS MY APC 39 WITH TERRY NULL DRIVING AND PAT DEVANIE TC'ING, AN APC AHEAD OF ME TC'D BY CHARLES HALE AND TWO OTHERS THAT HAD COME DOWN FROM BASE CAMP AFTER TET BECAUSE WE WERE SO SHORT HANDED, LT RUSSIAN'S APC WAS BEHIND ME DRIVEN BY BOB WOODS THE OTHER GUY ON THERE I DON'T REMEMBER. BEHIND THEM WAS MIKE LONGIBARDI'S [HE WAS TC'ING] APC AT THE OTHER END OF THIS STORE FRONT AREA. THEN MORE APC'S, HOW MANY I DON'T KNOW.

 

RUSSIN THEN TOLD US TO TURN RIGHT AND MOVE FWD. THERE WAS A HEDGE ROW AT THE BACK OF THE STORE AREA ABOUT 40 FT AHEAD OF US. I DIDN'T LIKE THE LOOKS OF THE WHOLE THING. AS WE GOT TO THE HEDGE ROW RUSSIN TOLD US TO STAY ON LINE AND MOVE THROUGH IT. AS HE SAID THAT, PAT AND HALE BOTH GOT DOWN TO LOOK UNDER THE 50 SHIELD AS WE ALL KNEW WAS WHAT TO DO. RUSSIN GOT ON THE INTER COM AND YELLED GET UP WHERE YOU CAN SEE. AS HE YELLED PAT STARTED TO GET UP AND I GRABBED HIS PANTS AND PULLED HIM DOWN TELLING NOT TO LISTEN TO RUSSIN AND DO WHAT HE SHOULD. HALE GOT UP IN HIS SEAT.

 

AS WE TEETERED THROUGH THE HEDGE ROW, I COULD SEE AN INFANTRYMAN AHEAD OF US BEHIND A GRAVESTONE AND HE WAS SIGNALING US TO GO BACK. WE DIDN'T.

 

AS WE GOT PAST HIM THERE WAS A BERM AHEAD OF US THAT OPENED UP ON US AS WE APPROACHED. I MEAN THEY LET US HAVE IT WITH EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! OUR TRACK WAS THE MORTAR TRACK 39 AND DIDN'T HAVE THE MOUNTED 60'S AS LONGABARDI'S TRACK 29 WAS THE SAME. HIS TRACK WAS TO RUSSIN RIGHT BEHIND ANOTHER HEDGE ROW.

 

AS WE WERE STOPPED AND FIRING OUR ASSES OF I GLANCED TO MY LEFT AND SAW HALE'S HEAD SNAP BACK AND THEN FORWARD LOOKING DOWN. AS I GLANCED TO MY RIGHT THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO RUSSIN. WOODS TURNED RUSSIN'S APC AROUND AND TOOK OFF. THE GUYS ON HALE'S APC JUMPED OFF AND RAN. WE WERE STILL GETTING NAILED AND AFTER MUCH CONFUSION, WE COULDN'T SEE THE GUYS TO OUR RIGHT BECAUSE OF THE HEDGE ROW, WE WERE ALL BACK AT A SAFE DISTANCE IN A DUST-OFF AREA. I COULD GO INTO A LOT MORE DETAIL ABOUT THAT DAY.

 

THE NEXT DAY WE WENT BACK INTO THE AREA. HALE'S APC WITH HIM ON IT AND LONGABARDI'S APC HAD TAKEN A DIRECT HIT AND HE WAS STILL ON IT. MYSELF AND SGT KENNARD WERE ONE "TEAM" WITH BODY BAGS. THE ENEMY, OF COURSE, WAS LONG GONE. WE CAME UP TO THE INFANTRYMAN'S BODY AND KENNARD LOOKED AT ME AND SAID "ROURKE I DON'T LIKE IT ANYMORE THAN YOU" AND WE PUT HIM IN A BAG AND ONTO AN APC. A SHORT TIME LATER WE GOT TO MIKE LONGABARDI'S APC. TRACK 29 HAD EXPLODED AFTER GETTING HIT BECAUSE OF THE WALLS LOADED WITH MORTAR ROUNDS AND IT WAS LIKE A BIG SHELL OF CHARCOAL. MIKE'S BODY WAS BURNED TO A CRISP. IF YOU WANT MORE INFO CALL ME AT 815 385 7519. I DON'T WANT TO GO ON. THOSE DAYS TET HOC MON AND OTHERS STILL HAUNT ME.

 

JOHN ROURKE