Randy Barnes – Letter #24 – Feb. 17, 1969
Dear Mom & Val,
27 FEB 1969 THURS.
Just a note to let you know I’m okay.
Well, I guess you have read in the papers we (Cu Chi) was hit with a massive ground attack and the V.C. broke into the perimeter – Well it’s true.
They blew up 13 Choppers and one of our ammo dumps. I guess they got what they were after.
Just 2 days before they hit Dau Tieng and killed 50 G.I.’s. You know we have a unit there. We lost one dead & 8 wounded there. (no one serious wounded.)
I don’t want you to worry. I told you I’d tell you when things got rough – they have – but not too rough.
I was shot at a little bit & had to use my rifle.
I treated about 10 men that night – 2 of my own & 8 infantry.
I got word over our radio that two of our men had been hit with a grenade on a different part of the perimeter. So, myself & 2 Lt.’s took off in a jeep.
It was pitch black, about 4:30 AM. & we had to drive with lights out. We were worried cause we had heard things were “a-poppin” on this part of the perimeter. As we drove things were pretty quiet & the only thing we saw, “gulp” were two burned out Ambulances.
Well we got to the Duster & laying all around it were dead V.C. – That was the first we knew V.C. were inside the wire and running around.
I damn near fainted and one of the Lt.’s just said “we’ll have to chase em now.” We all said no thanks to that.
Well, I pulled two pieces of schrapnel out of one guy & one out of another & bandaged them – I tried to get them to come back off the perimeter but they wouldn’t
Besides, the Infantry (goddamn them) had run like rabbits when Charlie got through the wire and our Duster was the only thing protecting about 200 yds. of the perimeter.
When the Lt.’s & myself realized they had to stay we decided we’d better get the hell outa there. (There were 4 dead V.C. laying around the Duster & one with grenades tied to his belly was about 5 ft. from it – They were a mess & I was a little sick.)
As we were driving back and came by the Ambulances all hell broke loose. We started getting fire from a bunch of old bunkers inside the perimeter.
The Lt slammed on the brakes & we hit a big drainage ditch along the road & just left the jeep still running.
When we jumped (dove) into the ditch, we found we had company. The Inf. that had been out on the perimeter were all in the ditches and one Sargent said we were lucky to be alive as there were 20-30 V.C. in those old bunkers. We told that Sarg that he was lucky he was alive because he ought to be shot leaving our Duster out there.
My Lt., then ordered him & his men to crawl the ditches all the way back out to the Duster and keep the V.C. off their backs. He also took his name & Unit & said he would radio back to the Duster in 20 minutes & if they weren’t there he’d have them all court martialled. They took off down the ditch & we waited about 30 minutes & ran for the jeep & got back to HQ’s.
So many things happened and I can’t remember it all. The battle lasted about 4 hrs. from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM Actually all day because we had to track down the 16 V.C. who were still inside the wire at 1:00 P.M. But 10 were killed & 6 captured & my first big battle was over.
I’m okay & not shook up at all. I’m confident that Charlie didn’t have a chance & won’t try again. If he does we are ready.
Everyone says there is a major offensive going & I guess its true. – But this one is no where near as large as the one last year & Charlie hasn’t captured one camp.
I feel it will be over soon & I can take it easy for the next 5 months.
Please Mom, don’t worry. I’m not worried and I know I’ll make it home. – I see half as much action as the majority of troops here and I’m lucky. I’m with a good unit who has lost only about 10 men in the 2 & 1/2 years they’ve been here. They’re professionals & we all work together. This unit has never lost a Medic.
I’m safe as can be and will be – Things will cool off soon & things will be as uneventful as they have been for the past 4 months.
All my Love
PS Got the other Harps – Thanks loads.
You might call Larry B. out at the Goose & tell them I’m okay. I’m very busy & can’t write & I’m sure the attack on Cu Chi was in the papers.
PS Please send another money order $50.00 – Thank you ALSO – would love to have some good DRY Italian Salami. Not pepperoni but salami – Must be dry or will spoil in shipment.