Randy Barnes – Letter #25 – March 5, 1969
Dear Solly, Carla, & Tribe,
Wed 5 MAR
I haven’t heard from you for awhile nor have I written. Thought now would be the time.
I don’t know if it made the papers at home but Cu Chi was hit with a massive ground attack & rocket attack last Wed.
The V.C. broke through the perimeter and shot up the place. (almost me included) They blew up 13 Chinook Choppers and destroyed the Chopper Ammo Dump.
The rockets started at 1:30 AM and continued until 4:00 AM. We spent this time in bunkers and some rockets came pretty close.
At 4:00 they launched a ground attack on 3 sides, our side the only one not hit. However, when the shit started, our Dusters were called out to help defend.
I stayed by the Commo Shack and at 5:00 A.M. got a call that two of our men had been hit by schrapnel from a grenade.
(As yet I didn’t know the V.C. were inside the wire)
My Lt. and myself jumped in the jeep and headed for the back perimeter Doom. (all 4 sides have code names: Doom, Dusty, Danger, Death)
As we headed out to Doom we spotted 2 ambulances that had been hit with RPG’s (bazooka type) Two dead GI’s on the road the rest wounded. We then knew Charlie was inside the wire & we got scared & sick at the same time.
However, not much firing. We got to our Duster to discover 6 dead V.C. laying around it. It seems the V.C. had broken through & the Inf. had pulled out leaving our Duster the only thing there for a distance of about 300 yds. The V.C. had charged the Duster with grenades but were cut down by M-60 M.G. fire & grenades. The V.C. were a mess. They weren’t dead like in the movies with only one small hole. One’s head was partially shot away & his brain was laying in the dirt beside his head. Anothers intestines were strung out for about 10 ft. where he had managed to crawl before another bullet had killed him.
I fixed up the wounded. (2 guys with metal in neck, ass, & arms) I let them stay as they were needed.
We then started back. As we approached the ambulances the world just kind of exploded. Bullets pierced 2 tires & were bouncing off the jeep & road. Lt Kiefer slammed on the brakes & we jumped in a drainage ditch. We were goddamn lucky we didn’t catch one.
In the ditch were 4 “grunts” (infantry) and they told us Charlie was in our own bunkers and they had seen us drive by the first time and tried to yell at us. We were in the ditch about 45 minutes returing fire at the bunkers when an Infantry Lt. came up and asked us if we could get our Duster in to blow up the Bunkers. Lt. Kieffer told him thanks to the goddamn Inf. our Duster was out there alone and besides, if he thought we going back out that road he was crazy as hell.
With that the Inf. Lt crawled away. They then brought up several LAW’s to blow the Bunkers with. (LAW is a small bazooka)
When both bunkers were blown up we stayed long enough to watch the “grunts” go in & kill any V.C. that were only wounded. “Kill is the name of the game, not capture.” This is the truth.
We then drove back on 3 flats. The remainder of the day everyone spent hunting down the V.C. that were still hiding in the camp. (The actual ground attack had ceased at 7:00 A.M.)
It was quite an experience.
I guess I’m getting to be a real salt. I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I had been in earlier firefights on convoys.
Since then we have been rocketed every night & we don’t sleep much. I guess they’ll come again.
Enclosed are pictures I took with my Polaroid Swinger at about 9:00 A.M. These V.C. were all killed by our Dusters.
1. Nose & mouth shot away & bullet through stomach. 2. Back of head missing. 3. Hit point blank with an M-79 Grenade Gun. (He was naked) 4. Top & back of head gone – brain missing – left hand mangled – had grenade strapped to belly to make suicide charge at Duster – Fell dead at about 4 feet from Duster.
Well that’s the way it is Solly. Not pretty.
There’s got to be a way for men to live together.
(hand drawn peace sign) Randall
PS These guys were all hard core NVA. But notice not one is much older than 16 or 17.
PPS You might show these pic’s at the Goose so the “Hawks” can see what it’s like – They should see American’s that look like this, I have seen.