George discusses how his team stayed hidden during a large force Vietnamese attack.
And I can remember our team sergeant looked around and he says, “Gentlemen, they told us that Vietnam “was gonna be dangerous,” he said. “But I sure thought we’d last longer than a week.”
I joined the army in the summer of 1964. Went in as a total nothing. E-1, you know, private. I chose communications mainly because that’s part of what I had already been trained for.
They took our B team and our A team and sent us out to a place called Hiep Hoa in Ha Giang province, and Hiep Hoa was a big sugar mill that the French had built.
On May 20th, we’d been there just a little over a week, the VC attacked the sugar mill area with large force. Started the attack with mortars landing on the roof of the villa and machine guns set up across the big river firing into the villa. We had been there such a short amount of time that we didn’t have really adequate defenses. We were attacked and were able to essentially hide because the VC hitting the sugar mill, they didn’t know exactly where we were.
We were lucky and the gunship inflicted quite a few casualties on the Viet Cong attacking. The Ruff-Puff Regional Force police were not so lucky. They had about 77 of their people killed. We had no one wounded. The Americans were, you know, one slight wound, you know, grazed. That was our, I guess, baptism of fire.