A Deadly Game

by SGT Larry Carr (11B)



Firebase Fuller was located on top of Dong Ha Mountain where several batteries of guns were located to fire support for our troops in the field. Our rifle companies; Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta took turns spending time on the mountain as a security force to protect the guns. The mountain was very steep and was very difficult to walk up, or down so most of the time it was in or out was by chopper. I remember that the mountain always appeared to be in the shape of a peanut; fat at the ends and narrow in the middle.

I think I was on the mountain two times and both times our company was in the same location. We were at the opposite end, away from the chopper pad. We slept in small "hooches" made from ammo boxes filled with dirt. It seems like there were four cots in each hooch. There was a trench line that circled the mountain with bunkers all along the trench line. Out from the trench line was concertina wire where we had trip flares, Foo-gas and claymores. There were also two long chutes that ran down each side of the mountain for disposing of garbage as well as spent artillery casings. We would just toss our garbage down the chute and it would collect at the bottom of the mountain. There is no telling how many artillery casings ended up at the bottom of that mountain. I think they were made of brass and at the end of the war the gooks probably made a fortune gathering up and selling those casings.

At night we would take turns manning the bunkers. Everyone hated trying to stay in those hooches because of the rats. They were as big as cats, so while manning our bunker one night I was introduced to the game of "M-79 Tag". Each bunker was equipped with a radio that enabled us to call the CP or talk to the other guys manning their bunkers. Our bunker was at the very end of the mountain while the bunker on our right was almost at a right angle to ours. In a way, we were almost facing each other. While manning our bunker that night, the guy in the other bunker called me and asked if I would like to play a game. Naturally, I asked what kind of game.  He said that the game was played using our M-79. I told him that I was game and asked how to play. He said that he would fire a round in front of my bunker and then I would fire a round in front of his bunker. We would then continue taking turns, bringing the rounds closer and closer to each other's bunker without hitting the other man's bunker. The one that came the closest would win the game; in other words, playing chicken with M-79 rounds. He then asked if I still wanted to play. I thought for a minute,

"This is crazy!" but I decided, "What the heck" and decided to play. I told him that I would play, and the game was on. He fired the first round then I fired. We would communicate with each other and let the other know what distance out front the round landed. We went back and forth until one of us yelled into the radio "That's enough, I give up!" I can't remember if it was him or me that night that yelled first. I played this game a few more times and we got so good, that we could put a round right in front of each other's bunker. I guess you could say that we were a little crazy, but Vietnam had a way of making you a little crazy!




Charles  Ames


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