April 9, 1968
This is how I got to the 526CC&S. I was 20 years old and living Norwalk, Connecticut when I was drafted into the Army. I took my basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. My tour of duty in Vietnam started around the end of May 1967. I do not remember the exact date. I was sent to Pleiku in the central high lands and was assigned to a Supply and Transportation Bn. with the 4th Inf. Div where I was a warehouse foreman giving out boots and shoes. I was a SP/4 at the time when they told me I was being shipped down to the 526CC&S. It was late Jan.1968, again I do not remember the date.The first thing I said to myself was who would place a company right at the bottom of a mountain. This is bad. I was assigned a bunk on the bottom floor of the barrack that later was burned down on the night of the attack. On the night of April 8th it was just like any other night, but what happened to me at about 2:30 in the morning on the 9th changed my life forever. The VC sappers got into the compound and started blowing up everything. They were raking the barracks with automatic rifle fire. They blew up the one end of my barrack. I grabbed what I could, but did not have time to put my boots on. I ran out the other end of the barrack. I do remember someone yelling get out,come on get out. I later found out that it was Gregory Watkins. He was killed, and was awarded the Silver Star for what he did that night. While running out of the barrack I fell and broke my hand, and also cut my foot pretty bad. I did manage to make it to my bunker where I stayed the rest of the night. I watched my barrack burn to the ground, and the choppers coming in and firing on the mountain. When the sun came up our dead and wounded were gone The 526 was a total mess. My barrack was gone I lost everything. It was just a pile smoldering junk. The other 2 barracks were hit as was the mess hall, the orderly room, and some smaller buildings and a truck. The 6 dead VC were laying all around the compound They were later removed with a back hoe.They got everybody together for a head count, and found out 7 of our men were killed and over fifty were wounded. That was a quarter of the 526. I was told to get my hand and foot checked out. They put my hand in a cast, and took care of the cuts on my foot That is what happened to me on the night of April 9th 1968, the sapper attack on the 526CC&S.
May 5, 1968
A week or so later I was told I was going TDY to Da Nang with a group of guys from the company. I do not remember how many or when. We were told we where going up there to train new replacements They sent us to the 156th HEM Co. not far from marble mountain I still had a cast on my hand. It was different there, we lived in tents or hooches not barracks. The first week after we got there, on the night of May 5th, we came under a rocket attack. A 120mm rocket hit the center of the hooch beside mine and started to burn . It killed 4 men and wounded others. It killed Bedwell, Ramirez, and Bautista from the 526, and a Sgt. Frederick Burge who was with the 156th HEM Co. He was married, and was from Washington,DC. I also remember what I think was the smell of burning flesh. I did make it to a bunker. The only thing that happened to me was a piece of shraphel went into my duffle bag. Another night I will always remember.
They sent me back to the 526 , because I was short. I was home by May 31, 1968,and out of the Army. My last 2 months in the army were horrible, and I will always remember the men who died in those attacks. May they rest in peace. I am married to my wife Diane,and have 2 sons and a daugther. I worked 30 years with a power co., and 13 years as a judge. One last thing, it took me 47 years for me to get my Purple Heart for my broken hand and foot. ...................Calep J. Brown