|April 9th, 1968|
I was there in the unit on April 9, 1968 when all hell broke loose. I had just got back from one of the TDYs, this one up the valley @ 669th Trans. Co. I got in late for some reason I can't remember and they let me keep my gun and ammo because the arms room was closed. Anyway my bunk had been moved to the center of the barracks because I was gone on TDY. Someone had moved down there .That was the end of the barracks that was blown apart. When the charge went of I remember being dumped out of my bunk and hitting the bunk next to me. There was a lot of moaning and gun fire, and all I could think about was getting my rifle and ammo out of my locker. It didn't take long for me to get all my gear together . The next thing I remember was seeing green tracers coming through the wall from the side of the barracks toward the center of the compound. I fired through the wall when the tracers were going up to the second floor.The firing stopped and I assumed I hit the target. When some of the guys started to go out the undamaged end of the barracks they came under fire. I tripped two guys headed that direction to keep them down, I still don't know who they were.I pushed a footlocker down that way . I could see the flash of the fire coming into the door, so I emptied my rifle at it . The firing stopped and the Sgt. that was in the end of the barracks said to go out the other end. I heard later they had a little trouble back there. I got the idea to go to the orderly room to report to who ever was there. when we got there it was blown to hell, and nobody was in sight, so Imade my way back to the mail connex. One of our guys said shoot but said I didn't want to hit our own people. It was then that I saw one of our people running down the side of the barracks on the other side of the compound. Another figure came around the corner and fired at the other figure. Once again the green tracers gave him away. I fired three rounds and the shooting stopped. To this day I still don't know if I hit him, all I know is he went down. The one outside the barracks was dead and one of the guys got his gun . It was a 30 caliber carbine with a folding stock. One of the other guys got it since none of them had weapons. I made my way across the compound to see about the man that went down. It was a Sergeant that I didn't know . He told us to disarm the VC and go get some help. I went back to the orderly room , and told the First Sergeant what I knew and about the wounded sergeant. He told me to go to my assigned bunker. That is what I did. One of the guys there didn't have a weapon, so I let him have it . He gave it back to me a little later when he got a weapon from the arms room.The barracks along the back of the compound caught fire and was burning down. The guys from the 88 crews had gotten to their machines and set up next to the motor pool and on the other end of the compound, opened up on the mountain. that was about it except for the MP's showing up, and the reaction force from 5th Bn.
The things that I remember most are the smells. The smell of blood,the sickening sweet smells of the explosives,and the smell of burning flesh. All of it haunts me and similar jerk me up short and I see it all over again. That's the worst. ................................. Thomas Thornton