The Counter Terrorist Raid
We usually flew combat assault (CA) or Reaction Force (RF) missions two, three or four days in a row, then fly command and logistics (C&L) missions for a day or two. On this day, 1 September 1966, I was doing a C&L up near the Cambodia border. At one place I went into, there were two C model gun ships from the Cobra platoon and one D model slick from Vihn Long and a dozen or so ARVN soldiers. The Cobra leader told me they were there to conduct a counter-terror mission into a village that was sympathetic to the VC, and he needed one more slick. The second bird he had brought out for the mission had developed a maintenance problem and had to return to Vihn Long. What he was saying was that these (friendly) terrorists were going in and act more terrifying than the VC terrorists. Only take about 20 minutes, he said. I agreed to go for a one lift operation because of my remaining C&L mission requirements. We loaded up with the ARVN "terrorists" and went in with the gun ships firing rockets and co-ax guns firing wildly and the slick gunners hosing down the flanks. After landing and the troops had off loaded, we (the two slicks) climbed out to orbit and watch the ground operation from above. There appeared to be considerable indiscriminate firing by the ground troops and they blew up a bunker and burned a house. The gun leader, circling low level over the operation, kept calling the ground commander giving directions - "there's a big one in front of you," "one on your left is getting away," "one just came out of that hooch behind you, kill him," and it went on for several more minutes before we were called back in to pick up the troops. When they boarded, they had a live pig in a sack, two dead pigs, about half dozen each of chickens and ducks and some eggs. When we got back to the stage field, I learned the objective of their "counter-terror" operation. The two AHCs at Vihn Long wanted to have a luau and needed some pigs. No VC were found in the village, I wonder if any had ever been there. The ARVN got off the ships and went over to the side of the runway and milled about, or laid down. I think the live pig and the ducks and chickens were given to the province chief. One of the gun drivers, a sort of skinny and wiry man, came over and pulled one of the dead hogs off my acft. He rolled it over on it's back, pulled out a big knife and opened the pig up and a few of the ARVN came over to watch. He reached inside, did some pulling and cutting and handed the heart to an ARVN close by. This started a fight with three or four other ARVN reaching for it trying to pull it away from the guy that had it. About that time, the butchering guy had the liver out and handed it to another soldier and this started the second fight. Then he pulled the rest of the pig's intestines out and threw them over in the grass. One ARVN, not in either the heart or liver fight, jumped over, grabbed up the whole pile of guts and clutching that large pile of goo against his chest, started running down the runway dragging about two yards of large intestine behind him with more ARVN chasing him. After this, the gun platoon leader decided that maybe they should butcher their other pig back at Vihn Long. They loaded their loot on their slick, shook my hand, thanked me, and flew away. No, I did not get invited to the luau.
John D. Kennedy, Warrior 27
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