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Open Road in Vietnam

I arrived in country with the 66th company in July 1967. Convoys kicked out early in the morning usually
reaching Pleiku by noon. After either unloading their cargo or switching trailers, they returned that afternoon
reaching Cha Rang Valley by dark. Convoys did not run along QL19 at night, so there was only one
run made per day. On two September I was part of a huge convoy using the coastal highway to Pleiku. I was hauling fuel. i hated that cargo. The week before I took sniper rounds that hit the tanker. Nothing happened but we started leaking fuel. I tell ya, how scary it is when 5000 gallons of fuel is sitting 10 feet behind you and people are shooting at it. Well, as I said, nothing happened. But on this convoy something did happen. We were only an hour out of Plaiku when the hard truck filled with grunts took an RPG, it was horrible. My A driver yelled for me to stop but I could see they were history. I drove around them and automatic fire started peppering my cab. I could see where the fire was coming from and screamed for the A driver to put rounds down range. That’s when tracer rounds started coming our way. They hit the tank and fire was everywhere. I kept driving because stopping meant we would be on a fire fight, in the open with a superior gook force. I looked in the mirror and saw flames coming out of my tanker hatches. I screamed, “We’re going to blow.” The A driver opened his door and started getting out. I thought he was abandoning me but I watched him crawl around to the fifth-wheel and pulling the trailer release bar, the tanker dropped away moments before it exploded. The guy saved my life, I wish I could remember his name. After we made it back, they took me off tanker duty. I guess they didn’t like the fact we released the trailer. I think it was pretty heroic.


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