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War Stories

More Tunnels - 12 May 1967

Bruce Powell

This is a continuation of the "Tunnel Rat Down" story in the Filhol Plantation area.

Transcribed text can be scrolled as audio is listened to.


Summary: OH-23 pilots are not heroes; Comradeship with A Troop; Going to guns; WO Baum update; Sgt Monroe lost in tunnel; Lt Julian; Australian make rifle found; trophy for PFC Mark Thomson.

12 May 67 (last tape)

We went on back to Sabre Alpha’s position and landed. A storm was brewing up, and I wanted to get back in, work on the hooch, and make sure that some of my other personal stuff didn’t get wet again. I guess the word must have spread pretty fast around 3/4 Cav about the wild-flying OH-23. It isn’t very often that a 23 gets any credit. It was one of the first things Cpt. Sanders told us when we got here. He said the 23 pilots are not heroes and never have been and they never will be. That’s a pretty well-accepted thing. I’m just happy I was able to do something as a 23 pilot.

Another thing that really is gratifying is the people. I told you about working with these people, and the comradeship I’ve had with them. Well, what I’m trying to say is that they appreciate it and they appreciate having me as their pilot, and of course, I’m happy to fly for them, too.

Anyway, they’re all unhappy about me going to gunships, and they want me to stay on and be their pilot. Like I said, this is the only thing I’ll regret about going to guns. I’m still awful hot to be a gunship pilot, and nothing can keep me from that.

Warrant Officer Baum just came in, and he got back from flying Sabre Alpha 6 today, and I guess Sgt. Monroe found another tunnel and went down in it, and it was huge. I guess it was something like 400 meters long. He was down there for over an hour, about an hour and 15 minutes, and they were starting to send another group of people down there to search for him, when all of a sudden they heard somebody yelling, “Air, air…” and he come crawling up out, gasping out through the hole there. Lt. Julian says, “We could court martial you for not calling in like that.” He says, “Not after what I found.” He pulled out a rifle—an Australian-made rifle, all wrapped in cellophane and A#1 shape—bayonet on it, and ammo in it, and everything. Anyway, what the guys are going to do is they’re going to clean it up, shine it up real nice. They’re going to give it to Thomson, that fellow that got his hand blown off, to take back as a souvenir.

[end of audio]

Dictated by: Bruce Powell, Scout and Gun Pilot, D Troop 3/4 Cav (67-68).
Date: 15 May 67
Transcriptionist’s note: This document was typed verbatim from the recorded audio. Grammar was not corrected (is/was/were, laying/lying, etc.).