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War Stories

Young Pham's 'Gift' Explodes in His Face



Vol 1 - No 42 - 9 Dec 1966

Pham Van Ca took his post early in the morning a mile outside of Cu Chi recently to await American convoys throwing candy, C-rations and other gifts as they rolled by.

As he stood alongside the road, a Vietnamese bus passed and something flew from a window in the vehicle. Pham ran after the gift and scooped it up while it still rolled. When he lifted it to his face for inspection, the gift exploded.

Luckily, elements of the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, were nearby securing a piece of the road. Members of Trp D ran to Pham, administered first aid and called in a helicopter. Pham was loaded aboard the chopper and taken to the 25th Med Bn at the division base camp.

Medics rushed him to the neighboring 7th Surgical Hospital where the 10-vear-old was wheeled into surgery. Today, Pham occupies a bed in the hospital's post-operation ward. Although both hands are covered in bandages and there are a few cuts healing on his face, the boy's biggest problem seems to be trying to understand the ward's air-conditioner. While Pham is undergoing a series of operations at the hospital to repair his fingers his mother is staying at the division's "Friendship House" - a building equipped with bunks, shower, foods and magazines and set aside for Vietnamese who have to stay on post overnight. Everything is just fine now.