Copyright 2003 -- Donald S. Pepe

The Third platoon was located next to the 212th Aviation Battalion headquarters at the Marble Mountain air facility just outside of Danang on the South China Sea. The 212th Aviation Battalion was the parent unit of of the 220th Aviation Company. The third platoon was considred the plushest duty in the company, the R & R (Rest & Recuperation) platoon. Danang was the big city. There were many clubs and many PX's to chose from. There was actual night life and there were even a few (precious few) American females around. The Marine in-country R&R Center named China Beach was located on the north side of Marble Mountain. The Battallion area was paved. The hootches were nicer. The food was better. Even the weather was clearer. There was a paved basketball court just outside the platoon headquarters (but it was only half-court).

But the best reason to consider yourself lucky for being sent to third platoon was that you did not get shot at as much. In terms of hostile fire, the Fourth platoon which covered the DMZ was far and away the most dangerous assignment, and provided the fewest creature comforts. At Phu Bai you could tell which were the DMZ pilots returning from a an overnight at Dong Ha. They were the ones covered with dust. Also their fatigues looked like they had been slept in, mainly because they had been. Even in the days before North Vietnam was an official company mission, Catkiller airplanes and pilots of the DMZ platoon were getting shot at and shot up with a frquency many times that of any other Army Bird Dog unit in Vietnam. In that first December I spent at Phu Bai one pilot was killed, another plane was shot down with the crew rescued, and a pilot was presented a Distiguished Flying Cross--all from the DMZ platoon. The war story sessions at the club were dominated by DMZ platoon pilots though there were only about 6-8 of them at any one time (in a company of 25-30 pilots).

The second platoon which flew out of HUE, just north of Phu Bai, was next in risk, though far behind the fourth. Their most dangerous missions were covering the Ashau Valley far to the west, near the the Laotian border. At times prior the Ashau was the hottest action in Vietnam. But it was relatively quiet by the time I arrived in country. The two southernmost platoons, the third at Marble Mountain near Danang and the first at Quan Ngai, were the least likely to take hostile fire, though they still recorded a higher incidence than most other Army Bird Dog units.

One reason Catkillers as a whole were more likely to draw fire is that they actually ran airstrikes. This made them unique among Army pilots. Normally airstrikes would be controlled either by Air Force pilots with the designation of Forward Air Controller (FAC) or by Marine pilots designated as Tactical Aircraft Controller Airborne (TACA). The other Army Bird Dog companies in Vietnam were restricted to visual reconnaisance and directing artillery. If they came up with a hot target, they would have to call a FAC to come in and run the strike. It was a stupid kind of a turf thing. Catkillers got to control airstrikes because of their connection with the Marines. They flew Marine observers who were TACA qualified in support of Marine units. They were essentially filling in for Marine pilots and they were conferred with the TACA designation to qualify them for the work they had to do. Later on Army units moved into the area and the Catkillers started flying fewer missions for the Marines. But by then they were already established as the primary airstrike controllers in northernmost I-Corps. Pilots continued to receive the TACA designation, apparently in recognition of that reality.

But I digress. For many reasons I was very glad to be assigned to the third platoon and to fly out of Danang. I would have been quite content to kick back and enjoy life there for the remainder of my year in Vietnam. But within a month of my arrival at Marble Mountain two events would occur that would completely change the organization of the 220th Aviation Company, the nature of my Vietnam experience, and the complexion of the entire war. Those two events were Khe Sahn and Tet.

Life at Marble Mountain was as good as life at Phu Bai had been bad. I now had a call sign, Catkiller 30. I was somebody. I was welcomed by my fellow pilots and got along well with all of them, better in fact than some of them got along with each other. There was a definite deep south flavor to the platoon. Lloyd Patterson was from Alabama; Henry Milam and Jimmy Wall were both from South Carolina. Ray Caryl was from Washington state and Bob Domine was from Detroit. I don't remember where Jan Smith was from, but he went to college at Stetson University (that's in in Florida). He seemed to emphasize that a lot. Me being from Indiana, I just sort of fit right in the middle. Though none of them drank as heavily as I did, only Lloyd was a teetotaler and he was so gregarious a sort that you could hardly tell. The platoon leader was a Captain Denny Felton. I don't remember where Denny was from or much else about him though I liked him as a platoon leader. He seemed to handle the administration and scheduling of the unit but otherwise stayed out of the way. I always liked that in a commander.

Third platoon flew observers from 1st Marine Division (the ones flying out of Phu Bai were from the Third Marine Division). The observers in Danang were all easy to get along with, but one of them stood out from the others in my eyes. Rod Chastant was a short, blond-haired, easy-going, slow-talking, very bright Marine lieutenant from Louisiana. He was as professional and dedicated to his mission as anyone I ever flew with. But at the personal level, he refused to take himself too seriously and used his dry humor to deflate anyone who did, though never in a challenging way. He had gone to Tulane and he told me a story about the great chasm in his fraternity that developed over Red Beans and Rice (RB&R). It seems some of the more progressive members regarded the traditional Louisiana dish bad for the image and bad for the palate. They wanted it banned from the menu. Needless to say, Rod was on the side championing the beans. More than anyone I had met so far I liked the the way this guy's mind worked. I tried to get him as an observer whenever I could.

Initially I was given the the easiest and least risky missions in the platoon which were the north and south coastals. The observer was from the US Navy. We flew along the coast north or south of Danang, did some visual reconnaisance, and dropped mail bags at a couple of of Navy outposts. We sometimes landed at a navigation radio installation on Cu La Ree Island, a small piece of land just off the coast a few miles south of Danang. The airstrip was a pasture. You made one low pass to scare away the cows before circling around to land. The guys manning the station wore cutoffs instead of uniforms and they all had good tans. War was hell, but somebody had to do it.

I really enjoyed the maildrops. I was good with package drops in flight school, and I never missed hitting the compound on a mission. If a pilot did not time his drop right the mail could end up in the water, or in the minefield that surrounded the camp. That would always piss off the troops.

Our other missions included visual reconnaisance of the jungle covered moutains and valleys west of Danang. These were two ship missions. One plane flew low and did most of the looking; the cover ship flew high and kept track of both plane's location. I soon began flying the high ship on these missions. Most of the excitement on these missions was provided by the aircraft themselves. There was a sparkplug shortage at the time, and rare was the mission when one or more did not foul out. It was a little disconcerting to be out miles from civilization in jungle and mountainous terrain with a rough running engine. Probably half of our missions were cut short for that reason. Otherwise the the only memorable thing from those missions was landing at Thun Duc special forces camp in the extreme boondocks and having coffee with the guys there. Ray Caryl liked to do that a lot when I was covering him. I personally never felt all that comfortable on the ground that far away from anyone who could help me out in a big way.

The most serious missions we flew were in direct support of Marine combat operations in the flat areas around Danang. These were called the TAOR missions. TAOR stood for Tactical Area Of Responsibility. After a couple of weeks I began to fly the TAORs, always scheduled with an experienced AO. On these missions I was exposed to my first troops in contact, my first airstrike, my first hostile fire, and my first sight of a Marine body washed up on a sandbar in the middle of a stream.

On the ground life was good. I shot a lot of basketball. At least twice in the week we would get a jeep and drive into town for a dinner, usually at the White Elephant Air Force Officers Club or the China Beach Marine club. There was steak and lobster and shrimp and lots of booze and the prices were cheap. On at least one other night in the week someone would have a steak cookout in the Batallion area. Everyone pretty much got along. No one in the whole company had been killed or wounded in almost two months. It was too good to last, and it didn't.

In the wee hours of 21 January, 1968, NVA troops which had been massing for weeks launched an attack on Khe San, a remote Marine base next to the Laotian border just south of the DMZ. It began a bloody siege that lasted 77 days.

One of the worst sights for a combat pilot is to walk by headquarters and see a group of men including the CO huddled around a two-way radio with concerned looks on their faces. They weren't listening for baseball scores. It almost always meant that an aircraft was down or lost. On 21 January, 1968 in the northern half of I-Corps there were a lot of men huddled around two-way radios.

The 282nd Helicopter Company, callsign Black Cats, were the next-door neighbors of the Catkillers at Marble Mountain. We actually ate at their mess hall, and their pilots held a lot of the cookouts we went to. They were an Army unit pulled into the action around Khe San that day. One of their helicopters was shot down. A pilot and crewman were killed. The other pilot and crewman managed to get away, evaded the enemy for the night, and walked into Khe San the next morning.

On that same day, Catkiller 11, WO William Kimsey was last heard from about seven clicks north of the DMZ. He should not have been there. At that time the Catkillers were not authorized north of the Ben Hai (the river border separating North and South Vietnam). His observer was Captain Ramsay, the red-haired leatherneck who sat across from me in the helicopter on my intial trip to Phu Bai. He had also been the observer with Lou Keevin, the pilot who was killed about the time I signed in to the 220th. This time there was no bringing the plane back. Everyone who had an opinion blamed Ramsay.

Thirty four years later Mr Kimsey's remains were identified and returned to the states. Two former Catkillers, Bob Cortner and John Kovach met with his family and attended his memorial service in Arlington, Virginia in May, 2002.

21 January, 1968 was not a good day In I-Corps.

The Marines moved resources from their other operations in I-Corps Vietnam to the defense of Khe San. Those resources included many O-1 Bird Dogs and pilots that had been flying missions in the same general areas the Catkillers flew. The Catkiller units, from Danang to Dong Ha, picked up some of their missions. In Danang those included dusk to dawn mortar watches which we took turns covering. Other than that things were little changed for us for the next week or so. On the ground the living and the food was still good. On the 29th a new basketball I ordered from home my first day in the platoon finally arrived. On the same day the guy I shared my hooch with, Ray Caryl, got the word that he was being moved to Phu Bai to fly in the DMZ platoon. My new roommate was Henry Milam from Ninety Six, South Carolina.

Then on January 30th things changed a lot, for the company and for the war. The Tet Offensive erupted everywhere in Vietnam at the same time. For us it started that morning around 3 a.m. We got hit by a mortar attack. I thought it was just artillery outgoing, and slept thru the whole thing. About 4:30 I decided to go out and look at the fireworks. I had thought all along that it was ARVN's shooting off illumination rounds, raising hell on Tet. There were armed choppers circling and blasting the shit out of an area just west of the field. People were all standing around, some on the tops of hootches watching the show. I went back to bed and still didn't know what had happened. Next morning I found out.

Several of the mortars found their mark. The Black Cats, 282nd Helicopter Company, had only two helicopters flyable. The Batallion's Beaver got blasted all to hell by shrapnel. We had two of our Bird Dogs damaged too bad to fly. Most everyone else in the batallion had spent the night in the bunkers.

Our regular schedule was, of course, no longer valid. Troops in contact had first priority and there were far more troops in contact than we had airplanes. Some posts had been overrun. The third Marine Division Headquarter's perimeter had been breached but the assault was beaten back. And there was a fierce fire fight at I-Corps Headquarters. Da Nang Main airport had been hit. It was all happening at once.

Jimmy Wall took fire just west of the field and got a round thru the cockpit. He got a small scratch above his lip from a piece of broken plexiglas. I made sure I kept my altitude all day. It was impossible to get artillery shut off. We just dodged around the area hoping nothing would hit us. I once spotted about 10-15 V.C. scrambling into a tree line, but that wasn't a significant enough target on that day. They wanted the bird dog back, so I just dropped a smoke grenade on them and left.

The next night we knew we were going to get hit again. Henry and I brought our weapons down to the room with us. I slept on top of the blanket with my clothes on. I had my M-16 flack vest and steel pot beside me on the table.

They hit about 3:45. Rockets this time. The first one woke everybody up, it sounded like it was just outside the door. They were much louder and sounded closer than the night before. Some of them were. Three landed on the east edge of the Mohawk ramp right behind our hootch. Henry and I were scared shitless. We scurried under the beds. It only lasted a few minutes I guess, but it seemed like hours. I did not like it. After the rockets stopped we went out to the bunker. Everyone was there. Lloyd and Jimmy were in their jockey shorts. There was some ground firing that sounded pretty close. I went and got my M-16. Around 5:00 I came back and went to bed, though the alert was still on.

The enemy was clearly on the move. In Hue the walled main portion of the city, referred to as the Citadel, was occupied. The 220th's second platoon was based out of Hue. The seven airplanes it had on the Hue airstrip which was located inside the Citadel were all destroyed in the first hour of Tet--satchel charged. Fortunately at the moment when Tet kicked off all of the pilots and crew were safely in the MACV compound which was located across the Perfume river from the Citadel. Unfortunately the compound itself was surrounded and under siege. The pilots were having to help man the perimeter. We heard there was only a 700 foot ceiling and that the NVA was shooting down aircraft left and right. Couldn't have been any of ours. They were already destroyed. Phu Bai had been rocketed but no one was hurt and none of our planes there were damaged.

The Embassy in Saigon had been temporarily occupied. An ammo dump was hit at Chu Lai almost leveling the place. Nha Trang and Quin Nhon were surrounded. We were getting all kinds of information, but we had no way of knowing which was the accurate kind. The safest thing seemed to be to assume the worst and plan accordingly.

On the next day the flying was still chaotic, but there was not the sheer pandemonium that had prevailed the day before. That night I had the mortar watch mission to 1:30 in the morning. Visual reconnaisance at night did not work all that well. You had to actually see the muzzle flash to spot a gun or tube. And with no visual ground reference you still couldn't determine the map coordinates to use in returning the fire. At one point I was flying along straight and level looking out my left window at Da Nang Main Airport when I saw three rounds impact, in a line. The third one hit a fuel dump; a huge fireball erupted. The attack continued for another 25 or so rounds. I frantically scanned the darkness looking for muzzle flash, but saw none. We were useless.

For the next two nights we did not get rocketed. And by the third night the Air Force took over our dusk to dawn night flights. Our schedule regained a semblance of its pre-Tet look. For the next few days most of my flights were mountain missions and most of them were cancelled due to weather.

Tet closed down all of the PX's in the area. By the 3rd of February the platoon refrigerator was out of beer and soft drinks. Things were desparate. Imagine my delight on the afternoon of the 4th when I discovered the fridge again fully stocked--from where I have no idea. Things were like that in Vietnam. Beer always found a way. I paid my tab for January--$8.00. Beer was 12 cents, cokes 11 cents.

We were not sleeping in the bunkers, but we were sleeping with our clothes on and all of our gear, including gas masks, at the ready. I never slept well in the bunkers, and I tried to avoid them even when we were on alert. I took to sleeping under my bed around which I had put sandbags. That way, when they did a bed check to make sure everyone was in the bunkers, I would pass it.

It was during this brief lull in the action that a new pilot showed up for the 220th. The third platoon basically hosted anyone in the company travelling into or out of the country via Danang airport. This included all of the R&R traffic, those just arriving in country, and those leaving for good.

This was the first new pilot in the company since my arrival almost two months before. After my miserable introduction to the Catkiller organization, I vowed I would do everything in my power to make those who came behind me feel accepted. This was my first chance. The pilot's name was Terry Bozarth, fresh out of flight school and married less than a year. Quiet, polite, very young looking, almost baby faced, but with this single twist of gray hair at the front of his hairline that looked way out of place.

I stuck out a hand in welcome and said,"let me tell you some things". I spent the evening orienting him to the people and places he would be encountering. I gave him some maps I had put together when I was at Phu Bai. I did everything I could to make him feel like he was already one of us. The experience probably helped me more than it did him. It helped to diminish the latent bitterness I still held from the shabby treatment I got when I first came to the company. The best way to overcome something negative is to to do something positive. I continued to make new guys feel welcome throughout my Vietnam service, but none so deliberately as this first chance I had with Terry.

Life for us in the third platoon was close to normal in the days right after Tet. The same could not be said for the second platoon which was trapped in the MACV compound in HUE. Helicopters could make it into and out of the compound, but the military commander would let no one leave without a replacement. Warm bodies were needed to defend the camp. The pilots and crew chiefs were manning the perimeter with their M16s. It was over a week until all of the 220th personnel could be replaced with regular combat troops. Never again would Catkillers live in Hue or fly out of the Hue airfield. The second platoon moved permanently to Phu Bai.

The battle to drive the NVA from Hue was an incredibly bloody ordeal that lasted twenty six days. It was primarily a Marine operation-- block by block, building by building, room by room. Most of the city was demolished. Not a single roof remained at battle's end.

Back in Danang the widespread hostilities on the ground provided me an opportunity to demonstrate my combat abilities in the air, and then to hone them. Prior to Tet I had always flown with an experienced observer who actually ran the airstrikes. This wasn't unusual at that time. Even though I was the only third platoon pilot who was not TACA qualified, the Marine observers usually ran the air, particularly in tight situations.

About a week after Tet began the accumulated scheduling disruptions resulted in an inexperienced pilot (me) and an inexperienced observer, a good guy and and good basketball player named Tom Givins, flying together on a TAOR mission. The TAOR missions were the ones in the flatlands around Danang, places where a lot of fighting was going on.

Well we took off to cover a sweep a few miles south of Danang. Some action broke out in a nearby ville and the friendlies were pinned down. We got a call from Carstairs, the aircraft controlling agency for the Danang area, to go over and help them out. They asked if we wanted some air, and I told them yes. I requested two flights of Delta 1 Alphas (250lb bombs) and Delta 9s (napalm). I had listened to the observers enough on prior flights that I knew the drill for this type of situation. I suspected my observer probably would not want to control the strike, and I was right. Tom wasn't TACA qualified yet; he asked me to do it probably assuming I was. I wan't, but given the situation I figured it would serve no good purpose to inform him of that.

Carstairs called back to advise that they didn't have anything on the hot pad. We got over the target and established contact with the ground troops. There was a lot of confusion on where everyone was located. After about 20 minutes we got two flights. They were both diverts; diverts were flights that had been scrambled for another mission but were either called off of their original target or had hit it and still had some ordnance left. All these planes had to give me were 2Omm cannon (heavy machine gun) and Delta 7 rockets, and both flights were low on fuel. Rather than send one away, I ran all four planes in one pattern, a tricky manuver even for an experienced controller. And all the while we were getting a lot of static from the ground troops who called for target changes during the attack. A little later I got one more divert, a single aircraft with 9 Delta 2s (500lb bombs) and some more 20mm.

Our hand-me-down air offensive worked. The NVA broke contact and the friendlies were able to regroup. When it was all over I was on a high. I was good at this stuff. I knew I would be.

Lloyd Patterson, the platoon operations office, shook his head at what had happened. He acknowledged that I had gotten some troops out of a spot, but said he would be sure to see that we didn't have any more such scheduling slipups. That's not the way it worked out. From that point on I was as likely to fly with an inexperienced observer as an experienced one, and when I did I ran the airstrikes. I was now a full-service combat pilot. The paperwork could catch up later.

The next day after my airstrikes Captain Felton called a full platoon meeting and had some heavy words for us. Intelligence was expecting the NVA to make their big push sometime in the next three days. It would have three objectives: Danang Main, Marble Mountain and a bridge that was located on the route between them. We were given an evacuation plan. Each pilot was assigned a plane and a crew chief. In the event of a major attack we were to take off and fly to Chu Lai, which they considered secure. There was a similar order for every aircraft at Marble mountain. Now this was a scary prospect.

Helicopters would be in relatively good shape; they need very little horizontal distance in which to take off. But fixed wing aircraft need to travel a long way to break ground; they need a runway. And Marble Mountain had only one runway. I could just see every airplane on the base trying to take off at the same time. You could assume the enemy would be directing rockets and mortars onto the runway and would attempt to knock out the control tower early on. I regarded my chances of successfully getting off the ground under this scenario as somewhere between very slim and none.

I went out to the ramp where the Bird Dogs were parked and paced it off. We did not need as much runway as the larger planes to take off. Would the ramp be long enough? Not really. But it was close. If there was a little bit of wind blowing in from the Ocean, I might could do it.

I walked back to the hooch wondering what I was actually going to do if the attack took place. I wanted to have a plan ready before the shit hit the fan. My roommate Henry Milam was up when I got back to the hooch. I asked him. "Henry, have you and your crew chief decided how you're going to try to get out of here." A big smile broke out under his handle bar mustache as he exclaimed in his deep South Carolina accent, "Yeah, I done told my crew chief that if we come under attack and he wants to get out of here, then he better get himself on the first helicopter pullin' pitch. Cause that's where he's gonna find me." Now that sounded like a plan.

Fortunately, the all out attack never came and we were never faced with the perils of mass evacuation. The enemy was obviously too much engaged in other pusuits. Heavy fighting continued throughout our area for the entire month of February. I was confronted with a variety of different combat situations including troops in close contact and hostile fire. In three weeks I gained as much experience and confidence as I would have in three months of my pre-Tet missions. It was very good preparation.

On the 22nd of February there were again men huddled around the radio. Catkiller 29 had gone in at Hue. "Catkiller 29? Who's that?" No one knew anyone with that call sign. Then someone figured it out. "It's the new guy." Terry Bozarth, the new guy I had taken under wing, was dead. Low ceiling, rocket run. Shot in the head, died instantly. He was killed with less time in country than it had taken me to check out.

Two days later on the 24th at 1800 hours five of us piled into a jeep and went over for dinner and a show at the Stone Elephant. The food, the booze, and the company was good. The floor show was not and was 45 minutes late getting started. When we finally got back to Marble Mountain, we could not get back in the gate. They were on a class 1 alert. No one could enter or leave. We were pissed. We drove over to China beach and lucked out on some beds for the night. The next morning we made it back to Marble and got the news.

We had gotten rocketed. Only 10 rounds hit, but the box score was impressive. The 212th Battalion headquarters was blown away, leveled, a shambles. The battalion Huey was totalled. A Mohawk on the 245th ramp was totalled, nothing but a charred heap left. The transient enlisted men's hootch was hit. One man was killed and 7 were med-evaced. The man killed was Sp4 Roulette of the 220th, down from Phu Bai on his way to R&R.

One of the rounds had landed 50 meters from my hootch. Inside all the stuff from my shelves had been thrown on the floor. The flourescent light bulbs had shaken loose from their sockets and were smashed on the floor. Man, were we glad they did not let us in that gate.

Then two days after that we got the word that another 220th DMZ pilot, Rick Billings, had been hit and med-evaced to Danang. A group of us went over to the hospital to visit and found him in good spirits. Rick was sort of a loud, sarcastic guy that took some getting used to, opposite end of the scale from Rod Chastant. But he now had a a true story that would be topped few if any times regardless of how often he might repeat it over his lifetime.

Seems he was straight and level at 1100 feet just south of the DMZ. A single 50 caliber round came through the cockpit, shattered the handle of the control stick, continued through his flack vest, and up into his chest just above his heart. He lost consciousness for a few seconds and and woke up in a screaming dive at around 200 ft. He pulled it out and managed to fly the plane back to Dong Ha. He managed to make a good landing and got it off onto the ramp before cutting the switch.

John Kovach was on the ground. He ran to the plane and opened the door. The right side of Rick's face was peppered from plastic and metal fragments coming off the smashed control stick. John pulled back the flack vest and saw a bloody hole in the top part of his chest, above the lungs. At the same time something fell onto Rick's leg, bounced and dropped to the floor of the plane. John reached in and picked it up. It was a bent 50 caliber round. It had traveled through just enough airplane, control stick, and flack vest that the pilot could continue to live.

Rick walked to the ambulance under his own power. He would fully recover, but he had flown his last Catkiller mission. He had a topper of a story for the rest of his life. There aren't very many people who have been hit in the chest by 50 Caliber machine gun round who are around to tell how it happened.

After we got back from the hospital we began a painting project for the office. It was starting to look a little shabby. I spent all of my non-flying daylight hours in the next two days scraping and painting while listening to Joan Baez on an open reel tape deck. It seemed an odd kind of war.

We finished up the painting on the 28th of February. At 4:30 that afternoon while cleaning our paintbrushes we got the rumor. At 6:00 it was confirmed. At 7:00 the affected parties were designated. The 21st Airplane Company, the bird dog unit which had moved into Quang Ngai when our first platoon relocated to Phu Bai, was now moving a full platoon into Marble Mountain. We Catkillers were sending 3 planes and 3 pilots and 3 crew chiefs from Marble to Phu Bai. The 220th was being squeezed north.

Lloyd Patterson, Henry Milan, and myself were the lucky winners. We packed up most of our shit and left it in the freshly painted office to be carried up by the Company Beaver the next morning. On that next day, the 29th, we made one last PX run, then took off from Marble about 1 in the afternoon. My plane had two mag drops (fouled plugs) before we could take off and the radios didn't work. I fell in behind Lloyd and he got the tower to flash me a green light to land at Phu Bai.

Henry and Lloyd got assigned to the second platoon. I was assigned to the first, one of the two DMZ platoons (along with the fourth). My platoon leader was John Kovach, the other guy who came into the company when I did. My new call sign was Catkiller 15 (One-Five). The first and fourth platoons flew the DMZ exclusively. Every third or fourth night I would be RON (Remain OverNight) at the Marine base at Dong Ha. Dong Ha was the northernmost airstrip in South Vietnam. I could travel no more deeply into this war. My odyssey had ended. My work was just beginning.
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