Just A Little Walk In The Woods

with the Delta Raiders

Company D, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)


 

A First Sergeant Remembers

Hill 805 remembered

Written by Raider 1st Sgt. John Schuelke, July 1986

The first inkling that I had Delta 2/501 was going up to Camp Evans I was at Firebase Brick where we had been scheduled to begin providing security. I had waited a couple of hours for Delta when the Sergeant Major came up to me and told me I needed to go back to Phu Bai because Delta wasnít coming. They were being attached to the 2nd 506 at Camp Evans and would be operating around the Evans A.O.

I packed up my ruck and took off back to Phu Bai. A couple of days later LTC Lucas, Commander 2nd 506, called and requested I come up to Ripcord. In a series of hops and jumps, that was how one traveled in Vietnam, I finally landed at Ripcord.

Lucas explained on my arrival that he was trying to get one platoon each day in from the field on the firebase so they might enjoy a good meal. One day it might be steak, another barbecued chicken. In either case he said, "The reason I wanted you as a representative from D 2/501 up here was so that others would know your unit was out there. Your company commanders and platoon leaders necessarily will need to remain in the field."

Just before dusk a Chinook came in. It was really blowing a lot of stuff around. You may recall we called them "Shithooks" for that reason. I was down behind the steps of a shelter they built for us in case we were mortared.

Apparently static electricity detonated a round and one of the Arty people working with the sling apparatus was wounded. Although there was a lot of blood the wound was minor. At about the same time Paul Guimond, who was briefly attached to one of the units pulling security around Ripcord, almost got wiped out by one of those 55 gallon drum halves we used for crappers. It had went flying down the hill in flames and barely missed him. Paul came up at that point and said, "I sure would hate to see that telegram. Telling my folks I got hit by half a drum of shit."

We had some good chicken barbecue that evening. Later we sat on top our sleeping area watching the Quad .50 work over Hill 805 and later the Arc Light strikes come in. Youíll remember that you never heard them approach. No noise from jet engine whatsoever, but all of a sudden the whole earth would erupt. It was an impressive sight.

The following day I went back to Phu Bai and one of our platoons went back to the field. The date would have been sometime in very early July. Early in the A.M. on the 13th of July the phone rang back at Phu Bai. The R.T.O. at Camp Evans TOC was calling and said "First Sergeant I wanted to let you know you had 4 KIAís last night and numerous WIAís. There are too many to give you the line numbers over the phone."

The line numbers and a portion of the Social Security numbers were used instead of names to identify those lost or wounded. That was our first night of casualties and I believe they were Sgt. Hembree, Sgt. Jones, Paul Guimond and Lt. Palm.

That afternoon we were to get 13 replacements in. I had already went up to Evans to identify our dead and wounded and began to write letters home. Mail needed distributed and other logistics dealt with.

On the night of the 13th we had some 26 WIAís, about 12 of whom required medivac and of those only 5 had serious injuries. Before I had departed for Evans I had went to our battalion and requested a truck so that we could get our group out to the field on the 14th without delay. I had also told them I would need all the gear the men would need to join their company in the field. I reminded battalion again on the morning of the 14th as I went back to Evans to deal with needs related to the previous nights casualties.

When I returned around noon I inquired as to whether the men were ready and Sp4 Fusia informed me, "Battalion says they have no ruck sacks."

I went down then and as I entered one person was writing a letter. Another had his feet up reading a paperback. I said, "What is this? I need my people ready to go out to my company. The company only has about 40 people out on that hill. They might get wiped out if I donít get those replacements out there"..."Well we donít have any gear"..."Could you borrow some gear?"..."Well that means we have to pay them back."

At that point I blew my stack. One was an officer. The other an enlisted man. I called them everything I could think of. Nobody appeared to give a damn about the man in the field. They were sitting plush and didnít care.

I then got Fusia, Lusk and possibly Stegman and scoured the battalion. Finally we came up with 13 ruck sacks and the other items needed to get them ready to go. Now that we were ready we went back to battalion for the truck. The response, "Well, we didnít have any gear for you so we didnít figure youíd have any need for a truck." Battalion got another dose of a first sergeants rage.

An artillery unit was just across the road. A deuce and-a-half was sitting in front of the mess hall. I inquired of the young driver who the truck was assigned to and he named an Arty Colonel. I explained I had a combat emergency. "Weíve got a call that a Chinook is coming in the field here at Phu Bai shortly and these men are needed in the field tonight." I repeated that it was a combat emergency. Then I told him, "I want you to go right over to that air field. My orderly room is right across the street. Anybody jumps you, you send them right over to me. I donít care who it is. I need transportation." He complied and we got the guys out.

On the evening of the 14th we had two more KIAís which I believe were Keister and Utter. Also there were some minor WIAís. It was remarkable that none of the cherries were injured that night. What a thing to earn your combat badge immediately upon arriving in the field.

The next day Cpt. Straub called. "Have you got anybody back there? Anybody at all. Anybody with questionable sick call send them out." The only person I had at all was Sgt. Schnieder so he was sent. It was expected he would return with the rest the following day. Instead his name must have been on someone highers list. He was KIA that night. The next day the company moved off 805. Shortly after there were some 4 or 5 WIAís including Captain Straub.

On the 15th D 2/501 came back to Evans. Cpt. Straub asked me to take him up to 85th EVAC, and then come back after him. He said, "I got this little piece of shrapnel in my arm." I told him, "Youíre on your way home. That little piece of shrapnel is more serious than you think." He replied, "No, you be back around 6:00 p.m. and pick me up." I went back and Lt. Selvaggi and Lt. Kirmse were along. We went on into Post OP and the first thing Cpt. Straub said was, "Hey, theyíre shipping me out!" And I said, "Well good-bye C.O." and turned to Lt. Selvaggi and said, "Hello C.O." Selvaggi says, "Not again." It seemed like anytime anything hit the fan Lt. Selvaggi was the one who had to take over.

Delta came back. We were a little battered but morale was still there. I believe the experience made Delta a family. The sense of family is what makes our renions so great. My wife and I, not having children, they are like sons to me. I enjoy seeing their families and children, and how well they get along. It was a wonderful outfit and it will stay that way in my memory.

 


below are links to more

Raider Writings

Hill 100  |  Delta Raiders Overrun Outpost  |  Infantry, Arty Chew Up NVA Unit 

Going Home  Heavy Fighting Near Bastogne  |  Hill 805, A First Sergeant Remembers 

The Introduction  |  Across The River & Into...  |  Raiders "Lighten The Load"

You should know Joe Hooper  |  Most decorated soldier dies  |  The List

Airborne Trooper Saves Girl  |  Flashback  |  Night Sweats  |  'Grunt' More Than A Name 

Delta Raiders Ambushed Near Firebase Bastogne | To My Dad on Veterans Day

 


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