unit history information
155 AHC was a US Army unit
for 155 AHC
For date 690323
Primary service involved, US Army
Incident reference: 69032355.BAT This information is available on CD-ROM.
Darlac Province, II Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Camp Coryell
Description: The 155th AHC Association Newsletter carried the following articles about the ROCKET PARTY of '69 on Camp Coryell. Editor's Note: The first mention in the unit history of 122mm rockets used against Camp Coryell was 15 May 1968.
I remember the infamous ROCKET PARTY of '69 quite well. That was one of my most frightening moments of the whole Vietnam experience. It just so happened that I had guard duty that evening, and I was more than a little peeved because I had to leave the party early. We had just gathered formation for the guard inspection when suddenly there was a tremendous explosion, unlike anything I had previously heard, somewhere near the front gate. For a few second we just stood there, not understanding the noise, and I said, "That sounded like a one-deuce-deuce." Actually, I had never heard one before, just stories about them; stories that would chill your bones, stories that were so vivid you felt like you were there. So when that first one hit, I knew it must be a 122.
Well, those words had barely left my mouth when I looked around and realized that I was standing all alone. I began to run for the perimeter bunkers around the flight line. I figured I could get to safety quicker there than trying to make it to the bunkers in the hootch area. Bad mistake! What I didn't think of was that enemy rockets and mortars were usually aimed at the helicopter parking areas. As I ran, I soon caught up with one of my guard duty comrades (I told you, I was scared). Glancing to our left, we could see that another rocket had been launched from 'rocket ridge.' I watched it coming all the way in, and it hit about 100 yards or so from our bunker. I could see another rocket on its way, this one seemed to be headed straight for us. I told my companion, "We are in deep sh#%!" We ran to the next bunker and, sure enough, the rocket landed near the bunker we had just departed. Looking at the smoke and dust, we saw yet another rocket coming in - so we jumped up and ran to the next bunker. (I think we stirred up more dust this time than the last rocket!) We reached the bunker OK and dove in, and I said, "We're going to get hit with shrapnel out there if we aren't careful, maybe we should just stay in here and take our chances that we won't take a direct hit." So that's what we did and we were OK.
The next few round fell up in the hootch area. I'm sure glad they didn't have any more round to drop on us that day. I shudder to think that if the first round had been properly placed in the party area, it probably would have taken out the whole company. We were fortunate that God was with us that day and that the bad guys were also lousy shots. Submitted by Jerry Henderson.
I was on standby that day, and ran out to 049 in a bright green shirt, blue jeans, and shower shoes - which I lost the second I hit the hot, melted tar on the way to the revetment. I got all busy strapping in and cranking the ship, when I was ready to pull pitch I looked around and Tom Hunt (Falcon crew chief) was the only guy there. He hopped in the peter pilot's seat and off we went into the wild blue yonder. Submitted by Jeff Schrader.
I remember kicking the back door of the O-club off the hinges as I was hauling assets to the bunker. Submitted by Bob Gardner.
On the day of the party, our gun team had gotten back late from a mission. Since my ship was assigned to standby duty that night, some of the guys came out to daily it while the gunner and I had the steaks they had saved for us. We had the last steaks and the last beers. I walked across the company street to sit down on the bank of the ditch and had just taken one bite of a tough steak when the first rocket came over my head and exploded somewhere near the weapons test fire pit. I threw the beer one way and the steak another and ducked into the ditch until I thought it was safe to go to the flight line. By the time I got to my ship, the guys who had been working on it already had it started, and they were leaving. I continued down the line until I found an empty aircraft and untied it. Jeff Schrader ran out in his T-shirt, shorts, and shower shoes, jumped in the right seat, and began the start-up. I watched where the other aircraft had gone and got things ready in back. Apparently most of the other big bad Falcon pilots were hiding somewhere, because when all was ready to go it was still just Jeff and me - so I climbed into the peter pilot seat. Having seen the rocket go over my head, I knew which was they had come from, and that's where we went. We found the launch site and one man was still there. Jeff called the company and got permission to go hot. We were in a chunker bird, and Jeff told me to use the 40mm on him. On the first pass nothing happened, so I thought I had made one of those newbie peter pilot mistakes and not put the circuit breakers in. After checking them and checking the 40mm switches, I knew that I was better than that. On the second pass I watched the rounds in the chute to see if they were moving. They were, so that told me the firing pin was broken. By the time we lined up for the third pass a slick showed up and said they wanted to capture him. We flew cover for them while the crew chief jumped out and knocked the poor little guy on his assets and hauled him in. Then we went back. I found my steak, brushed it off, heated it up and ate it. But the beer was gone. Submitted by Tom Hunt.
I was brand new, with something like 340 days left. It might have been my first attack. I remember vividly how loud those explosions were as I ran to the bunker. Then, as I cowered there, I couldn't believe that guys were running out of the bunker because they: a) had forgotten their beers; or b) had to turn their steaks. Submitted by Les Davison.
Does anyone remember digging up the 122 that didn't go off on the flight line after the party? Submitted by Ron Polly
Comments: *** Henderson, Jerry; ; ;
*** Schrader, Jeff; pilot; ;
*** Gardner, Bob; pilot; ;
*** Hunt, Tom; CE; ;
*** Davison, Les; pilot; ;
*** Polly, Ron; ; ;
The source for this information was Ban Me Thuot Barb Aug, 1968
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
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