An original member of the Vietnam deployment: OPERATION BLUE LIGHT

I joined  C Battery, 2nd Bn, 9th Artillery a week before Christmas, 1963.  A fellow from Midland Texas, Walter G. Hyatt, arrived the same time on a Merchant Marine vessel from Oakland Army Terminal.  Christmas in Hawaii was just a little strange with warm weather vs. the cold & snow of Minnesota and Wisconsin that I was used to.  Also, the scraggly Christmas  tree in the middle of the Quad made it seem just a little out of whack.

Both of us started out in the ammo section, then split up within the Battery, he to 3rd Gun Section, and myself to the Orderly Room as Battery Clerk, taking Jerry Evans of Marshalltown Iowa’s place.  Some of the battery departed Hawaii late December, 1965, with the balance arriving in January ’66.  I arrived in Vietnam on January 2, 1966.  The 1st Sergeants I remember were James Henry, who later went to Battalion  to be Sergeant Major,  and James Taylor who went with us to Vietnam. Captain John Oliver was our CO when we left for Nam, but was relieved by Captain Ricardo Morales in early ’66.   Walt Hyatt became Recon Sergeant for the FO, as did Aubrey D. Ramsey.  One of the FO’s (we had a number of them go through) was Lt. John Williams. 

I  left Nam around 15 Sep 66, Hyatt shortly thereafter and Ramsey by the end of ’66.  Walter G. Hyatt has since died sometime in the 80s and Aubrey Dale Ramsey in 2007.  Ramsey and I communicated for a while a few years ago, but lost touch in his final years.


I can attest to the fact that loading a 105mm howitzer inside a CH47 was not an easy feat.  The winch inside the chopper was not really strong enough to pull the howitzer in to the bay, not with all the equipment that went with (on) the howitzer, plus individual duffle bags.  It took all of the gun crew pushing to load the the gun and with both turbines running creating a small HOT hurricane; it was not an easy feat.  The helicopter crew chief helped as much as he could by having the pilot land as close as possible to the gun when loading. 
Unloading at the next LZ was fairly easy, but the CH-47 crew chief had just a small opening in the deck to peer out of to direct the pilots where land.  In one instance, it got too close to a gun already in place and with the wind storm that the helicopter kicks up, everyone was seeking protection from the downdraft.  One individual was crouched by the gun when the chopper wheel touched the gun, then it slid over and caught the man and crushed him.  This was our first fatality for Charlie Battery.
Shortly after this incident, we started slinging every thing under the chopper.  It was always fun to hook up a water trailer to the helicopter when it was raining.
The attachment is a photo taken while loading out.  This was actually my gun section, and I'm the guy on the far right leaning on the muzzle.  You can see the duffle bags hanging on the gun - one duffle bag per man, no matter what the After Action Report says.