42. Diary Of Sgt Arthur Partin 1969-70 By Arthur Partin

Jan 12th    Arrived in country (Binh Hoa).

Jan 15th    Arrived in Nha Trang.

Jan 17th    Arrived in Tuy Hoa and Phu Hiep.

Jan 18th    Assigned to the 134th Assault Helicopter Co.

Jan 19th    Found out that the company did not have my MOS 51M20 (crash and rescue). Asked me if I wanted to be a door gunner. I said ok. They then asked if anyone could type and I told them yes.

Jan 20th    Started working as a clerk in the maintenance office.

Jan 22nd    Sandstorm. All flights were grounded.

Jan 23rd    Guard duty.

Jan 28th    Guard duty.

Feb 6th     326 went down. 319 was hit with 2 KIA's from the 134th.

Feb 10th    Went to the services at the chapel for the ones that were killed in 326—CW2 William Harrison and PFC William Ogden.

Feb 25th    Guard duty. A trip flare went off in front of my post. I could not see anything. Nothing happened.

Mar 5th     Company party at the beach. Everyone drunk and threw Lt. Doyle, Lt. Leaf, Mr. Surgeon plus 4-5 NCO's in the South China Sea. We were then going to start messing with the local beach bums (people from other units) but Lt. Leaf kept us from doing it.

Mar 7th     Pipeline at Phu Hiep hit.

Mar 23rd    Flew as gunner with Mr. Howell to take Lt. Doyle for a 3 day pass to Nha Trang.

Mar 26th    701 crashed (I've got a picture of where it crashed).

Mar 29th    Flew as gunner with Mr. Howell on 351. Picked up supplies and removed the gun mounts from 701.

Apr 13th    Flew as gunner for Lt. Weymier.

Apr 16th    Flew as gunner for Mr. Howell. Picked up an AC 351 that had been shot up and flew it back. Mr. Howell let me sit in the front with him and I flew the aircraft. I did ok until we hit a storm and he took it back.

Apr 19th    Had CQ. Woke up everyone that was on the gunships. They had to be scrambled. Charley had gotten on the side of the Monkey Mountain. We stood in the company area and watched them work out.

Apr 21st    Railroad bridge knocked out. (I didn't write in the diary where it was).

Apr 23rd    Awards ceremonies. Lt. Doyle and Mr. Chancelor got Bronze Stars.

May 1st     Beer party at the beach.

May 4th     An ARVN shot a tracer through a JP-4 tank and blew himself up. I don't know where it happened.

May 7th     SSG Rivers got his hand messed up today. Took him to the 91st EVAC.

May 9th     Went before the E-5 Board.

May 11th    CQ tonight. While tracing a broken commo wire we were hit with mortars at the revetments. We had just traced the line where the first mortars hit.

May 13th    Had to see the old man. I thought I was going to be court martialed under Article 31. It scared the shit out of me. Then he gave me my orders for Sgt E-5.

May 17th    Saigon mortared.

May 18th    Alert Red. Everyone slept with their gear on.

May 19th    Korean compound was hit. I took out 15 men and stayed there all night.

May 31st    Gooks from Labar fired an AK at one of our ships in broad daylight. Pathfinders were sent in to try to find them.

Jun 6th      CA, 23 Demon ships. Korean stepped on a mine and shrapnel hit 319. No one was hurt on 319

Jun 11th    We took 3 trucks from the 134th on a convoy to pick up supplies in Qui Nhon. We hooked up with another convoy that was leaving Phu Hiep to Qui Nhon changing the ammo dump. Because we were empty they asked us if we would haul ammo for them. We said ok. I had two pallets of hand grenades in my truck. Unloaded them at An Son and went to the 129th AHC. It had gotten late. We were filthy and dirty. Ate chow, took a shower and went to sleep in the back of the trucks.

Jun 12th    Picked up the solvents, oil and other supplies. By the time we did all of the running around it was getting late and we didn't want to go on the road after dark.

Jun 13th    Headed back. No incidents other than flat tires. Arrived back in company area at 1600.

Jun 22th    Maintenance party at the beach.

Jul 3rd       Air Force jets napalmed the side of the hill.

Jul 6th       Prepared for CA.

Jul 7th       CA—80 slicks, 19 guns and 9 Chinooks. Airlifted 3500 ROK's from Vung Ro Bay to Miami Beach.

Jul 9th       Korean compound mortared.

Jul 10th     North Tuy Hoa was hit.

Jul 12th     USO show at the big field.

Jul 14th     SP5 Spencer and I test fired some M-60's--1500 rounds.

Jul 24th     Had to find Davenport. Red Cross looking for him. His wife had a 6 lb. 10 oz. Boy.

Jul 30th     Helped E R Parker and the line crew install main rotor blades.

Jul 31st     Convoy to Qui Nhon.

Aug 3rd     Back to 134th with the supplies.

Aug 8th     Gunships prepped the perimeter and Buda Mountain.

Aug 11th    Mortared us tonight. When I ran into the bunker I hit my head on the beam at the top of the door going in. The boys pulled me the rest of the way inside. The mortars quit and Dowden went to get us a cigarette. I was still dizzy from hitting my head. Charley shot one more round. Dowden just walked outside. He falls back into the bunker. He didn't get a scratch. He was lucky—leaves tomorrow to ETS (I talked to him after Nam and he still doesn't smoke). We went out and stayed on the perimeter all night.

Aug 22nd    Red (the clerk in Maint) came and told me SSG Siam wanted me. Told me to call the Red Cross. Ruby had a girl 7 lbs 8 oz and 21 inches long. Gave out 100 cigars.

Aug 23rd    Awards ceremony.

Aug 24th    Contact at point 10. Guns scrambled.

Aug 30th    Change of command ceremonies. Stayed at attention for over an hour. Carried SP5 Hope to clear. The First Sgt waned me to be field first.

Sep 6th      Maintenance party at the beach.

Sep 9th      Sgt of the Guard. Watched firefight from OP 14. Weather is bad. Raining. No one can fly.

Sep 16th    Convoy to Qui Nhon. Roads are muddy. The convoy behind us got hit.

Sep 17th    Picked up aircraft parts and supplies. Saw a hole where the convoy must have been hit yesterday. Looked like a big mine. Made it back to the 134th ok.

Sep 25th    Red alert. Stayed on the perimeter all night until 0830.

Oct 1th     SFC Zellers told me he wanted me, my men and equipment ready for the field. We were to be picked up by a Chinook from the 180th. The weather was so bad that it had to be cancelled. SP4 Gloria came to me later and told me that it was going to be scheduled tomorrow at 0430.

Oct 2nd    180th Chinook picked us up and carried us to Qui Nhon. We then loaded all the stuff onto trucks and convoyed to Phu Cat. Set up 4 refueling points with 2 lines per point. Mountains all around us. 1000 Korean infantry (White Horse Infantry Brigade) was airlifted. Received fire from the side of the mountain. The Koreans used artillery to get them off. One ship was lost. Haven't heard if anyone was hurt.

Oct 5th      Sgt of the Guard. Killed a deer that ran into the minefield. We carried it back to maintenance, hung it on wrecker and are going to eat it. Convoy tomorrow.

Oct 6th      Convoy. SSG Fields is going with us.

Oct 8th      Took Davis to AFB. Change of command ceremony coming up. I have the color guard.

Oct 10th    Raining. Change of command ceremonies had to be held in the 180th hangar.

Oct 12th    Flew as a gunner for Mr. Howell. Carried Helms to Cam Ranh Bay. Picked up FNG's and back to Phu Hiep.

Oct 13th    Thought that we getting mortared. A Mohawk taking pictures.

Oct 21st    Learned about Starlight scope.

Oct 22nd    Sgt of the Guard. Pathfinders went out on OP 14 with Starlight scope. It works great.

Oct 23rd    SFC Zellers told me that they were going to send me An Son for a courtesy inspection of the 61st's POL. I was going to report to some Major from battalion.

Oct 24th    Flew up to 61st and helped them straighten out their POL.

Oct 27th    Today we were watching a Chinook carry an Otter and it broke loose and crashed (can not remember if it was at Phu Hiep or An Son).

Oct 30th    Worked on the basketball court with the cement mixer.

Nov 2nd    Company party.

Nov 3rd    0100 hit with about 20 mortar rounds. When it was over I took 10 men to the line. Stayed there all night. Ban Me Thout got hit with B40 rockets. A company of NVA were spotted north of Tuy Hoa.

Nov 4th      Kept gear on all day. 2nd day that Charlie has been spotted. Started to rain.

Nov 5th      Had our gear on since Sunday.

Nov 8th      Sgt of the guard. AK-47 fired from inside the compound.

Nov 9th      146 went down today. Merricks from Virginia went down in Ban Me Thout. Messed up pretty bad, face and legs. His wife and mine had a baby on the same day.

Nov 10th    Two battalions of NVA spotted.

Nov 11th    USO show—New Christy Minstrels (I didn't put it in the diary but I think we got hit the same night).

Nov 12th    Rifle went off accidently in my hooch. A piece of metal hit mamasan in the foot. She is ok.

Nov 13th    We picked up 146. When I got to the hooch, mamasan was swinging a 45 pistol around. I took it from her. Rinky had given it to her. I ate his ass out. It wasn't loaded.

Nov 17th    Convoy tomorrow. Sgt of the Guard today. 43 guards went out. Spotted 20-30 gooks with Starlight scope. Called for Light jeep. They came and shined the light on them and they ran off.

Nov 18th    Convoy today. Roads bad from the rain. Had to stay overnight at a Korean fire support base because of the roads and it was getting dark. The lowboy popped an axle and we unloaded it on our trucks. It was loaded with rockets and all kinds of ammo. After tying it down we started.

Nov 19th    CA today. Arrived at LZ at 0700. Secured our positions with M-60's and 79's. Set up 5 refueling points. It was over at 1300. Packed up and started back to Phu Hiep. The roads are slick and I almost flipped my truck. Close call. Made it back ok. When we got back some of my men had guard duty.

Nov 22nd    CA tomorrow. They said they were going to refuel at the 134th. They changed their mind. We're going back to the field.

Nov 23rd    Raining. Loaded the trucks, tankers and drove to North Tuy Hoa. Set up LZ with rocket ammo and set up 4 refueling points. Weaher bad and the CA had to be cancelled.

Nov 24th    CA today. Same same. Rained out, cancelled again.

Nov 25th    Maintenance area flooded.

Nov 27th    456 went down. Thought I was going to have to take a ground crew and get it.

Dec 1st      Convoy. Picked up 20 barrels of solvent. Wanted me to convoy to Qui Nhon to pick up some hydraulic fluid. Charlie hit the pipeline.

Dec 2nd      0015. Sappers hit OP 14. 2 KIA. Stayed there all night. Award ceremonies 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses (did not write down who got them).

Dec 8th      Awards ceremony. The three men who stopped the sappers the other night got Bronze Stars. Vung Ro Bay got hit with rockets and mortars. We could hear them from the company area.

Dec 10th - 23rd      R & R

Jan 2nd - 10th      Monsoons!!

Jan 10th      Awards ceremony. The Col. gave me the Army Commendation Medal. I didn’t know I was going to get it. I thought it was going to be the flight medal (air crewman badge)

Jan 11th    I was called back to the hooch. SP4 Hinnard was down face first in the sand. We took him to the hospital. 151 went down with Hamrick on it. Have an S & R mission tomorrow.

Jan 12th    Up at 0500. Flying as a gunner. Went to Phu Cat to find 151. We flew from 0700 to 1830. No trace. Mountains, elephant grass and low ceiling. Spotted ARVNs. Will be back tomorrow.

Jan 13th    Up at 0500. Flying as a gunner on 281. We pulled pitch at 0645. Went to Qui Nhon to North Phu Cat. Refueled. Flying tree top height. We spotted something on the ground and went around to check it out. A gook came out of a hole right in my face and shot at us. I thought he was going to shoot me in the face. I hollered to get the hell out of there and popped smoke. I don't know how far we were before I got the smoke out but it shook me up. I don't know how he missed us. We went back to the 173rd Airborne fire support base and refueled and got our shit back together. I was still screwed up. We got a call that they had been spotted so we took off as soon as we could get out of there. When we got there, the Major had already picked them up and the only thing we could do was follow them to Qui Nhon. After securing our ship we went to the hospital but the Major wouldn't let us in. That's when he told us Hamrick had been killed. 6 hours sleep in 2 1/2 days (I have a clipping from the Stars and Stripes about this.)

Jan 16th    Mailed my Hold baggage.

From Jan 19-Feb 7 the pages of my diary are missing. After Hamrick was killed I didn't fly anymore. After almost getting killed looking for Hamrick I really didn't want to take any more chances. I had been awfully lucky. I spent the remainder of my time teaching my replacement what to do and what not to do (I don't even remember his name). What I do remember though is when we were leaving country, the Air Force SPS would check our baggage. They took everything that had anything to do with the war. The worst thing was the little kid who got shot through the helmet. I think he was SP5 Bates from California. They took his helmet and the old man gave him the paperwork to keep it. They took it anyway. We were going to tear the place apart and I never forgot what he said. Real calm, he just said Fuck it, let's go home. They took a short timers stick the men gave me, made out of a warped mini-gun barrel with a ball bearing on the top and a round fixed in the other end. A lot of pictures we had were also taken. I hid my slides.

There's a lot I didn't put in that I should have. I remember after first arriving in country the USS New Jersey was in sight offshore. They would shoot those 16 inch guns over our heads. The reason I remember that is that the first time someone hollered incoming I ran over a trash can and laid my leg open from the top of my boot to my knee. I didn't mention it in my diary. I believe it was February or March because they moved an Artillery battery in after that.

I also built the Hell's Half Acre sign. I had started learning how to be a bricklayer before I came into the army. We also built the basketball court in the middle of the compound.

I had Sgt of the Guard at least once a week no matter what, from the time I made Sgt until the week of my ETS.

We got mortared once when we were in Qui Nhon on a convoy. We had parked in a Korean base. There was a place to buy beer, etc, across the street from the compound. We left the trucks and walked over to get a beer. We all had good intentions to make it back across the street before dark so we didn't carry any equipment with us. We had one snub nose 38 between the six of us. We got drunk and let it get dark on us and didn't know the Koreans shut the gates to the compound after dark so we couldn't get back in. During the night they mortared the Korean. Some of the rounds fell short and hit the hooch we were in or close to it. Naturally, we wanted our weapons which were locked up across the street. I went out the front door to try to retrieve them, which was almost as stupid as leaving them in the first place. Just as I went out, a mortar round landed between me and the Korean compound. I was hit in both legs and my shoulder and knocked backwards onto an old wooden ammo box which hurt my back. I didn't know until the next morning that I had been hit. I waited unit I got back to the 134th before I went to a doctor who I knew. I couldn't tell anyone because we were out of bounds and everything else.

I'm glad I went to the doctor because it was in my medical records. My back gave me trouble ever since and I had to have an operation in 91.

Life has really been something! I'll never forget the lessons I learned in Vietnam because some of them kept me and my men alive all the way through life. I've been retired from the US Justice Dept. for 2 years after almost 25 years. I feel the 134th was the best there was. Although the war was lost, they never beat us. I will always be proud that I was a part of that. After Vietnam I would never accept second place.

AM Def Ser Cam

Last modified: Monday June 27th, 2022