12. Getting Rid Of A Problem by Walt Chrobak

I don't remember the persons name, but he was a real hard case, a troublemaker and druggie. Major Douglas, the CO, believed he had stolen one of our .38 pistols and I don't remember what else. He had a habit of flying up to Quin Nhon on weekends for unexplained (and unauthorized) reasons as I recall and was about ready to DEROS.

Major Douglas told me to get him out of the company without any trouble before he got his weekend drugs.

Here I'll add that we had two First Sergeants, one for the 134th and one for the 618th. The 134th First Sergeant came up on brains and admin ability while the 618th First Sergeant was more from the old school, might makes right.

I got Pvt. X's orders but didn't tell him he was leaving. I made arrangements at Tuy Hoa AFB to get him on a C-130 to Saigon and out of the country. Major Douglas then called him in and told him he was leaving. He replied that he would kill Douglas first. At this point Major Douglas told the 134th First Sergeant to escort Pvt. X to Tuy Hoa, and to shoot him if he didn't obey. “And if you shoot him, he better be dead or you'll lose a stripe”, or something to that effect.

Pvt. X and the First Sergeant left the HQ hootch and no sooner had the door closed than I hear a shot. My life (and career) flash before my eyes and in walks both of them. What happened I ask? The First Sergeant says that Pvt. X took a swing at him so he fired a round into the ground. Hearing this, Major Douglas comes roaring out of his office yelling at the First Sergeant that Pvt. X wasn't dead, and tells me to take care of it. I call the 618th First Sergeant and he brings my door gunner and crewchief to the HQ hootch. Major Douglas then gives them the same instructions.

On hearing Major Douglas' instructions the door gunner asks if he can borrow the .41 magnum I carried. I ask why and he replies that when he shoots Pvt. X he wants to be sure he's dead. I give him my pistol, Pvt. X's eyes get real wide, and they leave.

I guess Pvt. X got to the C-130 since he didn't come back and the door gunner returned my .41 magnum. Then again I didn't ask any questions! This is a true story—I'll never forget it. I was the XO at the time.
AM Def Ser Cam
Last modified: Tuesday March 14th, 2023