• 29 May 2015 at 10:28 #1062

    Strange things had happened the night before, from the Canberra BEQ, down in Cholon we had seen (after coming back from the bars) a vigorous firefight up near the US Embassy. Those of us who worked in the city, SDS, general drivers and Linemen,  thought that it had to be either the US or British Embassies (across the road) but couldn’t work out why there were so many helicopters involved? The nights before had been filled with the sounds and smells of 10 metre strings of fireworks being let off all around our hotel so didn’t think too much about it. Next morning at the Signal Center, under the 250′ tower in the Freeworld (ex-rehabilitation center for prostitutes) building, we were all sitting and standing around, getting ready to head out to Sqn HQ/Tx site and having a general pre shift change natter and gossip about what we had seen the night before, when their was this almighty BANG! and pieces of metal came raining down from the upper reaches of the tower? The VC had fired off a Claymore Mine from the Buddhist Temple next door but aimed it too high! While the drivers and Linemen were ok with their private weapons (still hidden because they were illegal) we were faced with the upleasent propect on no-one having a long arm to protect the building or ourselves. The only protection we had were the 3 ARVN guards on the front gate who, when we looked, had bugged out! The soldiers in the HQ armed themselves with what was available, in the case of a Cpl Storeman, a metre long piece of wood with nails in it, others, the odd lump of concrete. At no time, if my memory serves, did we see a senior or junior officer, it was left to the senior NCO’s to try an organise firearms and some sort of defence of the whole compound, HQ and Signal Center. Eventually 2 SLR’s were found, one had a 30 round magazine, that was placed on the first floor corner of the building “protecting” the front of the compound, the second, without a magazine was issued to another lineman with half a dozen loose rounds and told to  “fire as quickly as possible!”. We had heard over the “Lazy Dog” radio circuit that the Tx site at Gia Dinh was under sporadic fire and the Sig transport Supervisor organised a quick trip to the Sqn HQ to recover weapons in the Q store. So, with a  VW combiwagon and Mk3 they, the Supervisor and another driver prepared for their very very quick trip through the empty streets of Cholon and out to near the airbase. The Sig driver  said ” I don’t have a spare, what’ll I do if I have a flat?” “you have 30 seconds to get out of the vehicle and into the truck” said the Supervisor! All through TET communicating was a pretty low priority for the soldiers of the Sqn in Saigon.

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