GOOKS IN THE WIRE
February 15, 1969 is a day I will never forget.

Doug and I helped friends put the finishing touches on the new
Scouts hootch – it had four firing slots in the outside wall and could
sleep sixty men. The outside walls were used ammo boxes filled with
sand and the main walls were made out of railroad ties. It was late and
we were discussing naming the hootch when we started getting hit.

Several mortars hit the base camp and at the same time there was a
full assault on the same side as the hootch and the arty. I started to
head for the Aid Station and as I was leaving the hootch it got hit with
an RPG. The blast knocked me to the ground. There were tracers
coming and going, and two more RPG’s hit the building.

When I got to the Aid Station the wounded were beginning to arrive
and we got busy treating them. I could hear fighting inside the camp,
the arty side was getting overrun and mortars were hitting all around
the aid station. The battle went on about 35 minutes or so.


Wayne Alan Wilcox.  After the all clear and all the wounded were
treated (about 45 men) I headed back to the Scouts to find Doug and
they were pouring water on their building as it was totally engulfed in
fire. About half the building was gone and the rest is in flames. Twelve
of the Scouts were wounded but everyone was accounted for except
Wayne; the RPGs hit right at his bunk knocking a hole in the wall and
killing him.

I was worried about Doug – I finally found him, he had 1st and 2nd
degree burns to his hands from pulling people out of the building and
trying to get to where Wayne was. He kept saying over and over “I can’
t find Wayne, I can’t find Wayne”. I had to tell him that Wayne was lost
in the battle. Doug and I were both devastated by his loss.

Wayne was a decent, fun-loving guy. He was one of the first ones to
me when I got hit in the field. You could count on him and he was one
hell of a fighting soldier. Rest in peace, my friend. Here is a letter I
received from a friend of both of ours, Jim Faltot:

Doc Pardue

I wanted to write and tell you how much your entry meant to me. The
night of the attack on our base camp I was going nuts trying to find
Wilcox. I climbed the compound tower and using a bullhorn called out
his name. For my trouble, a series of sniper rounds passed by. I
searched and searched and couldn’t find him. The next morning I
sifted through the ashes of what had been the Recon Hootch and
found a few bones. I was devastated. For years, I have carried the
mistaken image of Wayne trapped in the burning building, trying to get
out and not making it. The image has haunted me, Kerry. So much so
that I wrote a poem about it back in the early seventies:

VALENTINE’S NIGHT, 1969

Ground attack!
Wilcox, where are you?
Rockets coming in; sappers coming in.
Wilcox, where are you?
Automatic weapons’ fire; illumination flares.
What’s happening? Are they inside?
Buildings burning…
hot
intense
heat.
Shouts, screams, yelling.
Wilcox, where are you?
Smoke clears; firing stops.
All accounted for, save one.
Save one? No one can save Wilcox. He’s missing.
WHERE ARE YOU?
Sifting through the ashes
in the dawn’s early light

©Copyright circa early 1970s by Jim Faltot



©Copyright August 26, 2004 by Kerry “Doc” Pardue