My Last Convoy

Hereís a little story that Iíd like to run by you. Does anyone remember a pallet of beer and/or pop that was stored in Company A Supply for shipment to Ban Me Thuot. This would have been around the last part of August, 1968. We were still quartered on Engineer Hill in Pleiku. If I remember rightly, this pallet was sent down on the last convoy trip I made before coming home from Vietnam. We didnít have room to haul it in a truck. Our trucks were used for security. So the solution to hauling the pallet was to load it in under the dozer on the lowboy. Iím not sure if it was on the lowboy I was pulling or one someone else was pulling. I do know that I drove a lowboy on this particular trip. Anyway, we were under strict orders not to get into the contents of the pallet. It was a gift to ďDĒ Company as was everything else on the convoy, part of their re-supply at Ban Me Thuot.

Chopper flying security on way to Ban Me Thuot

We left Pleiku and got about three fourths of the way down there when the helicopter pulling security landed ahead of us in the roadway bringing the convoy to a sudden stop. It turned out that the guy flying the thing didnít fill up with fuel before take-off. He was nearly out of gas and blamed the situation on the fact that we were a slow moving convoy. We were that. Our trucks were loaded down with heavy equipment. Our dump trucks were heavily sandbagged and we were dodging potholes all the way. Now we were faced with a new problem. What to do with the helicopter. One solution was to unload the grader and drive it the rest of the way to Ban Me Thuot. Then, with its remaining fuel, fly the helicopter over the truck and land it on the freed up lowboy and haul it the rest of the way. The crew of the gunship didnít want to guard it all night where it was parked along the road in the middle of VC infested jungle.

Larry with 10 ton tractor

This plan was quickly scuttled. Someone raised the fact that it might be hard to explain if it crashed on the truck during the loading process. If I remember correctly, the decision was to leave a truck and squad to guard it until someone could bring back fuel. We were scheduled to go to Ban Me Thuot and return as quickly as possible. That was one of the reasons I got to go. The trip was to be one quick round trip. I was getting real close to the time I was to go home, and really shouldnít have been on this convoy. Also, I believe, we had just gotten the 10 ton tractors. Not everyone felt comfortable with the shifting as they had three levers for the transmission. Iím thinking the number on it was A-7 or 8.

Dozer on lowboy trailer

We finally pulled into Ban Me Thuot. They had incoming mortar fire and wanted this equipment right away. They couldnít take the time to unload the pop and beer under the dozer. The cases had slid and lodged in the under carriage, so when the dozer came off the lowboy, the beer and pop cans got crushed. The containers started spraying all over the place. This attracted the local kids and they came a running from everywhere. They began pilfering what they could get away with. I donít remember what happened to the copter back on the road. I do think word was brought back to us that someone went out and brought it back. As I stated earlier, I was real short at the time of leaving on this trip. With all the local activity going on, they decided the convoy wasnít going back right away as planned. It would stay put until things improved. Meanwhile, back in Pleiku, someone got notice where I was and when I was to go home. They decided to send a helicopter down to get me. Someone else would have to drive the truck back. But, about the time the helicopter was to leave Pleiku, we got the word to pull out. So, I drove the truck back. You know, I never got to fly in a helicopter over there. Just thought you might like to know what became of the pop and beer.

Larry Lundeen

Larry on the way home

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