In the perimeter bunker

Camano Island, WA

When I was in Vietnam, a member of the 7th Air Calvary HHD, I'd get demerits for various issues that would equate to some specialized duty; on this night it was guard duty, located in a perimeter bunker. of the base, sharing the duty with another soldier. Both of us had done something that drew the ire of an officer. I was a specialist fourth class, and he was a private first class. We were to man the perimeter bunker overnight, an 8 pm to 7 am stint. The bunker we were assigned to had a brick factory a couple of hundred yards in front of it, so we were not supposed to fire unless fired upon and to check in with base control prior to any firing of our firearms. We introduced ourselves and discussed the reason for our assignment to the bunker. We were just two soldiers who'd meant for the specific duty. He was black and I was white, but it didn't matter, and we never considered that factor. As the night wore on, we noticed activity in front of our bunker away from the claymores that were approximately 20 to 30 yards in front of the bunker. We called it in to the base command and they decided to have the artillery located over at the ARVN basic training facility on the far side of the base from us fire a couple of phosphorus rounds to light up the area. The first round came and hit just in front of the bunker between the claymores and us, with the second close behind. We were both looking out through the slit in the front of the bunker to see the light show; he ducked below the slit, and I put my hands over my helmet and got phosphorus mixed with dirt on four locations on my left arm and three on the right. It burned through uniform and into my arms. Jim quickly took the tube of whatever it was that we'd been given to treat, but I had some holes in both arms. I got treated at a facility shortly thereafter and bandaged on both arms but sent back to duty almost immediately. Although it was noted by one of the doctors that Jim prevented much worse conditions if not immediately treated. Jim was the hero of the day, but I never saw him again. It was decided that the wounds did not qualify for a Purple Heart due to the lack of severity of the event. The arms still puss over every once in a while.

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