Friday, April 15, 2005

Corporal "Mac" (Vietnam era "gun control".....California style)

In 1967 a young marine went off to serve his country in that now infamous place called Vietnam. He was a "gung ho" PFC in the 1st battalion 5th marine regiment, and was ready to do whatever the job called for and still be able to return home safely. He spent 21 months there, extending his tour so his brother would not be sent to the war. He was among the marines that fought in and liberated Hue City from the NVA. That battle was one of the most fierce battles of the war, and is often compared to the recent battle of Fallujah. While in Vietnam he was transfered to the 12th marines as security for an artillery battalion. Around Sept of 1968 he was sent home, the Los Angeles area of California, for well deserved R and R. During his first few days home he decided to buy a handgun to take back to Vietnam. In a California gunshop he found a Colt Trooper Mark 3, a classic six shot 357 revolver with incredible "knock down" power. The problem was California had a 10 day waiting period, and the shop would not deliver the gun in time for his return to the war. The shop owner suggested that he visit the chief of police and see if he could get the waiting period waived. So he took a copy of his orders to the chief and asked for a waiver, which the chief gladly provided. Cpl Mac headed back to Vietnam packing his brand new sixgun.

After his transfer to the 12th marines he was at a base approximately 40 miles north of Thu Bai. The marines had arrtillery set up in one corner of an ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) base. He soon found himself with an opportunity to use the pistol in battle. During an intense firefight with NVA regulars, who were wearing green boxer shorts and tee shirts in an attempt to confuse their enemy, Cpl Mac made a trip to an ammo bunker, moving through trenches so as to avoid being an exposed target. While returning to his position near the artillery, moving through the trench , one ammo box in his left hand, another ammo box and his Colt revolver in his right hand, he came face to face with a "short darkskinned man in his underwear". Cpl Mac immediately dropped both ammo boxes, raised the 357, and with complete confidence and excellent "gun control" fired two shots, the first hiting the enemy in the chest, the second in the neck, nearly severing his head from his shoulders. The NVA soldier dropped dead next to the "sachel charge" he was about to throw into one of the artillery locations.. Fortunately for the marines Cpl Mac dropped the bad guy 10 yards short of his objective.

Just before he returned home Cpl. Mac made a stop in Okinawa, where he bought his dad a gift. He found this beautiful Ruger 44 and had it engraved by a Japanese craftsman. He returned home with both revolvers and today he proudly displays them to friends as a reminder of the part he played in the Vietnam war.


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