From the Grunts Eyes


A scene wittnessed every single day of the Vietnam War, as the uncertainty of what lay ahead flooded their mind.


"Mental picture influenced from the account of Hank Calonkey"


In December 1967, near Tam Quan, troops on point from D-1-12 were on their way back to camp from a Patrol, when they were ambushed in a rice paddy, being hit from the treeline, without much hope of effectively defending their position because their ammo was low and the only cover was small dikes along the border of the paddy.     "Was this going to be how it would end?"    "Oh my God... Mom's going to be looking for a letter here this close to Christmas, instead, her and Dad will be getting a visit from a solemn Army Chaplin..."    "My hand clutches the ground, I look at the blades of grass... my thoughts wonder homeward once again.   

Mom's eyes open unexpectactly in the middle of the night, she whispers a prayer through tear filled eyes... "Lord, please watch over my boy tonight"


Bob Hester, being about a klick to the rear, gets word of the ambush as their platoon begins advancing to assist.    His attention is turned to the sky... he hears the loud popping of a Chinook screaming in, so he raises his camera and begins snapping off pictures.


The Chinook began spitting a stream of fire up towards the fight...


From the treeline, Charlie's attack is unceasing, "We can't get any closer to the ground, when all of a sudden the treeline starts exploding, out of nowhere, and this big helicopter appears on the scene!"    "At first, I thought it was our Admin/Log Bird who'd tragically picked the wrong time to do re-supply, but that worry vanished when I realized it was coming to a hover over us, spewing mind boggling fire into the trees!"


    "As if hell itself had entered the battlefield",   20mm's spilling their scalding brass falling on us... the Swoosh of rockets... the "Chunk-Chunk-Chunk" of the Grenade Launcher, making all our current problems disappear!    "Moving up and down our lines... then it is gone as quickly as it came!"    Still hugging the ground, but a strange silence now fills the air!    First one, then two and three heads pop up and look out toward the once forbidden treeline, now smoldering and quiet... as Mom's eyes close once again in sleep.

Thank God for Mama's Prayers

Sgt. Hank Calonkey

Photo's compliment of Bob Hester and Hank Calonkey

Knocking on Heaven's Door

Real Player