Veterans Help Line
Blog Categories
SUVA Blog Archives
Who's Online
3 visitors online now
3 guests, 0 members

I Hit the Deck A Runnin’

    I was driving the other day and like always, times in Nam come back to me.  Over the years, I am glad so say that the good or funny times seem to enter my thoughts more often than they did before.

So, I am going to tell you my Hill 55 story.  This story is funny to me and was simply typical Nam “Boot” crap we all did as FNG’s.

I got in Country and with Echo Company 2/5 Marines while the company was out on Hill 100.

Me and the other “Boots” did our little “Welcome to Nam” classes and were told to pack our shit.  We would be heading out to join the company as soon as the monsoons let up and choppers could fly.  It seems like it started raining the day I got to An Hoa, and never let up for days.  Every day the Company Sergeant would come out to this tent we were all in.  It seemed like all we did was get out of the rain, sit in this tent and wait.  He would tell us every morning about the “shit” Echo Company was in, and we were headed out any minute.

Then the morning comes.  He yells, “Get your shit, choppers are flying and you are headed for Hill 55.  You will join the Company from there”.

We go to the chopper pad and start to load up.  This is only the second time I had ever been on a chopper.  The first was from DaNang to An Hoa. In training I had never actually loaded or unloaded on a chopper.  But, I was aware that the last guy on the bird is first to get off when it lands.

So it turns out….I am last guy on.  The windows in those choppers were so high that you couldn’t see anything of the ground until they began the twists they went into prior to committing to the LZ.

So I’m thinking “Hill 55…Oh no!” The only hills I had ever even heard of were Pork Chop Hill, Hill 882, and other hills where major battles took place.

So we are coming in, and all I know is I am going to be the first guy out.  Up to this point nobody has said a word to me or the other FNG’s as to what was about to happen.  So I figure fuck it! I chamber a round, keep my weapon on safety, and get ready to hit the shit.  I am trying to see out the windows.  Every second or so I can swear I see a tent here and there.  Then I swear I see a metal landing area.  But still nobody has said anything to me.  We hit the ground, the rear ramp starts coming down.  Man, I am ready to go!  The ramp comes down, I go hauling ass out of the back of this chopper, and then my boot hits some oil that is on the last step before my big entry into the Vietnam War as a bad-ass Marine.  My ass goes flying up in the air and I hit hard on the steel runway.  I mean I hit hard.  I smacked my hand on the deck that was holding my rifle. My helmet is just about covering my face.  I do my best to get myself together and back on my feet.

This is where the dumb “boot” (me) really shined.  I looked up and saw a guy sitting on a forklift with no shirt on, just staring at me.  I swear, he tips his hat back a bit and says, “Welcome to the Nam, Fuck Face.”

I soon learned that Hill 55 was not much different than An Hoa, just way smaller.  It was set up as a Marine artillery firebase and was the “line of departure” for many of the operations the 5th Marines were currently involved in.

It rained another few days and they eventually sent us back to An Hoa and our Battalion area.  During the time we were stuck on Hill 55 the Marines finished the hell they were going through Hill 100, which was only two ridgelines away from Hill 55.

It took me a long while before I ever told that story during any squad bull sessions.  By then, I had made my bones (so to speak) and those were the kind of stories that kept us laughing.

We saw a lot of bad shit go down during the rest of my tour in Nam, but I also had some of the best laughs of my life.

Semper Fi,

Joe Curcio


Leave a Reply