Gary Bowes shortly after returning from patrol
The wall on the right was the wall protecting the Gia Vuc teamhouse.
The trench in the foreground was part of the camp trench system. The pallet served as a bridge over the trench.
When the camp came under attack, each team member had a role in the Gia Vuc Action Plan. For instance, the Action Plan specified that I go directly to the commo bunker and wait for word from the CO or Xo.
All the other team members had assigned roles and locations, also. Not only did these roles and camp locations enhance our defensive posture, they distributed the team members throughout the camp. That meant that 'one lucky round' could not wipe out most of the team.
Sounded like a good idea to me!
One night six or seven team members were playing cards in the teamhouse. It was a time to relax... All of us were seated around the table --
some were card players, some were watching the card game, and some were simply enjoying a beer and the conversation.
We all heard it at the same time... that kind of muffled 'thump'. Everything stopped! It got perfectly -- deathly -- quiet. The first thump was followed by two more thumps -- thump! thump!. The silence continued for what seemed like an hour. In reality, it was only ten or fifteen seconds when all the team members came to the same conclusion. Those thumps! were the muffled sound of a mortar firing!!
All hell broke loose! Chairs flew... cards filled the air like football confetti. All of the guys streamed out of the teamhouse on a dead run! I was the last man out of the teamhouse. I made the left turn and then another left turn and headed for the bridge you see in this picture.
At the speed I was moving I 'leaned into' the right turn over the bridge -- looking down so I didn't crash into the trench.
There they were... all six guys -- hunkered down in the trench on the camera side of the bridge!! Not one of them had followed the Action Plan. Had Victor Charlie gotten lucky, he could have wiped out the camp with one mortar round!
I found myself diving into the trench right behind the last guy.
Afterwards, we all had a good laugh at that incident -- but resolved NOT to have that happen again!