BigWindow BackArrow
War Stories

First Resupply After TET 68 - Ambush

Woody Gardner

Woody remembers this ambush of the first resupply convoy from Saigon to Cu Chi after TET 68.

February 1968

One Hog (Heavy Weapons), one Gun Ship (Heavy Scout), and a Snake. We were to cover a supply convoy up the road to Cu Chi. Just before we reached the outskirts of Saigon I saw 3 or 4 CH-47 (Chinooks). One with a very large cargo net sling load underneath with a bunch of things sticking out of the net. I asked over the intercom, “What the heck is in that load”? The pilot answered, “Bodies”! I had seen bodies, but not like this. Those nets were full.

That vision burned into my brain, I can still see it today just like I saw it 42 years ago.

We arrived in Saigon and refueled the ship, and I checked it out. Then we waited for the convoy to get ready to see what the tide would bring in.

Finally the convoy started to leave, so we took off to provide fire cover support. Everything was going OK as we flew back and forth over the convoy.

We were probably ¾’s of the way to Cuchi where the road made a bend and went thru the bottom ¼ of a very large village. We were in the lead ‘cause Hog’s were always the slowest. There was an Arvn Compound to the front and low. I saw an Arvn walk out and start to raise his flag, when a machine gunner opened up on him from the Hooch across the road. I opened up on the machine gunner and all Hell broke loose. We started receiving fire on our right, coming from the small ¼ of the Ville. We were also receiving fire across the road from the main part to the Ville. There was also an armored unit of tanks on the South side of the village.

We started making gun runs down the Ville so we could get the convoy thru. This was a set up as a trap for the convoy. aoErp

We had almost expended our load so we called for the #2 fire team. When they showed up we returned to Cu Chi to refuel and rearm. How many times we did that I don’t remember.

On one of the return trips someone had ordered a tank sweep for the 1/4 end of that village. I don’t remember but there were 3 or 4 or so tanks burning black smoke. In fact the whole Ville was pretty damn smoky. Someone from the ground called and told us where these tanks were being shot from. The A/C couldn’t see the target. He asked me if I could see it and I said yes. He said he could see my tracers so I leaned farther out the door and marked the targets. Rockets and 40mm’s made mincemeat out of those buildings. We were at reduced air speed. I saw out of my left eye, an NVA with an AK rip a clip off at us (all this happened really fast). I was swinging my M60 around to shoot him, The NVA was trying to reload, I had him. All of a sudden the whole ship swung left and me with target fixation on this gook, I followed him right under the ship and my chicken rod hit the skid flipping my machine gun sideways and me shooting a hole in the skid. Maybe that bullet hit the gook also.

433 was a real tough ship so it didn’t hurt it.

We came back to the base camp so the artillery and jets could blow that village away, all night long. We flew back out the next day and there was nothing but rubble. The village was gone.

We flew back to the corral and a WO came out and chewed my ass out for shooting a hole in the skid. I told him “all you have to do is come fly with us sometime, and see what a real fire fight is like”, but he wouldn’t.


I didn’t know this as gonna happen but the pilots put me in for this. At the next award and decorations ceremony D-Troop had I received my 2nd Air Medal with the V Device. It was either for a completed mission and saving American lives or for shooting the skid.

Being the cocky little rooster that I am, I walked over to that WO and said “Look what I got for shooting a hole in the skid”. Needless to say, we never did see eye to eye.