As we moved along the wood line I noticed a trail that looked like it had been recently traveled. In fact, it looked like someone had dragged something down the trail fairly recently. As I was pointing this out to Walt Rakaczewski, the 2nd Platoon Sgt., the point element started receiving fire as they were entering the wood line.
Given that I was young and foolish enough to really believe it was my responsibility to save the world (translated as everyone in Bravo Co.), I proceeded from the rear of the platoon to the front to check on my troops.
People weren't sure of the status of everyone in the point element, so I crashed the party and joined then in the wood line. At this time there was myself and 3 others in the point element; Rupnick, Dave Lull and Be, a Tiger Scout. We could see a couple VC crawling away so we threw a few frags at them and stared moving towards them, Lull and Be to the right, Rupnick and me to the left.
As Rup and I moved forward a VC popped up on our my left rear and let loose with a magazine of AK rounds. Thankfully he was scared and a terrible shot because he was only six feet away and only hit me, and then only once. I was knocked to the ground by the force of the bullet and landed in a nest of red ants. They were my primary concern! Hurt worst than the damn bullet. I was covered with them...even in my mouth and nose!!! Dave Lull and Rupnick thankfully removed most of the red ants.
Well to make a long story short, a few frags were thrown at the unfortunate VC who shot me and he joined his ancestors on an eternal journey.
I was hauled out of the wood line by Rup and Dave only to be greeted by Frank Begovich, Bravo Six, in a nice Huey. Frank was in the air in a C&C Bird when I was wounded. Disregarding his personal safety he had the pilot land that bird in a hot LZ to pick up his man. Frank was pissed when he realized it was me who was wounded. He wanted to know what the hell I was doing with the 2nd Platoon in the point element 'in that damned wood line'. I didn't answer him only because any answer I gave would have been BS and I knew him to well for me to try that. The VC may have hit my left thigh....but the "Six Man" had my butt!! I was willing to take my chances with the VC again rather than be on the wrong side of Six. I respected him to much to try BS'g him. However, as always, Frank put the welfare of his men first, and flew my sorry butt to Binh Phuoc. (Note: Six - you are still my hero for getting my sorry a-- out of there as fast as you did. I didn't even have to call in my own dust-off!)
At Phuoc I was warmly greeted by my good friends Harold Peterson and Earl Coursan, two very caring medics, who for some strange reason couldn't stop laughing once they saw me. They were laughing so hard that they dropped the stretcher I was on 3 times when attempting to load me into the ambulance. I finally took the litter, put it into the ambulance and climbed in. Harold was so blinded by tears from laughter that he hit the gatepost driving through the rear gate. They dropped me again while unloading me at the aidstation. I think they did more damage to me than the damn VC!
We laugh about these events today and I am very pleased to be able to laugh about it. I will always be very thankful I had the opportunity to serve with such great people who would risk their butts to save mine. Even Harold and Earl who found my "situation" so funny at the time.