Our Chinese Battalion Sergeant Major married a beautiful
Chinese lady while we were there. All of the SF assigned to
the Hatchet Force at CCN on China Beach and my entire
platoon were invited to their reception. Maybe my platoon
was invited because they were the only parachute unit in the
battalion and they had just finished all of their training.
I really do not know why my entire platoon was invited.
At any rate, the reception was held at a restaurant
downtown Danang. Schofield and I took our platoon down in 2
½ ton trucks. Danang was off limits to US personnel at the
time except for official business. How this party qualified
as official business, I didn’t know. Anyway, things in that
restaurant got mighty drunk and mighty loud. One of my
little Nungs filled a small plastic glass, about 3-4 ounces
I guess, and a tall 16 ounce glass with whiskey and handed
the large one to me. He toasted the couple and downed the
whiskey in the smaller glass and told me to toast and drink
up. But I toasted and only sipped. The little soldier
said, “Oh, no Sargie, I drank all, you drink all.” They all
had a good laugh when I told him, “Fuck you, you little
shit, I’m not that much bigger than you.”
It was very late by the time I finally got my troops
that restaurant. Maybe I was drunk, but I wasn’t nearly as
drunk as they were. Most of them had to be drug out and
tossed on the truck, but while I was back inside getting
some more, one of those little dudes that I had already put
in the truck would wake up and crawl back off the truck.
What a damn mess that was and loud, boy were those little
They were so loud, someone called the White Mice [Vietnamese
Police] down on my noisy, little drunk Chinese. The Viets
and the Nungs hated each other. The Viets also hated all of
the mountain natives and I know the feeling was mutual there
also. My boys were not armed. The White Mice were armed
with clubs, pistols and M-16s. They bad-mouthed and
threatened my China-boys. A White Mice poked one of my
China-boys in the stomach with the muzzle of his rifle. My
little Nung quickly dis-armed him and threw his rifle away.
Maybe his daddy had taught him that trick, I didn’t recall
teaching it. I thought for sure he was going to blow that
cop away and get us all slaughtered. It wasn’t executed
exactly the way I had taught, but what the hell, it worked.
Suddenly a miracle happened, I finally got all of my
China-boys on those trucks without anyone getting shot and
off to camp we went. Of course, I was unaware of it at the
time, but the White Mice had arrested our Chinese Battalion
Commander, who was also at the party, and had taken him to
jail. As I lay on my bunk, I felt very proud of myself,
even though I was as drunk as a skunk, my common sense and
military bearing had prevailed. My little Nungs had
followed their great white leader home.
Shortly after I had hopped into bed, I heard my loud,
little Nungs chattering and the trucks cranking up again.
My little Nungs were in full battle garb with, grenades,
machine guns, M-16 rifles and M-79 grenade launchers and I
staggered to the door just in time to wave goodbye to them.
As they headed back downtown to settle their dispute with
the White Mice. My brain just wouldn’t believe what my eyes
were seeing. My little devils were armed to the teeth and
grinning from ear-to-ear. The only reason my little devils
had returned to camp with me was to get their weapons. So
much for my inspirational leadership.
The next morning I found out what happened. Our
gone straight to the source of the problem, the Police
Chief. They surrounded his home and demanded the release of
their Battalion Commander and immunity from prosecution.
Apparently negotiations did not proceed fast enough to suit
them, so they fired an M-79 grenade through the window of
the house to speed things up. The grenade blew off the leg
of the Police Chief’s wife. The two sides soon reached an
agreement. Our nungs got their commander back, but they
could never again enter downtown Danang. The White Mice
erected a sign on the bridge between the beaches and the
mainland that warned our Nungs that they would be shot on
sight, if they were found downtown. White Mice also manned
a roadblock at this bridge from then on just to enforce this
Don "Val" Valentine