Sp4 Max T. Leach
FDC, 2/9th Bravo Battery 1968-1969
TOUR OF DUTY
Drafted 14Mar68 - Ft Worth, Texas
Basic Training - Ft Polk, Louisiana
AIT - Ft. Sill, Oklahoma
My Drill Sergeant noticing my family name asked me "Who are you?". I answered: "I am an American". Later I told him I was adopted, that is why I have LEACH as a surname. I am of Chinese Filipino ancestry. He probably thought I was a VietCong getting basic training secrets - just joking! I remember Capt. Stephen H. Brunson, my Company Commander, 1st Bn, Company "B". I was successful in basic training and won the American Spirit Medal.
In June, 1968, I reported as a new candidate to Office Candidate School
Oct, 1968 - Oct, 1969
FDC - "Bravo" Battery, 2/9th
I spent approximately six months in the FDC. Someone heard that I had a good life as a civilian. He liked me so much, therefore he reassigned me to the Infantry as an RTO with the FO team. The Infantry was delightful, marching through wet, rainy jungles and mountains chasing "Charlie". At night we slept at the side of the mountains with the mosquitoes, etc. To make this short, I caught malaria and had to be evacuated by helicopter. The helicopter had no doors; both sides were open. I nearly fell out.
FROM FDC TO THE FIELD
Later, I was assigned to the infantry outside our firebase, which B Battery supported. As I recall, there wasn’t an FO or RTO team. Someone had told me that there would be an FO at a later date. No one told me if the prior one was KIA. It turned out I was acting FO and RTO for a short while. I called in fire a few times, first round smoke then if it looked good and didn’t have to adjust, HE was called next. I was scared as hell. I didn’t know what I was doing. I used my experience while in FDC to remember what to do. I don’t recall the name of our infantry unit. I was just sent out with no briefing or information. I don’t recall who finally came to serve as an FO. The Capt. of the infantry unit, as I remember, always smoked his pipe while looking at a map. He always had a worried look on his face. The point men in our infantry were stressed all the time. We encountered a few Vietcong in which our soldiers took care of. Thank God we encountered no heavy enemy engagement.
SEARCH & DESTROY
Our infantry unit was always moving and searching for “Charlie” through thick jungle, hillsides and deep ravines. At times, we were sleeping on hillsides. I didn’t know where we were going. I just followed wherever our Capt. directed us to go.
I remember one incident when two of our soldiers were posted on one of the dirt jungle trails. They had camouflaged themselves really well and were waiting to ambush “Charlie”. Early morning, we heard several rifle shots and then more rifle shots. We found out later our soldiers had encountered two Vietcongs walking the dirt trail; surprised they threw a smoke grenade. In the confusion the enemy escaped.
A REALITY OF WAR
The dead Vietcong bodies seemed unreal. The skin looked white and light yellow in color. They seemed plastic, unmoving and lifeless.
I recall our infantry unit going to the central highlands of Pleiku. We came upon a village with long thatch wooden houses. The houses must have been about 100 ft. long and 30 ft. wide. The people were called Montagnards. All the family members lived together in this long house. They were friendly people.
Honorable Discharge: 24 Oct 1969
In Hawaii, I was discharged from Schofield Barracks. Also, I received my certificate of naturalization in 1969 from the United States District of Hawaii. Yes, I became a US citizen and a proud American.
Rarely do I think about my tour in Nam because of the negative
connotation it invokes.
Being in FDC, I remember I was ordered by my FDO to go outside the firebase to be
to the infantry as an FO for 3 months.
I did not volunteer. I reluctantly did my
wanting to disobey. Soldiers knew the high risk of being an FO.
I called in Fire to the enemy while an FO, also carried my radio. I was always
of the radio antenna being 2 to 3 feet above my head...an obvious target. Fortunately, I saw only moderate enemy encounters; called artillery fire only a
few times. I would like to know how many FDC personnel was ordered to become a temporary
As I recall, my FDC personnel where SP4 Jay Flamme, PFC Joseph Gloystein and others. The FDO was Lt Charles Stout.
***Webmaster's Note: More than
you can count!
Back to Tour of Duty/Memories