NO HOPE FOR BOB HOPE



No thanks....and no memories, either!

My best recall is that it occurred in early December, 1966.

My company, A/2/35, was assigned to search the hills of the Central Highlands.  I think we were near the Cambodian border where lots of contact firefights were taking place.  We came to a rest stop better known, perhaps, as a "temporary LZ".  God only knows where.  Anyway, we get word that the famous comedian and movie star Bob Hope was in Vietnam to do his annual Christmas show to build the morale of us troopers serving in Vietnam.  {SIDEBAR: I think it is  wonderful and heroic that many movie stars, famous musicians and other celebrities served their country in the military in World War II, some even making the ultimate sacrifice.  I guess coming out to entertain the troops during Vietnam is pretty decent, too, although it lacks in comparison.}

Anyways.....the Company Commander, Capt Charlie Murray, is instructed by the "higher ups" to "draw lots" and send three individuals back to some rear area base to see the show.  {SIDEBAR: It's obviously a myth that stars went to the boonies to entertain.}  For reasons I will NEVER understand, my name was allowed to be thrown into the hat for a random drawing.  By golly...my name gets pulled.  I'm supposed to leave the field and go be entertained...leaving my Infantry counterparts in the hills without their FO.  That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

You don't get to question orders...you simply follow them.  So, me and the other "lucky souls" hop aboard a chopper, ostensibly to go see the Bob Hope show in all its glory.  Nah-anh.  Fooled you!  We were in the air, heading for the show, when we receive a radio message in flight.  GET BACK HERE!!  ALPHA COMPANY IS IN CONTACT!  THEY NEED YOU ASAP!!

Wouldn't you know...you spin the wheel and you lose.  Go back 10 spaces.  The chopper turns around and heads back.

Now...trade places for a sec, folks.  Here you are...riding in a chopper...to go see the famous movie & TV star Bob Hope.  Then the call comes in...your outfit is in deep doo-doo...get back.  Isn't that called "messing with your mind?"  Why the hell did I bother getting on the chopper in the first place?  Oh, that's right...I was told to do it.

Now, trust me...there were many, many brave helo pilots who risked their lives and equipment in Vietnam.  God bless them...they are truly honorable heroes.   But...there were others who dropped you off at an elevation of 12 feet or so and hoped you made out okay.  This was the second string, I believe.

The next thing I know, I am in about 8-foot-high Johnson grass lying face down after spilling out of the chopper.  I hear the sound of a cross-fire going on directly over my head.  You know how the comic strips always use the word "zing" to indicate that you're being shot at?   Guess what, people?  They are absolutely correct!  As I was lying down on the ground in 8 feet of Johnson grass, I hear exactly that sound!  ZING!!  Well, this is one hell of a predicament!  I laid there and said to myself: "Okay, sport, what are you gonna do now??" The answer was...STAY WHERE YOU ARE, FOOL!   The enemy couldn't see me...I certainly couldn't see them...so...what's the point of moving?  Certainly couldn't jump up and find coordinates for the artillery.  Hell, I just got here...or tossed here...take your choice...had no idea where I was anyway.

Well....it ends just as quickly as it started.  The crossfire stops.  The company re-groups.  Best I can tell...the enemy broke contact.  Maybe it was because they knew I was back in town.  Hah!

Guess they must've started the show without me.  Sorry, Bob...didn't get chance to beg for your autograph...or see your chorus girls.   Someone wanted me back in the field.   I think that's where I was supposed to be all along.  Maybe next year.  Nope...never mind...not me.   One tour is enough.


Lt Dennis Dauphin

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