I WAS THERE
MEMORIES OF "GREEN LIGHTNING"
Redleg Rick Ericksen, Sr gives a very compelling
report on his involvement with OPN Green Lightning. His
recall exactly matches the Opns Report
Rick Ericksen, Sr.
the annals deep within my memory, I seem to remember such a day when I first
arrived in country. I came in country on 6Feb69. Within a week or so, I remember
going into the field and being on this hill almost directly across from the
famous Chu Pa Mountain. I had no idea how big this was till one day we were told
about this massive fire mission that would start the following morning. That day
and for some time after during the next day we were supplied with massive
amounts of 105mm rounds. The Chinooks came in with one sortie after another once
we started into the fire mission. They were dropping one cargo net after another
as fast as we could unhook them and use the rounds.
were firing high angle being so close as well as at one point the forward guns
lowered their tubes and we were shooting direct fire straight across at Chu Pa.
It was totally awesome as we could not only hear but see the rounds impacting
into and on top of the mountain. We had to alternate firing the gun's as they
were becoming increasingly hotter and hotter and they were afraid of a
"cook off". At one point, we had so many empty canisters we had to
fling them over the hillside as it became almost impossible to move about.
Finally, after several hours of firing along with other Battery's that were
firing from afar, we were ordered to go to the far side of the hill about half
way down and take cover with helmets & flack vest as the F4's were in route
to do their part.
long after, the jets arrived and started to pound away at the mountain. First,
their runs were with HE bombs and rocked us like an earthquake. This went on for
some time and then they started to let go with the Napalm. Holy shit, it
suddenly got real toasty. Seems as they got closer to the side that faced us
that the prevailing winds brought the massive heat wave with it and then some.
They bombed and burnt that mountain to a cinder. Finally we were giving the all
clear and were able to climb back to the top. Looking across the valley which
separated us all we could see at first was one big smoking mess. As it became
more clearer, all we could see then was one blackened smoldering heap of burnt
threes and ash. I was amazed at the sight of what was once a lush green mountain
and now smoldering ash. We were never told the name of anything except it
was a joint combined mission to rout out Charlie as he was infested into and
around Chu Pa.
Now here is the kicker. Sometime the very next day a whole company of Grunts and then some went over to recon the area. Low and behold, it wasn't too long after that that we heard all kinds of small arms fire break out. I remember hearing something along the lines that quote, "We are taking fire, were getting hit all over." That's when we went back into action and covered the grunts. After it was over and some of them landed back at our hill, we were told not long after they touched down and started to probe the remains, Charlie popped out from under the debris which were still smoking and started to shoot at our guys. Incredible they were, Charlie was dug in so deep into their tunnels that we did not kill many if any unless they were caught out in the open. So that is my story as of the famous Chu Pa Mountain as I remember best. Like I said I was very new in country and had no idea of what in hell was going on and no idea what the mission was or called but I'll never forget that day cause there was never another like it.
by Rick Ericksen, Sr
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