"SAFE TO COME OUT NOW, DIXON!"
I was a "prisoner" inside the commo truck
My 2/9th Bn Hq Commo guys were stationed at Duc Pho, among many other places. At the time, our area was just a short hop from a whole tent full of some very tough hombres---the U.S. Marines. It was one of these guys who probably saved my life one fine evening when we were overrun by VC's with satchel charges.
(I remember one of these VC bozos fell while running and got blown to bits by his own bomb!).
Anyway, the Marine (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten) came up to the back of my commo truck where I was taking cover inside. I was fatefully reminded of a conversation I had with the 2/9th Arty Battalion Commander, LtCol Gerald Bobzien, some time before. Being the very troop-conscious commander that he was, he took the time one evening to shoot the breeze with me. In the course of the conversation he said: "Son, if the VC get in here, they're gonna march right past me and go for you because you have the radios and crypto stuff and you know all the codes!" Since the Battalion Commander said it, it just had to be true!
I remember that although I was never directly told to do so, it was implied that I would not have a real choice if I didn't destroy myself and the equipment in the event of an overrun. Something said about punji splinters shoved under my fingernails after I was captured -you know- that kind of thing! Each day I sat on a metal box full of WP and concussion grenades. But this day, with the sounds of shooting and yelling going on outside...and CS gas filling the windowless truck box, I yanked a couple of grenades out of the box and was sitting, sweating in the dark with my finger in the rings---ready to pull the pin. Just as I was about to say goodbye cruel world, suddenly I heard banging on the door and the Marine yelled, "Dixon! You in there? You alive? It's all over and you can come out now." I'd heard of VC who could imitate American voices so I asked him a couple of strategic questions which he answered correctly and I opened the door, sweating and gasping for air--- scared shitless and with the grenades still in my hands.
We downed a few in their tent later that night. It
was a "close call" and I wasn't even on the radio. Thank you,
mister US Marine...whoever you were.
Sp4 Leon "Lee" Dixon