WHY? THAT'S WHY!
M-3 Submarine Gun, .45 caliber, "Grease Gun"
Lt Hermie "Rucksack" Rucker
were issued an M-14 or an M-16, but many
FOs had a penchant for carrying "their own"
(non-authorized) weapon. Lt Rucker liked the
"grease gun"...until, that is....an ambush...
that gave him a totally different outlook......
Hermie "Rucksack" Rucker, Forward Observer
met Lt. Rucker on a few occasions when his Company came in from the field and
took their turn as the "palace guard" for the 1st/14th. We
had talked many times while I was in FDC, but it was almost always light-hearted
stuff about the last "hump". The only time I knew that the whole of
the 1st of the 14th was together at one spot for a combat mission was during the
summer of 1969 while we were supposed to be moving in on an NVA
Transportation Unit. Lt. Rucker had a good sense of humor, and was
the kind of guy you could see walking up the trail and he could just make you
smile. He was built low to the ground, carried an old worthless 'rucksack', all
beat up with canteens hanging on each side. His prize possession, though
was his army submachine gun .45 cal...or as we called it, a"
grease-gun". I never could believe why any one would carry it, but he truly
enjoyed humping with it. I am sure he was not the only FO who carried a "non-issued"
weapon. There was at least one other FO who carried a really nice "folding
stock .30 caliber carbine".
Rucker and I met up on some obscure firebase looking down a huge valley with
Kontum in the distance. The meeting sticks out because we were watching some
huge fires in the Kontum region from an ammo dump explosion and fuel burning.
Both of our Companies were near full strength and he told me they were leaving
in the morning to head down that valley, moving thru a massive 'Arc-light' bomb
area. I remember saying that I didn't envy his unit having to go down there.
It would be a dirty filthy trek and just crappy communications to boot. He just
smiled and said they would make the best of it. I wished him well, and for the
next few weeks, we could listen to his unit with an occasional firefight, and
some ambushes. To me, it was just a crappy mission, and I admired his composure
about it all.
It was near a month later, and we said hello again, his unit coming in, and "B" company moving out...maybe even St George...I looked at him carrying a CAR-15 and asked him about the 'grease gun'....He said he liked it all right, but when he had to use it in the first ambush, his was the "only weapon" that made a noise that every dink in Vietnam could pick out and return fire!!!
made me laugh so hard I almost cried. No matter, he was a good FO, and how could
you not like a guy with a nickname of "Rucksack". That was the
last I saw of him, and even now when I write this note, I still smile at him,
moving up the trail.
A 2nd/9th Arty
Footnote from Lee Dixon
Leon "Lee" Dixon
Webmaster's Note: Lt Rucker was contacted and found living in South Florida. He declined comment.
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