VIETNAM CHRONICLES

CAPTAIN RICHARD L. KLOPPENBURG

SHORT STORIES FROM 1966-1967 IN VIETNAM

BELOW ARE SOME TRUE BUT UNTOLD STORIES
VIETNAM WAS THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF MY GENERATION

All Army Airstrike

There was a village East of Di Lynh near Highway 20.  I was stationed in Bao Loc, Lam Dong, Province, South Vietnam.  The year was 1966.  The U.S. Airforce delivered a C-123 load of 2.75-inch rockets to the old Frenchman’s airfield.  The rockets were intended for the operation of the 101st Airborne.  The rockets were in wooden boxes at the very end of the dirt runway.  The end result was that the Army canceled the operation but left the rockets in plain view at the end of the runway.  We decided that the exposed rockets posed a threat to us, and our airplanes and the runway?  I decided to use the rockets up, because of overall safety.  Therefore, I had my crew chief install 8 rocket tubes, instead of the usual 4 rocket tubes.  I declared open season on all potential targets, just to “get rid” of the rockets.

​The picture shown below was the abandoned village.  The black smoke was from a secondary explosion. The occupants were resettled.  Even though the village was said to be vacant, several times I was fired upon while I was flying by.  I decided to use up my rocket cache, and conduct an ALL ARMY AIRSTRIKE.  I shot the 8 onboard rockets 2 at a time.  I made several trips from Bao Loc to the target.  I took several missions and took most of the afternoon.  This story has NOT been told until now---40 + years later!  The picture above was taken by me, after the last mission.