Robert Scott #1
Robert Scott, US Army,
Hue Beachhead. Credit: Robert Scott
Our LCU is sitting on the
beachhead at Hue City during the 68 Tet offensive. Our load, like that
on the other four boats, consists of 200 ton of ammo. Theres not much
the crew can do but watch. We receive small arms fire from across the Perfume
River, and occasional mortar fire a very good spotter is in a tower near
the east side of the Citadel. We can see him now and then with glasses, but
direct fire weapons are ineffectual, and every time someone gets lucky with
a rifle, a replacement takes over in a few minutes. That tower has been shelled
and bombed to no effect centuries old stonework is pretty strong.
I discovered a way to make
extra money and to help our supply system. I take pictures of combat
when Im able (like now), and sell or trade them with the Remington Raiders
at Da Nang. They in turn send them home in letters to prove that they are really
in a war.
There have been times in
my life when I havent acted all that bright. This is one of those times.
Im on the Starboard
.50 when 60 mm mortars start walking down the beach toward the boats. The first
one hit near a Marine guard post, the rest hit about every 10 yards, walking
toward us. I take pictures. If I can capture the blossom its worth more.
I get a very good shot of the round that hits 30 yards away. I figure to get
the next one at 20 yards, than duck. I hear the round leave the tube, count
to eleven and click the shutter. The world turns black, then yellow, white,
red, and black.
I come to on my back in
the wheelhouse where I was blown. I see white, then red. My vision clears slowly
and I make out white cloth coming down to my face and going away red. Something
is very wrong here.
It seems that sneaky SOB
was watching me, and as a practical joke, skipped 30 yards. The round hit our
M60 blew it to bits (we saved the bits, and a Marine armorer actually
fixed it!). That was about 10 feet from my head. That round also killed a sailor
two boats down and wounded another of our crew.
I had been wearing a flack
vest and steal pot. I had several holes in my face, left arm, and left leg,
but nothing really serious. I was evacuated from the soccer stadium and rejoined
the boat about a week later AWOL from the hospital.
Oh the camera was
totaled, the film lost.