A few weeks later Mr. Jones & Mr. Brown
took six of us snipers out for a mission. This was one of many 'surgical
eliminations' that we were assigned to. Mr. Jones said that we
were looking for 3 Chinese General Staff officers. Mr. Jones
led us to a camp that had permanent buildings and appeared to
be in constant use. We had standing orders that when we were
out that if one of our men was captured then that captured man
then became the primary target and the other targets became secondary.
After what happened this night I was glad that this was our SOP.
This relieved the captured man of being tortured and helped ensure
the security of the rest of the men. If we were captured we would
not be treated as POWs, but as spies & be executed on the spot.
We spread ourselves out several hundred
meters apart and about 1200 meters from the camp. We waited until
after dark. Luck was with us. The Chinese were having a party
out side. There had been Chinese patrols walking through the
area late in the day. Mr. Brown had moved in closer to the camp
to get a better look. After dark we noticed that there was a
lot of sudden activity in the camp. Mr. Brown had been captured!!!!
The Chinese stripped him of his clothes and strung him up spread
eagle between two trees. Through the night scopes I could see
that Mr. Brown was being skinned alive. This seemed to be a side
show for the general staff that was there for the party.
Now Mr. Jones was in command of our little
group. Since I had the clearest shot at Mr. Brown it became my
job to neutralize him. But here I was about to target one of
our own and a distant friend. Mr. Jones put out the word that
Mac, Billy, & Jim would be the shooters for the General Staff.
Mr. Jones wanted to neutralize all four targets at the same time,
keeping the element of surprise on our side. I targeted Mr. Brown
for his throat. Mr. Jones had counted it down over the radio.
When I squeezed off the round Mr. Brown went limp. The Chinese
officer that had been having so much fun skinning Mr. Brown looked
stunned. Now I had him targeted for just over his ear. But just
before I fired that officer turned and looked me dead in the
eye. Then his head exploded. Every time I close my eyes I see
him looking directly at me. That look haunts me all the time.
Mac, Billy and Jim got their target too. Then all hell broke
loose. The Chinese were firing everywhere. They didn't know where
we were at so they were just shooting.(As a side note, I can't
shake that Chinese officer 'looking' at me as I squeezed the
trigger. That one was very personal)
It was time to move out very quickly and
as quietly as possible. We had about klick to go to meet up with
our ride out of there. We were moving through the bush as fast
as we could go when a man came out into the open. Mr. Jones was
about ready to fire on him and then he recognized him as the
leader of the group that was to take us down river.They were
Montagnard (mountain yard).
They had heard all of the shooting and
thought we were in trouble and were coming to help us. But we
all turned and they got us to the river and down the river we
went. After about 30 minutes the yards pulled their "dugouts" into
the trees growing along the river and we all hid. A Chinese patrol
was coming up the river. They never saw us. We had another 5K
to go to reach our pickup point. I don't think a Huey ever looked