1/4 Cav Troopers Stories

QUARTER HORSE Vs. MP's in Vietnam

by Several Troopers

Greetings from a former B Trooper...who served in Nam from Feb of 67 until Feb of 68. I was a gunner on the 18 track... My first story ( I have only 2) was a incident that occurred while we were set up in a firebase north of Lai Khe. and the Michelin Rubber Plantation. I am sure many of you are aware of it but Bravo Troopers all wore a cool yellow scarf when we were in base camp. These were a highly sought after item by other troops in the field and had a great trade value. We had worked out of a particular firebase for a few days and every night when we came back in I was hanging out quite a bit with 2 MP's. They had a deep desire for my Cav scarf. I told them they could not buy one but I was willing to trade for a MP helmet liner....Well after they pondered my offer for a few days they agreed. Need I tell you the impact I had. It was incredible, while securing roads if I had a hankering for a cold beer or soda or a occasional short time. I would amble out in front of the first Lambretta or other vehicle that struck my fantasy after removing my steel pot. "My MP" helmet liner was always standing tall. Papasan would stop immediately and of course after a bit of questioning would immediately souvenir me with almost whatever I wanted. Of course the words are "You VC" always helped. It was one of the better trades of my life. When I left after the first Tet I had guys fighting over that liner....I was never ever turned down for a request..Ahhh I was Number 1 GI....Gary Chenett

My second story occurred one night on a road march towards points on the other side of Saigon. for some reason we did not get through Ton Sa Nut until close to dark so we were forced to stay over night in a Air Force compound. I had been in Nam about 6 months by then and was a good old regular Nam Trooper. We were all well covered with the red dust we came to know and love so well. Our boots were of course worn white and scraped well from all of the concertina we had been handling..We were a sight to behold. We all sat around on our tracks for a bit before we began wandering around. We had our weapons (cleared of course) and our web gear with us. Top said stay close but go ahead and check this place out. We were shocked when we looked in their barracks, They had air conditioning , TV's, Radios, a single room to themselves with a nice rack..and they were all wearing starched fatigues and spit shined boots to the max...We of course were grumbling something about REMF's loll....as we walked along shaking our heads in total amazement. Suddenly a mirage appeared. Or was it?? A liquor store. No Way we all said.!.But it was a honest booze joint where you could buy bottles of American booze from American personnel. To our knowledge we didn't know such a thing existed. We had never seen one in either Phu Loi or Lai Khe our 2 main stand down points...We ran to get in. I was shocked when I found out I could get 2 quarts max of Canadian Club for only like a $1.80 each....I was the first in line ..Here we were about 6 of us ..I was the senior man at 20 years old....all with M-16's, a 79 and a M-60. The Air Force was staring at us like we were from another planet...A NCO asked what we wanted and I placed my order for my booze. He then asked me for ID. ID?? I mean like man we are Americans...Nope he said you have to be 21..No way..are you nuts?...He said that's the rules...Well a minute later a pair of MP's. ( maybe they were AP's ) came in hearing the ruckus and I am sure wanting to know what the hell we were up to...I told them what was happening. They were at first not very considerate until I reminded them that we had all been in the field for way to long and sadly for them were well armed with the best and latest fully automatic weapons.. We would be very happy to supply them with a quick mad minute demonstration if they liked. Hmmm!!! Suddenly a officer appeared and before you know it. We had our booze and were out of there...I must add that I knew better than to break out my helmet liner here...It was to be used for only "special occasions" The last coup we laid on the MP's was in Lai Khe when we stole the Iron Brigade Insignia off of a piece of angle iron that it sat on in front of the MP post. We had to almost stand on each others shoulders to break it free from the top of a 6 ft or so height.But with a good old Bravo Troop try we finally got it. It was great until the next morning when we were moving out and the "old man" asked us over the radio what we had hanging the front of our track. Hmm...well Sir, maybe we do have something... it was the 3 ft or so Iron Brigade insignia..It seems that the MP's were at the gate waiting for us. We quickly pitched it off of the track...and smiled sweetly as we passed out of good ole' Lai Khe.... Prepared and Loyal........Gary Chenett

Those "look sharp" cartoons hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, the one showing the MP hassling the grunt in Saigon spread to Lai Khe. Guess that (along with the diminishment of contact and the blacktopping of Hwy 13) was how the field troops knew that the war was really winding down. I remember being barred from the PX at Lai Khe one day because my boots were not shined. I had (literally) just come in from the field and was only going to be in for about an hour. We had a track hit a mine and the TC was medevaced to Lai Khe. He was conscious and (as it turned out) more beat up and bruised than anything else -- the cupola with him in it had been blown off the vehicle and landed about 15 feet away. Anyway, we put him and one other Trooper on the medevac and sent them to Lai Khe. About 10 minutes later, Darkhorse 6 (I think it was LTC Murchison) called and asked if I wanted to take the LOH in to check on my troops (quick trip in and back out). I said "sure," and went straight to the medevac pad at Lai Khe. When I got into the hospital and saw the TC (whose face I can see as clear as day, but whose name escapes me -- I do remember that was his third mine, however), I asked if there was anything he needed. He wanted some cigarettes. I called back to the troop rear and asked them to send over my jeep, and I went to the PX to get him his cigarettes. The MP at the door said I couldn't come in because of my "sub-standard" appearance. I told him that I was going in, why I was going in, and that he could send the DR (delinquency report) to B Troop, 1/4 Cav (which he did, by the way). I got the cigarettes, went back to the hospital, and back to the field. I tore up the DR when the XO sent it out to me with the other paperwork. Carl Bell

Another Cav vs MP story. In early summer 1968 1st Plt A Troop made their way back to Phu Loi -- for what I recall as our second time since my arrival in Dec 67. Timing was good because it coincided with my departure for R&R. Upon my return, I learned that the platoon had gotten into a brawl in an Infantry club and serious consideration was given to throwing them out of base camp. What can I say, they were not accustomed to being in such a nice place but they were damn good field soldiers -- they really took their missions seriously and would do anything you asked of them. They demonstrated this again and again. Take the day after my return. We had an early SP from the main gate of Phu Loi. Squadron coordinated with the MPs to have the gate open. We arrived a few minutes early so as not to miss the SP time. The gate was still locked. I informed the MPs of our departure time and asked them to make sure the gate was open. I don't know why, but they didn't have the key. I told them they had about 10 minutes to get a key and get the gate open. They dispatched an MP in a 1/4 Ton to get a key. As time neared I again informed the MPs that I would not miss the SP time so they needed to get a key there ASAP. They didn't get the key and we didn't miss our SP time. Lead tank made quick work of the gate. I took a little heat when I returned that evening. The next morning as we approached the newly reconstructed main gate, I saw an MP run and jump into a 1/4 Ton and speed away. It's hard to believe, but a nervous gate guard said the other MP had gone to get the key. He didn't make it back in time and once again the platoon made its SP time by rolling over the main gate. If I were scoring this I don't know if it would be Cav-2 and MPs-0 or MPs-2 and Cav-0. But I do know that Phu Loi main gate was definitely a minus 2. Joe Scates Dragoon Alpha 16

For reasons now forgotten, perhaps carrying documents, I several times flew just by myself to Tan Son Nhut in an OH-13. Always I landed at Hotel-4 (I.e., chopper pad no. four). If I recall correctly (mind, because I took an AK round to my noggin my second tour my memory is not to be trusted 100%), each time I had a couple of hours to myself to spend by going into town or doing no more more than going to the air-conditioned AF O club at Tan Son Nhut for a Stateside style meal. One of those trips my offbeat sense of humor nearly got me into trouble. In a bar downtown teasing a couple of bargirls, "How much? 400P? Too much. It is much cheaper in Phu Loi, only 200P. One of them aware G.I.s were not to be in town in fatigues (I was supposed to take and change into a set of Khakis? Ah, come on.), as I was, let alone not supposed to be openly carrying weapons (I was supposed to fly alone from Phu Loi or Lai Khe unarmed? Or once at Hotel Four to leave my weapons unattended in the doorless OH-13? Ah, come on once again.). Anyway, one of the bargirls tired of my teasing stepped outside & flagged down a passing jeep of MPs. So this Butterbar forsook his precious Lieutenant's dignity and bailed out the back of the bar. Fortunately, the MPs were not about to go running down some back ally chasing an armed G.I. Dave Livingston


I have a memory (like all, slightly vague) of a time in late '66 or early '67 when Troop A was temporarily at Lai Khe, having been out in the field and not yet sent back to Phu Loi or the field. A call came in from an Infantry outfit which was north on Hwy 13 and needed support. Our troop was designated as the reaction force and immediately mounted, headed out of the base. The MP's tried to stop the Troop at at a roadblock near the gate saying there was an action going on to the north and it was "too dangerous to leave base camp".. With only a few seconds delay, our Troop Commander ordered the column to ignore the MP's and proceed past the roadblock; we did. I was in a vehicle towards the rear of the column and saw a damaged MP jeep as we passed them. I am assuming (and rumor later said) the jeep was damaged when the MP's at the roadblock did not move out of the way fast enough. Terry Johnson

I can't remember for sure about the dates of the following. And I can't remember for sure which troop I was with, but I think that it may of been when during one of my tours as S3 Ops Sgt. We had received notice from Brigade Ops to move a Cav troop out in response to a shootem up contact just South of Lai Khe. As the platoon approached the South gate they were stopped by the MP's and were refused permission to proceed until they were given permission to move, by the Provost Marshal, and wrote their convoy number on the sides of the vehicles. There we were. Brigade saying, "Move that Platoon," and the MP's saying "No Way, GI." After several minutes the lead vehicle reported that the MP's had moved a Jeep in front of the lead tank, and requested instruction on what to do next. The word was sent down from Brigade, through Squadron, in no uncertain terms, "Move that damm platoon out, Now." The platoon followed instructions to the letter. They moved out, and in the procces procced to squash one MP jeep. Needless to say that there was one hell of an uproar. Threats and counter threats up and down the channels for some time. Final Score: Quarterhorse - 1 MP's - 0 One saving point was that no one was injured during this standoff. At that time we were all so mission oriented it could of gone the other way with the slightest provocation. Right about there my memory runs out. Seems to me that it was all smoothed over and most people were happy about the outcome. One thing for sure for ever after when the MP's saw Quarterhorse coming, they moved out of the way. Who ever else might remember this screwup, feel free to add to and/or correct as you see fit. Lew Graff

I remember the mp's tring to stop us once. The 11th Cav. was getting hard, they sent us to help them. We had to go through Lai kia and the Mp's said we had to go around. The lt. said drive over them, so we ran over one jeep and the rest scattered. It was funny as hell watching the two in the jeep jump out as the tank started to roll up on the back of it. There eyes were as big as basketballs. It was great. Thats all I remember, it was in 1967. Dave Livingston

The last two entries, (above), refer to an incident described in detail by Lt. Paul D. Walker, C Troop, 1/4 Cavalry in his book "Jungle Dragoon" now available in book stores. The end result was a Troop Commander got relieved and a Platoon Leader and Tank Commanders both receiving written reprimands. The entries prior to that describe some of the tension that may have built up between the Cav and the MP's leading up to this incident. bb

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