QuarterHorse Stories

Field Improvised Hoist and APC/Tank Shield

by Ron Halicki

I was not trained as a tanker, tho I did get to spend some time as a crew member in various capacity's when crews were short..

I believe I was in the 2nd or 3rd platoon (Alpha Troop 68) when we would use the barrel of the main gun to push the engineer stakes for the screen down into the ground... This was a common practice... We also used the barrel to remove and replace the final drive on the tanks in the field.. I was told that this really caused havoc with the alignment system for firing..

Someone must remember and be able to add specifics to an incident at the pottery plant when an HE round was fired into a cave entrance on the side of an incline.. This was not during a fire fight but during a sweep. The tank was not that far away from the opening .. Considerable time was taken by the SGT to fire.. Going up and down many times out of the hatch seemingly sighting it by eye and with the scope.. When the round was fired no instant explosion happened as the round went down range so far it seemed like it took forever to explode... It was cartoon like.. you could almost imagine the road runner looking in the barrel for the unexploded round... I believe this was during the time of cpt conley...

Leo Boucher my TC on A-39 told me recently that he personally killed the soldier that fired the rpg that was shooting at Roosevelt William's tank (Doc Mims said that Williams died from a .50 cal bullet) I saw That soldier and he was firing from a standing position...Doc Mims went flying thru the air from one of the hits near the tank which I believe actually hit a tree....(to this day it's still unsure to me if it was Mims or Williams I saw in the air) Boucher said he saw the soldier stand and yelled for me to stop, which I did.. The round went right past my face as we were to the left of Williams.. Many rpg's were fired, some from bunkers, it seemed that there was a team of them.. As there was so many rounds fired. One round must have hit the side of the .50 on the Williams tank as I saw the hit. And what I believe to be Williams falling backwards onto the deck..(Mims I believe feels that Williams fell into the hatch, he must be right) In truth I was firing my M-16 as I was driving...and was blinding spraying the area in front of me as I could hardly aim..I had broken off two finger nails about half way down, in my haste to reload the clips into the 16. I kept getting concusions from the firing of the rpg's hitting mainly trees around me.. And from the muzzle blast of Williams tank,when it fired.. My whole body felt hollow from the concussions, and I was shaking inside and outside pretty bad..I could hardly hear Boucher, or LT Pilcher's commands as the motor of the ACAV was screaming, and the concussions were pretty constant...I was thinking that a round was going to get us sooner or later, burst thru this tin can, and that when it did it would be nothing personal just wrong place wrong time..that this was just an advance group that, this was just the set up.. That I would throw a track and sink us for good..I remember telling myself not to panic.. To ease the levers.. To stay on line.. I tried reciting some Dylan lyrics to calm myself.. I thought of my father about how it felt with his arm over my shoulder as a child,and how I felt comforted by that..I kept thinking some one has to come in and help us out here..I drove over a downed tree and when the acav came down.. I smacked my helmet hard against the side of the hatch... And then just a suddenly as it started it ended...that this new calm was out of place.. That the dialogue on the radio was removed..Not indicating what we had just been thru...pilcher sized up his platoon. Then all of our concerns were towards Williams and Mims.

In my list of questions I am looking for a photo of an unexploded rpg.. That I took of a round stuck in the fence guarding the tank I was on... The photo was sent up to headquarters, someone out there must have taken a similar picture... It was a life saver...

Ron Halicki, SGT


We started using the fencing, I think about halfway thru my tour, we started using the corrugated metal flaps on the sides a month or so later, they'd kind of deflect a round coming in. I believe our first real test of the fences came up in the Michelin, or near there. I believe we were on a Squadron or perhaps Division push and I think A Troop was on point, anyway the first night we were lagered in among the rubber trees (had I think a Co size force of ARVN Troops with us and Sir Charles decided to welcome us with mortar fire etc. in the trees and RPG's against the perimeter, I know the ARVN took tremendous casualties and we took several, but the fences worked by either catching or deflecting the rpg rounds, I know we had several fences with rounds stuck in them and other instances where the rounds had hit the fences and been bounced backwards.

The Right Way/Wrong Way to fight a War

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This Page Modified 10 Feb 2017

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This page was last updated on 4 Feb 2017