C Troop "Tell Your Story"

WHO HAD THE MONEY??

by John Conley, XO/CO of B-Troop, 67-68


On the first day of the Tet-1 offensive, I was the XO of "B" Troop and I was at Lai Khe waiting for a chopper to give me a lift to some location along the road from Ben Cat to Phuc Vihn to pay the troops. I had what I recall about $69,000 in a briefcase and it was under my head while I snoozed next to the C-8 maintenance track in the parking lot next to the helo-pad. I awoke flying through the air, with dirt in every orfice of my body, as the track took a direct hit from a Russian made 105mm rocket. Looking back I saw the ACAV was burning and the ammo inside was exploding. I scrambled to my feet and ran to the back of the track and up the ramp to help one trooper out and among the twisted burning metal, just behind the engine compartment, I saw a trooper on fire, yelling for help in awful pain. I ran in and pulled him loose and got him out of the track. Someone jumped in to help me and we got him out in a hurry. We put him on a 3/4 ton truck and I escorted him to the field hospital at the other end of Lai Khe. I learned later that he did not survive, bless his soul. Things were happening fast. When we were putting him in the truck a trooper tried to hand me the briefcase full of money. I told him to make sure it got to the finance officer at Phu Loi. I had no idea who he was and still do not know. When I returned to the burning track's location someone had a message for me to get on the next convoy to Phu Loi. I did within a few minutes and before long a "D" Troop chopper buzzed the convoy to delay it so it could pick me up and shuttle me into a firefight in the village just north of Phu Loi, as Captain Bryson had been severely wounded. After being Troop Commander of "B" Troop for several days, things slowed a bit and I recalled the briefcase of money. I asked the Squadron Commander, LTC Seigal, if it was turned in to Finance. He checked and every penny made it there. There is an honest man out there, a "C" Troop veteran I believe, that deserves some thanks for delivering that money. I never hesitated at the time to put complete faith and trust in that man who I don't believe I ever met before, as I would have done at that moment with any other cavalryman. Perhaps I paid him earlier that day. I don't know. But he deserves some recognition and thanks. Can anyone help to identify this super honest cavalryman?? I'd like to shake his hand in public.


Box Formation April 1968 - Joe Birindelli

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This page was last updated on 4 Feb 2017