Marine compound, way after the curfew, he fired a two-round burst from his M16, which I then took away from him and, not seeing anybody around, drove off.
  It seems, though, that the sergeant of the guard ran up to the gate and, apparently, my good sergeant shot him the bird. Col. Ladd got a somewhat exaggerated account of the incident, through channels, which he then asked me to explain. My reply was about the best creative writing I have ever done.

With Delta in The Field

  I had established a precedent for hanging out with Project Delta, so when they set up an FOB (Forward Operating Base) at Phu Bai to run a recon of the valley about five kilometers from A Shim, I went down there to cover it for Green Beret Magazine.
  If Delta lived plush in garrison, they lived spartan in the field. The had a number of squad tents set up, a chopper pad beside their headquarters bunker, a defensive perimeter with some wire and that was it.
  I sat around up there for a couple of days waiting for an operation I could go out on. Allen wouldn't let me go out with a recon team, which was probably a good

  Jim Morris tells a good war story, as Part 1 of his 'three-part article on the Delta Project shows and War Story is the title of his book about his three tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Army Special Forces.
 After receiving a disability retirement from the Army, Morris attended the University of Oklahoma's graduate program in professional writing. He is now a graduate student at a mid-western university. He holds the Bronze Star with three oak-leaf clusters, two for valor; the Purple Heart with three oak-leaf clusters; the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, with Bronze Star; the Combat Infantryman's Badge; and the Master Parachutist Badge.
  Morris's SOF articles include "The Straphangers War" (February '79) and "Dumbo Drop" (March '80). SOF plans to publish his three-part interview with Mike Force Company Commander Larry Dring a saga that tells some of the best war stories I've ever read after the publication of "Death-Dealing Project Delta."
                                          M.L. Jones

had been down there all the time I was in-country, but he was in an important command position, and as PIO (Public Information Officer) I was kind of embarrassed to go down there and hang around with all those real soldiers when I was flying my desk up in headquarters. But sometime during Tet when I had to go there on business, Allen or somebody asked me back socially and I started going to their club every now and again.
  So when Lang Vei was overrun, and Chuck Allen called and told me Project Delta was going to jump in and take the place back, I grabbed my field gear and a volunteer photographer and away we went.
  When we got to Da Nang, which was to have been the staging area for the jump, we found the NVA had withdrawn and the survivors were being brought in by chopper. It had been a hell of a fight, the NVA using tanks for the first time in the war, and they had overrun the place finally with just a few Americans and Viets holding them off from the command bunker (See "Armor in the Wire!" SOF, November '79).
  I Corps was run by the Marines at that time, and I got to a Marine PIO colonel and suggested that we hold a press con-
ference for those Lang Vei survivors who  wanted  to  appear.   Four   of  them

came over to the press camp and were interviewed by all three TV networks and the wire services and news magazines. I wasn't too happy about their being scrubbed and put into baggy fatigues with the supply room smell still on them. I'd have been happier to have them in tiger suits and bandages.
  There was no question about it. We had the shit kicked out of us at Lang Vei, but those guys were so cool at their press conference, and it was obvious they had fought so bravely when badly outnumbered, that I like to think we turned our military defeat into a psychological victory. Our own little Tet Offensive within a Tet Offensive.
  After the press conference, the guys from Lang Vei were whisked back to the SF headquarters in Da Nang and my sergeant photographer and I got good and drunk with the correspondents. It was a good time. Somebody played the guitar and I croaked out the Viet Cong Blues and the Jungle Rot Blues in my wretched baritone. Other songs were sung and some jokes were told and we all agreed that nobody in any position of authority knew what the hell was coming off.
  My good sergeant got a great' deal drunker than I did, since all he was doing was getting drunk, while I was cleverly cementing relations with my journalistic colleagues.  As  we  drove  away  from  the


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Part III - 1   2   3   4   5