Phouc Base Camp
The Old Reliable
Dec. 6, 1967
5th-60th platoon leader proves he's a swinger
BINH PHUOC – "It's all over", said a 9th Infantry Division Lieutenant as he flew through the air, 60 feet above a river in Long An Province recently.
Second Lieutenant John R. Sweet, 23, a platoon leader of Company B, 5th Battalion (Mech) 60th Infantry was serenely riding on his APC on a road security mission when he suddenly went airborne.
As his platoon's lead track rumbled across a bridge its antenna struck an overhanging 3 foot by 10 foot sign. Sweet, riding next to the driver in the second track, casually pushed the dangling sign aside as he passed.
What he didn't notice was that a hook on the end of the sign had attached itself firmly to the cuff of his fatigue pants.
The track continued on at 20 mph. Suddenly the surprised platoon leader was gone. His startled driver quickly spotted him swinging across the center of the bridge.
Hanging upside down he gracefully sailed between two iron girders and out over the river 50 feet below. "I opened my eyes when I was swinging over the water," said Sweet, "and decided it's all over."
On his return trip, Sweet brushed the two girders with his hands and stopped in the center of the bridge where the next track removed him from the hook.
"I hate to think what would have happened if my cuff had ripped," said Sweet. "It was the most frightening experience of my life."
Sweet's men, however, now consider him a real swinger.
The Old Reliable
7 August, 1968
Oh, that creeping feeling
BINH PHUOC – As most combat infantrymen can tell you, the weird and unusual events that take place on a mission or night patrol can rarely be matched.
Specialist Four Jimmy Johnson, 20, of Dallas, Ga., had such an event occur while on a night ambush patrol with the 9th Division's 5th Mechanized Battalion, 60th Infantry. His squad set up their security and Johnson, along with the other men not on the first guard, went to sleep.
About 11 p.m. Johnson was aroused to a state of semi-consciousness by an unusual wiggling sensation on his leg. At first, he thought he was dreaming. A second quick jerky motion on his leg not only convinced him that he wasn't asleep, but sent him in a series of violent contortions. squad members rushed over, thinking he was having some type of seizure.
what had taken place was that an 18-inch snake had crawled up his pant leg while he was asleep. Johnson quickly took hold of the snake from the outside of his pants and was trying to rip a hole in the seam when another squad member grabbed him and held him down thinking he was having a fit. Luckily Johnson was still able to rip a hole in the seam of his pants and throw the snake out.
"I guess he crawled in to get warm," Johnson said. "Whatever, it was one of the weirdest feelings in the world."