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My Story _- The Vietnam war Tet 1968-69


My name is Timothy Malone Youngblood and I was in Vietnam from 1968–1969.
I was with 101st. Airborne 2/501st Inf. "C" (Charlie) company 3rd. Platoon 2nd squad.

I would like to dedicate this site to all those in 2/501st. Inf. 101st. Airborne "C" Company.
Especially to those in all Companies who gave it all and a big sharp salute to them.

This is where it all started for us in 1967.
101st. Airborne Tiger-Land special Vietnam boot camp.

Sergeant Montgomery was our platoon leader as we did not have an officer in the field but twice as I remember. Sergeant Otto was leader of the Second Squad and as I remember him he was very engaged and cared for those that was in his squad. I also remember that Sgt. Otto was a great combat tactician and I learned a great deal from him. My respect for Sgt. Otto and Sgt. Montgomery has lasted all my life.

Our main fire base was Camp Eagle but our Company operated mostly out of L. Z. Sally, L. Z. Birmingham, and we did go to L. Z. Boyd once as I remember. (L. Z. Meaning Landing Zone). These bases were known as fire bases as well and is where we called for fire support. Our platoon (3rd.) stayed in the field most of the time and the other three platoons of "C" company would come together when there was a major Battalion Campaign and our company fought in Four of them while I was there. Otherwise 3rd platoon and sometimes 2nd platoon were on ambush duty along the Song Bo river as well as search and destroy missions on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We did block NVA forces coming from the A Shau Valley in 1969. We fought in the rice paddies around Hue, Phu Bai and Danang for about five months and then we went to the jungles starting on hill 1003 around October 1968 to take out rocket and mortar positions that were hitting our Phu Bai air strip.

We would come in from time to time for a two-day R /R  at LZ Sally and sometimes at LZ Birmingham and then chopper back out into the boonies. Over the last Seven years I have written down as much as I can Accurately remember and put it in the form of "My Story Vietnam – Tet 1968 - 69" so these events will not die with me as I am 68 years old as of 2017. This is a short synopsis of my story because I wanted to maintain accuracy and although I can remember parts of many of the other events I could not remember them in detail so I only wrote the things I could remember in detail. My intent is to continue adding to this history as I remember other events. Men that have fought in combat will testify that every firefight can have many different stories because the individual is fighting his own battle and may not even be paying attention as to what the other men are going through unless it directly affects him at the time. I walked point for about three months so I was in a position at that time where I had to deal with what was going on in front of me, so yes many things happened behind me that I have never been aware of. This is the reason everyone should at least write down what they can remember.

I arrived in Vietnam during the mop up of the TET offensive in Hue March 1968 and started out in L. Z. Sally the night the 101st and Marines were fighting on hill 309 (T–Bone) and joined them the next day and later we had to take hill 283 just East of 309. This is where I busted my cherry and was wounded by a grenade which only caused me to piss blood for awhile so I stayed with the platoon without any need for medical attention. There were times I could have went in on a med. check but did not because it was not right to call a chopper in unless a man had a leg or arm off or wounds that were life threating because to do otherwise would endanger a chopper and the pilot and co-pilot as well as two door gunners.

An interesting event occured as I was going to catch the chopper that day to go into my first combat situation. I remember that we were taking the dead off choppers coming in and cleaning the deck with water when I was informed that I and some other men were to get on the chopper to get with our company on hill 309. As the chopper approched I noticed it had a large Elephant head painted on the front. As we were loading I was told to get a gas mask and I said that I would not be able to make this flight if I did and then was told to get my ass to the equipment area and get a gas mask... Which I promply did. Later as I was re-entering the chopper pad I noticed the chopper that was coming in had that Elephant head on the front and thought that was a fast trip. As I approched the chopper I saw there were dead on the floor and started helping others pull them off. While doing so I noticed that these were the same men that just took off when I was supposed to go up. I asked the door gunner what had happened and he told me they never got off because unknown to the pilot the LZ had been taken and as they approched the mountain saddle they were hit with small arms fire which went right through the cab of the chopper killing those about to get off. I realized that if someone had not told me to get a gas mask I would be dead without even firing a shot in combat.

I remembered something today that came from 50 years ago. In all the firefights I was in…no matter if it was just a sniper, or a ten day battle, I fully accepted that I was going to die…and then I fought like hell to live. For those who have never fought in a long intense battle you have never felt the rush as every move you make may take your life. You have never felt the taste of another mans blood or wiped away their brains from your face. Most of all you have never experienced the relief as the sound of gun fire becomes silent. And you have never understood the brotherhood bond that comes out of war. I have never regretted the defeat of my enemies, but only the pain I caused those caught in the conflict. The horrors that will never leave my dreams are of the burning bodies of mothers closely holding their charred children and the destruction of a village that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I found profound truth that would never leave me at around 20 years old in Vietnam as I remember finding a hand reaching out of the grave and was told to dig it up to see if it were an enemy soldier. As I pulled him out of his grave the meat on his arm slipped off as if it was cooked. The site of his face, eyes and mouth full of dirt, with the smell burning my nose caused me to realize I was Just a man.

Now for some detail on some things I can Accurately remember:

I remember a very hot day when I came upon five shadows on the ground. They seemed to be fake, as they were black and flat and I had to touch and turn them over to fully accept that they were the charred bodies of my enemies that had died so fast that they were still in the walking positions they were in at their last moments of life…. Napalm is a flammable liquid that was used in Vietnam. It is a mixture of a Gelling agent mixed with Gasoline. It was initially used against buildings and later primarily as an Anti-personnel weapon, as it sticks to skin and causes severe burning of the body.


I remember looking into the face of my friend as he lay dead and the rain was pounding him in the face. I realized that the rain filling the holes in his eyes had no effect because he was no longer there. I looked at his boots and realized that when he tied those boot laces this morning as we were smoking our cigs he had no idea that would be the last time to do so. When looking at the many solders lying dead during my time there I remember thinking that their mothers and their wife or children was not crying…but soon they would have to know what I’m looking at.


I remember a day I was walking point and my slack man ( Watts ) and I came across three North Vietnamese regulars with their weapons shouldered. The enemy and Watts and I just looked at each other for what seemed a very long time and then one soldier dropped his shoulder causing the strap to slide off and his weapon to drop in is hands. All hell broke lose and I still don’t know how I made it to a ditch. I could not see Watts and thought he was dead because I also could not hear any sounds or calls for help. I crawled to the end of the ditch and realized it was made like a "U" and I discovered that I and the three gooks were in the same ditch just across from each other. As I considered if I should just jump up and fire into them but knew that at least one would out gun me so I realized I could roll some hand grenades like a ball and they would fall on the other side in with the gooks, so I pulled the pin on two grenades rolled them over and as a result wounding them. I then ran over and shot them as they were stunned by the blast.

As I was pulling the bodies out of the ditch Watts and the other men in "C" Co. 3rd platoon came into the wood line. I asked what took them so long and they told me that Watts said I was dead. I can understand why he thought I was dead because I was wondering why I was not. Watts ear was shot off for the most part but otherwise he was fine. I want it understood that I have seen Watts in action and he is one of the bravest men I know besides Otto (our Sergeant) so when he left me it was because he truly thought I was dead and he was wounded (without a weapon) needing help.


I remember a fellow soldier named Peterson. He and I did not get along from the first day we met and one day it came to a fight. He and I had equal cuts and fat lips on our faces after the fight but we never made friends. A few days after the fight we were shot upon by a lone sniper and as we would advance he would move back as well. This was normal tactics for a sniper as they would not last long if they did not move. Peterson was point man and I was his slack. His back pack was not secured as things fell from it namely his poncho. Sergeant Otto stopped him and instructed him to fix it before he went any further and Peterson who like me at the time had a bad temper and he got mad at Sergeant Otto and stomped down the path with his poncho in his hand. Otto told me to go after him and as I stepped up on the rice patty dike then after I rounded a curve chasing Peterson, shots rang out. I heard Peterson groan for help. As I began to approach the area Otto stopped me and stated that it was a trap to get others out in the open. I truly felt I could get to Peterson but I had my orders. Otto was right as the sniper was just on the other side of the dike waiting for me.

When the sniper realized no one was going for his trap he shot Peterson in the head. The sniper ran into the rice patty and a chopper gunner killed him. We made a stretcher from Peterson’s poncho and bamboo poles but one of them broke and his head fell back. His heavy body shifted and as I reached to keep him from falling off the stretcher my hand went into his head and… Well I wore Peterson’s brains on my lap for weeks to come. The thing that bothered me most is that I saw the cuts on his face I had given him during our fight just a few days before and knew I would never be able to make that right. That was the day Sgt. Otto looked at me and said you’re the new point man Youngblood!

Link to Donald Lee Peterson Virtual Wall Tribute

I remember the day when a leaf saved my life.

I was walking point in the jungle following a cut in the mountain where water ran in heavy rain. The leaves were very green and I was thinking that it would be nice to be here if it was another time. As I continued on I noticed ONE leaf that was a bright yellow and for some reason I had a very strong feeling that I would not live to pass this leaf. The feeling was so strong that I hit the ground. Well when the point man hits the ground everyone hits the ground as well for obvious reasons.

Just as I was flat on the ground a volley of machine gun fire went right over me. I knew that the next coming volley would be lower so I rolled off the trail as did the others and then it came as expected. What I did not expect was that the bush I had rolled on threw me back on the trail. I rolled back on the bush and another volley came by and…well that damn bush threw me right back out there as if it was triggered by the machine gunner shooting at us. This last time I rolled on top of the bush and broke its spring action. Others flanked left and right of the enemy gunner and took it out as I was busy with my bush. I do believe to this day God saved my life that day in the jungle and I'm sure was not the only time.


Picture of Sergeant Montgomery playfully pointing his 45 at me and I was pushing it away while on R&R at LZ Sally. He was a very good friend and I just now (March 2016) contacted him and we spoke over the phone for several hours.


I remember a day when I received my Sergeant papers while we were taking a two day R&R in LZ Sally. A man came out of the headquarters building and handed the papers to me and stated "Congradulations Youngblood, You just made Sergeant ! " I took the papers and looked at them and then tore it up throwing the pieces on the ground and went back to the area my Platoon was located. Being Sergeant was not that important to me.

I remember a day when we had taken an enemy village and a soldier and I was using a two walled structure as cover when the enemy moved their machinegun position peppering us with heavy arms fire. I laid down cover fire as my partner ran for another location. He and some others laid down cover fire for me and I ran to my left. About half way I heard someone yell "Over here Youngblood" and I made a hard right turn not knowing the gook had fired an RPG at me. The RPG has a 50 degree kill radius and because I made that right turn I ran out of the kill zone however, I was still in the blast zone. It picked me up and tossed me about 5 yards towards the fox hole my buddy was in. He called for a medic but I only had a small wire in my left shoulder. I thought my arm was blown off because it was numb. We lost three men that day and some Journalist was killed as well.


I remember a day when we had been in a firefight with a village for weeks and this day the fighting had calmed down so we were getting resupplied with ammo and "C" rations. We also were getting a hot meal and our long awaited mail from home. Don Cobal and Ronnie told me I could go first from our position and they would go together after I got back. (You could not separate those two with a grenade) Anyway I went and their parting command was "Don’t forget the mail Youngblood." Well I ate my meal and got the mail but for some reason with all that mail and packages I got turned around and by the time I realized where I was it was too late. There was a "L" shaped building in front of me and I recognized it as the one that had an enemy gunner in it. If I remember it was a U.S. made Browning automatic Rifle (BAR) Used in WWII. Well it did not matter how I got there I was there and he was firing at me. I hit the ground and mail went everywhere. I remember looking up and the rounds were zig sagging towards me and I knew I was about to die.

About that time I heard a 60 and M–16 sound off behind me and I looked and saw Don Cobal and Ronnie standing on the rice paddy dike blasting away at the "L" shaped buildings window while hollering "Get the hell out of there Youngblood!!!!!" As I grabbed my 16 and got up to head to the dike Ronny yelled "Get the Damn mail" so I had to go around picking up the Damn mail under fire that day. Oh well the mail had to get through right?


I remember a day when we were in the jungle and we realized that some gooks were following us and then digging up our trash pits where we buried our unwanted "C" rations. I don't remember who was told to stay with me and catch them in the act but we hid below the old camp we just left and set out Claymores. The thing is the Claymore does not always work. The working of the Claymore is to place a detonation cap in the top and run a wire from the mine with a hand heald detnoator that works like a mini generator and its the Generator that dont always work right. Well that was not only the case for me that day but my buddy had the same problem. When the gooks arrived I was sure we had them dead to rights, however when I was sure they were exposed real good I clicked the detonator and all it did was wizzzzz. Made just enough racket for the gooks to hear it. My buddy did the same after he saw a few of them moving towards me but his went wizzzz as well. We looked at each other like what the hell we do now??? I started clicking mine real fast and he did the same and after a bunch of wizzzz and the gooks getting closer my Claymore went off. Damn near took our heads off. I learned it was not a good Idea trying to see where the gooks were while pumping the damn Detonator that fast. Well his went off a few seconds after mine and we got the hell out of there.


Fast forward to November 1968. Just a few weeks after hill 1003 we left for what would become a big campaign titled the "Salad bowl" This was my last contact with the enemy in what became known as the Salad Bowl and that is where 2nd platoon was almost compleatly wiped out and I lost my best friend Gomez (Go-go). He was in 2nd platoon and they stopped and ate with us and then took point on this day we were receiving sniper fire and they went up on a ridge and found a base camp. They were told to stay in place until we could catch up but the platoon leader (An officer) decided to go in and the enemy was across a small river and ambushed everyone in the platoon. They were not able to get back up the embankment because it had rained and the mud was extremely slippery. Go-go was the point man of second platoon and he went down first and then the radio operator yelled out that the lieutenant had been shot in the face and then he said Go-go had gotten back up but then went back down and his slack man was hit and then the radio went silent. We forced marched to their location and found high ground to try and hit the gooks on the other side of the stream but was unsuccessful in saving 2nd platoon but we did engage the gooks for about 30 to 45 min. and I remember I did call in  Puff  to Pepper the area but as far as we know there was  no enemies killed. After the area was secured we had to clean the Ambush area from all bodies and equipment. I can still remember to this day the arms and legs hanging out of that net as the Chinook took them away.

I'm also wanting to find the Casualty List of this firefight that occurred in the "Salad Bowl" in November 1968. I have found information on the wall about Gomez (Go-Go) and his friend Gonzales but can't seem to find the rest of the men killed that day so if there's anyone that has information on this or knows how to find it please contact me using the E-Mail address at the end of this so I can add that information to this story.

Virtual Wall Tribute to Corporal Jesus Ephraim Gómez, Jr.

I was the radio operator during the last few weeks in country and I had the topographical map where I marked our movements and positions prior to 2nd platoon being wiped out in the salad bowl. I gave the map to a Museum in Lexington Kentucky however I did make a copy which I have to this day.

Click Here to see the topographical map with our positions on it


This is a map I found on the web that shows the location of the Salad Bowl
in relation of other important fire bases and Hue City.


We found this cash of weapons in the jungle. Looks like Sergeant Montgomery Center.

Me standing at far right looking on.


Picture of me and Don Cobal him with his 16 and I'm on the 50


Ronny Eves.


Air-Assault - Fantastic view.


Charles Harmon I believe on hill 283


Robert V. Cudnick, Martinez, and Lanny Martin.
The day we got our CIB as you can see they are proudly showing off.

CIB is Combat Infantryman badge.


Top of hill 283 looking North towards the Song Bo river.
Hill 283 was the other mountain we had to take after hill 309 (T-Bone) early 68)


Dunlap bottom left. Me far right bottom row with sun–glasses.
The man giving everone the bird was the Gunner.

Will add other names as I learn them.
I know the Sgt. at the top right was shot by Sergeant Montgomery.


On hill 283 watching an airstrike. Not sure who that is.


Hill 309 (T-Bone) Front is Mason, then Steve Camp and Robert.

Anyone know who everone here is E-mail me.


Mason three days before going to the Hospital for Heptitas


Mason and Craig Warren on Birmingham.


Mike Dunlap after being tranferred to mortor squad.


Me with Don Cobal's 60
at LZ Sally



Timothy Youngblood far right with the ammo and combat gear. That is Phil Homme, (middle) talking to Sgt Pope some where in or near Hue. I had just come in from the Boonies and was going to get something to eat and some rest before I had to go back out. This was sometime in early 1968 and we were still mopping up after the Tet Offensive.


Sergeant Montgomery


Sergeant Montgomery and Bob Mason in their Old age.


I have spoken to Sgt. Otto and Sgt. Montgomery and Sam Smiley, and Mike Dunlap on the phone but no one else at this time. If you know who these others are in the photos on this page or if you were with us during that time and even if you want to add some photos here please E-mail me using the link below my photo.

Me in my Old age.
Regards: Timothy Malone Youngblood
Email me at


I set these coins in Burl wood I cut from a Black Cherry tree.