It was late in the day, around 4:30 on June 11, 1970 and we had just been delivered ice cream by helicopter. Echo Recon had been pulled back to the LZ to pull security for the engineers. It was to be their task to blow up a huge arms cache that we had found and they were busy wiring it for explosives. Our task, in pulling security, spread us out in 10 to 15 yard intervals along a path, up a slight incline that led to the cache. Within a few minutes hundreds of enemy rounds and ammunition that were collected in a 20 x 20 pit would be blown and the final wires were being checked. A re-supply chopper had just left leaving the usual supplies of, food, ammo, water, and beer. But, today was special, we were rewarded with ice cream for a job well done. One of my jobs was to pass out supplies, and today I was moving up the trail, from buddy to buddy with small buckets of ice cream and spoons. As each guy received his ice cream, he leaned his weapon against a tree to eat the rapidly melting treat.
As I moved up the trail, also without my weapon, I was in effect, disarming the security team. As I reached the top of the incline and was dispatching my last ice cream to some engineers, all hell broke loose. We began to take small arms fire and B-40 rocket hits in the vicinity of the cache. The last recipient of ice cream, an engineer, hit the ground dead. In a split second more B-40 rockets and another engineer and myself were wounded. I fell in the cache pit that was wired to be exploded.
Without a weapon survival instincts kicked in, I crawled to the top of the pit to try retrieve a weapon, but the only one in sight was now covered with the body of the second engineer who lay dying. I attempted to apply first aid to a sucking chest wound to no avail. It was then that everything grew eerily quiet and I heard the voices, vietnamese voices. The enemy had apparently been watching us from the thick undergrowth in what was probably a plan to try to recover the captured weapons and ammo before we blew them up. Now they were moving toward the cache in an effort to recapture it and I had no weapon.
It was then I heard the second of the voices, american, it was Bird. He was crawling in the direction of the small arms fire because he knew I was there. He did not know if I was dead or alive. “Mother”came the faint whisper, again a little louder, “Mother , where are you?” I was afraid to answer, the gook’s voices were much closer than his. Still he crawled in my direction whispering “Mother” Recon began to return fire in the direction of the voices and more rocket fire erupted, they were not going to just run away.
Suddenly, in the pit next to me was my buddy “Bird”, seeing that I was wounded he dragged me out of the pit and in the direction from which he had just crawled. Back though the woods over sticks and rocks he drug me to the safety of the rear. “Mother’s been hit, we need a medic” are the next words I remember from “Bird”and shortly after that everything became a blur of medivac choppers and hospitals. David Bird Adams had risked his own life to save mine and to him I am eternally grateful.
As each of my five children were old enough to understand I recounted to them this story. Bird Adams remains today a close part of my extended family, and never a day goes by that I don’t remember this gentle soul from Missouri.