Today marks the day that changed our lives. Two young men became hardened warriors. I will never forget that night and live
with it everyday. I know you do too. Yet we were the lucky ones as Doug Crooks, 504 MP, lost his life that night.
There are few I
can talk to about that day 40 years ago. We changed jobs that night. I had to drive because Crooks could not. There was no traffic
accident to investigate. At camp Evans I called the PMO to let them know we were coming back. Within 10 minutes on the road all hell
broke loose. How the jeep survived is a mystery. It had 22 hole in it. I drove it back after recovering Crooks body that was blown
from the jeep by the impact that killed him. There were road blocks along the way of arvn soldiers. I had to level my 45 on them at
one point to get them to let me through. I sought help at lz Nancy. But the arvn's were thinking the bad guys were behind me and wanted
me out of there. We were a mess, covered in blood. I had shrapnel in my legs, arm and back. A fragment of a bullet had hit my head
and was lodged in my jaw. Crooks took a large piece of shrapnel through the neck, killed him instantly.
After calling on the radio
for what seemed like hours I got an answer from the PMO. I asked for the gates to be opened and headed for the hospital. I passed
out after seeking help for Crooks, who I knew was gone. I woke up with Sgt. Tillary hovering over me. He sent us into harms way without
protection after I asked for a v-100 saying " follow your orders". I grabbed his shirt as he stood there and must have told him where
he needed to go. April 2, 1971 was his first day at Qang Tri. We never saw him again. It was over and we had to heal.
I have recovered
from my wounds but this day always brings back the memories. Today I have the support of a woman who loves me and supports me. I love
her and thank the Lord we have found each other.
Thanks for being there, hope all is well.
Today we have the support of all of our
brothers from the 218th. Thank you Dick Reiter.
(The photo of Tom Trice and Larry Fowler's reunion can be found
by clicking here