Shot in the Wrist by Steve Williams
20MAR71, I was PIC (my second day as such) and Mike was my co pilot. He
had come to the 48th from the Delta, and this was to be his first
into Laos. I had been flying in
Laos since the first day of Lam
and knew it to be somewhat more "intense" than anything I had
while flying I and II corps for the preceding four and a
cranked at Dong Ha and flew to PZ Kilo, a PZ right next to Khe Sahn.
were to extract a bunch of ARVN from Laos that kept getting shot
time they stuck their heads up.
the way into Laos, I showed Mike the river, and told him that if
happened to me, he should follow the river back to Viet Nam and
someone on the radio to lead him out of Laos.
LZ was pretty nasty. Single ship,
or 2 ship at the biggest. We
LOT of hits in the aircraft all the way into the LZ
remember that sound?). The aircraft
in front of us
the LZ with an ARVN hanging from the right skid by his hands. I
don't remember taking any hits while in the LZ, but we were swarmed by
ARVN, and came out heavy. I was on
the controls and Mike called 50
torque, but all I had in front of me was trees. I continued to pull
with no Nr drop (God bless the guys at Bell!!) and came out of the
the rotor over the trees and the body of the Huey between them.
hell broke loose again, and again we took hits in the aircraft.
was at this time that I felt like I'd been hit in the left wrist with
a two by
four. My left arm and hand were
thrown across my body, with my
glove on my left hand turned inside out about half way up my
I'd taken a round through my left wrist.
The round blew out
one quarter of my wrist and severed an artery, which was evidenced
blood spurting across the instrument and radio panel every time my
pumped. My left hand was flopped back (as I was looking at the
side) and as hard as I tried, I could not for the life of me move
that I was looking at on the end of my wrist. I told Mike to
controls and radioed I'd been hit (although nowhere near as
as I describe it here.)
I'd been Mike, I probably would have been curled up in the fetal
and sucking my thumb by this time. Put yourself in Mike's
Flying with a brand new left seater, flying in an AO he'd
seen before, an aircraft he knew was full of holes, blood
(two ARVNs in the cargo compartment were killed), and I was
at him to take the controls while we were continuing to be
of curling up, Mike took the controls. While he got us away from
ground fire, I asked the CE to "red handle" my seat because I was
to pass out. I do know that the CE saved my life by getting a
on my left arm. I was squeezing my
left arm as hard as I
with my right hand but could not get the bleeding to stop. I
laying back in the seat and trying to keep an eye on the engine
I couldn't believe after all the
hits we'd taken that the
was still running.
gets a little fuzzy after that for me, but through this board and
with Ron Turner and Mike, I believe it went something like this:
let it be known I'd been red handled. Ron
Turner told Mike to
him back to Viet Nam, but Mike couldn't tell which of the Huey's
and vice versa. Ron had either the
CE or gunner pop a smoke and
way Ron and Mike were able to hook up and get me back to Viet
We landed at that LZ just inside
Viet Nam, where I do remember
drug out of my seat and placed into the rear of Ron's Huey and
was the second to the last time I saw Ron.
He looked pretty
when they unloaded me at Khe Sahn. The
next time I saw Ron
about two weeks ago in San Diego, where I finally had the chance to
him for getting me back from Laos.
Mike found the 48th website and an entry in the guest book that I
looking for the crew of the aircraft that day in Laos and e-mailed
I've finally been able to thank Mike for what he did too.
hope someday that my gunner and CE will surface as will Ron's CE and
those, Term, are the details. I'm not the writer you and others are
but I hope it gets the idea across: After
30 years, I've finally
chance to thank 2 of the guys who I believe saved my life.
need to find the others and do the same.
Williams Bluestar 76
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