I’m going to try and tell this story the way it was told to me. I may get some minor detail incorrect, but the story itself is what is important. I’ll tell it in his “voice”, hopefully it won’t be too confusing.
Here there be dragons
We were trying to get back in the rain. we were several clicks on the wrong side of the Laos border and it was raining. Raining like it only does in that part of the world. And it was the rainy season.
We asked a village headman if we could lay up overnight and he agreed to let us. We had sent one of the Kit Carson (Vietnam army) scouts to watch our back trail, laid down our gear, and tried to shake off the wet. It was also nice to get off out feet. Mine hurt.
This village was on a hill only identified by a number, but the villagers has a name for it, “The Mountain of the Sleeping Dragon”. Only in Viet Nam.
We had kind of settled when the kit carson scout came running back. Charley, and 30 or 40 NVA regulars, were on our trail, and closing fast. And it was still raining. Hard.
The LT tried calling for emergency evac, but the weather had everything socked in. Nothing could get off the ground. There would be no rescue. We’d have to fight.
The village had a few old French rifles, we didn’t have any extras so the fighting would be on our backs, and if we lost the village would suffer. The elder headman didn’t seem too worried, I sure as hell was, but he kept saying it would be “ok joe”.
We set up some trail traps, dropped back a little and got ready to fight. The LT kept asking for cover and evac, but nothing available. Nada. Rain.
We heard the first of the traps go off, then it was fighting time. We’d engage, drop back, and engage again. Three or four of the villagers joined us, but they didn’t have much ammunition for those old French rifles.
We’d just fallen back to the edge of the village when we heard it first. A rush of disturbed air and a huge black shadow flew overhead. Then came a roar that only comes from a mini-gun running through its ammo. The sky lighted up like hell itself had been unleashed. You could see an unbroken stream of light coming from that high black shadow. It was even more awesome when you realized there was 1 tracer in like every 50 rounds. That unbroken beam of light was telling you how many shots were being fired. It sounded like a giant piece of canvass being ripped. Someone had gotten off the ground and had come to help.
The LT kept trying to raise whoever it was up there, on the radio. He needed to tell them where we were and to not fire on our position. He never got anyone on the radio, but the hell unleashed never got close to us. But it sure did get to the bad guys.
That shadow made three of four passes and that was all it took. We waited the rest of the night and there were no shots from their last position. So, we took a chance to check the area. It was starting to get light and we could see well enough, there were enough small fires that we didn’t need any lights. Those tracers had a tendency to do that, set things on fire.
We walked into a hell placed on earth. Trees torn apart and smoking. The ground shattered into craters, and parts of were once human beings. I’d never seen such complete destruction. The ground was dug up in furrows from the mini-gun strafing. It was horrible. especially when we could see the smoldering body parts. They were the enemy yes, but they had also been humans.
The headman didn’t seem too put out. He wasn’t smiling, exactly, but he didn’t seem as unprepared for the scene as the rest of us. He kept muttering to himself and nobody paid too much attention.
We got evac’d that afternoon and as soon as we landed the LT headed for the commo room to find out who’s saved our butts. We owed them some beer. He came out 20 -30 minutes later shaking his head and just told everyone, “Nobody knows who was up there. Let’s get something to eat”. And just walked off.
But our scout didn’t head for the chow hall. He walked up to the couple of us standing there and asked if we remembered the name of that village. I told him I did, and it was “The Mountain of the Sleeping Dragon”.
He looked at us, he asked if anyone had understood the headman’s muttering. We all shook our heads. The scout looked at the sky and said, “He was thanking the dragon. There were no airplanes up last night due to the weather. The mountain dragon woke up to save the village. The headman was thanking him. We were saved by a dragon.”
Shortly after he told me this story, he rode off and I never saw him again