Other Post Close Calls


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Jan 21, 2002
Thought it would be interesting to tell a few stories of my close calls with Death or at least very serious Injury. A bit Macabre maybe but it should be interesting. I have a few short stories and hope we get a good response.

While based in Canada as a live firing Arty saftey officer, and on my first day of live firing, my major directed me to drive to a particular grid reference. Once there I saw two medium sized Hills and my Boss a Major directed me to the hill on the left and said "Bomb, I dont usually use this hill I prefer the other on the right, but what the hell lets see how we go".
The Guns that we were checking for safety prior to them firing were 105mm Abbotts and once all coordinates were checked the guns were allowed to fire. Six guns in the battery and quite soon we heard the shells raining in above us. 1,2,3,4,5 and then silence suddenly a large explosion was heard near to the other hill. The sixth round had landed directly on top of the hill that the Major would normally use. It transpired that the safety staff at the gun end had not checked the sixth gun properly. Clearly if we had used that hill, there would not have been much left of me and the Major.

A close call by anybodys standards.
I have more close calls while in Canada and some in the Gulf of 1991, but I will see how you all take to this thread before I go further.

I gotta say that I led a charmed life in VN. I had so many close calls that I know for sure someone or something was looking out for me but the luckiest moment had to be when my bro Len was walking point and I was the slack man and we just made the crest of a hill and saw fresh trails and sleeping positions and they weren't made by any friendly's. Once on the top we split up with Len going to the left and me to the right and all of a sudden an NVA troop jumped up about 10 meters in front of me, let out a blood curding scream, which was so unexpected that it froze me in my tracks ( I'll never forget the sound of it) and threw a Chicom grenade that hit me square in the chest and fell to my feet but didn't go off. Charlie got away but I couldn't have cared less because he didn't get me either.
Phewee, now thats what I call a close one buddy :shock:

Here's another…although not nearly as close a call as the first post………..

We were cutting our way through the jungle when we were ambushed. We had three men wounded and one man cut off from the rest of our platoon. Myself and two others (Carlos Williams & Gerry Harpole) went out with Doc Johnson and one by one brought the wounded back to safety. The three of us, minus the Doc, then went back out to find the missing man and help get him back to the defensive perimeter we setup. We found him crouched behind a tree taking fire. We decided to get closer to him using fire and maneuver tactics. One man would dash off while the other two provided covering fire. We leaped frogged like this until we were about 15 meters from the stranded man. I was the last one to get to this position and when I hit the ground I fell on something and rolled over find it was a bandolier. Carols told me that I might want to move away from the bandolier and told me to look at it after I moved. It was full of holes and Carlos told me that it was shot up just before I landed on it.
Indeed, Bill. The closest calls I can remember both happened at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. On one, we had rolled in to the mortar firing positions in our Bradleys the year after we got them. We were going into lunch break. After we had received our meals and were sitting around eating them, the 155 unit(M-109 Arty) which was firing over us, let loose a salvo on the range. One gun, not being properly indexed, dropped a round about 150 yards from us on top of the hill. Talk about hunting cover! In 1 second flat, every person in the area disappearedunder something. Approximately 1 week later, another 155 round did an airburst over a road intersection, killing a female MP directing traffic.
In the second incident, which occurred a few years before the 155 incident, we were still in the M-113's. As a master gunner on the .50 cal. Browning, I was tasked with helping the other gunners prep their MG's before firing. As it so happens, the first gun on line was not one prepped by me, but by another sergeant. When the gunner started his exercise, the weapon misfired. After being rodded by the range safety officer, it was sent back to the rear to be reprepped and inspected. When the driver parked the 113, it was facing the line of tracks I was on. At the time, I was on the first track helping prep their weapon for the range. As I was bent over the weapon, setting the headspace and timing, there was a loud bang and a puff of white smoke appeared to emanate from the cargo hatch of the track I was on. As we had just come off a field exercise, I assumed that a grenade simulator had gone off. As I was looking into the crew compartment for remnants of the simulator, other troops began gathering around the track. All of a sudden, I heard one Staff Sergeant utter a rather dirty word and exclaim, "Look at this!" I then observed that the cargo hatch was almost shot in two and the rubber seal was gone.(It was later found in the top of a pine tree about 15 yards from our vehicle.) Shortly thereafter, we were basically surrounded by big brass from captains on up. It turned out that when the range safety officer had rodded the malfunctioning .50 cal., he neglected to use the T-block. Needless to say, he was fired for gross negligence.
Jeeeesus. Close call Eagle buddy :shock:
Tell me about it. I was for real sweating bullets for a while!
I'm not sure where to start here, guys, but I will work on it.

And I suppose you want them to be true?

And I suppose you want them to be true?

I hope you were not considering spinning us a yarn buddy. :mrgreen:
Shame on you ;)
Well, posting here has given me the oportunity to sort the fiction out and just send the facts. I'll save the fiction for the grandkids.
I don't know, folks. I have written about BSR theory, fun with C-4 and the grenade in the gun barrel but I just can't think of any close calls.

Having read your posts, mine seems to fade into insignificance but for what it's worth...

I started life as PO (Potential Officer) and we were to train on all the bits of kit we could possibly train on. It was a beautiful morning and after being beasted about a bit we went down to the ranges where we were to learn about mortars. The mortar platoon with the infantry battalion we were with ran the demo and we were then told to practise - first with dry rounds (filled with chalk I think) and then we'd be given one live round to play with. Our practise rounds went off well and the infanteers were relatively happy (as happy as they could be nursmaiding Potential Officers!)
It was time to light the blue touchpaper and retire. Our round went off on its designated trajectory and the grunts were relieved. However, the third mortar crew sharpened the day up by not sorting their elevation out correctly and having dropped the mortar down the tube, stood back to watch their handywork. Someone swore and at that point about 50 necks craned upwards to watch the mortar flying slightly off true north! Everyone bomb burst out of the way and sprinted as fast as they could to get to cover. The round came down very, very quickly - about 30 feet from the firing point and blew quite spectacularly! No one was hurt but the mortar was not in good nick!! We did get a good showering of earth and little rocks and things.
After that, POs were not allowed to do live firing all at once!
That is funny, zofo, I especially like the mental imagery of "everyone bomb burst out of the way."
Giving this thread a bump because I like it.

Another time and again in Canada as an Arty safety officer.
Occasionally the guns would fire smoke and when they did the prairie would be alight and had to be put out using nothing more than a long broom handled device with a leather flap at the end. I can remember one such incident I was whacking away at the fire when I felt my fire whacker hit something hard and it made a noise that was not the whacker hitting the ground. When I looked I could see a 105mm blind lying next to my feet, as I looked around me further I could see a lot more.
I didnt hang around there I can tell you.

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