Jim Beals: Delta 1

Delta 1

Submitted by: Jim Beals

Names and places are very hard for me, but my experiences, the feelings I had for the people and the land are still very vivid.

I was in the Delta CAP units. Our radio name was "Misdirect 1". We were in Dinh Bahn Province. I was there from March to October 1968.

It was a small 'ville, with our compound on one side, then the river and paddies on the other. Treelines ran all through them. We were located right on a road that I always thought of as Rt 1. The people in the 'ville were great to us. They were willing to do what ever the crazies thought up to do...like build a school.

The school did get built, then blown up by the VC. The village elders asked us not to build another, or to rebuild that one. They said it would cause problems for them.

The frustration factor for us was greater than the fear. It seemed the more we tried to help the 'ville, the more the VC terrorised them. In the end of my stay we were reduced to just patrols. Anything to try to keep "Charlie" off the villager's backs.

I cared very much for the Vietnamese people that I met on my tour. I think if I could do it over again, I would try to do more.

I can distinctly remember one old lady that kept getting a sore on here arm, a very deep, very angry type sore. She came and hunted me down about twice a month to cut off the top of that sore and pour disinfectant into it to try tjo get it to heal. It took three months to get it to stop infecting and heal, and I know it hurt like the dickens. But I was the only one she would let touch her. If the corpsman, who came out to our 'ville every week, tried, she would scream and raise hob.

Maybe we didn't do much good, but it wasn't because we didn't care. It was because the circumstances, and our own government, wouldn't let us.

Jim Beals
Delta 1

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