Henry M's Experience
I am going to start with 1969 event. I had arrived in Vietnam on my first tour of duty as a military policeman (MP) and initially assigned to the central part of the country in the role of an infantryman in October 1968. During December I was reassigned to a more traditional role for MP's and myself and five others were moved south to the city of Binh Hoa located just outside of the major military base of Long Binh. The more traditional role of MP's was town patrol (law enforcement duties) and providing security escort for convoys moving troops and supplies along major routes. On February 22, 1969 as my company was preparing for duty of town patrol we were told that military intelligence was reporting massive enemy movements throughout Vietnam and it looked like another Tet Offensive may be coming and that hostilities were expected later that night. My shift started at 6 PM and would run until 6 AM. As the night wore on it was noted that the population was disappearing off the streets. This city was always busy with traffic and people. At midnight we were notified that our alert level went to "yellow" meaning enemy attack was imminent. The plan was to withdraw from patrolling and return to the MP station at the appropriate time. My partner and I were given one last mission before being pulled back in to our defense position. We were told to go to the edge of Binh Hoa City and provide an intelligence report about what were could see, if anything. We arrived at our destination and immediately noted there was not one human being, not one dog, not one vehicle in sight or moving This area was normally bustling with people and traffic. We stopped in the middle of the road and turn off the engine to the jeep. Total silence and all I heard was the wind blowing. I had stopped near the entrance to an alley and it was dark in the alley but seemed to have a little light from nearby lights from homes.
Just then I heard a noise in the alley. My partner heard it also. He immediately got onto the M-60 machine mounted on our jeep and I got out of the jeep with my M-16 at the ready and started walking down the alley to check out the noise. I was about 50-75 feet into the alley when I heard a voice say, "Get Out". The voice was male, clear, in English and I thought someone was standing next to me. I turned to see who that may be and no one was there. I then two steps forward and again the voice said "Get Out". This time the voice was loud, harsh stopping me from moving forward. I stopped in mid step. My hair on my arms and head were standing up and I felt immediate fear. The fear was so strong that I started backing up with my weapon at the ready. I backed out of the alley until I got back to my jeep. We departed the area immediately. I called in about the lack of people and was told we were now at "red alert level" meaning enemy hostilities had started and we were directed to return to the MP station. Gun fire and explosions were heard as we headed away from the area. Now I will not get into all the details of the next 48 hours but generally speaking I and my fellow soldiers fought from the roof top of the MP station as the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army attacked towards our position. We were not the target but the Binh Hoa Air Base was and we were located between the attacking forces and the air base. This was my first battle and I got scared but I never felt the fear I felt in that alley. After several days of fighting and the enemy forces withdrew we started collecting information and patrolling again. One of the intelligence reports I was able to read described the following information. On the north side of Binh Hoa enemy forces had attack in mass against the Binh Hoa Army Base where the headquarters for the 101st Airborne Division was located. The attack was being directed from a NVA headquarters element located in a building at the end of an alley. This location was attacked by gunships and US ground forces. 33 enemy were killed at that location. I went back out to that location and verified this was the same alley I had walked down and the same alley were the NVA had set up their headquarters in preparation for the attack on the army base. Where did this voice come from? My guardian angle from the other side? I most certainly would have been captured or killed by the NVA without any doubt in my mind.
The second incident was also in Vietnam. I was on my second tour and I was located in the Central Highlands this time providing security for military convoys moving along QL 19 from Phu Tai to An Khe and Plaikui. To get to these locations the convoys had to climb up through the An Khe Pass. A favoritearea for enemy ambushes. On 12 June 1971 as I was sitting at the top of the pass monitoring traffic and convoys coming up the pass one of the convoy's was attacked. Our job was to move to the ambush area and engage the enemy forces. I was one of three men in a V-100 armored vehicle and I was the crew chief. I directed the driver to the ambush area and we arrived there within a few minutes of the initial attack. We were immediately taken under very heavy fire with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. I saw a wounded soldier laying in the middle of the road. One of his arms and one of legs were blown off but he was alive and trying to get up. As I started to exit the vehicle to go to his aid I said to myself, "God please protect me" Immediately I had the very strong feeling come over me and felt like a wall was around me. The feeling was physical but I could not see anything. I knew I was protected and it stayed with me for the next several hours. I rescued that soldier that day and six others trapped in the kill zone and my crew and I stopped the ambush. The convoy was loaded with ammunition and lucky for us nothing exploded or we would have all been gone. While this physical force was around me I moved through a hail of automatic gun fire and explosions. I could hear the bullets passing by me (the bullets sound like angry bees as they pass). Bullets went between my legs, under my raised arms passed my head. One of my men was slightly wounded in the hand as bullets passed under my arm as I was reaching into the vehicle for more ammunition as I had run out. Once the fire fight was over the "force" lifted. This had to be the hand of God or an angel. There is no other explanation. While this "force" was around me I just knew I was going to be OK. I could feel it and it was a physical force, like I could reach out and touch it, it was just incredible. I do not know how else to describe it. And yes I was highly decorated for this but God made it possible.