Recalling Dec 4 . After being taken out by the explosion some things are fuzzy I saw the truck hit by the RPG where the airman died it was just minutes before I was hit .
The ambulance was called for me my leg was bleeding but I knew it wasn't life threatening some time later it arrived and I climbed into the back just as I entered there was radio traffic to the ambulance that the was a seriously wounded on down the road the diver responded with they had a patient and were enroute back.
At that time I opened the door and told the medic to get him and pick me up on the way back I returned to the line they went on and shortly returned I rode back in the passenger seat the other wounded was an ARVN soldier with a gunshot to the chest.
I remember getting out at our infirmary .
The next thing I recalled was wakening up in the Hospital (3rd Field) Having a hole about the size of a silver dollar wired together in the back of my thigh.
I don't remember being awarded the purple heart by the Base Commander.
A few days later I returned to the barracks and was greeted by a group of well wishing buddies.My buddy Neil Kessler told me TSgt Leech was putting me in for an award and I asked for what he told me because I refused help and sent the ambulance on to pick up the other guy.
Later TSgt Leech came by to tell me he was recommending me for the Silver Star at that time I told him I seen nothing heroic about it and would not accept any award so not to put it in he honored my wishes but did put it in my next Airman Performance Review which guaranteed me a stripe when I eligible.
Wilbert B. (Jr) Arrant
From: Wilbert Arrant (377th Air Police Squadron)|
To: Ted Morris (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, OIC)
Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2009 7:27 AM
Subject: Dec 4 1966
Sir: I was a member of the 377th Air Police the night of Dec 4 66 when Tan Son Nhut was hit. I was on the premier in a fire fight with Charlie when I was taken out by a grenade. I have always wondered from The explosion was tremendous.
From the corner of my eye I saw sparks and the object come through the air it landed less than two feet away in the ditch beside me. Being the ripe old age of 19 my motor skill were pretty fast I jumped up, took one step and dove for the ground.
The explosion like a tidal wave, my M16 was ripped from my hand and my steel pot was ripped from my head my body felt like jello could think somewhat but could not move immediately. By the grace of higher power I only received a small piece of shrapnel in the leg and was back to work in 30 days completed my tour.
I know by it having a fuse it had to be homemade always wondered what it was made of and how it compared to our orndance would you have a picture you could share? Your job was one of the most dangerous there always looked up to your profession and appreciated the job you did.
After my discharge spent the next 30 years as a member NC Highway Patrol.
Thank you for your site and time
A2C Wilbert B Arrant.
From: Ted Morris (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, OIC)|
To: Wilbert Arrant
Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 9:26 PM
Subject: RE: Dec 4 1966
Thanks very much for your email and comments. I really appreciate them. Glad you recovered from the wounds and had a great career in the NC Highway Patrol.
You say you saw sparks, then the impact and explosion. I think It was an RPG round rather than a hand grenade. There are some photos (in the article) of the types of ordnance we captured from the VC that night. They used whatever they could find. Homemade Chinese, Japanese, French, ours. Homemade ones were like tin cans, similar to the photo of the directional mine shown in the photo in the article.
I remember when one of your SP buddies shot that VC as he was ready to toss his homemade grenade at our EOD team. I sure wish I knew his name!
Thanks for your email sharing your own experiences, Wilbert.
Thank you for your years of service, both in the AF and NCHP!