Coke/Pepsi Kids Nuoc Ngot Bridge
Photos contributed by David “Hawk” Wayne
Rumor was true. First time we made a CA into the Ashau Valley we had turned Nuc Ngot security over to an ARVN outfit. We were told we weren’t out of sight good and the V C blew the train off the track , overran the bridge and lined the kids up, along with to Vietnamese Red Cross women, on the bridge and shot them all. When we heard about it we were ready to go back to the bridge and kick ass and take names. I have pictures of the same kids. I knew the one on top and the kid in the striped shirt on the right, but can’t remember their names .
You are correct that they blew the engine and one mine sweeping car, (they were pushed by the locomotive, loaded with stone and old steel RR ties. It was set off by a person west of the tracks. I was boarding a shithook to go to the “golf course” when the explosion occurred just south of town. I was on “the bridge” for only 12 days before loading up. We had a coke girl named Louie who was murdered within days of our departure. We found out about it from one of the engineers that swept the road daily. I was with 2nd Plt. A/2/327, and I don’t think I ever knew the name of the bridges, or the village south of the bridge. We left immediately after Tet ’69. James Gilbeaugh (sp?) and I spent Tet with the ruff puff unit just south of the bridge in the village to call in arty in case of an attack. All they wanted was illuminated all night long. Can someone help me with my memory?
In the fall of ’69 when I was at Nuoc Ngot you would have had to look to your right when looking for the mortar pit. The left side of the river was used as a chopper pad and VC/NVA graveyard. Besides the Mortar there was also a Jeep mounted Recoilless Rifle at the bridge back then.
LT. Doug sent me a picture (s) he took at Nuoc Ngot bridge when he was there last year, all packed away now. LT. how about sending some Nuoc Ngot Bridge pictures these Brothers won’t believe the peaceful change that has occurred over the last 35 years…
What a story you men are unfolding…the boys of Nuoc Ngot who joined together the tours of you men then having such a horrible ending.
I enlarged the photos enough to see that three of the six were smoking cigarettes. I never did get used to seeing an eight year old smoking.
We had our kids and coke girls at Lang Co bridge where 1st platoon of Delta NS was on security duty twice during my tour. I wonder how many of them were killed for being too friendly to us.
Kids and cab drivers are similar the world over. It was the kids that never knew peace in Vietnam. I guess it was that was in WW2 Europe and still that way today in many places of the world. Satan walks the earth and steals our kids in many ways.
I could say don’t take this stuff personal but how can it be anything but personal when it involved young kids. I hope they knew Christ in some way … maybe through the GIs or the orphanage.
The “Lin Yan” coke kid in my world I wrote of in my book, was an orphan who never knew peace as you say. He was cared for by the nuns at the Thua Luu orphanage school in Phuoc Loc a few hundred yards from Nuoc Ngot Bridge…. the church school is through the arch in the picture at the back…
Lt. D Doug
I too heard that after we left. I believe that the nice looking school teacher and anyone that helped us, was killed. Can not confirm though.
I remember little Matt, he was 12 years old. He was #1 in my book. Bought drinks from him. Also got a bottle of booze from one of them. Drank it on guard duty for 69 Tet, on south gate bunker.
I see that you and Tony and me and now Buz (Lemons) were on Nuoc Ngot at the same time. My last ambush was there. Feb. 2nd, 1969.
I got my confirmed body count (2) and two sks’s , which later disappeared from company.
No slack/above the rest
Thanks for the confirmation. I knew it, I knew it. Was beginning to think I just dreamed all this. Got to find my letters home and those photos. Pretty sure I have at least one pic of Louie. I know I have one of “Frenchie” and some of the other girls and boys. I will have a day and a half off in four more days and all I’m going to do is look for those pics and read over my letters.
Christmas ’69… I was there at Nuoc Ngot bridge when the DD’s visited… Don’t remember much more than that except that this picture of me was taken there at that time. I never really liked the pose… the camera snapped before I was ready!
Hawk at Nuoc Ngot Bridge, early 1969. I’m just about to take a swim in the river.
Same story here. Some honcho with women in one of those long black french limo’s came across the bridge and next thing we know it is no clothes, no swim. I went to the ville and got a mama-san to make me a pair of shorts out of a poncho liner and wa-la shorts and swim suit in one. Whats funny is I still have those shorts and two poncho-liner jackets.
We were set up on the ville side of the bridge, same side had a big bunker with stairs built up the RR side, next to the road ( which wasn’t paved at the time) and just outside the wire was a building with a large, rusted water tank on a short tower next to it. When I first got to Nouc Ngot Bridge we got into a fire-fight one night and a guy named Red Ant tried to fire three M-72 Laws at it because he thought a VC was in it. He ended up lobbing a grenade into it because he couldn’t get any of the Laws to fire. Next morning, after day-light it was discovered that he hadn’t removed the third safety on the Law. And there was no VC in the tank.
Not too long after the naked swimming incident we put a 12X12 timber on each end of the bridge to make the traffic slow down to keep the dust down. A Korean on a Hondo 90 thought he would be smart and fly around the end of the timber on our side of the bridge and ended up center punching a steel stake right between his eyes. He came to us to see if the medic could do anything and was sent to a Vietnamese hospital about a mile up the road toward Phu Bai. His bike was confiscated and last time I saw it, it was in the CO’s quarters in the back of the company clerks office at Camp Eagle. From there I think it was shipped to the states.
Seems to me I remember someone built a diving board between the RR bridge and the Hwy bridge. I remember looking into the river at that point and on the bottom of the river was all kinds of belted sixty ammo, grenades and M-79 rounds on the bottom of the river. We used to take star clusters and shot them into the water . They burn pretty good under water. Did ya know that?
For some reason I can’t bring up the last two sets of pics Mailman sent. Must be CP illiterate. Will get the wife to see what she can do later. Did find a lot of pics. Not all the ones of Nouc NGot I was looking for, but did find some of Los Banos and Srgt Shawmers Bridge and a guy named David Blalock ( Deceased now–Died at the hospital of a heart attack at age 42 while his daughter was giving birth to his grand-child–terrible shame) and the blown RR bridge and French bunker there. Got another story to tell about that, but know I have bored ya’ll beyond belief and I have to start nite-shift again tonite and have lots to do before I leave at 1600hrs (LOL) to go to work. Guess I should just write a book and be done with it.
Will sort thru my pics, get them scanned and send them along soon.
P.S. Some of ya’ll may remember a guy named Danny Rawls, I sent the after action report to Hannibal I think, about him and a WP booby-trapped gas can, anyway he used to get up before daylight and cook pancakes for everyone when we were on Nouc Ngot. He and the C.O. were the only ones who had a cot. He never had to pull any details by doing the cooking. Henry Raehal should remember him cause he had to burn the shitter ,LOL. Danny was a BAD DUDE with his sixty, too.
The following photos were contributed by Steve the “Mailman” Brogdon
More pics of Nouc Ngot bridge area
When I was at Nuoc Ngot we were set up on the other side, Like I told Hawk the side you set up on was a chopper pad and bad guy graveyard. Was the red ball paved while you were there? It doesn’t look like it in these pictures. It was paved when I arrived 9/69. Also while I was there, there were remnants of another Nuoc Ngot bridge lying in the water. The bridge in your pictures looks like it had had no guardrails built yet. Do you know what happened to the bridge before it?
The pics show the way it was when I left. I tend to remember that it had rails. We used them for diving. Sometimes we were buck naked.
We couldn’t dive off the bridge because of the ruble from the former bridge lying on the upstream side of the bridge. We did have swimming privileges in the river above the bridge where the CP was. We used to swim in our skin but some honcho drove by and chewed the CO out about it after that we had to have some kind of swim suite…
Yeah, I always carried a swim suit with me, along with sun tan lotion, beach umbrella and a cooler.
Seems to me I remember someone built a diving board between the RR bridge and the Hwy bridge. I remember looking into the river at that point and on the bottom of the river was all kinds of belted sixty ammo, grenades and M-79 rounds on the bottom of the river. We used to take star clusters and shot them into the water. They burn pretty good under water. Did ya know that?
I wonder if this is the diving board I remember? About Feb-March of 70 I had to sommand an E Co. Radar Platoon on a stream down the road from Nuoc Ngot right on Hwy 1 the south side with an RR arch bridge behind it a tad to the south. When I got there, the radar outfit had built a diving board, basketball backboard, 1/2 55 drum BBQ pit and a solid sand bag bunher WITH fan for the radar screens. Was a gas diving and swimming in the stream. Only pain in the ass was cuz of the radar, we took quite a few rocket attacks from the Bach Ma jungle side of the road. They only got close a few times as I think they were crude bamboo or pipe motors. I think I got my Air Medal with this outfit when I seggested to S2 that the radars would have a better view of the Phuoc Loc valley from the top of that large hill over looking the bay… the chopper jocks wanted to hot fire the LZ… fire on a combat air mission? I have a pic of that diving board I think… got it from Doc B?