Excerpt from Volume 1, Chapter 23: Raven: He No Surrender, by Anonymous, USAF/CIA
As we circled overhead, I saw a soldier pop up out of the little bunker on the top and spray the Meo with an AK-47. When he popped up, the Meo all hit the ground and when he dropped back into the hole, they would rise up again and start chucking grenades at the hole. He’d pop up again, they’d fall down, he’d spray them, and the cycle would repeat itself. It looked to me like he was in a world of hurt and would probably just as soon call this whole madness off before he got himself killed.
After two or three of these cycles, I sad to Uva Li, “He’d probably like to quit if he thought he could survive surrendering.”
Uva said, “He no surrender.”
I said “How do you know?”
He replied, “He Viet Minh, he no surrender.”
I thought, “That’s silly. He obviously would rather not get killed if he can help it.”
I decided to call the strip where I had been the day the A-1 was shot down, and as luck would have it, General VangPao was there, personally running the show. I reiterated my statement that I thought the Vietnamese would like to surrender if he thought he would survive the attempt. VangPao said exactly the same thing the Indian had said, “He no surrender.”
Well, having watched another cycle of hand grenades and AK-47 spray, I decided to take the situation into my well-meaning American hands and personally urge the Viet Minh to surrender. I determined to do this by making a pass close by the bunker with my hands in the air just as he popped up to spray the grenadiers. I communicated my plan to the Indian, and he just said, “He no surrender.” He probably was thinking, “This stupid American is going to get us both killed.” In any case, we had all the windows open in the O-1, which was our normal configuration. There were a couple of reasons for this – first, it was hot and second, you could hear the ground fire a lot easier. I made a diving turn toward the bunker and as the Vietnamese popped up to spray, I was going by just behind him about 50 feet away, flying with my knees. I turned to face him with my arms and hands raised in the universal gesture of surrender. He, of course, had no way of knowing the altruistic purpose of my maneuver. As he popped up he probably got a glimpse of movement out of the corner of his eye. He probably couldn’t hear me, having been temporarily deafened by the grenades, but he spun around and sprayed a burst of automatic fire right in my face. Fortunately, he didn’t do a good job of it and missed us all together. Unfortunately, he scared the bejesus out of me!
Now, I might be difficult to train but not impossible. My heart immediately went to high revs when he shot at us, and about two seconds later I went from scared to really mad. Instead of trying to save his life, now I was going to kill his ass. I shoved the throttle to the firewall and went chandelling up to roll in, while arming the one smoke rocket I had left. Now he had obviously seen this maneuver before, because he ducked back into the hole. Now the entrance to the bunker was a hole about two feet wide by four feet high, and I was going to put that Willy Pete (White Phosphorous) rocket right in the hole and fry him. Well, I was good but not quite that good. I missed the hole about one foot to the right but I was so low when I launched the rocket that it didn’t have time to arm and it just kicked a bunch of dirt into the hole. I pulled off and circled the hill, gnashing my teeth and speculating upon his parentage and sexual orientation while the Indian quietly chuckled in the back seat.
After a couple of minutes he popped up out of the hole again, spraying the Meo. They put their faces in the dirt, but this time he didn’t drop back into the hole but started climbing out. I guess he decided that now that air power was part of the equation, he had better di-di (Vietnamese for go fast) and get out of there. But wait! He was pulling another soldier out of the hole with him while sending short bursts from the AK at the Meo, who were happy to stay flat. The other soldier was having a hard time moving and the first guy was dragging him up and out of the hole, then down the hill. Now, the singular valor being demonstrated went right over my head at the time. I was still really angry at that guy for blazing away at me when I had been trying to save his life, so obviously I was still going to try to kill him. I was out of rockets, but I carried a 12 Gauge Savage pump shotgun in the airplane with me, so I again dove down while I unlimbered the shotgun and the Indian got his M-16 hanging out the window.