My main job in Vietnam (MOS) was 98C20, or Traffic Analyst. This was a cushy job back at some main base (usually) analyzing intercepted enemy radio traffic. We did well in this endeavor, mainly because we could read their traffic, but they had no hope of intercepting ours.
The downside to this job was we had dittys (guys who did the intercepting and typed it up) who had to be a lot closer to the bad guys than the analysts really needed to. But someone had to go out to the firebases and pick up this traffic. (No computer networks in those days..) So one day late in ’71 I went out to Firebase Carroll to pick up the days traffic.
FB Carroll was real close to the DMZ. The guys out there were constantly probed by the bad guys. They ultimately lost the fight when overrun in Easter of ’72. We landed during a quiet period (I thought..) and walked down the small road from the chopper pad to the intercept bunkers. (The helicopter lifted off while waiting for us, not usually a good sign…)
There was a lot of commotion in the main area of the firebase… 2 Americans were face to face about 20 feet apart ready to draw their weapons! One was a young guy, long hair, chains, obviously a doper, the other was the First Sergeant, ready to draw his service ’45. I to this day don’t know what they were arguing about, but luckily some officer intervened before somebody got killed. The doper had an M-16, easily outgunning the !st shirt, but I still would have bet on the old guy.
I gathered up my traffic, and signalled for the helicopter, headed home and ended another uneventful day in the ‘nam…