Thanks From A Hero
I spent three tours in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Airborne with side trips to Cambodia and Laos.
During my second tour of duty, I was assigned to the A-Team at Ben Het in the Central Highlands. In April 1970, the A-Team at Dak Seang, which was located in the Dak Poko valley surrounded by mountains, came under attack by the 28th North Vietnamese regiment and its attached units.
The North Vietnamese completely surrounded the camp and it came under intense attack from 122 mm rockets, 75 mm recoilless rifle fire, and 120 mm and 82 mm mortars from the surrounding mountains. The North Vietnamese launched ground attacks and were stopped at the perimeter, where they dug in.
I volunteered with another team member to be inserted into the camp to assist in the fighting. We flew in with as much ammunition that the helicopter could carry. Upon landing, a South Vietnamese Special Forces officer who was with us was killed by small arms fire. The camp was completely leveled except for the fighting bunkers, the John Wayne tower and the generator bunker. There were underground bunkers and trenches that were connected to the fighting bunkers.
The camp was low on ammunition, food and water. Resupply by
helicopters was not successful. The fire from the dug-in 14.5 mm and
12.7 mm was just too intense. Two helicopters were shot down during the
resupply attempt. We were just hanging on.
I was and still am in awe of those brave men flying through that intense fire to drop those supplies. They never wavered in their mission. They just kept on coming. They risked their lives for us and three of your gallant crews lost their lives saving ours. I’m here today because of their sacrifice. They gave all their tomorrows for my today. No words can express my feelings for what they did for me and my fellow Special Forces soldiers. I did not know any of them, but I’m here today to honor their memory and their sacrifice. Please, remember our young men and women who today are serving in harm’s way. God bless America, and God bless the United States Air Force!
Note: Sgt. Maj. Komac assisted in dedicating our memorial bench at the National Museum of the USAF on 2 Oct 2008. His remarks above were made at our dinner the previous evening.