I got the US Air Medal for flying gunner. I’d just go flying. It could be anything – ash and trash (a resupply run), combat assaults, whatever the aircraft was doing that day, or whoever I was relieving.
Once we were coming out of Dong Tam, going back to Bear Cat, and we were only a half click or so out of Dong Tam, climbing, and I got hit in the foot. All I said was: ‘Shit!’ The pilot said: ‘What happened?’ And I told him: ‘I’ve just been hit in the foot.’ Looking at him it was almost like a cartoon. His head was going round and round trying to see what happened. I was okay. It was a spent round and it had come up through palm trees, enough to lift my foot up, but not enough to go through the boot. It cost me 25 bucks in the bar for ‘losing my cherry’ (being shot)! I kept the bullet.