Sergeant Tomas had a home boy in Lima Troop, a friend from Refugio High School, Charlie Wilson. Tomas and Wilson enlisted within a month of each other in 1965. Tomas had infantry Basic and AIT at Fort Polk, in the swamps of Louisiana. Wilson decided he’d rather ride, and enlisted for cavalry scout, with Basic and AIT at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Tomas visited Wilson now and then, and Wilson made a couple of trips from L Troop area and dropped in at Air Cav Troop, to see how the upper class lived, he said on his first visit.
On his second visit, Wilson talked about a short operation 3rd Squadron conducted east of Blackhorse base camp. The area was mostly jungle, with no villages to speak of, no rice paddies, but some wood cutters.
In the operation, L Troop came upon what probably was a VC battalion base camp. There were plenty of bunkers, plus bamboo huts and a good size kitchen.
Wilson said his platoon took heavy machine gun fire from one bunker. The ACAVs returned fire – seven .50-calibers and 14 M60 machine guns – but the VC bunker was built well.
“It looked like we might not take out the bunker,” he said. He grinned when recounting the rest of the story. “And then a tank from H Company drove between a couple of ACAVs and up to the bunker, depressed the main gun as much as possible and put the muzzle as close to the middle firing aperture as it could.”
He laughed and waved his hands. “It was – It was something else, Man. That 90-millimeter gun fired, and there was dust and dirt and pieces of gook and shit coming out of all the firing apertures. We were all applauding and shaking our fists and saying, ‘All right, Man! All right!'” He shook his head. “It was something else, Man.”