Thanksgiving 1968

Shannon Tilton
(son of a Manchu)


Veterans of the 187th AHC,

I was just made aware of your site a few days ago.  My father SSG James Tilton was a squad leader for 1st Plt, Co A, 4/9th, Manchus and was in country from Sept. 68 to Sept 69. I have enjoyed looking at your site and have noticed several messages and articles from the November 27 1968 ambush in which your unit assisted the Manchus.

 I know this day was hell for everyone involved including my father who has mentioned this day to me several times.  He lost a lot of friends as I noticed your unit had also. 

I remember him telling me that during the approach to the LZ, everyone came under intense enemy fire.  I don't know who's ship he would have been in but he said he was in the lead chopper, but I don't recall which side he said they came in on.  

I remember him saying that the pilot came in over some rubbers trees which were about fifteen feet off the ground and was telling them to jump out.  Well he stated that they had their feet on the landing skids and were looking at the long drop to the ground, when the Huey behind them took an RPG round and exploded.  At this point he said his squad was jumping out of the helicopter like airborne troops and crashing through the rubber trees.  After hitting the ground he had to administer first aid to a soldier who had a bullet ricochet off the M-60 rounds he had strapped across his chest, which then severed off his thumb.  

Sometime during the fight he and his RTO, who's name I think was Beverly, started receiving fire from a woman manning a .51 caliber machine gun in a bunker in front of them.  As they were crawling through the tall grass one of the 51 caliber rounds ripped through my fathers shirt missing him but hitting Beverly, who was directly behind him, in the jaw, going in one side and out the other.  He basically had to use a field dressing tied around Beverly's head to keep his jaw in place.  

I remember him saying the woman kept adjusting fire to the left and right trying to hit him, and after a little while he got close enough to take out her bunker with a LAW.  

The way he described the sheer volume of fire must have been unreal.  I also recall him having witnessed one of his fellow Manchus taking a direct hit in the head by an RPG, which the NVA must have had plenty of that day.  

If I recall correctly a lot of the NVA involved in the fighting that day were women, who were known as "Delta 14".  A name which I don't know how they received.  I do know that the men of the 187th AHC deserve and have my most sincere appreciation due to the fact that my father left Vietnam with an air medal, for having flown over several hundred times.  I realize that he accomplished this not due to anything he had done but due to the skill and bravery of your pilots and crew. Thank all of you for watching after him and allowing me to have a father to grow up with.

Shannon Tilton
(Son of a Manchu)


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