The Three Little Pigs

In the fall of 1968, the combined Anti-Tank and Recon platoons were sent on a forty mile trek to the site of the 106mm recoilless rifle range. Forty miles on dirt roads in a spleen numbing trip. We had a combined 9 Recoilless rifles mounted on jeeps and were given three 2 1/2 ton trucks to transport several hundred rounds of boxed 106mm rounds. The total complement of the two platoons was 56 men.

The range was on the edge of a farm with a large cliff set about 1000 yards across a gravel field. There was no permanent cadre, each unit was on their own.

Upon driving onto the gravel field, we had all the vehicles pull into a tight formation. The troops quickly unloaded large spools of concertina wire and placed the wire around the outside of the bunched vehicles. Once this was done, we proceeded to set up tents for the three night stay.

Within 30 minutes two decrepit trucks came racing out from the nearby village. They pulled up just outside our small compound and proceeded to disgorge twenty to thirty young and not so young ladies. For the next three days we were surrounded. The young and virile troops quickly learned that they could clear the concertina fence by getting a running start and sommersaulting over the wire.

For the next several weeks the two platoons had a heightened incidence of VD.

First thing the next morning we drove the jeeps with the mounted 106mm recoilless rifles out of the fenced area. We left several guards inside the concertina and closed the one opening. We spent the rest of the morning shooting sighting rounds from the 50 caliber rifle mounted on top of the 106mm rifle. In the afternoon we started firing the 106’s at targets set against the cliff roughly 1000 yards away. To ensure the safety of the resident civilians, we posted red flags at either end of the cliff. After we had fired the first several rounds, we saw a group of small and medium size boys come running out from behind some boulders near one side of the cliff. We quickly called for a cease fire and watched the boys scrabble around for the pieces of metal from the fired rounds. The lieutenant in charge drove down to the cliff area and with a Katusa(Korean Augmentation to the US Army- little Choi of Honey Pot fame) acting as interpreter, worked out a system to ensure the safety of the boys. After every three rounds, the troops would stop firing for a period to enable the boys to pick up the metal. After a few minutes we would beep our horns and the boys would leave the target area. In spite of the danger, the system worked and nobody was killed or wounded during the next two days. We were all impressed with the ingenuity of the Koreans. Any waste was recycled to become a useful product. Brass cartridges became plates which were sold back to the US troops, coke cans became chimneys for the charcoal fires that heated the houses in winter(these didn’t work to well as there were occasional deaths).

At the end of the training days we had expended all the rounds and had accumulated a very large pile of raw wood boxes.

After several radio calls, a single deuce and a half came driving down the road. The driver told us that the other trucks were not available and that we were to make do as per the Battalion Transportation Office. We piled as many of the 56 platoon members into the nine jeeps and our small truck. The balance piled into the deuce and a half. Concertina wire was looped around the 106’s. Once all was loaded we still had a very large pile of wooden ammo boxes with no place to put them.

The LT made the decision to leave the boxes and return his men to the Battalion area 40 miles away. Four hours later, the LT was severely reprimanded for having left the wooden boxes. Two additional trucks were rounded up and the LT returned to the range to get the boxes.

Imagine his horror when the three truck convoy rounded the corner and the gravel field and small farm came into view. There was not a single box to be seen.

The local farmer, when queried, swore that he had seen nothing.

The Lt. radioed the situation back to Battalion Hq. and was informed that he might have to pay for the wood. At a base pay of $202 a month this was a daunting prospect.

The decision was made to return to the platoons home base. As the convoy pulled out of the gravel field, the Lt. saw what appeared to be a brand new 15 by 15 hooch, newly painted. It appeared to be made out of raw wood. The family moving in appeared to be happy.


4 Responses to “The Three Little Pigs”

  1. 1 dr nolan May 7, 2013 at 6:16 am

    I usually do not even understand how I finished up here, however I assumed
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  2. 2 metal fence June 4, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Truly when someone doesn’t understand then its up to other viewers that they will help, so here it happens.

  3. 3 mustangdave1 March 1, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    My MOS was 11H, which was recoiless rifle. It’s been 50 years now, but I am pretty sure it was 105mm not 106; however, there might have been a 106 as well. Your posts bring back memories. I was on the DMZ in Korea in 1969-1970.

  1. 1 tecosystems » links for 2007-02-28 Trackback on February 28, 2007 at 5:35 am

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