UNSUNG HERO PAUL CORR
|There I was standing next to the helipad
waiting for my chopper to come and get myself and two other FNG'S (one of them
a new Lt. to replace the Lt. that was killed two weeks before). I had been in
the Nam for over 2 weeks, up to this point, going through a refresher course
down on the beach of Chu-Lai. This morning I had arrived by truck and was
issued my gear, new boots, helmet and liner, web gear, new fatigues, and a
weapon and was told to wait down at the helipad for my chopper.
Soon enough a chopper came in and amidst the swirling dust one man got off the chopper and just for a moment we stood eye to eye in sharp contrast to each other. He was a Grunt, what I was soon to be, and he looked it. He was only about 5' 10" but somehow he looked bigger, his helmet and his fatigues were coated with a film of red dirt that looked orange against his OD green fatigues. his boots were caked with the same reddish mud and the black leather of his boots were completely worn to a rough grey color . His face was all sweat and he looked like he had not shaved in a week and his hair was well down below his color. He had an M-16 and some grenades hanging from his flak vest, in short, he looked like John Fucking Wayne to my eyes. As our eyes locked I knew what I was about to see and experience things that would change me forever. I saw it in his blue eyes. I would see those eyes again and again in many people I met during my tour.
At the time I did not know this Grunts name but I later learned his name was Paul Corr and he was in the 3rd Plt. of my Company. Since I was in 2nd Plt. I never got to officially meet Paul.. Paul was near the end of his first tour of duty when I first saw him on the helipad. I later learned he enlisted for a 2nd tour of duty.
Fast forward 8 months later..............
Our Co. was on a mission to Combat Assault, by chopper, our Co. into Dragon Valley, a long known VC held territory. We were to come into the Valley and land 2 choppers at a time and unload men to secure the perimeter until all 12 choppers were unloaded. We had a "puff the magic dragon" gunship with us for support and a smoke screen was laid down to cover us in case of a hot LZ. I don't really know if we were getting any incoming fire all you could hear was 24 chopper M-60's firing at will as we unloaded. But I managed to jump out of the chopper into waist deep rice paddy7 water and waded to the edge of an old rice paddy dyke. Soon all of us were "ashore" and we got our briefings and were told that 3rd Plt. would take point to start off with. That was fine with me. But since I was 2nd Plt. point man I knew I could be called upon to walk point before this mission was over.
Soon 3rd Plt started out followed by 1st. Plt. and then 2nd Plt was last. But we had not gone very far when there was a burst of AK 47 fire that brought everybody to the dirt. The point had been ambushed by a lone VC with an AK. Paul Corr never new what hit him as the AK round went into his forehead. he dropped dead instantly. The VC had killed Paul and seriously wounded two men behind Paul with just one 12 round burst or so. We were stopped in our tracks by him. The VC got away so our CO called in a bombing strike on the hill this VC popped out of and we took cover as the Air Force pretty much flatted the hill down somewhat for us. After that I was assigned to point and I walked it for the rest of the day with no contact.
Paul Corr did not owe it to America to do a second tour of duty in Nam. He had survived one tour of duty, he had survived the Tet Offensive, he had survived numerous firefights, and rocket attacks. He knew he was pressing his luck with the roll of the dice, and yet, he reenlisted for a second tour. But not a second tour sitting in some air conditioned headquarters office where he got a cold beer any time he wanted. No he reenlisted for the most dangerous job and he walked point to boot, even though he had every right to play it safe.
So this post is in memory of his sacrifices and the sacrifices of all the other "UNSUNG HERO'S of America.
From the bottom of my heart I say THANK YOU Paul Corr
1/6 198th LIB AMERICAL DIV.