By Wendell Brownfield
Wendell “Skip” Brownfield of Elizabethtown shared with the Independent a letter which he wrote to Americal Journal concerning his military service. The letter was published in the January-February-March 2019 magazine which is “dedicated as a living memorial to all veterans of the Americal Division.” The front cover of the magazine features images from Vietnam, The Brady Collection, of soldiers. The Americal Division is dedicated to those that served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Brownfield wrote the following letter to the editor of the magazine. “On February 5, 1970, ten of us left Hill 411 to set up a night ambush in an area where a lot of enemy activity had been noticed. On point was “Big Perry” (Kenneth), then came “Pee Wee” (Dennis Hughes), followed by “Mac” (Jack McWhorter). There were no moon and stars. It was very dark. Pee Wee got us to the wood line and all of a sudden there was an explosion. This was followed by gunfire from the woods. Pee Wee was shot in the arm and Mac received shrapnel in the face. The rest of us fell back to a wallowed out place in the ground and returned fire.
Mac and Pee Wee were down and hollered at us to come and get them because they were wounded. The RTO and I crawled into the woods and came across Big Perry who was bloody and his clothes were smoking. He wasn’t moving. We had a flashlight with a red lens to help guide us. We pulled them back into the open so a Medevac helicopter could get in. Our M60 had jammed but we kept up steady fire until the chopper came in under fire. Our RTO received word from the hill that a larger enemy force was headed towards us. The hill started firing flares in the air so we could get our directions. Although none of us received recognition that night we were like every other Vietnam Vet. We did our job. Jackie Ray McWhorter died on December 6, 2016. May he rest in Peace. (Editor’s note: The Americal Division DTOC report indicates that this incident occurred at 1955H at grid coordinates BS556715. A unit of C/3/1/11 reportedly triggered a booby trap of a large explosive, possibly an artillery round).” End of letter from Brownfield.
Brownfield told the Independent that he served several months in the military “without a scratch”, yet back home in Hardin County while serving as sheriff, he was shot while on a call. Brownfield said it was a blessing from God that he served in the military without physical injury.
The Independent is grateful to Brownfield and all veterans who served the United States of America in the military.