The Photographer!
Mad Minute in May

© 2006) by T.J. McGinley,
C, 1//327/101  Abn. Div., VN – 68-69


The Photographer
By T.J. McGinley

In early May 1968, C Company had found one of the largest caches of enemy weapons discovered during the Vietnam War. This attracted a lot of attention; and we were invaded by lots of high ranking officers and news people. Most didn’t stay very long beings we were in Indian country; but one photo journalist found the field to be quite exciting and stayed with us for a week writing stories and taking photos.

We took him on patrols with us so he could get a real taste of what we were doing on a day-to-day basis. I was walking point on one of these patrols when I spotted a NVA soldier and took a couple of shots at him.  We all got down and on line, and opened fire on his position.  In situations like this you shoot first and ask questions later. The photographer thought he was in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, and scrambled from place to place snapping as many photos as he could.

Under most circumstances, small groups of NVA don’t stick around long in a firefight.  They knew jets, gunships or artillery would be descending on their location within a few minutes.  After a short amount of time and a substantial amount of ammo fired up, we knew the bad guys were more then likely gone.  So we started grandstanding for the photographer; straining hand grenade pins and pulling them out with our teeth, standing up, yelling and letting loose with a whole magazine on automatic while the machine-gunner blazed through a couple hundred rounds of ammo, and so on.     

Our company commander, Captain Tom Kinane, who only carried one magazine of ammo and never got involved in a firefight unless he absolutely had too, saw this display and came up with us.  As the reporter snapped away, Tom stood above the machine-gunner and fired his one magazine. I’m sure it made an impressive photograph. We all began to snicker at this unusual display of heroism from our leader.  The reporter was beginning to catch on when order came around, “Mission accomplished, let’s go.”  We all cleared our weapons, stood up and casually walked down the hill snickering at our antics.

The reporter was a little set back by this and I would love to see the pictures he took that day.  We all probably could have been court-marshalled for something.

T.J. McGinley
Tiger Force
C, 1/327/101  Abn.Div. VN – 68-69