M60 ...
Recon River crossing

Sister Bell
© Copyright (1997) by: Dale Isbell
HHC 2nd 62nd Mech. Infantry, 5th Mech. Div

Z Oasis, 7/66-11/66: I met Dale Rose in HHC 2nd 62nd Mech. Infantry, 5th Mech. Div. Got levied for the 1st Cav at the same time, and were both assigned to 'D' Co. 2nd of the 5th Cav, Recon platoon. Rose was larger than most guys so he immediately was given the M60 to carry. Stupid thing, an M60, heavy, caught on every vine, limb, twig, and wait-a-minute bush in the jungle, and never got off more than 50 rounds before it jammed.
      Crossing swollen streams occurred many times but one day we came up against a raging stream that had to be crossed. They tied a rope around one of the men that thought he could swim anything. Guys from California and Florida always seemed to think that anyway. He swam the river and tied to a tree on the other side. Since we all carried a short Swiss Seat rope and 'D' ring we tied the rope around our chests under our arms, hooked onto the rope with our 'D' ring and headed across.
      About midway across in the raging current, I hear Rose yell, "Oh God, Sister Bell!" My last name is Isbell, so I turned back to look at him, he was behind me. With eyes as large as saucers he said, "I dropped the GD machinegun." We looked to the other bank where the old man was standing and had witnessed the drop. He was swelling up like a balloon and about to start screaming. With tears in his eyes Rose reached up, unsnapped his 'D' ring and went down under the water. I'm frantically yelling and grabbing around under the frothing water and after what seemed like an eternity his hand came out of the water, grabbing me by the neck, jerking me under, but the sucker had that damn gun.
      Last I heard or saw of Dale Rose was a note and a picture he sent me from the hospital in Japan. He wrote, "They shot me in the belly, Sister Bell, but you know how it goes: It's hard, but it's fair."


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