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The Road

The Roads


The roads in Vietnam had many hazards. There was small cities and towns with narrow and crowded streets. Some were paved and some were dirt.  There were ones that were flat and others through steep mountain passes.  But these were on the good days.  During the monsoons, dirt became mud and in the heat of the summer, mud became dust.


                                Ride With Me
 "I was there, I was always on the defense about what I did in Vietnam.  The older vets will tell you Truck Driver!!!  What did you do in Vietnam???   I have also heard from Nam Vets.  Well bro come ride with me.
Ride with me today on QL 19 on the way to Pleiku.
Ride with me to An Khe, as we ride on dirt and some pavement left over from the french.
Ride with me past the South Viet Compound where they have M-16's, you still have M-14's for which there is no place to put in reaching distance.
Ride with me past the Korean's on the bridges and you wonder who was shooting at you last night on An Khe pass as you came up to camp.
Ride with me to the horseshoe turn at the top of the pass where poppasan turned his truck over in the middle of the road and can't go up or down, start to sweat then.
Come with me to the waterfall beside the road to fill your canteen and the 2nd louie hollars at you to get back in your truck and you think, what for its a bigger target than I am.
Ride with me to the assembly point at An Khe where the MP's turn South Vietnamese loose 1st.  I never figured out if this was policy to clear the roads of mines or just another way of messing with us.
Ride with me in this M-52 gas burner that was on its last legs when they gave it to me along with a 5 gallon can of oil.
Ride with me as we get to Mang Yang pass, makes you kind of sick to hear the noise, one truck already down, you seen it on the wrecker that the powers be blessed you with.
Ride with me as you nurse this piece of crap to the top of the hill praying, lord get me off this pass.
Ride with me as you break the top and the hook passes you, one in tow, none for you.
Ride with me as the gun jeep pulls up beside of you and the Sgt. asks "is that all that thing can do?" you think for yourself, can't he hear that rod knocking.
Ride with me as he says 5th Special Forces needs those loads bad, you start to laugh as he drives off.  What do they need all that toilet paper for?
Ride with me as you start on down the road, noise is real bad now as you wonder if you will get to Pleiku to get the butt reamed ofer this motor and you wonder how much they will take out of your pay per month to pay for it.
Ride with me as you think about how far it is to the Cav tanks, maybe a bridge with 11 bravo's on guard where you throwed that case of beer off that got you chewed out.
Ride with me its getting dark, the motors shot, where's the gun. where is the steel pot, I wish I had never heard of Vietnam.
Ride with me, I am under the truck trying to hide, this is a French grave yard.  Oh man what the hell do I do, nobody here but me.  Sgt gets a good cussing in my mind.  There is a village down the road where their women run around with no tops on.  Stay with me as I hear noise, motors, not tigers growling.  As hook arrives he has a multifuel, must have stole it, ask me you ok? Never better, got a cigarette, I smoked two packs.
Ride with me to Pleiku as we get a can of left over cold water for a shower, those 55 gal drums been empty for weeks!!!!  Damn IN COMMING!!!!!    Ride with me."
                                             Melvin Hodges
                                             597th Trans.




The roads were maintained by the engineers. They completed paving projects, inspected the road for damage and mines with the support of the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).  They cleared the foliage back away from the road so the enemy could not hide close to passing convoys.


"In the 23rd MP Co, we routinely escorted convoys as a major part of our mission.  In the 66th MP Co however our mission was more or less law enforcement, road and pipeline security and any other job that came along.  The transportation guys had much more effective security in the way of armored Gun Trucks than we could have.  The V100's were really not that good, what with the gun problems, thin armor and the fact that the driver being surrounded by 65 gallons of MOGAS in the tanks upfront.  We used them to patrol QL-19 along with the M151's.  We would look for the so called "outlaw" convoys by using what would now be called profiling.  By knowing who was supposed to be on the road and who were not.  There were checkpoints but they were usually near the city of Qui Nhon.  Once you hit QL-19, it was a open road to Pleiku.  We might occasionally set up a checkpoint somewhere but it was not a regular thing.  There was a POL pipeline running along QL-19 from Qui Nhon up to An Khe and possibly further west.  The Viet's would drill a hole in the pipe when the fuel was not flowing and then put a pipe, valve and hose system in and tap off the fuel into 55 gal drums.  In the morning road clearence runs we would see the emptys along side the road that were dropped off by the Viet trucks picking up the full ones.  We had a good pipeline fire one morning that engulfed a good portion of the road as well as several Viet hooches where fuel was being put into drums.  Imagine a 12" diameter pipe pouring fuel of some sort on to the road which was already on fire"   Al Feser  23rd MP Co.


Also to help maintain "safer" roads.  MP (Military Police) Units would patrol the highways, provide security for convoys and enforce driving rules. "Yes" it has been told that truckers did, on occasion recieve "Speeding Tickets" in the war zone.

Cadillac V-100

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Preserving the history of the truck driver in Vietnam