K Troop 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

The Blackhorse In Vietnam 1966 - 1972

hosted by Bob Hersey

Contributor's Corner

Paul Cameron

Paul Cameron

1st Infantry Div.

1969 - 1970

Web Page


Sp4 Paul Cameron served as a tower guard with Admin Company at Di An base camp until the division re-deployed back to Ft Riley, Kansas in 1970. The 11th ACR (Blackhorse) came into Paul's area and resumed operations in and around Di An. He was re-assigned to USARV in Saigon area for the remainder of his tour.

Paul lives with his wife, Cherri, in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri.  He is retired, having served as high school guidance counselor with the Coulterville School Unit District #1 in Coulterville, IL.  Paul has contributed his pencil drawings and poems.

Paul has offered to make a free pencil sketch, crayon sketch or cartoon caricature for any K Trooper who would care to send him a photo.  Contact Paul at his e-mail address about or send photo to:

Paul Cameron
351 Roberts Street
Sainte Genevieve, MO 63670-1042


Self Portrait - FNG in full combat gear at Di An 1969.
Portrait Sketch - Vietnam 1969.
Walking Patrol - Northwest of Lai Khe 1969.
Taking A Break - Highway 13, 1969.
1st. Aviation Battalion Hueys - Recovering patrol Northwest of Di An, 1969.
Cool Down - Mechanized infantryman cools down with wet towel East of Ben Cat, 1969.
M-60 Machine Gunner - B Co. 2nd. Battalion, 18th Inf. West of Lai Khe, 1969.
Dog Team - 1st. Dog Platoon around Lai Khe, 1969.
Blackhorse Hippie - 11th ACR Trooper playing guitar on Di An bunker, 1970.
Leaving For R&R - Long Binh, 1970.
Big Red One Going Home - to Ft. Riley, Kansas, 1970.


I'm really here . . In Vietnam
Ghosts of Vietnam
Getting Short Already
A Portrait of Vietnam
Marvin the ARVN
The Ho Chi Minh Trail
Walking Point in Nam
Choppers on the Way
Rain Rain Rain
Just a Hippie Grunt
A Grunt From Arkansas

I'm really here . . . In Vietnam

President Kennedy has been shot
America is stunned and distraught
College campuses full of dismay
Classes are dismissed today.

LBJ takes the country's reins, no delay
It's heating up in a small country far away
America's hearing alarming things
Words to songs make us think as we sing.

Young men jumping out of choppers into elephant grass
Some of us in college with a student deferment class
None of us care about some civil war in Vietnam
We just want to live and we do give a damn.

Uncle Sam wants you to join his team of dogs
You better hide well behind those logs
Keep up your college grades and lie low
Oops! You're drafted, go with the flow

Left . . . right . . . Get in Step . . . hurry up and wait
Keep your head down and aim that rifle straight
You're in Uncle Sam's fighting machine now
Take care of business and forget about the cows.

Training is over with orders for Vietnam in sight
Hold-overs waiting two weeks, still no MACV flight
Is this a dream or are we going insane?
Names are called out and we're on a plane.

In-coming rockets at Bien Hoa air strip
Makes for a rough landing on this trip
Welcoming committee gave us the in-country scoop
Loaded on buses to Long Binh sixty in a group.

Grunts hate the guys in the rear
Short-timers give new guys hard way to steer
Sailors and Marines can't get along with one another
One is always insulting the other's mother.

Listening to rock and roll to stir the soul
Yearning for the day to leave this hellhole
365 days and a wake-up with my Uncle Sam
I'm really here . . . in Vietnam.

Ghosts of Vietnam

Marching to cadence songs at Fort Ord
Drill Sergeant's lyrics about Our Jesus Lord
Some of us pray and others don't give a damn
Message is loud and clear from Ghosts of Vietnam

Just weeks ago other troops trained here
Now it's our turn to rush through the fear
Some have already died crying out to "Mom"
We're beginning to feel Ghosts of Vietnam

As drill sergeants scream "death" into our ears
We turn our thoughts to those loved so dear
Executing combat drills like practicing for Prom
Always wondering about Ghosts of Vietnam

A weekend pass is just a brief time away
Twenty four hours later we're back to stay
A few hours to forget about a ticking time bomb
We are promptly reminded about Ghosts of Vietnam

Boarding our plane for a place time forgot
We tighten our lips and fear getting shot
Voice from the crowd yells, "Go die in Nam!"
Thus, we're scorned by Ghosts of Vietnam

Landing on Bien Hoa's war torned airstrip
We run to safety crouched lower than our hips
Thinking about home and Grandma's grape jam
in-coming rockets introduce us to Ghosts of Vietnam

Helicopters sound like gigantic bumble bees
From this day forward no sleeping with ease
Visions of death like wolves dressed as lambs
These choppers carry our dead to Ghosts of Vietnam

One year passed and it's time to leave this place
Greeted in Long Binh by a familiar face
Like a class reunion we gathered as to give a damn
Homeward bound to forget Ghosts of Vietnam.

Getting Short Already

Here at Long Binh just a new guy
Watching hundreds going bye-bye
Short Timers have done their gig
New guys issued fatigues too big

Jungle fatigues and boots so worn
Short Timers seem glad and forlorn
Most give pity to us new guys
Some yell "Short" passing by

Orders for a field unit on my way
Maybe I'll be short one day
For now just want time to fly by fast
Already thinking about going home at last

Being here is bad enough for most of us
Waiting to go back to the world or bust
Two months to go and count to the day
Now a Short Timer not even wanting to stay

Some extending time here to get out for good
I'll take my orders for dear old Ft. Wood
Down to days thinking in terms of hours
Getting shorter and dreaming of hot showers

226 hours to go and DEROS papers in hand
Soon be crossing the big pond to the homeland
With just two days left to board a MACV flight
Got to be real careful on guard duty at night

Duffel bag packed full and dog tags on
This Short Timer is all but long gone
Back to Long Binh heading for better places
With faded fatigues on for the new guys' faces

New guys asking, "What's it like here in Nam?"
Just too short to answer or even talk to them
Rocket attack tears up Bien Hoa airstrip
MACV flights cancelled . . . sorry, today no trip

Lots of time to doodle a combat sketch of sort
A steel pot sitting on boots and reads, "Short!"
Boarding a freedom bird, so crowded and big
We're on a jet plane and done with this gig

A Portrait of Vietnam

A small people in a distant land
Water buffaloes in rice paddies stand
The country side so green and nice
Peasant farmers groom fields of rice

War takes away the young and fry
Leaving villages with fears and cries
Old papa-san and mama-san alone
Left to defend all that they own

First the French now the USA
Come to aid this land so far away
Constantine wire strung everywhere
Sand bags, bunkers, and night flares

Ho Chi Minh on his trail to rule
Churns this country into a cesspool
Motor scooters and the lambrettas
People packed in like heads of lettuce

Incoming rockets and weapons fire
Sappers, coming through the wire
Observation tower calls for support
Not the routine situation report

Artillery rounds fly over head
Pounding the earth like tons of lead
Loud sounds like elephants walking around
Made by mortar shells shaking the ground

Mini gun tracers streak up the sky at night
Gunships taking chase to end another fight
Strange little land in the middle of a war
Beautiful view from a helicopter door

Marvin the ARVN

Raised in Vietnamese hamlets
Trained by American war vets
Army of the Republic Vietnam
Better known as ARVN to Uncle Sam

Mid-day napping his favorite past time
He'd rather sleep than fight on line
Jungle fatigues cut down to his size
Steel pots too big for these little guys

Marvin the ARVN became his name
Sleeping on ambush part of his game
Careless, unwilling and complacent
Soon he will take over as our replacement

Vietnamization was the name of our plan
Marvin the ARVN's turn to take a stand
Operation after operation seemed to stall
Marvin couldn't hold his ground at all

American grunts retaking what was lost
Marvin the ARVN was an expensive cost
The fall of Saigon ended our Vietnam
Marvin the ARVN blew it for Uncle Sam.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail

As we wondered out into the jungles of this war
We spied trip wires and tunnels to blow us afar
Point man was a few yards ahead of the platoon
He snuffed a sniper and got pinned down too soon

Darkness of nightfall set in and all accounted for
Point man returned without a scratch, but sore
All quiet throughout the night, no signs of a Cong
At daybreak saddled up and moved out with a song

NVA troops use this trail for supplies transport
Definitely no place for grunts growing short
Infiltration from Cambodia and Laos on Highway Nine
Duong Thi, Do-Chu, and Phu Ly full of traps and mines

Lifeline of the North to win over South Vietnamese
Food, supplies and weapons funneling like a disease
Ten thousand tons a week sneaked under our noses
Skyraiders' bombs couldn't shut off these traffic hoses

Old Victor Charlie was like an invisible enemy or ghost
Past midnight mortar rounds would rain down on our post
Viet Cong heavily armed and experts in guerilla warfare
Killing as many of us as they could was their only care

It was a hit and run type of crazy and bizarre nightmare
Late at night we shook and quivered at the sight of a flare
Our only hope was to live through each day and night
Along the Ho Chi Minh Trail we fought to end this plight

Many of us came home to resume our disrupted lives
Some came home with just a mild case of the hives
Most, if not all, came back permanently hurt some way
This horrible trail of war took so many young lives away

Walking Point in Nam

Walking point is a lonely and scary trip
Way out front with grass up to your hip
Eyes wide open scanning 180 degrees
Watching your step and the tops of trees

Several yards in front of the platoon
Praying for a quiet stroll and ending soon
Contact with Charlie on the right flank
Point man is way out on the end of this plank

Few feet ahead he spies a trip wire
this has makings of a nasty crossfire
Disarms a grenade like picking a flower
Digs in fast to put out some firepower

Rounds whistling and mortar shells in-coming
Point man's ears listening for choppers humming
Air Cav has arrived and Charlie is gone
Back to the firebase until early dawn

Next day out on patrol mainly the same
Today's point man has a different name
Walking point with a real tight jaw
A volunteer or "luck of the draw"

Steel pot and flak jacket ready to go
He's walking point not wanting to know
What awaits everyone just up ahead?
Life expectancy of a point man . . . dead

Choppers on the Way

Beating the bush all day in the jungle heat
Waiting for the choppers to lift us off our feet
Setting up the LZ to secure a safe touchdown
Charlie's out there listening for chopper sounds

Risk lighting up a cigarette and tell a joke
The chopper blades will blow away the smoke
Waiting and watching for the glorious sight
Of choppers landing to take us into flight

Cobra gunships and medivacs first to appear
Transport choppers follow to get us out of here
While medivac choppers touchdown with ease
Gunships buzzing all around like bumble bees

Transport choppers just over the tree line
Charlie is quiet and everything seems fine
AK-47 sniper round tells us Charlie is near
Time to load up ASAP and don't leave any gear

More of us are needed in securing this PZ
Charlie's around and this could become a hot LZ
Body bags tagged and wounded ready to medivac
All aboard! The choppers are ready to go back

Up off the ground and in the air we take flight
Death and fear become our constitutional rights
Door gunners return fire while we leave the LZ
AK-47 rounds whistling and striking from the trees

Gunships make one last sweep through the open ground
Mini-guns and rockets hit in direction of those sounds
Air medals earned by hours in flight on that day
Back to base camp . . . thanks to choppers on the way.

Rain Rain Rain

The Monsoons are here
Not a dry spot on our gear
Ponchos so thin and wet
Keeps us awake to fret

The coolness of the night
Make you shiver a might
Temperature really drops
The rains soak the rice crops

It rains so hard and for so long
Don't see much of the Viet Cong
Thank God for the Monsoons
Finally here and none to soon

No fighting, dying or pain
Bring it on . . . rain rain rain

Just a Hippie Grunt

He loved to sing songs and play guitar
With all of his friends at a campus bar
Taught classes at the university
A means to an end for his diversity

Taught a foreign language and spoke five
His sense of humor kept us feeling alive
One day he got drafted at the age of twenty-six
Went infantry and sold his guitar with its picks

Short leave to his home with Vietnam orders
He thought about the Canadian border
Took his chances and went to Vietnam
Humped the boonies for his Uncle Sam

Bought a flat box guitar secondhand
From a guy leaving this exotic land
The months and days came and went
Finally standing down he was spent

Hair and mustache grown a bit too long
Picking the guitar and smoking a bong
Sang songs written about the war in Nam
He'd seen too much and didn't give a damn

Grunts and remfs gathered all around
To hear the hippie grunt's guitar sound
The words to his songs touched their souls
Their music soothed them in that hellhole

Sounds of country, folk, blues, jazz, and rock
Music to their ears from Can Tho to An Loc
In firebases and camps all over this jungle land
Sometimes music was played by a combat band

When sounds of war began to fade away
Guys settled down to hear some music play
Nerves on edge following Charlie's latest stunt
Songs played and sung by just a hippie grunt

A Grunt from Arkansas

Steve Branch, down home sort of a guy
With the Big Red One thought he'd die
Full of shrapnel and migraine headaches
A good night was sweating with the shakes.

Some days he had a grin from ear to ear
On severe pain days he was hard to cheer
Only twenty-one years of age and bold
Steve Branch, the grunt from Paragould.

Never talked much about that awful day
Losing buddies and a long hospital stay
Few times he'd share a memory of war
Tears in his eyes about pain and horror.

Dreamed about writing a musical play
About Vietnam and a hit on Broadway
Migraine headaches and body full of lead
Bits of metal easing out of his skin and head.

The day Steve left Vietnam he had a migraine
Can't even enjoy this moment without pain
We escorted him to a bus stop with his gear
The grunt from Arkansas grinned from ear to ear.

On This Veterans’ Day

Not so long ago in a faraway land
Young soldiers sent to make a stand
In a war that seemed unfair and wrong
Americans protest it in a folk song

Too young to vote but not to die
In a war so full of disbelief and lies
These young soldiers went just the same
To Vietnam and take all of the blame

A lot of families broken and friends lost
In a war that couldn’t be won at any cost
Peacemakers undecided on shape of a table
Young soldiers come home dead or disabled

Peace talks in Paris become a real fiasco
War sentiment is down and morale is low
Those were the days of gloom and gray
Such memories on this Veterans’ Day

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