Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum
The Early Days
by George W. Legg III
VFW Magazine February 2007

First in Vietnam Second to None

On November 22, 1963 the day President Kennedy was assassinated I and two friends went to Philadelphia, PA and had been sworn into the U.S. Army and was returning home .

We had stopped at the Howard Johnson restaurant when we heard the President had been assassinated, we were shocked to say the least. On 9 Dec 1963 we went by train to Fort Jackson, SC for basic training, I caught pneumonia and was put into the hospital for two weeks. Got out completed basic and went to Fort Gordon, GA to Military Police School. At graduation ceremony the Officer in charge asked for volunteers to go to Viet Nam so I did so and arrived in country in April 1964 and was assigned to the 560th MP company.

The second night there I was assigned guard duty by the air strip at a 10 acre POL dump mostly of JP4 jet fuel surrounded by bob wire and one small army tent with a short wave radio by myself with 6 unknown Viet Nam soldiers. When I relieved a Cpl. Hause he advised me that if the soldiers take off I should call into Hqs. And take off also because they probably will know if something is wrong before you do and they might not tell me. There was a large generator in the middle of the dump with a small white bulb so you could see how to refuel it, which I was told to do at midnight, when I did while checking the perimeter I found the bob wire was open on the backside of the dump so I ran to the tent and called it in and the soldiers took off leaving me there by myself so I cut the small light off in the tent and stayed in the dark till air support came which was very quick and the breach was fixed and the area was cleared.

The next day the CO asked me if I would like to go to a detachment because there was an opening in Vung Tau where I would pull town patrol and I said yes. When I got to Vung Tau I heard the MP short timers talking about volunteering to fly combat missions as Crew Chiefs and Door Gunners after MP shifts and on days off. I went to the air strip and asked an airman if I could fly with them and he said, great we need all the help we can get, I didn’t mention it to my MP unit and started flying in June 1964 as often as I could matching up my MP patrols and the flight schedules.

By Christmas Day I had flown many mission but didn’t report them for I wasn’t in a paper reporting mood and we weren’t receiving anything for them so why do it, the pilot called me on the radio and said Ha Leggie you know what day this is I said yes its (whatever day it was at that time) he said yes but do you really know what day it is, I said what are you talking about, he said Merry Christmas, I said what, he said Merry Christmas, I said I’ll be dam, Merry Christmas to you Sir. When we go back to the airstrip after several missions that morning I was cleaning up the aircraft when an unknown officer approached me in the plane and asked where the pilot was and I said up front. A few minutes later my pilot approached me and told me he had been asked by that officer if he and his crew would fly a very special and dangerous mission that was needed now to supply an ongoing combat fight by marines with more marines and ammo that was running out. I immediately said yes and we loaded up and took off in a very short period of time.

Another interesting thing that happened to me while on MP patrol one moonlight night about 11:00 pm, I received a call from our headquarters in Saigon to go to the Viet Nam President’s Villa/Airstrip and stop him from taking off in his plane returning to Saigon because a small portion of his military was trying to overthrow his government and they were waiting for him to land at the Ton Son Nut Airstrip in Saigon. The President’s plane had started to take off with no lights on just the moonlight, so I decided to run the plane down in the dark until I got under the outside wing in front of the plane then I would turn my headlights on so they could see I was an American Jeep with the 560th MP logo on the spare tire of the jeep and not the enemy.

The plane turned on its landing lights and lit me up so I turned my jeep lights off and at this time I was running about 50 mph. The plane stopped very quickly and so did I thus causing a lot of anxious moments in the dark with engines running, doors opening, automatic weapons setting in my MP jeep waiting to be approached in the dark. A few MP’s by me seemed to help and things were soon resolved and the President returned to his Villa safe and sound.

Author’s note: I’ve had many interesting and exciting things happen to me in my lifetime of 65 years. Very few people know about my military life, the info has been in the attic for 40 years. I’m not sure if there is anything you can use, but I have to admit it does feel good to put it on paper.