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Operation Eager Pursuit Dai Loc Pass 1/7's Area USS Valley Forge Miscellaneous

Vietnam 1969: Reflections

                        Operation Eager Pursuit I & II                    Next

Bob Firing the M2A1 Portable Flame Thrower. My buddy and I carried these 72 lb. tanks on Operation Eager Pursuit I & II for four weeks, and didn't use them. (Hallelujah!)

Bob Firing the M2A1 Portable Flame Thrower

This photo of the M2A1 Portable Flame Thrower has been very popular on another website for Google searches. It is amazing how many people around the world are interested in such things, particularly in Europe. However, this is not a combat shot. My buddy and I carried these 72 lb. tanks on Operation Eager Pursuit I & II for four weeks, and didn't use them. (Hallelujah!) At the time of the photo, we were about to be picked up by helicopter and taken back to the rear area, and I asked the CO if we could fire them for safety reasons. As I was getting ready to take the picture, someone volunteered to be the rifleman, and I took two shots of Bob. At the first blast, he wasn't really prepared for the 2100 psi thrust-back of the nozzle and braced himself better for the second and final burst. There was about 10 seconds of napalm mixture in the tanks.

Even though our Military Occupational Specialty was MOS 0351, we had only fired the flame thrower one time in training.  The second specialty was the 106 mm Recoilless Rifle, which we fired one time as the gunner.  And the third specialty was the 3.5 inch Rocket Launcher (Bazooka) that we shot five times.  Of course, when you are young and have a rifle or other weapon in your hand, you think you are an expert and invincible.

In Bootcamp, the Infantry Training Regiment (ITR), and Battalion Infantry Training Specialty (BITS), we were still using the M-14 rifle, though the M-16 was in use in Vietnam.  Finally the six weeks before going to the Nam, in Staging, we started using the M-16, but I doubt if we shot more than a hundred rounds. Our other standard training was throwing a hand grenade one time, shooting a .45 pistol maybe 14 times, and now that I look back, I understand it was on the job training mostly - sink or swim. (5/30/2011)




The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen.