Friendly Fire

The military definition of “Friendly Fire” simply means being shot at by your own people. Accidentally, of course. Obviously, the term “Friendly Fire” is a misnomer.

We were shelled by our own artillery twice during my 12 month tour. The first incident occurred at an ARVN (Army, Republic of Vietnam) Basic Training base near Ben Soi. A volley of American 105mm howitzer shells hit inside our camp. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

105mm Howitzer. A typical Howitzer battery had 6 guns.

The second incident happened at our ARVN Infantry base near FSB (Fire Support Base) Jackson and not far from the village of Loc Giang. FSB Jackson fired their howitzers over our base during a heavy rain storm. The heavy rain caused the proximity fuses on the war heads to detonate early, unfortunately right over our little base, sending all of us diving for our bunkers. Our base commander got on the land line and tried to explain the situation to the commander at Jackson. One more howitzer volley exploded over our heads before the gun bunnies finally believed him. Tempers ran a bit hot for a period of time after that fiasco. And again, fortunately no casualties.