Master Chief: Diary Of A Navy Seal by Alan MakiMaster Chief: Diary Of A Navy Seal by Alan Maki

Master Chief: Diary Of A Navy Seal

byAlan Maki, Gary R. Smith

Mass Market Paperback | July 31, 1996

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For UDT/SEAL team member Gary R. Smith, just being part of an elite military organization wasn't enough--he had to be in the thick of the action. Because in bloody, violent Vietnam he learned there's no stronger bond than the one forged in the gut-wrenching chaos of combat. During ambushes, PRU combat patrols, and extractions from hot LZs, Smith depended on the courage and sacrifice of his fellow SEALs, who time and again placed their own lives on the line so that he might survive.
In MASTER CHIEF, Gary Smith covers his fifth tour in Vietnam and his rise to the highest enlisted rank, master chief petty officer. Characteristically, Smith holds nothing back when describing life during wartime in one of the world's toughest fighting units.
Based on the author's own experience, as well as his own and others' diaries, letters, and documents, and on extensive interviews, MASTER CHIEF is an outstanding memoir of a warrior who answered the call to arms when
his country needed him.
Alan Maki grew up in Belleville, Michigan, and was inducted in 2001 into Belleville High School's Distinguished Graduate Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Jefferson Award, sponsored by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for outstanding community service in Montana in 1988. Besides serving as the pastor of three Baptist churches, he broke a Gui...
Title:Master Chief: Diary Of A Navy SealFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 7 × 4.25 × 0.75 inPublished:July 31, 1996

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0804110913

ISBN - 13:9780804110914

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from VERY INFORMATIVE AND DETAILED Very informative and detailed. Good reading.
Date published: 2015-05-25

Read from the Book

CHAPTER ONE   People are afraid of a leader who has no sense of humor. They think that he is not capable of relaxing, and as a result of this there is a tendency for that leader to have a reputation for pomposity, which may not be the case at all. Humor has a tendency to relax people in times of stress. —Louis H. Wilson   I was waiting at the HAL-3/VAL-4 (Helicopter Attack, Light, 3/Light Attack Squadron 4) hangar until the duty driver came to take me and the Black Pony pilots to a bunker near the parked OV-10 aircraft where the briefing room was located. I had been assigned to ride with a Lieutenant (jg) called Sam (I forgot his last name) who flew Bronco number 113. I had occasionally seen the Black Ponies from a distance during my ’69 and ’70 tours, but I had never inspected one up close. The Rockwell OV-10A fixed-wing Bronco was beautiful to look at, had twin engines that were propeller-powered and controlled by a pilot and copilot. It looked somewhat like the old WWII Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Its armament was impressive. It had four internal M-60 machine guns, a 20mm cannon, a 7.62mm GAU-2 minigun, and could carry 2.75-inch and five-inch Zuni rockets. There was nothing second-rate about the outfit whose aircraft were referred to as the “Black Ponies.”   The previous day, June 4, 1971, Lieutenant Fletcher, or Dai Uy—Vietnamese for navy lieutenant or army captain—and I were given permission to ride a Black Pony on an actual strike so that we would be familiar with the Bronco’s capabilities. We were especially interested in finding out just how close we could call in AW (automatic weapons) and rocket strikes to our position on the ground. Assuming we were in contact with the enemy and there were only thirty meters between us, could we call in five-inch Zuni rockets with impact-detonating warheads and expect to survive the explosions? That was the question.   Before our briefing, Sam helped me put on the parachute and harness, survival kit, and so on, and instructed me in the use of them. After the briefing, Sam and I went to his Bronco, where he taught me which knobs to pull and not to pull, as well as the basics of how to fly the craft. In short order we were taking off with another Bronco.   We flew past Vi Thanh, the capital of Chuong Thien province, and close to Song Ong Duc, a river, where a convoy of boats was proceeding upstream. We remained on station for approximately thirty minutes until Ca Mau’s sector TOC (Tactical Operations Center) of An Xuyen province requested Sam to make a rocket run on a Green Hornet target. “Green Hornet” was a code name for known locations of VC/NVA radio or communication bunkers that were transmitting messages. They were located by our ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) folks with their direction-finding equipment and were generally accurate to within at least four-digit, or one-thousand-meter, coordinates.   Sam peeled off to our left and said, “Hang on, Smitty. We’ve got ourselves a target that we’ll soften up with our rockets.” We headed directly for the clandestine radio station located in the center of the U Minh forest.   The delta is considered to be the rice bowl of Asia and can supposedly raise enough rice to support all of it. I was always amazed at the beauty of the Vietnamese delta—especially from the air. The rivers, streams, and canals were a deep blue, while the ride paddies reflected a light blue hue. The jungles, however, were a deep and ominous green and reminded me of a time past, about 1950, when a battalion of French Foreign Legionnaires were parachuted into the U Minh forest. After a couple of days of futile requests for unavailable reinforcements and support, none of them were ever heard from again. Leon Rauch and I had operated in the U Minh forest on one occasion in ’69 with the PRU. We had intel/info of a VC/NVA POW camp and its location. We inserted by helicopter slicks and managed to rescue a few Vietnamese POWs and capture some communications equipment. Still, it was no surprise to me that the U.S. and South Vietnamese military generally avoided the U Minh forest.   Upon arrival, Sam and I didn’t spot anything other than a man-made structure and a sampan. However, that was all the evidence we needed, since they were located in a free-fire zone.   Sam put the Bronco into a shallow dive, then said, “We’ll send a couple of twenty-pound Zuni warhead messages into their communications center and see how they like it.”   “Sounds great to me, Lieutenant,” I replied.   “Call me Sam, Smitty.”   “Okay, Sam,” I replied while chuckling. “I haven’t had so much fun since last winter when I was hunting Gambel’s quail in the Chocolate Mountains near our SEAL training camp.”   Sam made two strikes. He fired all four of his M-60s and launched two Zuni rockets that completely destroyed the small radio shack and a nearby sampan.   “Hoo-Yah!” I yelled as the rockets hit their intended target. “You guys are really good with these rockets. Just how close would you dare place a Zuni to a SEAL squad that’s pinned down by the VC?” I asked.   “I wouldn’t want to place a Zuni any closer to you guys than fifty meters,” he said pointedly. “However, I wouldn’t hesitate placing 2.75-inch rockets to within thirty meters of you. Is that good enough?” Sam asked.   “Yessir!” I exclaimed. “That’s just what we’re looking for when we get into trouble—good, reliable, and accurate fire support.”   Immediately after Sam destroyed the comm shack, we were called to a point near the coast between Ca Mau and Rach Gia where a U.S. Army adviser and his counterparts from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam were in contact with the VC and had one ARVN casualty. Because there were helo gunboats already on station when we arrived, Sam decided that we should head for home before our fuel got too low.   “How would you like to fly this ship, Smitty?” Sam asked over the intercom.   “I’m used to jumping out of airplanes, not flying them,” I teased. “However, I would love to give it a try.”   “Okay, grab the stick between your legs and place your feet on the left and right pedal. Now pay close attention to what I do,” Sam instructed. It was surprisingly easy. Sam dodged a few small clouds by going over, under, left, and right of them, then stated, “Okay, you’ve got it.”   I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was great! I dodged clouds with total aplomb. Just as I was beginning to spout a light case of braggadocio, Sam said, “Take her into a roll.”   Suddenly, my stomach felt as if it were filled with a brood of vipers. “I respectfully decline, Sam,” I replied meekly.   “Here, I’ll show you. It’s a piece of cake,” Sam said as he pulled her up, then down, and rolled her completely over and to the right. “Okay, you’ve got her.”   Oh shit! I thought. I didn’t say a word as I pulled her up and started a roll to the right. Once we were in an upside-down position, I simply didn’t know what to do with the stick. Sam, no doubt, continued us through the roll, for it certainly wasn’t me.   As Sam was dodging another cloud, I stupidly asked, “How many g’s does it take before a fellow blacks out, Sam?”   Sam chuckled ominously, then answered, “Between six and seven. Here, I’ll show you.” Sam put the ol’ gal into a steep dive, then pulled all the way back on the stick.   In a heartbeat I was already regretting my curiosity. This is definitely a white-knuckle experience, I kept thinking as my vision narrowed to the size of a pencil. Damn! I thought. He’s continuing into a barrel roll! “Shiiiiiiiit!” I shrieked over the intercom between belches. Suddenly, I felt a pressure in my stomach that was simultaneously pushing upward and downward. I began to panic when I realized that I could potentially puke on the back of Sam’s helmet, piss in my pants, and fill my jungle-green bottoms to boot! This is not good! I thought as I held my left hand under my crotch and my right hand over my mouth.   “How did you like that, Smitty? Wasn’t that fun?” Sam asked, snickering.   “Somehow, I bet you like pulling wings off butterflies, huh, Lieutenant?” I replied sarcastically. “For a minute there I thought I had died and gone to hell.” We both laughed until our arrival at Binh Thuy, which was located a few miles upstream of Can Tho.   “Sam,” I said as we shook hands on the ground, “I want to thank you for a great experience today. I hope that when we do call for VAL-4 support, you’ll be one of the pilots laying those five-inch Zunis and 2.75-inch rockets in there for us.”   Sam nodded and replied, “However, on the other side of the coin, if I ever have to make a crash landing in the midst of Indian country, I hope you’ll be one of the guys to come to my rescue.”   “You can count on it, sir,” I concluded.   I caught a ride to the SpecWar Det (i.e., Special Warfare Detachment) Golf office, where I found out from Lieutenant B. that Dai Uy Fletcher, my November Platoon OIC, had already gotten a flight back to Dong Tam. Not to worry, I was told. And sure enough I caught a ride on an Air America plane to My Tho with the Dinh Tuong province chief, Colonel Dao, and Dr. Evans, the province senior adviser. Colonel Dao didn’t recognize me from my previous tours in ’69 and ’70 but, frankly, I was glad neither one of them knew who I was. Anonymity is generally preferred in this business, especially in a hostile environment.  

From Our Editors

In Master Chief, Gary Smith covers his fifth tour in Vietnam and his rise to the highest enlisted rank, master chief petty officer. Smith holds nothing back describing duty in one of the world's toughest fighting units. Master Chief is an outstanding memoir of a warrior who answered the call to arms. Original