Tales from the O-NO Ranch 4-5-10
“My heroes have always been cowboys” – well, nearly always. Little David Mac was never a cowboy, but would have made a “cowboy’s cowboy” if he had chosen that trail in his life. David was two years behind me in high school but we shared one year in FFA. While in route to the Caddell Farm to castrate some pigs, David was riding with me in my car along with two other buddies. It was common for students to take their own private vehicles for some classes. In my car was my .22 rifle and that was also common back in the ’50s. David spotted a high flying hawk and asked if I would stop so he could shoot it. “You can’t hit that thing from here, David,” I scoffed.
“Sure I can. Stop and let me try,” he begged.
I stopped and on the second shot the hawk began to circle the drain and down he came!
David was a skinny kid with way too much energy, a flat-top haircut and a crooked, ornery smile. He was a top athlete and after I graduated and left, David made all state in football and went to college on a football scholarship. He quickly grew tired of school and enlisted in the Marines and was sent to Officer’s Training School in Quantico, Va.
Fast forward … it’s a hot morning in the beautiful Que Son Valley of North Vietnam. The year is 1967 and First Lt. David McInturff is leading his company of Marines across an open rice paddy while being flanked by another company on his right. It had been just a few short weeks since David’s company was ambushed and he lost 15 good men. “Little” David was a seasoned soldier by now and a good leader of men. The quiet morning erupted in heavy mortar and automatic fire from the Viet Cong just a mere hundred meters away. The dikes in the rice paddy were only about 2 feet tall and David and his company hugged the ground under withering fire. His two platoon leaders were killed instantly and their radio men badly wounded. Knowing the risk involved, David called in artillery fire hoping to save his men.
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“I had to,” recalled David later, “I had to give my men a chance.” That didn’t slow down the enemy much at all so David warned his men to stay down and hug Mother Earth as he had also called for a napalm strike. That took a good part of the fight out of the VC, but the battle raged on all day until nightfall. David retrieved his dead and wounded as did the VC under the cover of darkness. The fight was over and it was costly. David lost 17 men and the company commander of the other company was killed while trying to retrieve one of his wounded men. David was awarded the Silver Star for Valor.
David made it home after three tours in Vietnam and retired from the Marines. Lt. Colonel David Lee McInfutff is indeed a hero. David said otherwise while receiving the Silver Star. “I was not a hero; the heroes were the guys who never got to come home.”
Yep, David, you are a hero along with all the good men and women who volunteer to serve this great country of ours. Please don’t try and give me some woman-beating, drug-enhancing athlete or some acid-brained rock or movie star for a hero. Give me the David that goes up against Goliath. Give me men and women of substance and worth who are what Americans cherish.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.
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