February 9th, 1969:
Newly promoted Corporal B.A. Baracus is having a good day. One might even say that he has a great day. He is out patrolling with his platoon on the edge of some small stream. It's been nice quiet and even the stifling heat of the Vietnamese jungle and the buzzing mosquitoes could not dampen his good mood. A promotion under his belt and four days of R&R coming up. B.A. smiles to himself and even hums a tune. 'Yes today is a very good day.'
Sgt. Davies holds up his hand to halt his men for a short break when suddenly the sound of automatic gunfire rips through the quiet. His body falls to the ground lifeless, his blood seeping into the ground. "Shit!" B.A. hears someone exclaim. Without thinking the rest of the men drop to the ground and fire into the surrounding jungle. They are getting picked off one after another and B.A. suddenly finds himself the senior officer. Tightly grabbing his rifle in sweaty hands he assesses the situation. They are exposed in the wide open space in which the stream meanders. The only option is to get in the relative safety of the shady jungle just a few meters from their position.
"Jones, Benson, Hogan...! You, me and Moose lay cover fire. The rest of ya... fall back!" He orders the men. "Get behind the tree line and cover us, Go go go!"
B.A. and his men fire their M-16's while the rest try to make their way into the brush. He can hear the bullets whizzing overhead and hit the trees, showering them in wood splinters. Sweat is running down his dark face as his eyes scan the jungle on the other side of the stream, desperately trying to find the enemy's location. One of his soldiers is hit and falls to the ground, bleeding from a leg wound. "Dammit!" B.A. curses to himself, but he doesn't have the luxury of checking on any his men. He can hear his fellow soldier moan in pain, but he knows that he can't get up to help him. He prays for help. 'Dear God up in heaven... Have mercy on our souls...'
Capt. Ray Brenner is out with his Special Forces unit when he hears the faint pop of both M-16's and AK-47's out in the jungle. He halts his team and listens very carefully. It sounds like the M-16's are vastly outnumbered. Silently, he signals his men to spread out and head toward where the action is.
Suddenly, Benson's head whips back from the force of a bullet, the blood spray hitting B.A.'s fatigues. He can hear Hogan call out the guy's name, but it is too late. The young corporal grits his teeth, closing his eyes trying to ignore the blood seeping into his skin. They are not going to get out of this alive... 'Oh God...' The private who got shot is calling out for someone, anyone to help him. B.A. is silently lamenting his fate when the shooting is disrupted by a few hand grenades going off on the other side. He can hear the pained cries of the NVA and M-16's firing. Not one to question his sudden turn of luck, he gets up and orders his remaining men to take their chances and fall back. Moose and Jones are going for the wounded private and proceed to pull him toward the trees. He and Hogan are getting ready to get up when a stray round grazes the blond's helmet, knocking him out. For a split second, B.A. is torn between saving his own ass and saving the other man.
'Aw hell...' B.A. crawls towards the unconscious soldier and starts to haul him to relative safety. He can hear the rattling of the automatic rifles coming from their side of the stream, covering his exit.
Up in the air, 1st. Lieutenant H.M. Murdock can hear the radio traffic going back and forth between some Special Forces team and the command center, requesting Medevac. The gunship is on its way back to Bien Hoa Air Base after an extremely tiring extraction. "Ya hear that?" he asks his co-pilot. "Sounds like they're in a spot of trouble." The co-pilot looks at Murdock and sighs.
"You wanna get in, don't you?"
"Ya know me so well, darlin'." Young Murdock drawls, batting his eye's at the other man.
The co-pilot rolls his eyes and reaches for the radio. "You're the AC... I will let the guys know."
B.A. has almost reached the trees when a searing pain cuts through his calf and left shoulder. He stumbles dazed and disoriented. Everything sounds like it's coming from very far away. He falls onto the ground and feels the rocks and pebbles cut into his cheek. Faintly, through the rushing sound of the blood in his ears, he can make out someone calling his name. He feels himself being lifted from the ground and carried over someone's shoulder. 'Hogan?'
When he reaches the shade they lay him on the ground and a blurry medic comes into view.
"I'm Captain Fallone. You're doing great kid." The medic starts cutting the fabric from around the wounds. B.A. is trying to wrap his head around what's happening but his concentration keeps slipping.
"...this is Captain Brenner. What do you mean, you can't get a Medevac out here?!..." Ray is simultaneously giving orders on the ground, and trying to get the command center to understand the severity of their situation. Bullets keep flying and he has to shout to be heard. "I don't care! We have wounded men!" With the stream between them and the size of the NVA company they are sitting ducks. B.A. blankly gazes at the seething officer and notices a patch. 'Special Forces...wow...' Ray signals his second in command. "They can't get a Medevac chopper out here. No pilot wants to risk it." B.A. is starting to feel detached from everything around him. His face is slick with sweat, but he can't remember ever being so cold...
"I dare say, I might be able to pull your pretty asses outta there boys. I can't take all of ya, but I can take yer wounded." A southern drawl crackles over the radio.
"Who is this?" Ray asks.
"That'd be Howlin' Mad Murdock sir. I'm with the 118th Assault Helicopter Company. They shot down a bird, four clicks south from here. That's why they're so jumpy, but I be willin' to try... Can you give me a SITREP?"
"Thank God..." Ray whispers to himself before giving the pilot a rundown of the situation and proceeds to vector him in.
The hard edged whop whop of a Huey gunship coming in from overhead fills the men with hope. The pilot requests them to pop smoke before he stops to hover over the water. Instantly it's being shot at, the rounds pinging of its shell. The chopper starts spraying the jungle on the opposite side with its heavy machine guns while it slowly inches back, towards them. It's rotor blades chopping up leaves and twigs. As soon as the skids touch the ground the armed crew inside jumps out and adds to their firepower, slowly tipping the odds in their favor.
Ray signals for the most severely wounded to be loaded into the helicopter, sending his medic with them. The walking wounded will have to wait. He makes eye contact with the incredibly young pilot. Brown eyes and a tight smile, his jaw set.
"You gonna be able to keep yer position fer a while?" He asks Ray, shouting over the sound of the engine.
"We are going to have to. Don't worry about us. Get them out!" Murdock gives a thumbs up and Ray nods at him. The captain ducks out of the chopper and returns to his men shouting orders. When the chopper lifts off and sets a course for the nearest base, B.A. lies shivering on its cold metal floor. Capt. Fallone's hands are painted in red, trying everything he can to keep the young man from bleeding out. The medic is handed a headset by the co-pilot and he quickly plugs it in. "How's he doing doc?"
The medic glances at the pilot. "Not too hot. Can you give me an ETA?"
"ETA is seven minutes, Sir."
"Let's pray then..."
B.A. wakes up in a hospital bed. It takes some time for him to remember why he is in a hospital in the first place. But when a sharp pain runs through his shoulder and leg it all comes back to him.
"Hey, how are you doing." A voice with a distinct Bostonian accent asks him.
B.A. woozily squints at the captain sitting next to his bed. "You that Special Forces guy..."
Ray laughs. "No I'm a Special Forces guy. You did really good out there." The captain had heard about the young mechanic and the magic he could perform with just a few tools. Yesterday's battle only showed that the man had leadership qualities too and could think on his feet. "I know somebody that could use a guy like you." His longtime friend Hannibal had asked him time and time again to join his pet MACVSOG project, but he'd refused every time. "Think about it." He puts his hand on the black man's shoulder and leaves. Maybe he should give it a try too, maybe some Jazz would shake things up. He grins to himself.
He walks toward the exit of the field hospital when he hears a nurse argue with a man. "You can't go in there, sir! SIR!"
Ray walks towards the commotion. "Is there a problem nurse?" A man inches away from the ward door. Ray does not like this one, one bit. Too slimy... The nurse tries to inch herself between the guy and the door and crosses her arms defensively.
"I assure you Captain, there is no problem." The man smiles at him.
"As I said before Agent Cheney," the nurse butts in "Lt. Murdock is resting after his very exhausting trip yesterday. You will visit him, when the doctor deems it appropriate, not before."
The man glances between the Special Forces captain and the determined nurse and accepts defeat.
"Very well... Have someone fetch me when he can be visited." And with that he stalks out of the building.
The nurse smiles gratefully at Ray before resuming her work. Ray had heard about the pilot's actions yesterday when he came back on the last flight out. Lieutenant Murdock had done two more solo pickups before the pilots of two slicks finally grew a pair and joined him on the last pickup. And not a moment too soon... The young pilot had trouble keeping the bird in a straight line and promptly blacked out on landing. Ray shakes his head. That boy is going to be trouble... He glances back in the direction the agent had taken. 'Be careful kid, I don't like the look of that one. No sir...'