The Mortar and Sgt Michael Bresnahan

Posted on January 23, 2012


   I’m not really sure when Sergeant (SGT) Michael Bresnahan was assigned to Charlie Troop. This was his second tour. Sgt Bresnahan had served in a different unit on his last tour. Both times he was an Infantryman. Sgt Bresnahan was relatively tall. To me almost everybody is tall. He was married to a lady for Thailand. Mike did have a slight drinking problem but was always ready to go to the field. Mike was fearless. He always said that this was his second tour and he would make this tour like he did the last one.

Charlie (Viet Cong) had this habit of dropping mortars into our area of Phouc Vinh on a nightly basis. Sometimes they would fall on or near the airstrip. One time a mortar hit right in front of the Connex container ( a metal container) where the Squadron Sergeant Major kept his beer. There wasn’t to many cans that didn’t have holes in them. Once, a young trooper caught a piece of shrapnel in his buttox as he was diving into a bunker.

One night Charlie, as usual, delivered his wake up call around 3am. We could tell as the mortars starting hitting that they were coming our way. Everyone got up and started running to the bunker. Everyone that is except Sgt Bresnahan. He said (as usual) “I’ve been here 18 months and Charlie hasn’t got me yet and he ain’t going to”. One man “Sp/4 Clay stopped at the door and kept begging him to come to the bunker. He did that all the way until the mortar hit our building.  It hit above Sgt Bresnahan’s cot. Sp/4 Clay was hit in the hand with a piece of shrapnel. Sgt Bresnahan was severely wounded.

As soon as we knew it was all clear, several of the guys went back into the building to get Sgt Bresnahan out. They carried him into the bunker. Doc Hipple (our Troop medic) with the aid of a flashlight did everything he could. Sgt Bresnahan asked Doc if he was going to make it. Doc said it was bad and whatever you do don’t try to pee right now because you have a million holes in you and I’m not sure where it would come out. With that they got a stretcher and carried him to the Squadron Surgeon.

Sgt Bresnahan survived that mortar attack, however, he is confined to a wheel chair with no use of his legs. Doc Hipple saw Mike several years after this incident in Washington DC. He has since lost contact with him.

The lesson to learn from this is to never allow yourself to be so confident in your abilities that you take a chance one to many times.