Gun Explodes at the Rock Pile
By Wayne Wells

I was one of the original members of the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery who went to Vietnam in 1967. Later I was transferred to the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. I was present when one of the 2nd/94th's 175mm guns exploded at the Rock Pile on 23 Feb 1968 while we were firing for Khe Sanh.

My gun Gun 2 was the next gun down from the Gun 1 that blew up. My gun's name was Alphie. I had painted a girl in a topless bikini on the barrel just in front of the breach. A couple of feet from her I had written "What's It All About" enclosed with musical notes. A General came by and made me remove the lyrics. I Guess he hadn't heard the song. Enough about my gun.

I had heard the guys on Sgt West's gun calling for cease fire. Sgt West then advised FDC that he had a round in the gun with the rotating band cover on it. They told him to stand by, do not fire and to try and knock the round out. I then walked over to his gun to see if I could help. They were trying to knock the round out when the bell rammer broke off in the barrel. Sgt West advised FDC of this problem and they told him to stand by for further instructions. While awaiting the instruction he told me that he thought he could shoot the round out. I told him he was nuts, and that all he was going to do is blow the hell out of his gun and get people killed.

This is when I went back to my gun and had my crew get in the bunker. They couldn't believe he was going to do this. He did and the rest is history. A few Marines about 300 yds up the hill were hit by pieces of the gun. None of the gun crew or anyone else in the battery area was hurt. There wasn't much left of the gun.

NOTE: It was right after this incident that 8/4th's A Battery moved all of its guns to the Rock Pile for the remainder of the siege.