David N Demulle aka David Mulle , US Army Vietnam Combat Cameraman, POSer, Blog of Shame


09/01/2014 by militaryphonies


This Ain’t Hell Blog ; http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=55214

Vietnam Combat Camerman

Page 6 is his article ; http://thefoothillspaper.com/TFP_08NOV/TFP_08NOV.pdf

By David DeMullé

Olina Lowe had asked me

about uniforms some time

back and it brought this story

to mind. One day in the ‘Nam,

as I was walking back to my
hooch, it began to rain heavily;
it was monsoon season and
in minutes I was soaked to the
skin with the red mud creeping
up my legs.
I knew that my clothes
would eventually dry; and it
was just one more inconvenience.
I remember the lowhanging
dark clouds that reminded
me of South America
were blanketing the base. Visibility
was, at best, fair. My
SOG team was not going to
fly that day or any time soon,
so I didn’t give the conditions
much thought. As I climbed
the steps I was thinking about
the cold water cooler we had
“borrowed” from the ARVN
headquarters. Cold water was
like the highlight of the day
and signaled another day of
total boredom as we awaited
our mission. I took my clothes
off and hung them up to dry. I
picked up a towel to dry off
and found this camera I had
wrapped in it that my fiancé
had given me, with explicit
instructions “to send her pictures
of me in-country!”
And then all hell broke
loose, a KABOOM! And very
close! Damn, were we under
attack? I didn’t hear the fence
alarms go off. Something had
exploded. Reflex kicked in;
grabbing a satchel of grenades,
launcher and submachine gun,
I was out the door, hitting the
ground, looking for Charlie to
come over the berm. And silence.
No more sounds. A
small crowd was gathering on
the pathway and everyone was
looking at a huge plume of
black smoke and fire 100 yards
away. Everything was happening
in super-slow motion. Everyone
seemed paralyzed.
Maybe there were survivors?
Rather than look at it, I ran towards
the smoke cloud at full
speed. Half way there I could
make out the profile of a helicopter.
The tail designation
and markings were Vietnamese.
Closer still, the smell hit
me. I was not sure exactly
what it was. It was mixed in
with burning fuel and cooking
helicopter parts. It was bad! It
was burning human flesh! I
wanted to vomit but somehow
held it together. Surprisingly, I
was the first one on the scene.
The heat was so bad I could
not get very close. I was close
enough to determine that the
pilot and co-pilot were dead.
Just as well. There was nothing
I could do.
Strapped in their seats, the
pilots didn’t look that bustedup.
They had burned to death
in the raging fire. The pilot’s
plastic flight helmet had melted,
and as it ran, solidified on
his chest like a frozen vanilla
ice cream that had dripped
from a huge cone. The dead
co-pilot’s face flesh dropped
off in sheets and layers as he
continued to cook. They were
almost beyond recognition as
humans and soon would be
smoking, black charred mannequins
with facial bones now
exposed. Looking back on the
scene in my mind, they reminded
me of a Halloween
skeleton’s costume. Where
were the rescue crews and fire
trucks? The forgotten camera
still in my jump bag, I picked
it up and began to shoot but
don’t really remember doing
The fire was put out. Things
quieted down. I turned around,
vomited, and walked weakly
back to my hootch. It began to
rain again. The rain on my
bare skin felt good and I realized
that I didn’t have any
clothes on. I turned around to
look at the mangled helicopter.
It was sizzling in the cool rain.
Clouds of steam were rising
off it, mixing in with the
clouds, just another day. As I
walked back, several members
of my team and a regular Army
2nd Lt. were looking at
me. He wanted to know why I
was out of uniform. I hate
I didn’t wait for a reaction.
As he started to say something
more, I looked at him and
said, “You want to live?”
I entered the hootch and put
on my skivvies. For the next
couple of days, everyone said
I smelled like s*** or something
worse. I didn’t care.
Later that week, I took my
film to the MAC-V photo lab
for processing. It couldn’t
have been more than a day
gone by, and I was summoned
to Command & Control. The
Lt. must have taken my threat
The MAC-V boss and the
Commander of the 600th Photo
Squadron were sitting in
the back of the room and the
cherry Lt. was standing at the
door. Feeling uneasy, I prepared
for the worst, then
thought: “What can he do,
send me to Nam?” or worse,
send me back in the bush? I
had developed a “tude.”
My boss stood up, told the
Lt. to leave and told me to
“take it easy.” He had my
photos spread over his desk.
He walked over to me, put his
arm around my shoulder and
asked, “What made you shoot
those helicopter pictures?” I
told him that I had no idea, it
just happened. All he said
was, “Great shots! You have a
new job.” And that, boys and
girls, was how I became a
Combat Cameraman.

He never served in the US Military !

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