The importance of QL-IV in the Delta is that it was the major road, the major line of communication (LOC) as we called it. Starting in Soc Trang, it ran, more or less, south to My Tho, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Can Tho. There were, obviously, other roads branching off to other key towns in the Delta, but this was the big one. Used for major commerce and military moves, the alternate to QL-IV, was the canal and river system.
Anyway, I told the chopper crew that I needed to get a good look at the road; and we boarded the chopper. The co-pilot invited me to sit in his seat so I could get a good look, but I refused, saying as long as I could see out the door, all would be OK!
We took off, and immediately went down on the deck, a few feet above the road, as fast as the chopper could go. I got on the intercom, and asked what the hell was going on, I couldn't see the road. The pilot said he was on the deck going like a bat out of hell so the VC and NVA couldn't get a bead on us and shoot us down. I said I usually flew above 1500 feet, and slower which allowed me to mark the exact locations on my map.
We went back to the airfield and sat down to talk it over. The co-pilot was on his first mission and couldn't add anything to the conversation. The pilot said he had just come from I Corps where they flew Nap of the Earth, down close and intimate, which presented the smallest target. I had to tell him that didn't apply down here because we could be seen for miles, and had to fly above range of the VC weapons. (Later, I found out 50 calibre MG fire was more than 1500 feet). I told them it was my mission, and my desire to be up in the air. So back we went......and saw nothing to report.
The rest of the day was routine, walking around the battalion area in the morning, lunch and siesta at the MACV house, and an afternoon going to the small PX and library at the air field.
That afternoon, at 1600, the Battalion Commander and I took a jeep ride to a spot about 15 klicks northeast to where we had a platoon size effort to replace a twisted bridge over a branch of the river. Work was progressing, and again I marveled at how good the battalion was at bridge work with the French designed and built Eiffel Bridge.
That evening, my new friend, Bob from the Dustoff detachment, and I had a couple of drinks with a Navy Lieutenant who was staying the night. This was the lieutenant's fourth or fifth trip down the canals on escort duty. There was some kind of small naval ship that was used to escort convoys of sampans down the canals. Usually one or two of these ships escorting any number of sampans, which provided some security to them. The convoys stayed overnight at major towns in the Delta each night. This convoy was carrying supplies to Bac Lieu and Ca Mau.
The lieutenant was bitching about having to pick up a TV crew the next morning, and acting as their escort, too.