Gun Power switch to on……….. An essay by William Marshall

Its declassified now. We are now able to wear combat patches and the appropriate awards but when it was happening, not so much. Operation Prime Chance, google it.The commander of our barge, a Navy Captain, was sitting right behind me, on the back of my towed Vulcan. We were on the Wimbrown 7. It was a barge out in the middle of the Persian Gulf. We were on the back left corner of the barge, looking out over that vast body of water. There was a boat coming towards us, directly towards us.

The Patrol Boats had been deployed and they were closing fast, but not there yet. The Captain said, “Son, do whatever you got to do to this thing, just don’t pull the trigger, ok?” “Yes, sir,” I replied.” I flipped the Gun Power switch to on. I had never done that before in real life. My gun was a 20 mm Gatling gun called the Vulcan Air Defense System. We were in the Gulf, on a barge, working for the Navy. Paratroopers from the 82d. The gun fired 3000 rounds a minute. Each bullet was like a mini hand grenade.

The boat, it was a dhow, common in those waters, got closer and closer, I was looking through my ground scope. Calculating lead angle. If I had to fire, this was going to be an easy target. I had the rate of fire set to a 30 round burst. I had already figured what I would do if I had to fire a warning shot, I was going to fire over and behind the boat. I wasn’t tracking a warning shot now though. They were getting close. Soon the patrol boats closed on it. When they came into picture I pulled up and off. Gun Power was still on, but………..They rammed the Dhow. As soon as they did, the boat came to a stop in the water. Our guys boarded the boat, checked it out. Brought back pictures. Two drunk fisherman had passed out drunk and asleep, boat was just motoring on by itself.

I turned Gun Power off. I’m glad.

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