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Cribby Testimonial

27 April 1971
by
Phyllis Cribby, R.N.
Vietnam Christian Service
Di Linh

At 1:00 a.m. on April 26, 1971, I was still upstairs in the house. Daisy was asleep in our room downstairs and Ted and Ven Pak were in their room downstairs. A few minutes after 1:00 a.m., a rocket or mortar (the major at HACV said it was a B-40 rocket) exploded in our back yard very close to the house. this was followed by two or three more, each sounding closer and breaking some window glass. I ran downstairs and Ted was in the hall calling Ven Pak. We called Daisy too (everyone had been awakened by the explosion) and all ran down the hall to the bunker. Suddenly Ted turned back and ran to his room (to check the door or get some more clothes?) and just after that a charge went off by the back door. The noise and pressure from it were tremendous and we were momentarily stunned. We were afraid it might have killed Ted, but then we heard him whisper loudly "I'm OK!" Daisy, Ven Pak, and I crawled quickly into the bunker.

Immediately after that, we heard some men enter the house. They seemed to go upstairs first and we could hear them walking around. I thought it sounded like four or five, but there may only have been two or three. Then we heard some talking in Ted's room and we heard him say "Khong co" (not have), as if someone had asked if we had any weapons. There was a lot of noise and confusion and I can recall hearing two volleys of shots. With the first, our dog cried out, and I thought they had killed him. We did not hear Ted say anything else. All the talking by the men was in Vietnamese, but I could not understand what they were saying. We could hear them going through our bedrooms and then someone came down the hall in our direction. I know he would find us and probably shoot us.

I was near the door and when he opened it and shone the light in, he could only see me. I started to stand up, but he told me to get down, closed the door, and walked away. We heard voices for some time more, but no one else came back to where we were. We also heard some clanking noises, like they were dragging something. So Pak thought they were taking Ted away with them. There was a little shooting outside after they left, but none while they were there. We thought ARVN soldiers might be coming, and there might be danger from them, especially if they looted the house and we saw them. We could not see what was in the hall and thought the first men that came might have left mines or traps, so we waited for the first daylight to come out.

When I could see what was on the floor (it was just debris from the blasts), I went down the hall to Ted's room. The room was strewn with things that had been pulled from the cupboards and shelves and I went around the bed toward the closet. I saw our dog lying by the bed on that side and was surprised he was alive-he just had a wound on his front leg. The closet door was open and I could not see well into it but I thought I saw something that looked like legs near the door. I touched them, and they were, and I knew it was Ted. I tried to see in further and although the light was still very dim, I could tell he was dead. He was slumped to his right against the wall of the closet and there was a lot of blood around him and on the floor.

I went out to tell Ven Pak and then ran over to ask Mr. Irwin to notify HACV. After the major came down, we moved Ted's body to the bed and a Catholic priest and some of our friends helped clean and dress him. His left arm (upper) was broken, apparently from the force of the gunshot; there were about 5 wounds in his chest and arm. There were no bruises on his body.

A bullet shell was found on the floor near the closet. This was given to Major Wallace.

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