Higdon started to shoot at the Vietnamese soldier, but the enemy returned fire. Higdon told his driver that they needed to leave the scene, then jumped out of his truck, walked to the front and tried to convince the Vietnamese civilian to move out of the way.
But the civilian wouldn’t move, so Higdon walked to the back of the truck and fired a few warning shots. Then he went back up to the front and put his gun next to the civilian’s ear.
The civilian finally moved his vehicle, and the Army trucks started to leave — but the last truck wasn’t moving.
Higdon got off his truck and ran to the back, where he discovered the driver of the rear truck was sitting still. Higdon asked the driver what was wrong, and the driver said, “Nothing.”
Higdon realized that some shrapnel had struck the driver, but he was not seriously hurt.
“More or less, I just went back there and got him focused back on what was going on,” Higdon said. “He had frozen is the only thing I can figure.”
The Army trucks finally left the scene and returned to the base camp. No one was hurt except for the driver in the rear truck.
Higdon had already signed up for a second tour, hoping his decision would save his younger brother, Jimmy Higdon, from serving in Vietnam.
Higdon’s brother was also in the Army, working at Fort Eustis, Va., but Jimmy apparently got bored with stateside duty and volunteered to serve in Vietnam.
Higdon said Army regulations barred brothers from serving in the same combat zone, and he was relying on those rules when he signed up for a second tour, but he didn’t realize Jimmy was already stationed overseas.