In early 1969 in Pleiku, Vietnam
the gun truck "Wild Thing" was built to protect convoys.
The "Wild Thing" was first built on a 2'1/2 -ton truck which
proved to be too light.
In mid 1971 box was extended then mounted on a 5-ton cargo, a heavier
more powerful truck.
The "Wild Thing" was fitted with 50 caliber machine guns and
as time went on twin M60 machine guns
were added and then the mini-gun.
By early 1971 she had two 50 caliber machine guns, twin M60 machine guns,
an anti aircraft 50
in the cab and a mini-gun. Her awesome fire power made 114 one of the
top gun trucks in her class.
The "Wild Thing" saw action three times, once in early 1970
with Larry Dugger in command, in 1971
under the command of Webster Madison, and mid 1972 with Tommy J. Pruett
Tommy was wounded in that action and received a purple heart.
The "Wild Thing" met a similar fate of almost all Vietnam gun
trucks when she dismantled in late 1972.
The only surviving gun truck is "The Eve of Destruction" that
resides; today at Fort Eustis Virginia Army Museum.
While there is not an accurate record, it is believed that there were
350 to 400 of these modified gun trucks
that changed the face of combat. American integrity and ingenuity
created these trucks and saved countless lives.
John Pentangelo, along with his sons John Jr. and Anthony, recreated this
truck to serve as a memorial
to honor gun truck crews and all Vietnam Veterans. Their two year project
was a labor of patriotism and love.
John, Anthony and John Jr. tirelessly labored to make this memorial a
dream come true.
Randy Recht served in Vietnam Jan' 71 — Dec'71 in 'D' Co. 815th
convoy with the "Wild Thing" and its crew.
In 2001 he met John Pentangelo through his brother Marvin. John said that
he wanted to build a Vietnam truck.
Randy sent a picture of the "Wild Thing."
John, his sons Anthony and John Jr. started collecting parts and purchased
the 5-ton truck in 2001.
John called Randy for some pictures and he sent all he had. He then started
contacting old friends he served with in Vietnam.
Using 33 year old addresses was a challenge!
Thanks to peoplesearch.com he was able to contact seven of the guys and
more pictures came.
This 5-ton cargo slowly became the "Wild Thing."
Randy Recht helped put the finishing details to the truck and made it
an exact replica.
The "Wild Thing" is the 5th replica in the United States.
She joins the Ace of Spades, The Untouchable, Psychotic Reaction, Satan's
Lil Angel , Black Widow, Uncle Meat and Iron Butterfly
I don't know if the Pentangelo's really know what they have accomplished
to touch the hearts of so many people.
This truck is dedicated to D Co. 815th Engineers. Gun truck crews, and
all Vietnam Veterans.
In Memory of Tommy J. Pruett , Ed Walsh and Randy Kinard