War Stories

Day from Hell Continued

by John Morgan
May 1968

Day From Hell continued

It is now May 25, 1968, and we are sitting on a firebase overlooking Cambodia, when a call comes in from Battalion that they need a volunteer to go to Hill 1062 and assist a Company with "Intel" before they begin there assault. I would find out later that it was "A" 1/14th. I think we all remember the phrase "NEVER VOLUNTEER" well I must have had a serious brain lapse and did the unthinkable by volunteering to be the Scout. I discussed potential battle plans with our C.C. and was on the next chopper out heading to Hill 1062.

Upon arrival I was directed to the CO, who had his map spread out on the ground, going over his plans with his Platoon Leaders. As a Spec 4 I am here to tell a Capt. that his potential assault plans will result in potentially numerous casualties and will not work. I pointed out the problem areas we had run into during our assault on April 3, 1968, including avoiding the main trail, due to potential booby traps, there had been five uncovered by the CIDG when we moved on the Hill, and to not crest the Hill without first laying down preemptive fire. After going over other ideas that my C.O. had suggested plus other suggestions from what I had learned from our assault we were ready to move out. It felt unreal that not only was I back where we took a beating, but now I was telling a C.O. how it might be best to assault a Hill.

As we approached the Ridge of the Hill the lead Platoon spread out and as I had suggested laid down preemptive firing. Sure enough "Charlie" was waiting and thinking they had been spotted returned fire. Another platoon moved up in support well the two other platoons covered the flanks. The C.O. called for gunships, and air support, well the fight continued. The C.O. pulled back when the air support arrived., and prepared to set up a defensive perimeter for the night. Our bunkers were bomb craters from previous battles and for some of us they would be a lifesaver.

The night was settling in and the evening seemed eerily quiet when we started hearing the Pops of Mortars. Sure enough after all the airstrikes and gunship assaults "Charlie" was still there and was trying to zero in on us with his mortars. Almost all were going past us when we heard the POP and the WHISTLING of the Mortar and realized it was coming in close to where we were. It is a scary feeling knowing it is going in your vicinity but not knowing exactly where it will land. As fate and luck, or by the grace of God, it landed at the upper edge of the Crater in front of us. You try to react as fast as you can by getting your head down, and then you realize you are hit, and still alive. Some one called for the Medic, as we are laying there trying to figure out how bad our wounds are. We see in the crater in front of us that at least three of our brothers are KIA, and that the three of us in our crater are all wounded. I start to wipe the blood from my face and realize I can't move my right arm. As the Medic is working on is he looks at me and in total shock calls my name "JOHN" what the Hell are you doing here. I look at him and realize it is Larry, my High School classmate and track partner from School. We are both in shock to realize that in this War Zone two guys who went to the same school would meet up on the battlefield. That night was a night of little to no sleep and Larry and I talked about our high school days and our plans for the future when we made it home.

Fortunately for us we both made it home. I was out in Sept. '68 and Larry was Jan '69. We located each other in the early 70's but then lost track of each other till around 2008. Once again it was because of our website and its link to the 1/14th that I was once again able to locate Larry. We are in constant contact and I found that we are only about ninety minutes from each other.