by James Tibbit
On 29 March 1969 we were waiting resupply when my O.P. came to report that he had seen movement across the stream. I left Tiny my R.T.O. & John Ryan ( Div. Photographer) with our equip. and move my Recon Plt. on line to engage the possible Enemy Force; which turned out to be Co. "C". They had crossed into our area of operation. After solving this mistake We went back to waiting resupply. Again the O.P. returned to report the N.V.A. had crossed in front of him. Moved Recon into position, then I had Peterson call for 4.2 motor out 400 meters, walk it back to within 100 meters, and to adjust outward by 100 M. as we moved forward. We encountered one enemy running up stream. I threw a grenade that bounced off a tree limb, that missed its target.
I then had that end sealed off. I had Chuck Sittig, Airborne Carson squad go down stream, cross over, when they started receiving fire. Merrick received a creasing shot to the side of his head. Before I got to him, Moss had jumped into a trench and was shot in the neck. I had left the medic with my two wounded soldiers, Tiny with our equipment, I knew I had to move fast and I would always be close to a radio. Sgt. Airborne could get a dust off for the wounded. Sgt Chuck Sittig and I was trying to determine the exact location of the enemy. Then I got the word I had a wounded on the other side of the stream. This is the time the X.O. was trying to make contact with me and Tiny made his famous comment f_ _ _ you sir I'm under heavy fire and I'm not looking for him. I found my way across(hadn't been here yet). The wounded turned out to be Brain. He had a compound fracture to his left bi-cep area,which I put in a sling & splint. Took one other man assist with Brain and headed back across the stream. Coming out of the stream we encounter A.K. fire. I told the men to roll back in the stream, threw a grenade into the opening. Then I maneuvered around and above the N.V. A. and took him out.
Arriving back with Chuck and the Medic I found The X.O. Maj.Adams. wanted to talk to me. In so many word he told me to carry my own radio,if my R.T.O. couldn't move as fast as I. Reason being, so he could control the action. " Roger that",then I continued my mission, to close with and destroy the enemy.
Realizing the enemy was in a trench, I had the men to throw grenades. Then the enemy enemy was able to throw them back, one was in my direction. I hit the ground, facing away from the grenade. Still one fragment went threw the sole of my boot and into the ball of my right foot, later " I removed my boot and plucked the frag out with my Buck knife!". I told my men how to cook off grenades, Pull the pin,release the handle, count to 3,then throw the grenade! Believe me you can count to 3 a lot faster then 4-6 seconds.
I had to request another case of grenades. The X.O. brought them to us, as usual, I know he and the LTC. wanted to be on the ground with us. On my way to the chopper I found the other end of the trench the enemy was in. A N.V.A. had parted the grass and was attempting to escape. That's when I changed his mind for good. While getting the grenades the X.O. said we were using to many. That's when I injected, they were cheaper then our men. We knew that we could always depend on the X.O.
Now back to grenade throwing, temping movement from the enemy, searching and drawing fire. At one point I even had my men to call for "Chui-Hoi" for the enemy to (surrender). It was getting late, got my men on line, "Lets Go Get Them" and we did. I got one more that was in front of me. Out of the corner of my, eye I saw my men take out three more. Then the cry I'm hit, it was Johnson. The A.K. round had went threw the magazine well (loaded),cross bandoleer , into his chest. When you see the hole in the chest w/bubbles coming out its a sucking chest wound.
I had Recon the spray the entire trench with rifle fire and grenades.
Meantime I had two poles cut ten feet long, took my jacket and two other inverted, sleeve to the inside which made a litter, place Johnson on it and moved to where we could get a Dust-Off., same where we had gotten resupplied before, also had a bamboo hooch. It had started raining right as Johnson was wounded. Now it was pouring. So happened it was "monsoon season". Regardless of how much hell I raised, the reply remained "There is Nothing Able to fly in this down pour. Recon
provided security, the Medic and a couple others stayed with Johnson, I continue to raise hell on the radio. After a few hours a message came over the radio; Dust-Off enroute. Second joy is when the pilot asked, mark your location. flash light saved the day. The pilot identified the light. I told him a huge Teak-wood. His reply was he making a circle, to let him know when he was over the tree. When I did he turned turned on enough lights to lite a foot-ball field. Out to the copter, they kept our liter, which meant three soldiers went with out shirts until we got a resupply the next day.
Summary:My thanks goes out to our 4.2mortar platoon, the best I have ever known,Major Frank Adams, last but not lease The Medivac Crew.