Cacti War Stories
Edited by Wiley "Tiny" Dodd
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Coffin Corner, Duclap
by William Rogers
Coffin Corner, Duc Lap
By Bill Rogers
Recon was working all around Duc Lap when we got sent to the Volcano to set up for awhile. Lt. Burdick was our new platoon leader and Sgt. Crawford was replacing Sgt. Whidell who was short.
Just after we got set up on top of Volcano we got a call to go help C co. in contact where they were setting up a base just off Highway 14. We were told to just bring firepower and leave our rucks.
I was walking point on the right side of the highway and Steve Miller was on the left side. Since we were told to get there in a hurry we had to take Highway 14. Not something we would normally do.
As we approached the area we got sniped at and I felt the round just miss me. We hit the ground and worked our way toward the firefight. Lt. Burdick had now taken the lead. We ended up low crawling all the way up the hill to Charlie Company while the sniper was still taking shots. Charlie had a lot of men hit. The sniper kept everyone pinned down and as we went over this one tree laying down the sniper would shoot at everyone. Wolf one of Recon platoon, was shot in the backend just ahead of me and Miller going over the tree but we made it.
As we crawled toward our position there wasn't much cover and the foxholes I came upon were full of dead GI's, and some had NVA in them also. We couldn't get in them for cover. Lt. Burdick to my knowledge ran around drawing fire and eventually killed the sniper.
After the fighting settled down they had to extract the wounded and dead. We were told to set up a perimeter around Charlie company. We were trying to dig foxholes with our hands. I got movement to my front on a tree so Bill Poupour and I opened up. We went out to see what happened and found one dead NVA under a tree.
That night my squad was told to stay with the NVA bodies and set up an ambush. We took the rain gear off the dead gooks and layed next to them all night, they never came back. Not a fun night. Sgt. Crawford set some hand grenade booby traps around the perimeter that night. The next morning we were told to pull out. Crawford was moving around checking the booby traps when he hit one with his foot and lost his foot. He was ca'd out. We humped back to the Volcano. The spot where all this took place is known as Coffin Corner in Duc Lap to all of us that were there, we will never forget it.
Lt. Burdick earned the Silver Star that day.