|LZ Ross and Hiep Duc Valley.
The red line is Golf's approximate route of march to get to Hiep Duc Valley on
August 23, 1969. I remember about half was there Ray Rankin passed out from
the heat, which was brutal. We were crossing some old paddys and he just went
down. A medivac was called. I helped carry him or his gear on. Before this I
dropped my rifle. As I was leaving the chopper there was a rifle lying there, and
for whatever reason, I picked it up and checked the serial number. It was mine.
Someone had seen it and assumed it was Ray's. If I hadn't of looked I wouldn't
have had a weapon.
LZ West was an Army artillery base that supported us during the next few days.
Hill 185 was a company sized base. The picture directly below was taken from it.
The OP was OP Lion or Tiger or something like that.
The big red X is the, extremely, approximate location of the firefight of August 29,
I'm fairly sure we stopped where the red line ends because we sat on a finger like
the one there. There was a well there. It was small but the water was cold. I
remember how delicious it tasted in that heat. After a bit we got some fire, or saw
someone where the red 1 is. We had a sniper he he took some shots but didn't do
any good. We were told to go up there and clear the area. We moved down off
the finger and sweep up through some knee, maybe waist high, grass. Just short of
the treeline they opened up. In my diary I noted that, "Cunningham almost fell in
the hole with the gook that killed him." Sgt William Adams and Kenith Jerrell
were also kille. We went back down and called in artillery and air strikes. They
dropped some napalm and generally pounded the area. We went back up with
similar results, though we made the tree line. I remember seeing Cunningham's
burned up body lying there. We went back down and pounded the area some
more. Sgt. Ferguson took a squad and went up the left hand side in some brush
and made it into the trees, so the rest of us went up again. All hell broke loose.
Freguson's bunch pulled back out. Rick Cortese and Clark Mills were shot in the
leg. Cortese's was broken and John Pedro had to carry him down. I watched
Mills come running down hopping on one leg. We beat it up some more. By then
it was dark. The next day we managed to get the bodies without much trouble.
The red 2 marks, more or less, the action of August 25, 1969. Richard Shelton was
walking point and walked up on a 50 cal. We had some more wounded and it took
several hours to get everyone back and the area cleared.
The red 3 marks where we were mortared on the evening of August 26th. About
half of the remaining platoon was killed or wounded.
|View of Hiep Duc Valley from Hill 185.
|View of Hiep Duc Valley from LZ West. The red X marks
about where we were when Bobby Roberts was killed.