|Carlos Arzeta, in the center, got up in the morning and stepped down the hill
from his position to take a dump. He dropped his pants and squatted down
just as two gooks walked up on him. The first one tried to shoot him but the
gun didn't fire. Carlos grabbed him and kept the man between him and the
second one so he wouldn't shoot. He wrestled the gun away and I seem to
remember that it wouldn't fire for him either. Somehow he got ahold of the
second guy and got his rifle and shot them both. When he went back up to
the position they hadn't heard a thing. He had to take them down the hill
and show them the bodies.
Unkown on the left, Carlos in the middle, and David Rucker on the right.
|Operation Oklahoma Hills
The blue dotted line was drawn by myself shortly after the operation so it should
be reasonably accurate.
The red 1 is Hill 22 where Golf kicked off the operation March 31. It was about
dark when we left, we were to hump all night. I think the idea was for us to get
into the hills before sunup without being seen. There were two companies that left
Hill 22. I don't remember who the other one was but they went first and Golf
The 2 is where we crossed a river. The first company got across okay. But by the
time they finished the path out of the river was muddy and slick. When some
guys moved over a bit to get firmer footing they tripped a booby-trap. I think 2
or 3 were hurt. Mark Romander was one, don't know who the others were. I
think they all eventually came back to the company. We were held up there for a
couple of hours because of this.
The 3 marks Hill 270 where we ended up the morning of April 1. By the time we
got there we were out of water. There were a couple of bomb craters there filled
with stagnate, misquito larvea infested water. I was pretty thirsty so I filled up.
Everytime I drank out of it I would take my filthy tee-shirt and fold over the
canteen to filter out the bigger chunks. There was also an old helicopter, gunship
I think, there that had been shot down.
The 4 marks a long, long, long hump up hill. It really kicked my ass, barely made
it up. Along the way we passed 3 or 4 brand new graves. Some men were left to
dig and see if any ammo, rockets, etc where there. Turned out to be nothing but
some EXTREMELY bad smelling bodies. We had a man fall out due to heat
about that time also. The wait for the medivac chopper gave me some time to rest
or I'd have probably been on my ass too.
The 5 marks Hill 502, LZ Buckskin. We held up there for 3-4 days while an
artillery base was set up. It was there, on April 3 that my son was born. I didn't
see him until February 23, 1970. It was also here that the rockets exploded in the
The 6 marks Hill 785 where the company stayed for a few days. It was here that
Carlos Arzata killed the gooks that interrupted his morning dump. It was also
here where the choppers picked us up when the operation was over.
Okay, I know there are 2 6's and no 8 (due to excessive beer consumption) but we
are going to pretend the second 6 is a 7 and the 7 is an 8. Everyone got that?
The 7 marks a large NVA base camp we found on April 14th (or so). On the night
of the 15th they hit us. Clifford Labombard was killed by a satchel charge that
pretty much blew him in half. David Rucker told me about a black Marine that
had been wounded in the foot and ended up losing it because we couldn't get a
medivac in for a few days and gangrene set in. The base camp was large. There
were bunkers and stuff dug into the hill everywhere. They had left all the trees of
any size so it would have been invisible from the air.
The 8 marks a fairly sharp firefight. I know we had some casualties but don't
remember who or how many. From here they sent us back to Hill 785 to be flown
|Bob Muth on Oklahoma Hills carrying popups.