And Then There Was Victor Charles
Grunts dreamed of a place in the line for the good things in life. They knew about lines, both the ones you got in and the ones that stood between. Only one in ten was short of the line that stood between grunts and REMFs. In the good line it was always the same, "Grunts to the rear; we got here first!" Grunts stood in the long lines and shuffled along. The guys in front, with their polished black boots, always seemed to get theirs. Grunts stood in the mud at the end of the line. When they got to the front, they'd be met with a shrug, "Sorry, someone else got here first." Grunts were last for everything it seemed. Most, never heard the call. That all changed in '81. Grunts are first and foremost on The Wall. You may think I am bitter, a tad jealous. I suppose I am a bit green. Of course, now that the mud has washed from my soul, and the long nights are but themselves a dream, I can see things more clearly. It could have been worse. I could have been a grunt in the Straight Leg Infantry.
The Marines suffered 81 KIA and 397 wounded while killing hundreds of NVA. Accounts of this action are hidden within reports of operations in region of Dong Ha. Battle of Ong Thanh - After minor enemy contact the previous day, a battalion commander led 155 American soldiers single-file into the bush to destroy the enemy. They ran into an NVA regiment with some 1400 men. Alpha company was wiped out in 20 minutes, and by sundown, 59 American soldiers lay dead with 75 wounded. An excellent documentary is on-line where survivors describe the onslaught. Battle for LZ Loon - The Marines landed on Hill 672 to build an artillery fire support base. The NVA objected, and sent a battalion to attack the two undermanned companies from the 4th Marines. After a day of heavy fighting that included NVA artillery fire, half the Marines were casualties. It was decided to abandon the hill by helicopter, leaving most of the dead behind. One helicopter was shot down during the extraction after this battle that left 41 Marines dead and over 100 wounded.
Casualty figures were not confirmed at this time due to the tactical situation. Weapons. 6 B/40 rockets, 1 anti-aircraft machine gun, 2 AK-47 rifles, 1 AK-44 rifle. Ordnance. 2 62mm mortar rounds, 4 60 mm mortar rounds, 31 grenades, nine mines, 5 flares, 2 RPG rockets, 16 B/40 rocket rounds, 550 AK-47 rounds, 500 lbs. Russian machine gun rounds, 10 60mm mortar ignition cartridges, 7 blasting caps. Battery F, displaced to the Da Nang TAOR during the last half of May to support 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines on Operation ALLEN BROOK. Tactical Fixed Wing Support: There were 46 fixed wing airstrikes during the month of May in support of Operation HOUSTON II and ALLEN BROOK. Operation ALLEN BROOK, supported initially by 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines and subsequently by 2nd Battalion, 13th marines, resulted in over 300 confirmed enemy KIA by artillery. During Operation ALLEN BROOK heavy volumes of light, medium and heavy artillery were delivered on enemy fighting from dense thickets, heavy treelines and concrete emplacements. At 171300H, Battery F, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines displaced from grid AT 871994 enroute to grid AT 962609 (HILL 55). Arrived in position and laid an azimuth 3100 at 172000H, Four (4) guns up. On 17 May Battery "D" displaced to the vicinity of Liberty Bridge to support units of Operation ALLEN BROOK. Battery "E" 2/13 has also fired in support of Operation ALLEN BROOK, firing from its present position.
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