(July 1969 to March 1970)

During and after the reunion [September 2009], a lot of memories have returned that I had forgotten. I went over the newest version of “The Story” and it is really taking shape. I read Lloyd Bryant’s version of what happened out on LP1 during the battle at Granite and the way I remember it is a little different from his version. Not surprising considering the stress, pain and shock of wounds, 40 years, etc.

Here’s the story as I remember it. I was asleep when the first shots on the perimeter awakened me. As soon as the firing from the perimeter increased, we moved down slope about 25 meters from our LP position to avoid all of the small arms fire coming at us [from the men in the company on the firebase at the top of the hill] because we started out on top of the ridge that was basically at the same elevation as the perimeter maybe 75-100 (?) meters outtarpein2 and rounds were buzzing all around us coming from the direction of the perimeter (friendly fire). No one called in the artillery from our LP because we had no idea what was happening back at the perimeter and we didn’t see a single NVA troop out where we were (I agree w/ Lloyd about that). We hauled ass back towards the perimeter just a few minutes later as soon as artillery started “walking” towards us. I took the radio (which we initially left behind like Lloyd said) as soon as we got back just outside the perimeter and found a huge tree to put between us and the perimeter for cover from the small arms. It was about 25(?) meters outside of the wire and below a bulldozer (I don’t remember seeing the bulldozer until it got light and we were carried back in). I took the radio and requested permission to re-enter the perimeter but we were refused permission and told to hold position and dig in. We didn’t have entrenching tools but this huge tree we were behind had a very tall and thick root system in which everybody found a niche to fit into except me. I was laying about 10 feet out from the tree trying to see more around us when the artillery rounds landed. Several rounds landed very close to us over about a one minute period. One of the rounds landed about eight feet to my right side. I recall a searing pain in my right thigh and then I was flying through the air in slow motion. I guess I flew about six feet and landed close to Carroll Schiltz. Things get very fuzzy for me for the next few minutes. The concussion I assume. I recall checking to see if anyone else was hit and I realized that Schiltz and Mack were hit pretty bad but Bryant was unharmed. I grabbed the radio which was laying with Schiltz and began screaming at the CP to call off the arty because it was blowing us to pieces and three out of the four of us were wounded. It must have worked because no more arty landed close to us. I helped Schiltz, who was in a great deal of pain tie a bandage around his foot (?) and I tied a big handkerchief around my right thigh (shrapnel wound) because it was the only bandage I had left. From that point on we just laid there where we were and listened to the battle going on which seemed to start slacking off around 4-5 AM (?). I recall doing some world class praying at one point. I remember talking on the radio the next morning to the CP and they sent a patrol out to fetch us because I told them that we needed help with the wounded. I remember when the patrol arrived to get us, the first recognizable face I recall seeing was that of Bobby Powers. Man, was he a sight for sore eyes. The men on that patrol looked like ghosts. The looks in their eyes was horrible. I can’t begin to describe it. I believe that Bobby Powers carritarpein3ed Carroll Schiltz in on his back and someone gave me a shoulder to lean on. Some others carried Mack. We encountered a dead NVA troop not more than 10 meters from where we had been laying although I did not see even one during the battle. I never even fired my weapon. I remember reentering the wire and couldn’t believe the scene before me. The area was devastated. Unexploded satchel charges were laying everywhere. I remember the squad navigating through the satchel charges like following a maze - there were so many and we were trying not to step on any. When we got up to where the fox holes began there was evidence of explosions everywhere. We were taken up to the helipad for extraction and that’s where the real devastation was. Dozens of bodies were there - our dead and wounded. It was horrible! I just went numb. I remember lifting up a few ponchos to identify the dead and came across Gary Stacy who was a buddy of mine. I couldn’t look anymore so I just sat up against some sandbags and waited for the medevac choppers to come in. It seemed that we waited quite a while. That’s the way I remember that night.