Company-Sized Operation

Page 2


NOTE:  With a couple exceptions, the pictures on these pages
are my personal property and cannot be used without permission.


I think this is CPL Michael "Jibs" Burns keeping an eye on one of the scout dogs we took with us on this patrol as we're moving through another streambed.  In this area, the vegetation was so thick that the stream was really the only place for a large unit to move and maintain some semblance of overall control.  Unfortunately, this slide has begun to deteriorate and made a pretty poor scan.  


Coming down out of the mountains, we had to walk a considerable distance in terrain we weren't really accustomed to operating in - paddies.  We almost always worked in the hills and mountains and areas where no one was friendly.  We had to be much more careful about the rules of engagement now that we were as likely to encounter "friendlies" as hostiles.  This paddy, like several others we would cross this day, was quite flooded from the rain of the past couple days and we had to slosh through a virtual sewer.


Here we're approaching a small village.  These always gave us the creeps because you had to sort through all the villagers to see if there were any enemy among them.


We've finally reached the pick-up point and are waiting for the grunts to arrive to ferry us back to the combat base.  We're in a rather relaxed formation here as we felt a bit invincible.  In normal configuration, each patrol carried its own M-60 machine-gun and M-79 grenade launcher and, for this large patrol, we didn't change that configuration at all.  Therefore, we had over twice the firepower of a normal Grunt company.  In the foreground with his back to the camera is William E. (fast Eddie) Bolin.  In the middle of the trail, also with his back to the camera is Don Cowell.  He was the machine-gunner for the other patrol in 2nd Platoon, RT Crabtree.  Between them, in the light green "T" shirt is LT Peter Badger.  Standing up in the distance in the bush hat is CPL Bobby Earp.  


This is me, taking a break as we await the Grunts.  I was sitting only slightly out of the frame in the picture above and you can still see the same rucksack with the radio handset cord hanging out of it in the distance.


Our chariots have arrived.  Being around the tanks was pretty cool.  It would have been unusual for the NVA or VC to mess with out column on the way back with several tanks, a company of grunts and a company of Recon, all backed up by a couple Ontos' and we were pretty relaxed on the way back to the 7th Marines base.

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