Chapter 3

Shortly thereafter, Co. B 1/27 reached the perimeter having taken just two hours to make the trip through the jungle. With them were several AK 47 rifles taken from the VC attempting to escape. At that time, the observed enemy body count was well over 100 VC dead. At about 1630 hours (4:30 pm), Meloy sent word for the units to withdraw. Co. C 1/27 was first followed by headquarters. Co. B 1/27 set up a secondary blocking position, and the task force that had spent almost 30 hours under fire in a nose-to-nose battle began to pull back through their lines. My Bravo Company was left up front because it had sustained the fewest casualties during this operation. The troops started moving back 25 meters at a time. Every time we tried to lift the artillery, the enemy was right back with his full intensity of fire. It appeared the artillery bombardment had little effect on Charlie because of the high canopy of trees he was using as cover. We later found out the artillery had indeed killed many of the enemy.

When I was ready to withdraw the last Company, I didn't tell Bravo Co. to move until the artillery rounds had already been fired just on top of our position. Bravo Co. placed Claymore mines forward of their position in preparation of our retreat and waited for the VC to advance. After some movement to our front was spotted, word was given to detonate the mines and then pull out. After the terrific explosion went off, we were engulfed in a massive dark cloud from the Claymore back blast, but before it could reach us we had pulled out. All of us were running as hard and fast as we could with all the gear we had to carry. I remember my legs felt like they were made of rubber, thus making it hard for me to keep my balance. However, the adrenaline was really flowing. I didn't fall and soon ran into friendly troops who were to replace us and do some mop-up action. These troops were the 1st Inf. Division (Big Red One), the 196th Brigade, and 5th Mechanized making a total of somewhere around 14,000 combat troops to replace the departing combatants. As we ran from the combat scene, I was overjoyed to see the many HUEYs (troop helicopters) waiting in the clearing to helilift our outfit back to base camp at Cu Chi. You cannot understand this euphoria unless you have been in combat, survived, and then suddenly find yourself repatriated.

Copyright © 2000 Marion L. Ellard - All Rights Reserved