August 13, 1968

When I awoke, the sun was burning away and it looked like a pretty nice day to be alive. I took my poncho down, rolled it up and tied it to my pack. I also attached my entrenching tool to the back of my pack. Once I had my gear ready to go, I warmed up my C-ration breakfast, drank my morning coffee and smoked my after breakfast cigarette.

Our fire team leader came by and told us we were leaving for Camp Carroll by truck as soon as our  replacements got there. Then we would be flying chopper to a hill near LZ Becky. A few minutes later, our replacements got there and we took off for Camp Carroll in a truck convoy. Once were were at Camp Carroll, we just sat around some bunkers near the LZ, waiting for the choppers to arrive. Every once in awhile, someone would say, “Hurry up and wait, that’s all these fuckers know how to do.”

Finally the choppers came in and we ran through the blasting dirt and onboard the chopper. We were some of the last to land, and we had to be told which way to go towards our platoon. As we were walking in the direction of our platoon, I was noticing there seemed to be a lot more Marines than usual. I asked L/Cpl Thomas about it, and he said we were protecting the battalion commander on this operation.

Just as he finished talking, we heard a short burst of M-16 fire and we all hit the dirt. We didn’t hear any more shooting, so we got back up and walked to our platoon CP where we found out that someone  in the third platoon had killed a NVA who was walking by as if we weren’t even there.

The area we were in was small, rolling hills covered in patches of elephant grass and bungle, our fighting would be in the jungle part. So first we had to back our way through the vines and small trees with machetes and entrenching tools to the the spot where our hole would be. Then we had to chop through about two or three feet of roots to dig our hole. After all of that, we had to clear a field of fire in front of our hole. About this time, the battalion commander, a major, came by checking the lines. I overheard him say to one of his aids that it would be impossible to defend these positions.

After hearing that, as soon as the major was out of ear range, Anderson said, "Fuck, man, let’s just rest.” We sat down and lit a cigarette and talked. Anderson said, We will probably be moving and have to dig another hole somewhere else. Sure enough, about twenty minutes later, we were back up on top of the ring of the hill we were surrounding. This time our hole would be in the elephant grass. It was a lot easier to dig the second hole, but everyone was pretty pissed off because we ll knew to begin with that the first place was a bad place to have the lines and because we had to dig two holes in one day and cover one of them back up.

By the time we got all our shit squared away and done all that had to be done such as setting out claymore mines, clearing the field of fire out in front of the hole, putting up a hottch - things we had to do every time we set out a new perimeter - it was dark and time to start night watch. The night went by calmly except for we were calling in artillery all around our area of operation to keep the NVA away.

© Carole Dixon 2015