Site Statistics  :  Web Resources  :  Past Polls    
 Welcome to WinterSoldier.comFriday, March 24 2017 @ 11:53 AM MDT 

Dedication is dedicated to the American veterans of the Vietnam War, who served with courage and honor.

Visit The Wall

Read the book: To Set the Record Straight
The inside story of how Swift Boat veterans, POWs and the New Media defeated John Kerry.



Sign up for updates.


January 30, 2008:
FrontPage Magazine: To Set The Record Straight

August 18, 2004:
FrontPage Magazine interviews Scott Swett

Speakers Bureau
Speaker Biographies

Contact Us
Send feedback to

For media contacts or to book speakers, email is an online project of
New American Media Online Services, LLC

Third Marine Division

Kenneth Campbell, 21, Cpl. (E-4), "A" Bat., 1st Bn., 11th Marine Reg., 1st Marine Div., scouted for "B" Co., 1st Bn., 1st Marine Reg., 1st Marine Division (February 1968 to March 1969)

Evan Haney, Naval Support Activity, United States Navy, Da Nang

Veterans Testifying:

Allen Akers, 25, Pfc. (E-2), "E" Co., 2nd Bn., 4th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Division (May 1965 to March 1966)

Steve Rose, 26, U.S.N. Corpsmen (E-5), HQ Bn., 4th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Division (December 1966 to December 1967)

Sean Newton, 24, L/Cpl. (E-3), 3rd Bn., 7th Marine Reg., 1st Marine Division (February 1966 to December 1966); "D" Co., 1/26, 3rd Combined Action Group, 3rd Marine Div. (August 1967 to August 1968)

Michael Damron, 24, Pvt. (E-1), "B" Co., 3rd Tank Bn., 3rd Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Division (September 1966 to October 1967)

Jack Smith, 27, S/Sgt. (E-6), HQ Battery, 12th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Division (January 1969 to December 1969)

John Birch, 24, Cpl. (E-4), "B" Co., 3rd Shore Party Bn., 4th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Division (May 1965 to August 1966)

Christopher Soares, 20, L/Cpl. (E-3), "G" Co., 2nd Bn., 9th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Division (February 1969 to April 1969)

William Hatton, 23, Cpl. (E-4), Engineer Mn. Plt., FLSG Bravo, 3rd Marine Div. (October 1968 to September 1969)

Robert Clark, 22, L/Cpl. (E-3), "H&S" Co. & "G" Co., 2nd Bn., 9th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Division (May 1969 to May 1970)

Nathan Hale, 23, SP/5, M.I. Detachment, 198 L.I.B., Americal Division (December 1967 to December 1968)

Gordon Stewart, 20, Sgt. (E-5), "H" Co., 2nd Bn., 9th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Div. (September 1968 to September 1969)

Jamie Henry, 23, Sgt., 1/35 Inf., 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (August 1967 to August 1968)

Walter Hendrickson, 22, Pfc (E-2), "F" Co., 2nd Bn., 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division (November 1968 to April 1969)

MODERATOR. This is the Third Marine Division. They landed in Vietnam in March of 1965 and they are still there. There are two people minus their DD-214s, but they do have military IDs and other military identification which the press can check later. Their names are Allan Aker and Walter Hendrickson. Also, attached to this panel because these people can't stay for tomorrow or the next day are Jamie Henry with the 4th Infantry Division, Army and Nathan Hale, an interrogator from the Americal Division.

AKERS. My name is Allan Akers. I am 25 years old and from the city of Chicago. I joined the Marines just after high school and was in Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, Infantry Unit. I am presently in college and work for the YMCA. I was in Vietnam from May of '65 until March of '66. The bulk of my testimony will consist of mass movement of villagers after destroying their original homes, the killing of civilians in search and reconnoiter by fire, the false percentages of blacks in Vietnam told by the Pentagon, and how troops are geared into committing war crimes.

BIRCH. My name is Jonathan Birch. I'm 24. I live in Philadelphia. I joined the Marine Corps right after high school. I was a corporal in "B" Company, 3rd Shore Party Battalion attached to 4th Marine Division. I landed in Chu Lai, South Vietnam in 1965, in May. I was a field radio operator and presently I'm employed as an accountant in Philadelphia. I will be testifying about the forced relocation of villagers in Chu Lai area.

ROSE. My name is Steven Rose and I'm 26 years old and spent four wasted years in the Navy, from 1963 through 1967. I was a Navy corpsman in Vietnam and I'm presently working now at a psychiatric hospital on Long Island. I will testify to the blowing up of a civilian bus by the VC and the throwing out of wounded civilians by their ARVN crew. I will also talk about the preparation of cars from the Marines to be shipped back to the States. Thank you.

NEWTON. My name is Sean Newton. I'm 24 years old and a resident of Santa Monica, California. I joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1964 right after high school. I served in Vietnam from February 1966 to December 1966 as a private in 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. My second tour was as a Lance Corporal with Delta Company, 126 and with 3rd Combined Action Group from August '67 to August '68. I'm now continuing my education at Santa Monica City College.

DAMRON. My name is Mike Damron. My age is 24. I'm from Springdale, Arkansas. I was a student before enlisting in the Marines. My rank was Private and I served with "B" Company, 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division from September 1966 until October 1967. My job was gunner on a tank. I'm presently a student at the University of Arkansas.

SMITH. My name is Jack Smith. I'm 27 years old. I was a student at the University of Connecticut for 3 1/2 years before I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1966 and I was also an unemployed carpenter at the time. I enlisted. I was a Counter-Mortar Radar Team Chief and a Vietnamese interpreter. I served in Vietnam in 1967 and all of 1969. I was with Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines and I am presently an unemployed carpenter and an on-strike student. My testimony concerns genocide against the Vietnamese people, murder of civilians--old women and children--harassment and maltreatment of children and also the murder of children, the maltreatment of ARVN soldiers, racism against the blacks, both institutional and by official policy and individual, the crossing of borders with artillery fire, and the maltreatment of POWs.

MODERATOR. Excuse me, Mike, you didn't give what you were going to speak about. Could you do that?

NEWTON. My testimony will consist of the burning of villages, the killing of civilians, mutilation of bodies, the taking of ears, scalps, and heads, the destruction of crops and livestock, use of defoliants, the evacuation of civilians from their villages to relocation centers, the killing of wounded North Vietnamese army troops, and the resist policies of the armed force in Vietnam.

DAMRON. My testimony will include witnessing of killing of civilians, destruction of villages, and treatment of prisoners of war.

STEWART. Ny name is Gordon Stewart. I'm 20, I live here in Royal Oak, Detroit area. I joined the Marines in January of '68. Until November, '70 I was a Sergeant. I served in Vietnam with the Second Battalion, 9th Marines as a Forward Observer attached to Hotel Company from September, '68 through August, '69. My testimony concerns Operation Dewey Canyon, which is the invasion of Laos, contrary to published documents. I'm mostly going to talk about the genocide committed against the Vietnamese people, the killing of civilians by calling in artillery and white phosphorus on villages and hamlets.

SOARES. My name is Christopher Soares, age 20, resident of New York City, New York. I'm currently an unemployed student because of disability. I was in high school in New York City and had a part-time job before joining the Marine Corps. My rank was Lance Corporal, E-3. I was a rifleman in the infantry: grunt. My outfit in Vietnam was Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. My testimony will consist of the invasion of Laos, correlated with Gordon Stewart, Operation Dewey Canyon, from February, '69 to March, '69, mortar attack on approximately 30 Montagnards; nightly H&I fire, using high explosive and white phosphorus rounds; throwing cans of food at civilians while passing by on truck convoy; .50 caliber machine guns used in anti-personnel weapons; killer teams; distributed contaminated food; witnessed POW beaten and interrogated at knife point; deformed civilians; and my platoon sergeant had a $1,000 bounty on his head.

HENDRICKSON. My name is Walter Hendrickson, age 22. I'm a resident of upstate New York. I'm unemployed now because of disability. I entered the Marine Corps shortly after working 6 months as a turret lathe operator. I was trained as an anti-tank personnel and when I reached Vietnam I was made a regular rifleman grunt. I'm going to be testifying about entering Laos; throwing cans of chow from moving trucks at villagers; wounding of civilian personnel for suspicion of being with NVA; H&I firing nightly; the mutilating of bodies of NVA; and the killing of a Chieu Hoi who was shot to death.

SOARES. I'm sorry, I missed testimony. Also recon by fire by patrol boats, rivers.

HATTON. Ny name is Bill Hatton. I'm 23 years of age and I was a high school student before I entered the Marine Corps in 1966. I spent 4 years in regular enlistment. I attained the rank of Corporal, as a Lance Corporal and Corporal both during my tour. I was in Vietnam from October of 1968 to September of 1969. My outfit was Engineer Maintenance Platoon, FLSG Bravo, Dong Ha. My testimony will deal with the stoning to death of a 3 year old Vietnamese child; handling kids heat tab sandwiches; and firing mad-minutes at [LZ] Stud; throwing cases of C-rats at women and children off moving trucks; and fragging and price-setting on the heads of officers in the unit. My occupation at present--I'm the director of the Department of Planning Promotion for the village of Bagley, Minnesota.

CLARK. My name is Bob Clark. I'm 22 years old. Right after high school I entered the Marine Corps. I served as a Battalion Radio Operator and interpreter with Golf Company Two Nine from May to August 1969. From December 1969 to late February, '70 I served as One Four Chief calling in air strikes in Vietnam. I'm currently unemployed and a resident of Philadelphia. My testimony will concern killing of wounded prisoners; prisoner refused medical attention, and as a result died, with about 30 Marines watching him, including a Colonel; brutalities toward Vietnamese children and women.

HENRY. My name is Jamie Henry. I'm 23 years old. I was drafted on March 5, 1967, ETS'd March 7, 1969. Entered Vietnam August 31, 1967 and returned to the United States in August 1968. I'll be testifying on the murder of innocent civilians which ultimately culminated in the execution of 19 women and children and the causes behind these murders.

HALE. My name is Nathan Hale. I'm 24 years old. I'm a resident of Coatesville, Pennsylvania. I'm currently a student and a candle maker. I joined the Army in April of '66. My rank at discharge was Specialist 5. I was an interrogator-linguist with Americal Division. I will show a series of slides of an interrogation by the Vietnamese National Field Police and describe general techniques used in interrogation.

MODERATOR. Al Akers, you mentioned the killing of civilians as one of the things you will be testifying to. Could you elaborate on that, please?

AKERS. Yes, we were given orders whenever we moved into a village to reconnoiter by fire. This means to--whenever we step into a village to fire upon houses, bushes, anything to our discretion that looked like there might be somebody hiding behind, or in, or under. What we did was, we'd carry our rifles about hip high and we'd line up on line parallel to the village and start walking firing from the hip. There were times when Vietnamese villages had man-made bomb shelters to protect themselves from air raids. Well, sometimes when we'd come to a village a Vietnamese would run out of the bomb shelter for fear of being caught, so consequently this surprise would startle any individual and they would automatically turn and fire, thereby uselessly killing civilians without giving them a chance.

MODERATOR. Could you also explain about the false black casualty reports by the Pentagon?

AKERS. Definitely. I was with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines and the same unit that was there in Hawaii shipped out for Vietnam, and in Hawaii especially, of Two Four, of 1,100 Marines, approximately 600 of them were black and the same went with the other two battalions of the 4th Marines. I know darned well that 600 out of 1,100 is not 10 or 12%. Two and two--you know, that's got to be it.

MODERATOR. Were mostly black soldiers on the front lines? Or did they have people in the rear also that were black?

AKERS. What do you mean by front lines?

MODERATOR. The ones that went out to the field. The grunts.

AKERS. Well, see, consequently because of the balance of black soldiers in the units, whenever a unit was sent out, you know the black soldiers were used as points, rear guards and side guards. Echo Company was considered to be Colonel _____'s most prized unit. Colonel _____ as everybody called him. And Echo Company was Colonel _____'s, what he called "The Magnificent _____." Echo Company was about 50% black.

MODERATOR. Were most of the orders that came down from him--Major _____?

AKERS. Colonel _____? Yes, he was kind of his own man. If you remember, I believe, the book written by Chesty Puller where he was elaborately mentioned in the book as being like one of the few last supposed Marines would be.

MODERATOR. John Birch, you mentioned the relocation of fishermen. Could you elaborate on that, please?

BIRCH. This was in Chu Lai and it was in the period of May to August 1965. I landed at the same time as A1's unit. I was attached to the 4th Marine Regiment of which the 2nd Battalion was a part. I can support his testimony with the percentage of the blacks within the units. On the beach where we landed was a fishing village up in the northern edge of Dong Quai Bay. It was perhaps 5 to 10 huts. These people had been fishermen all their lives. They knew nothing but fishing, but since the Americans--the military--wanted to use that area they moved them up a river, about a mile and a half up the coast. Now they were still fishermen and could still go out, but they were suspected of being VC. They weren't VC. They were just fishermen, and you have to go out every day if you're going to earn your living by fishing. So they decided we'll move them up the river further still, where we can keep a closer eye on them. They did that and then, just about August, they moved them into a relocation village which was off the river. They took their boats away, burned them, and gave them land and said, "All right, now you can become farmers. People need food and we don't trust fishermen."

We personally took some of their little round boats-- they look like little sampans--these little round things-- called bull boats. So these people who had been fishermen for generations now suddenly became farmers on land that could not be farmed because the area in and around Chu Lai on the beach was sand, very dry, rotten sand.

MODERATOR. Okay, Steve Rose. About that blowing up of the bus by the VC. How many people were on there, what was their status, how many of them were killed and wounded?

ROSE. Yes, this is on Highway 1 outside of Camp Evans in I Corps area. I would say there were about 50 civilians on this bus. They pack them in pretty good on these buses, and with all their belongings. This bus was heading up Highway 1 north and the word that came back to us before we went out was that the VC blew up this civilian bus because the convoy didn't come through today.

So I was at 4th Marine Regiment Headquarters and the doctor and I and a few other corpsmen went out to this bus. Now there was people laying all over the mud there and most of them were dead, but there were some that were still alive and we did a little preparatory work and ARVN helicopters came in with American crews as head. We asked the civilians around the area to help us load the wounded onto helicopters, which they refused to do. Now I sort of understand why. It's not really their war. We're too involved there and we shouldn't be. So what happened was that we, the Marines from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, that was on patrol, helped load these bodies onto choppers and as the choppers took off into the distance, the wounded that we put on were being thrown off into the field.

MODERATOR. How high was the chopper when these people were thrown off?

ROSE. It was about a hundred yards out and maybe about 50 or 60 feet high; it was just taking off into the distance.

MODERATOR. How about the taking of ears? Would you explain that?

ROSE. Yeah. It's a thing maybe it's only with 3rd Marine Division, to cut off the left ear of NVA troops that are killed. I had some friends--I was back down to Phu Bai and some friends came out of the field and as a corpsman they asked, "Can we get a bottle and something to put it in so we can ship it back to the States?" and I proceeded to do that--pack 'em for shipment.

MODERATOR. What sort of emotions did the GIs have of cutting off the ears and sending them back to the States? Were they happy about it or were they sad or what was the emotion?

ROSE. I think...I call the time I spent in Vietnam "dead time." I call it a time when you just function and do things that, hopefully, you won't do when you come back home. As dead time, I think it's a sort of emotionless, you know, you do it, your buddy did it, so you can do it. So you just send it back. You don't make a big deal of it.

MODERATOR. Okay, Sean Newton, you say you spent two tours in Vietnam.

NEWTON. That's right.

MODERATOR. The question I'd like to ask you is, "What were the differences, if any, in the policies of units that you were in in Vietnam from the first tour to the second tour?"

NEWTON. The first time I was in Vietnam, I was with the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines; the second tour was with the 3rd Division, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines at Khe Sanh and 3rd Combined Action Group. That job was in an advisory capacity with South Vietnamese militia living in the villages. The overall policy of the Marine Corps in '65 and '66, to me, seemed to be sort of a scorched earth policy. There was a lot of burning and a lot of killing and no one was saying much about it. When I returned in '67, our staff NCOs and officers would tell us, "You know, you just have to be careful. If there are newsmen who go out on the operation with you just be cool, you know, but if there's no one there, do the same thing you did in '65 and '66. So you just have to be a little careful." And that was just about the only change that I noticed besides an escalation of the war.

MODERATOR. Before you went to Vietnam did you have any expectations of what was going to happen there? Did you receive any kind of information while you were going through training?

NEWTON. When we went through the four weeks before you go--staging--I didn't have to go through staging the first time because they gave us three days notice, gave us no leave at all, and put us on ships in Long Beach. We couldn't even call our parents and tell them where we were going or why we were going or anything and they said we were just going out on maneuvers. Like 11 days later we knew we weren't going to be going out on maneuvers. What was the question again? I'm really tired.

MODERATOR. What kind of information did you receive while going through staging?

NEWTON. Oh, yeah, going through staging. They just tried to hype you up and prime you to go over there and just waste them, you know. The Communist threat was brought up time and time again, like, you had to go over there and do this thing so that they wouldn't come invading the United States, make a beach landing, or something or other.

MODERATOR. Mike Damron, you testified to the killing of civilians and the treatment of POWs. Would you like to talk about that?

DAMRON. Well, in January of 1967, we were on Operation Newcastle about 30 miles out of Da Nang and our function as a tank unit--we had our tank and some infantry people on top of a hill while some more tanks and infantry was sweeping through the valley below--and our job was to more or less plaster the area before the infantry got there and if there was any stragglers left, enemy stragglers, after our people went through, we were to plaster them again. We were told we couldn't fire unless we saw people with packs and rifles. That was more or less the policy as written, but what we made it a practice to do, is our unit was to boost the body count. We'd paint a little hat, a triangle shaped hat, on the side of our tanks for each confirmed kill we had, so any chance we got to add more hats to the side of the tank, we fired. And on this particular occasion we fired on five people that we had no way of knowing who they were because they were not armed. As far as prisoners of war go, on the back of a tank there's a thing called a travel lock, so when the gun tube's to the rear it can be locked down where it won't be bounced around. They don't use these in Vietnam, but they use them in the States. But what we used them for in Vietnam was we could put a VC's head or a VC suspect's head in that travel lock and lock it down. But it could be dangerous because if we did hit a bump it could break the person's neck.

MODERATOR. Mike, you said that this could be done. Was it done and did you witness it?

DAMRON. Yes, I did.

MODERATOR. Could you tell us approximately when this was and where?

DAMRON. This would have been in the same general area, around Da Nang I believe in Dai Loc Province. It would have been in late 1966, around December.

MODERATOR. Okay, thank you. Jack Smith, you were going to testify about the crossing of borders and treatments of POWs. Would you go ahead?

SMITH. Right. We were assigned to a counter-mortar unit. We also had other electronic equipment, along McNamara's Wall up there. We were involved in tracking enemy rocket fire and mortar fire and we would in turn direct our artillery fire back on the positions that we located. Now, we were in generally a free fire zone along the DMZ overlooking the river and it was a free fire zone. Anything that moved out there was fair game. The NVA used to come down across the river and fire rockets and mortars at our base at Dong Ha in Quang Tri. We would in turn fire back at them and locate them with our anti-personnel radar that located them and also the counter-mortar weapons that we'd locate their position. We'd follow them with our equipment and also with AOs back across the river as they would flee after firing back across the river. So we would take our artillery and since it was against the regulations to fire across the river, what we would do was call in a grid location, that's a grid coordinates and the numbers of the location--we'd call in a grid this side of the river and we would have clearance then to fire a 1,000 meters around that area. So what we would do is all in a spot right on the bank of the river and then as soon as we got clearance to fire on that spot because this was okay to do, then we would immediately start walking it across the river and fire across the river and up into North Vietnam. We would fire at any truck movements or personnel movements that we found along the thing. We'd just keep firing until we no longer got any movement up there.

MODERATOR. Excuse me, when you say you were cleared, who did you call back to?

SMITH. We had to clear it with the fire direction center back in Dong Ha which coordinated all the movements of allied ground and artillery positions in all the units moving those areas. So they gave us clearance to fire up there.

MODERATOR. Jack, when they'd give you clearance, did these people know that these rounds--the people who gave you clearance--did they know these rounds were being adjusted across the river?

SMITH. Yes, but officially the policy was written that we would not fire across the river, but it was standard operating procedure that whenever we called in along the river bank that we were going to be firing across into North Vietnam. And also this was our practice when we were out at Vandegrift Signal Mountain in the Rockpile out there. In support of Dewey Canyon we were also firing across the river into Laos. We'd call in a grid in South Vietnam just across the border from where we were firing and then in turn adjust the fire across Laos in support of the ground actions over there. As far as the POWs go, our radar location was located right next to the heliport at Charley Two which was overlooking the DMZ up by Con Thien. They'd bring the prisoners in from the field and some of them severely wounded and crying for water. They were always denied medical aid, food, and water until after they had testified to what we wanted to have them testify to. I myself didn't interrogate them. We simply stood out there and watched them and then they would take several of the Vietnamese--they might have four or five prisoners--they'd throw four or five of them along inside the chopper. The chopper would take off, fly over up by the DMZ, come back about 10 or 15 minutes later and unload two. Somehow, along the line, somebody had decided, they were going to take a walk out there so they suddenly lost a couple of prisoners, but we never questioned this. If you questioned it, it was simply--they were just gooks anyway, so it didn't matter.

MODERATOR. Did you ever come into contact with Vietnamese people beside the POWs?

SMITH. Yes, almost every day the vehicle for my...I had three radar locations up along the DMZ there, about forty people there, and we had to make a run in with our vehicle every week, or every day, into the supply base at Dong Ha. So we'd send our truck into Dong Ha every day and we'd have to pass through the village of Cam Lo which was just a civilian village located on the way to Highway 9 which runs into Dong Ha. Every day as we passed through the village--the GIs when they originally get in country they feel very friendly toward the Vietnamese and they like to toss candy at the kids, but as they become hardened to it and kind of embittered against the war, as you drive through the village you take the cans of C-rats and the cases and you peg 'em at the kids; you try to belt them over the head. And one of the fun games that always went was you dropped the C-rats cans or the candy off the back of your truck just so that the kid will have time to dash out, grab the candy, and get run over by the next truck. One of the other fun games was you take the candy and you toss it out on a concertina wire. The kids are so much dying for the candy that they'll tear their flesh and their clothing and their clothes off trying to get at this candy which you've thrown inside the barbed wire. Additionally, when we had to go into Dong Ha we also used to have to make a garbage run about every other day and the garbage dump was located just down the road in front of the village of Cam Lo. In order to unload our garbage with the least amount of harassment to the Americans what we would do is send down our barrels of garbage, we'd send down a team of five or six, or squad of five or six, Marines along with it. One guy would be assigned to dump the garbage and the other six would beat the Vietnamese, shoot them, do anything they could to keep them off the truck while you were unloading the garbage, because they wanted to get into the cans and be the first ones to scrounge through and get something to eat. So in order to save your vehicle and keep the equipment that you had on it, you'd just throw the Vietnamese off the side of the truck and dump the garbage cans on top of them--just chuck 'em overboard. If they got too frisky you just blew a couple of them away.

MODERATOR. Excuse me, you mentioned that after a while you would be giving candy to the kids, just throwing it to them, but you said people got embittered and you started throwing off the back of the trucks and they got run over. Do you know why you were embittered?

SMITH. Two of our people had gotten killed by stopping in the dump and rapping with the kids and somebody had given a grenade to one of the kids and he pulled the pin on it and walked up to the guy in the truck and just handed the guy in the truck the grenade and blew the kid and the guy in the truck up. One of our guys out there passing candy come up and got shot through the forearm by a .45 pistol. He was shot by about a nine year old kid so they tended to become a little embittered with the kids and as you'd go through the ville the kids would yell, "Chop, Chop, Chop, Chop." They wanted candy and you'd throw them the candy and then they'd go, "_____ you." In general, you tended to get alienated from the kids.

MODERATOR. Gordon Stewart and Chris Soares, both of you have mentioned an operation that I think is fairly familiar to most of the American public--Dewey Canyon--and is that operation crossing the border into Laos. Gordon, could you start by explaining that?

STEWART. The name of the operation was Dewey Canyon. I was a Forward Observer with Second Battalion, 9th Marines, who participated in the operation. My job primarily was calling in artillery fire, mortars, and air strikes with Forward Air Control working with them, except contrary to published documents, the operation did take place in Laos. I have a map here if the press or anybody wants to look at it--it's an official documented map. In the press room I'll show what route was taken, how far we penetrated into Laos. It was approximately four miles. The operation started in January of '69 and ran through March, '69. Approximately February 25th, Hotel Company, Two Nine, pulled an ambush into Laos on a North Vietnamese convoy destroying a tank, bulldozer, trucks and a lot of personnel. Where we got the permission to do this, I don't know. I heard over the radio that undoubtedly it came from higher sources as everything did. The next night at approximately 12 o'clock, Hotel Company moved into Laos again. The whole company had set up a base camp on a hill. For the next three days it was pretty much hell. We ran through a lot of contact and lost a lot of men, but, of course, you know, we never lost anybody in Laos, which is hardly true at all. Many men were lost. The men became quite embittered during this operation. It became easy to kill Vietnamese. You were just animalistic.

SOARES. I was with Golf Company and I was an infantryman. I had just gotten in Vietnam in February. Soon after I was choppered out to a hill, which can be shown on the map, as part of the Reactionary Platoon with the Battalion Commander Major _____. We set up there for a couple of days. We had one of our squads ambushed in Laos. I saw B-52 strikes in Laos. I saw air strikes in Laos, and I saw a hell of a lot of men killed in Laos. We had moved down from this hill, down the valley and across it, across a stream and up another hill. A couple of days later we had come upon a hill which was strewn with rice. This was tons and tons of rice. I believe it was Hotel Company that had found this rice and had destroyed it instead of having airvaced it. Now the people in South Vietnam are pretty _____ hungry for this rice but instead of that, we destroyed it. Another thing is that, Oh, God...I'm sick.

STEWART. I'd like to bring up--Chris is talking about hills in Vietnam--these hills he's talking about I can confirm with the grid coordinates because I called in artillery and air strikes and mortar fire onto the North Vietnamese. To my knowledge we didn't kill any civilians in Laos. That came before and later, but during the Laotian Operation, Dewey Canyon, we moved down Route 922 in Laos. We could have gotten helicopters in to evacuate our dead and wounded but the battalion commander wanted to be gung ho and carry the dead on litters, so we carried the dead for three days on litters. They don't smell very good. The operation was a military success if you look at it from a military point of view. They captured a lot of--this is all documented someplace--they captured a lot of rounds, artillery. What can I say? We were there and I can prove it.

SOARES. The whole 9th Marine Regiment took place in Laos, in Dewey Canyon, and that's approximately 2,000 men. To my knowledge, I may be wrong, but I know that quite a few of these men were in Laos all the time. I would say for approximately a week, a day or so, more or less. The order was, when I left Ashau Valley, where the operation took place, on a helicopter--I was given the order by a second lieutenant--that if we met any war correspondents in our rear, which is Quang Tri, Vandegrift Combat Base, we were not to speak to them at all about Operation Dewey Canyon and if approached by any war correspondents, we were to say nothing. Perhaps just say we weren't in Operation Dewey Canyon and our name and serial number if they requested so. If they persisted, to go up the chain of command. In other words, if a war correspondent had any kind of idea that this operation took in Laos, he could not find anything and you end up knocking on White House and, of course, he wouldn't be let in. So, in a way, the American people perhaps knew about Operation Dewey Canyon but certainly did not know that it took place in Laos. Another thing, too, is body counts. I can verify one thing; we lost, I'll be very conservative, at least 50% of these 2,000 men in this operation--wounded and killed. My company itself which was approximately 115 men, the whole company itself, we had about forty replacements waiting in the rear, and I was one of the replacements during the operation itself. That goes for body counts. Another thing, too, that's the complete devastation and defoliation in that area. I do not know if it was perhaps of shrapnel from high explosives delivered by air strikes or artillery strikes, but I know that quite a few hundred miles were just stumps or something that looked like stumps sticking out of the ground, and just let me say that that land, there is just nothing left of it.

STEWART. When we were in Laos we were very humane about it. We left the bodies piled all along the road in Laos on Route 922.

SOARES. That's true. One point, when we were moving out on the trail, I walked over a body, a dead body, a dead NVA body, and, of course, nobody would move any bodies or any kind of objects that looked like it was either NVA or belonged to us or whatever because of fear of being booby-trapped. So we just left the bodies there.

STEWART. We booby-trapped the bodies. We placed grenades without the pins underneath the bodies in case anybody--they had a policy, the North Vietnamese, of dragging their bodies away with hooks in order to destroy more people. When moving through Laos, taking our dead and wounded, we took a lot of casualties. It was also the policy--they told us not to tell anyone for fear of repercussion that it would be very bad for us. I don't care anymore. This is what happened.

MODERATOR. Excuse me, you mentioned the body count of the U.S. casualties. Were these figures accurate? I mean, you said they were conservative, but when the Pentagon gives out the statistics they have their numbers. But do you agree with the numbers they give out?

SOARES. Definitely not. Marine Corps puts out magazine called Northern Marine. It says that we killed 1,111 NVA soldiers. Now that's a pretty interesting number. Now the only body I saw is the one I walked over and I saw a hell of a lot of bodies of ours being taken away in one piece or another.

STEWART. Echo Company was another company in the Second Battalion, 9th Marines. I can confirm that they were also in Laos, moving through Laos in a different direction from us. B-52 raids were called into Laos and I myself called in air strikes and artillery. White phosphorus was also called in on hamlets and villages. We didn't want to leave anything above the ground level. I don't know why.

MODERATOR. Gordon, something...a question I've got for you is concerning wounded and dead Marines. How did you get them out of Laos, if you did get them out of Laos?

STEWART. We dragged them on litters.

MODERATOR. Were any left behind?

STEWART. A squad was ambushed trying to start a North Vietnamese truck that we destroyed in the ambush in Laos. The squad was completely wiped out. We had to leave our dead and wounded. We couldn't get back to them. Eventually we did. We picked up what was left and dragged it through Laos because the Colonel thought it was nice. It looked like a typical John Wayne epic.

MODERATOR. When you went back to get the Marine bodies and the Marine wounded, did you get all of them?

STEWART. I don't know. There is also one Marine received the Medal of Honor posthumously. It was presented to his parents. His name will probably be mentioned somewhere. I'd rather not. He did receive this Medal of Honor later, some months later. I read it in the Quantico paper and I believe the press has the citation. He was killed in Laos on Route 922 right next to me.

SOARES. I'd like to say something else about body counts, is that no where in any papers that I read, and that's the Sea Tiger in Vietnam or in any magazine like the Leathernecks which was put out by the Marine Corps, or any such thing or, of course, the media, was any actual number of men killed or wounded--our men killed or wounded in this operation. I can say that I remember an incident in which I was there, these two squads got ambushed one right after the other and wound up with 3 men killed and 14 wounded and not one enemy soldier killed. And that's the way we fought in Laos. I mean, like, just everybody was being killed, left and right, and they called this operation a success. I don't know if you call it a success by catching some small arms ammo; they did find a couple of 122 millimeter Russian made howitzers and I believe some trucks and I think also a tank and, of course, the rice. But as far as the confirmation of body counts is concerned, I believe it is very important, is that quite a few times people will, especially airmen, will say we dropped a bomb in such and such a place and we believe that we killed 20 NVAs and wounded 6. Now this cat's about 500 feet up in the air at the lowest point and I doubt it very much if he can see going 600 miles an hour. So that's the way body counts go in Vietnam. Also, counting chickens and pigs.

STEWART. Body counts are like football games. They keep a score and as long as the other side has more dead then it's got to be a success.

MODERATOR. Gordon, you say you were an FO, a Forward Observer. There's a round used over in Vietnam, an artillery round, called a firecracker round. Could you explain what that is and what it does?

STEWART. A firecracker round can be fired from different types of artillery, usually from 105s--105 millimeter artillery. What they do in essence, the round impacts, which causes other rounds to impact out of it like a firecracker, and these other rounds impact, causing shrapnel to fly 100 meters in diameter, causing a lot of casualties. Forward Observers like to use these rounds because they put on a good show for the men.

MODERATOR. While you were there did you know of any instances where this type of ammunition was fired into civilian communities or population?

STEWART. Yes, white phosphorus--which is, well, if you don't know what white phosphorus is, you can't put it out once it gets on your skin--the only way to put it out is maybe in mud--I called white phosphorus in on a village with air bursts, complete destruction.

MODERATOR. Chris, you mentioned something about a bounty put on your platoon sergeant's head. Would you like to get into that a little bit?

SOARES. Well, our platoon sergeant at one time or another, I believe, was a great...well, at that time he was acting sergeant; in other words he had been busted to corporal for some act which I do now know. I believe his previous grade was either an E-7 or E-6, which is either a gunnery sergeant or a staff sergeant, so he was busted back to corporal. Because of his so-called ability, he was given the rank of Acting Platoon Sergeant. He was a _____ let me tell you this much. I mean, like, he drove the men crazy. He used to have the men--just about the only thing he didn't do is polish their combat boots--he used to have the men clean their food, just about shave every _____ day, have haircuts; I personally at one time was growing a mustache and I had to shave it with a dry razor and nothing else--on his own orders--and he just drove a man, like, just about to death. Another thing also is that periodically, maybe once or twice a month, he used to get some beer and also some nice warm soda and nice warm beer. I mean we really dug on that. But they had a thing like finders and keepers. Like you got, say 20 cases for a platoon and wind up with, let's say, about 15 left and 5 cases of each wind up in the platoon command post. This sergeant used to be the biggest pig in the world and he just used to take everything--first man to be on the chow line; first man to grab the best C rations and leave us with the ham and lima beans, which we used to call ham and _____ and so for this reason and for driving us to the point of not knowing where your mind is--not knowing where the _____ to go or what to do--we just hated that guy and we wanted to see him go. As far as the bounty is concerned, the first man with a witness in a fire fight who blew his _____ away with a round across his eyeballs would get a $1,000. And we had a pool going within the platoon. This was around Quang Tri area and I personally offered approximately $25.00 for his head.

STEWART. Bounties were quite common, undoubtedly. I think everyone would agree.

MODERATOR. Due to the fact that one of the men has to leave very shortly to go back to his home, Nathan Hale, I'd like to let him testify to the interrogation procedures and show his slides at this time. Could we have the lights turned off, please, all lights? Could you also turn that screen just a little bit towards us here in this corner? Okay, that's all right. You think the press could get this light out here, please?

HALE. These slides I want to show you were taken in October 1968. I was on a Marine mission called Daring Endeavors. The operation took place south of Da Nang. The idea was to cut off an enemy force. This is just showing the unit.

(Next Slide) This is a group of detainees being brought in.

(Next Slide) This just shows a typical Vietnamese who was bound. The ropes are really super-tight and the idea is to make the prisoner or detainee as uncomfortable as possible.

(Next Slide) I was sitting here drying my boots and I had a little fire going and this man here came over--these are National Field Police--this man came over and put a tin spoon, it's a Vietnamese spoon, it's shaped like a scoop and he put it in my fire. He then grabbed my sock, wrapped it around, and he's burning the skin off of the back of the man's neck.

(Next Slide) This is after he burned his neck. The man's still not giving the correct information.

(Next Slide) And finally the man, in fear of his life, admitted that at one time he had given tax to the VC but you can't prove that.

(Next Slide) I heard earlier today that they used CS. Well, the Marines used a lot of CS on this particular operation, and this particular man wouldn't come out of the hole and they threw two CS grenades at him. I personally escorted this man back to division and he died. So if gas doesn't kill, I don't know what killed.

(Next Slide) Okay, there's an interrogation going on right here. This man here is a warrant officer. This is the way it's conducted. It's a big production. There are all the Marines sitting around giving the various cheers. At all times during these interrogations there were officers present. At one time there was a Lt. Colonel present. This is a good expression of agony.

(Next Slide) The general attitude you can see--of the Marines. That's it.

MODERATOR. Okay, could we have the lights, please? Nathan, you pointed out that warrant officer. I don't know if it was clear or not--the focus for everybody to see. Was he, indeed, an American warrant officer?

HALE. Yes.

MODERATOR. Okay, thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to add in the line of interrogation?

HALE. Yeah, I sure would. I arrived in Vietnam in December of '67. In January of '68 I was assigned to the 1st Cav., Americal Division. I arrived at the base camp of the 1st Cav. which is Hill 29. When I arrived there my S-2, a captain, told me that my job was to illicit information. This meant that I could illicit information in any means possible. He told me that I could use any technique I could think of and the idea is "Don't get caught" and what he meant was I could beat these people, I could cut 'em, I could probably shoot 'em--I never shot anyone--but I could use any means possible to get information--just don't beat them in the presence of a non-unit member, or person. That's someone like a visiting officer or perhaps the Red Cross and I personally used clubs, rifle butts, pistols, knives, and this was always done at Hill 29. And in the field it even gets better. On this particular operation the National Field Police also hanged two men, just because they thought they were VC. The important point here is that everything I did was always monitored. An interrogator is always monitored. I was monitored by an MP Sergeant at Hill 29 who often helped me in my interrogations--he and his squad. One other incident on Hill 29--there was a man who was kicked to death by the ARVNs--the South Vietnamese. They called me the next morning and they said, "You have a dead prisoner." So I had to take a doctor over to confirm that he was dead. My S-2, instead of going through the necessary paper work, had him put in two 500 pound rice sacks and the troops took him out that day and dumped him. He was added to the previous day's body count. I guess that's about it. I can tell you that Americal Division has the ideal interrogation location. There are MPs on the hill watching you but this doesn't mean you can't kick prisoners under the table. We used to take knives into the interrogation huts and use the guys hands as a means of terror. I might also add that I learned everything I know from the South Vietnamese and from my Americal cohorts.

MODERATOR. All right, thank you, Nathan. The next one will be Walter Hendrickson. Would you go ahead and testify?

HENDRICKSON. I spent from November of 1968 to April of 1969 where I was wounded on an operation in Laos and I really don't remember what the operation's name was because we never were told. We just knew that we had landed right near the Laotian border and we had a sniper unit with us who worked right inside of Laos and all our LPs--our listening posts--which were at night and our observation posts in the daytime--all were in Laos plus the fact that we did run patrols constantly through Laos. Also, before we started this operation, we were--Tet offensive--in the MACV compounds, where we worked out of right around Mai Loc, which is in the Quang Tri Province and working around there the squad I was in. We run into an NVA observation post, it must have been, because they were all sitting around the fire and the point man and the man behind him, I'm quite sure they killed three of the five men and the other two were wounded. My team leader at the time was right up front there giving orders and one of the NVA threw his rifle down--he was wounded--and he was crying, "Chieu Hoi, Chieu Hoi" and my team leader just said, "Burn him" and he was shot to death. Then we were told to pull back and we were working with a 1st lieutenant, he was a tank commander, he was out with us because we were working with the tanks and he called the tanks up on line and they proceeded to shoot into these wounded NVA, bee-hive rounds and HE rounds, plus they were firing from their 30 caliber machine guns.

MODERATOR. Excuse me, there may be some people in the audience who don't know what "Chieu Hoi" means. Would you explain what it means?

HENDRICKSON. "Chieu Hoi" is a Vietnamese word for surrendering. In other words he'll "Chieu Hoi" if he doesn't want any more of fighting. Pretty near every grunt over there, I would say, knows the meaning of "Chieu Hoi" but the six months I spent over there before I was wounded, we never took a prisoner. I can remember one time in the village, we brought a person in for questioning and he was released the next day, but we never took any prisoners. Before I was sent out to my platoon, my squad, we used to have to pull convoy duty quite a lot, and it was the same thing while you were on the back of the trucks, any of the chow that you didn't eat that you were given, was thrown right at the villagers, the civilians.

MODERATOR. Okay, thank you very much. Before we go on to our next person, I would like to ask one question. You say that you didn't take prisoners. What exactly did you do with them and who ordered you not to take prisoners if somebody did?

HENDRICKSON. Well, we really never got an order to take prisoners and I think it was a general attitude of almost everybody over there not to take a prisoner. All the while I was over in Vietnam we were pretty much in a free fire zone and if we saw anybody out there we didn't even attempt to take a prisoner; we just opened fire.

MODERATOR. Bill Hatton, you talked about the stoning of a three year old child. Would you like to explain that, please?

HATTON. When I arrived in Vietnam my MOS was a Heavy Equipment Mechanic. Since there wasn't a real need for my billet to be filled as a mechanic, I was put in my secondary MOS which was 8151, that of a security guard. Since I filled this billet so admirably, they kept me going on perimeter, which was in a sense a _____ detail that they send people they don't like out on. Since I wasn't the most popular type of personality, there I went. Well, at any rate, my duty was to go out and serve as a perimeter guard on the Dong Ha Ramp. This was an LCU ramp on the Quat River where Navy ships came up and they'd off-load supplies. We took our truck outside the combat base every night at 5:30 to set up at the ramp for our night's duty. We used to drive by this row of hootches and a little three year old kid in a dirty grey shorts used to run out and scream, "You, Marines, Number 10," and we'd always go back, "Oh _____ you kid," and all this stuff. So one night the kid comes out and says, "Marines, you Number 10," and throws a rock. So we figured we'd get him because this was a way of having fun. The next night before we went out we all stopped by COC, which is right by the ammo dump, picked up the biggest rocks we could get our hands on and piled them in the back of the truck. So when we left the Combat Base we just turned the corner and we saw a little kid, we were waiting for the kid--he ran out of the hootch--and he was going to scream, "Marine Number 10," and we didn't even let him get it out of his mouth. We just picked up all the rocks and smeared him. We just wiped him out. In fact, the force of the rocks was enough to knock over his little tin hootch as well. I can't say that the kid died, but if it would have been me, I would have died easily. The rocks, some of them, were easily as big as his head. It was looked upon as funny. We all laughed about it. And then we forgot about it. It took me about a year to even to be able to recall the situation. I think it said something about the entire attitude of us over there. I never had a specific hatred for the Vietnamese, I just tended to ignore them. They didn't figure in any calculations as to being human. They either got in the way or they weren't there. And also, we had this habit, when we'd leave the combat base--I frequently traveled between Quang Tri and Dong Ha and contact teams and we'd take C ration crackers and put peanut butter on it and stick a trioxylene heat tab in the middle and put peanut butter around it and let the kid munch on it. Now they're always looking for "Chop, Chop" and the effect more or less of trioxylene is to eat the membranes out of your throat and if swallowed, would probably eat holes through your stomach.

Another portion of the testimony that I would like to cover is that in March of '69, I was serving as security in a convoy, and this wasn't actually in line of duty, I was able to have a day off and I was going down to Quang Tri so I got on a truck belonging to Seven Motors. They were in convoy; they just gave me a ride at the gate and we got four miles south of the Dong Ha perimeter and there were a group of Vietnamese women and children who were gathered around at this little bridge outposts the ARVNs had as security on Highway 1 there. The truck was doing considerable speed and it was just sort of spontaneous reaction, they said, "Let's get 'em. They want Chop, Chop, we'll give it to 'em," picking up cases of C-rats which weigh up to approximately thirty pounds and threw them off into the women and the kids. You know, just flattened them out and knocked them back quite a few feet. There again, there was no way of determining whether or not they were actually dead but the injuries must have been serious. The whole thing, like I mentioned with the garbage trucks, I never experienced shooting anybody off garbage trucks, but many times we put our boots in the faces of kids and women who'd crawl all over it. There used to be a game we played--we'd pour liquid garbage off the end of our truck to make 'em crawl for it. The mama-sans would come up with half-cut fifty gallon drums and they'd try to fill it up. They'd get pork chops and sloppy rice and mystery meat or wop slop, or whatever we had for chow, and put it in there and we'd let 'em walk so far and then we'd tip it over, spill it on the ground, and watch them scrape the dirt in there. Anything to dehumanize them. I think the program went even farther. We used to have kids from the orphanage visit us aboard Dong Ha and have a party for them so that we could play games like holding sodas in the air and watch them grasp for it; patting them on the head and teaching them little tricks like how to beg for candy bars. A further part of my testimony is, like, with mad minutes. As I traveled variously around northern I Corps I used to go to a place called "Stud" which was later gloriously reclassified as Combat Base Vandegrift. This was due to the John Wayne syndrome which is pretty prevalent in the Marine Corps. They just don't name anything a plain name; it has to have glorious connotations. I had gone over to visit some friends of mine at Third Shore Part and we went over to have a little party out there on the lines and nobody gave me the word that we were going to have mad minute. What happens with a mad minute is that everybody opens up, at least half the guys on each bunker and every sector of the line open up with four duces--the guys in support--and they'll fire for two or three minutes. They call it mad minutes. This in effect kills anything. You don't know what's out there and neither do they. You just fire in the hope that you're going to get something. You cease fire and you wait for a reaction and there's usually none. It's more or less a waste of ammunition. This I witnessed about two or three times. Like I said, I was never assigned as a guard to do mad minutes, but I was witnessing it.

HATTON. The other part I would like to discuss or mention was the private war that used to go on in Dong Ha. My particular outfit, FLSG Bravo was a rear support unit that we sent people out to various commands like One Three and that. We managed to spend two-thirds of our time in the rear and there was considerable friction between the troops back there. There was open warfare between what we called the heads, the people who smoked dope, and what we called the juice freaks, the people who drank. It was heavily weighted for a while, in fact, it was quite evenly matched. There were frequent stabbings and as a result of this mutual paranoia, we put prices on, I'd say, fully the heads of at least 40% of our staff and officers had prices on them. The highest prices going, on the heads of the CID, one Lt. _____, a CID, had a price of $2,000 on his head. Of course, the person who collected the head also had to kick back a $1,000 for a celebration we were going to have. And the same thing with Staff Sgt. _____. He was more clumsy so we didn't have the heart to wipe him out but he still had a $500 price on his head. It was payable. Once you were familiar with the people in your unit, you knew whom to apply for the money. I heard that the 1st Sgt. in Communication Company, 5th Com in Dong Ha, they had a whole unit there locked on a legal hold. In other words, they couldn't rotate from Vietnam because someone had attempted to frag grenade their first sergeant. They had wired it to his desk and a Pfc. was sweeping out his hootch, pulled out the chair, and it blew his legs off. That wasn't the end of the attempts. An attempt to get Staff Sgt. _____ netted another gunnery sergeant who thought he'd use his rack and we lost two gunnery sergeants who bedded down with Willie Peter grenades one night. I think it's pretty indicative of the whole spirit of the troops back in the rear. It's very frustrating. You know, if Vietnam is not violently painful then it's such a crashing bore that you can't stand it.

MODERATOR. I'd just like to corroborate Bill's testimony as to Sgt. _____. We had a murder in our unit and one of our troops was standing trial for murder. At the time that his court-martial came up, we were sent down a report of the hearings and the findings of the court-martial on these same fact sheets, that was sent down to my unit and given to me, there were four men that had just been court-martialed for attempted murder on Staff Sgt. _____. So I still have this in my files somewhere, this testimony as to four men who were indicted and court-martialed for an attempted murder on Staff Sgt. _____.

MODERATOR. Bob Clark, you mentioned the brutality of women and children. Would you give us a run down on that?

CLARK. I served with Golf Company, Two Nine, and due to my popularity and quick mouth in the company, I made frequent garbage runs. We were instructed that when we got down there that if anybody was going through the garbage, chase them away, we could do what we wanted to do and if anybody jumped on the truck they were fair game for anything. Now what they did, they put about 10 grunts on the truck and they just laid down in the garbage and we'd have two standing on the back of the truck. Now when about 30 people would jump on the truck, then the 10 grunts would jump off and they'd just beat them with their rifle clubs until they were either knocked senseless and then they'd knock 'em on the ground and just kick their _____ all the way across the garbage dump which was over a hundred yards long. At the time I was there, nobody ever got hurt in the garbage dump as far as Americans. But a lot of Vietnamese women and children were hurt. And it was fair game between Con Thien and going through the city of Cam Lo, on the outskirts of Quang Tri going into Stud, that American troops would stock up on their heavies (their spaghetti and meatballs and ham and lima beans) and any little children who were begging along the side of the road, which never numbered less than 50 or 60, were fair game for these full cans of food. They wouldn't throw them to the kids, they would just bounce them off their heads or try and knock them off their bicycles. If they ran out of food they would just light up heat tabs and wait until a kid got really close to the truck and then they would just easily drop it into his hands and particularly this Bru village, they relocated them right on Route 9 right close to the Rockpile. And there was a little kid with crutches out there; he was missing one leg; he was about five years old and he was about the most popular target because every time we came by he ran out and the people wanted to see if they could knock his crutch or hit his old man in his woods, because if the kid ever did get any candy, he brought it to his old man and these two people were the most popular targets.

MODERATOR. You mentioned the killing of wounded prisoners. Would you talk about that also?

CLARK. Right on. On June 13th, on Operation Cannon Falls, we were on Fire Support Base Wisemans, Golf Company and H & S Company. Now at 2:30 in the morning I was used as a line filler because one of our listening posts was wiped out and they had to send a platoon of grunts out there to see who was alive and who was dead. At three o'clock, we were hit by exactly a company and a half and the contact lasted until five thirty. We were hit with RPGs and small rifle fire, plus they threw some Chicoms, but everybody forgot to pull the pins so none of them went off. Now twice during the night we were overrun on our lower LP. The whole night we only sustained three dead people and ten wounded. Now in the morning when the mist cleared, about five thirty, everybody just got out of their holes and we started to sweep down towards the bottom of the hill to count our body count and see how brave we were. There was one NVA soldier who was caught on the wire. He had a bullet wound through the neck and numerous shrapnel wounds all through his body from fragmentation grenades. Now this big bad _____ corporal took out his knife and stuck it in his neck and just jiggled it until the man bled to death because he didn't want to carry him to the top of the hill. Another man was laying at the bottom of the hill on his stomach. He was in pretty bad shape but I think he would have made it and three grunts emptied full magazines of M-16 fire in his back. Another man who was shot at the top of the hill and had a bullet wound in his thigh, two in his back, and his elbow was hanging off by a thread, plus he had numerous shrapnel wounds from fragmentation grenades. He was laying on his back at the top of the hill and what was left of second platoon and first platoon gathered around him including a Lt. Colonel, a Major, a Captain, and at least one 2nd Lieutenant. He was made the object of a little game for about a half hour. He was screaming for water and they just poured it on the ground. They laughed at him; they kicked him in the ribs. One time he just jumped up spastically and he sat up on his waist and his arms started to dangle. A grunt kicked him in the chest and he died. While all this was going on, they were suggesting what they should do with him. There were three senior squids there, that's doctors, all three of them were E-6s, none of them would help him. They said, "He's not worth it." Somebody suggested we tie him up because he might be dangerous. It was suggested he might be tied up with barbed wire.

Last Updated Wednesday, March 17 2004 @ 07:49 PM MST; 13,548 Hits View Printable Version