26 SEP 1968
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well I really had a scare the other day; one of my four man, short range
patrols (SRP's) went out about six
kilometers through some real rough terrain to observe enemy movement and when they set up we got two sit rep's
(situation reports) from them when we lost radio contact. I call them every 30 min at night and every hr. in the
day, to see if they are alright or saw anything. Well 32 hours passed and I hadn't heard a word from them. I knew
if the radio went dead, they would come back ASAP (as soon as possible), but it only takes about six hours to get
back , so I really got worried. I prepared to take some people and go look for them, when we got a call from Dak To,
saying they were safe and on their way back to 29.
What had happened was a one in a million piece of bad luck. The radio man had fallen down a 15' embankment and
ruined the radio, so they started back, since they had no commo, but about 200
meters further on the point man
slipped on a muddy rock slope and fell on the compass, breaking it. There they were, no compass, no radio, four
men alone, completely alone, in enemy territory. They still had the map and tried for almost a day to use terrain
features, such as hills and streams to find their way back to us at Firebase-29, but finally became lost in a dense
jungle swamp. The patrol leader made a real smart decision and started north, finally finding highway 512, the only
one for a hundred miles. There they were picked up by a friendly convoy and got back.
Boy, were we glad to see them. We all had almost written them off as KIA, although no one spoke about it.
We have been expecting a mortar attack any day now, and last night some of our people heard movement outside our
perimeter, so we fired at it. The next morning a patrol sent to search the area found fresh tracks, commo wire,
and a "d" handle shovel. We figure it was an NVA FO (forward observer, who directs the mortar attacks), who was
trying to get set up. I'm really surprised though, because yesterday "C" Company went on a mission (CA...Combat
Assault) and I had only about 70 men defending the whole fire base, but "Charlie" didn't even probe us.
I have to go now, so bye
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