In The Wrong Place!

In The Wrong Place!

It must of been in the late spring because it was “TOO HOT” by morning. The Platoon Lt. called a squad and myself to accompanied him to investigate an incident between two Marine Companies. Apparently, a squad had been sent out to set up an ambush on a village for the first part of their mission and then move down to and across the river in order to set up another ambush next to the river. The second squad from a different company was ordered to set up outside the village and attack the VC/NVA as they left the area next the day. Intelligence had assured them that the village was a “hot bed” (you might say) of VC/NVA activity.

Well, everything went according to plan with the squad on the ambush setting up after dark and in the right place. However, unknown to them, the squad that was sent to attack the village at sunrise was to be in place by midnight. Honestly, no one understood why this squad was required to be there that long before the attack. The Intelligence Unit was not forthcoming with their thoughts on the matter (go figure–right?). Now comes the part where this well thought out plan takes a turn, the ambush squad moves out like they were told to; however, when they got to the river the Squad Leader in charge of these men decided that the river was running too fast and deep (it rains in VietNam—a lot!). So in accordance with S.O.P., they connect the Radio Operator on watch at Bn. back in An Hoa to let him know of their situation and the necessary change that was going to be made to their orders. They let it be known that this squad would be returning to the village where they had set up their first ambush and settled in for the rest of the night. It’s now midnight, the attack squad leaves their lines and process to their jump off point for their mission. Wait! Why didn’t the Bn. Radio Operator tell them of the presents of the other squad of Marines? Well, apparently he was a sleep on his watch! Actually, he did fell to sleep on his watch.

The next morning comes and the ambush squad is gathering their things to make ready to move out for their company position. The attack squad sees this action and getting excited about their luck at catching so many VC/NVA off guard. Some would think that maybe Intelligence got it right this time. We were never able to clearly find out about who fired the first shot but it was fired and “all hell breaks lose” between these two squads of Marines. It was a very intense firefight for a few minutes. When the Squad Leader called-up the 3.5 rocket—I was never sure why this unit would have brought a long something like that. My guess was that it was sent to them for this attack and the squad was reinforced with exera men—so why not fire it off and get rid of those rounds as fast as possible (you might have guess—I’m grunt). The rounds are too heavy to hump back to the company. Anyways, the ambush squad heard this order and figured that the only people who would use this fire power in a firefight would be other Marines. This is what saved this squad from some serious injuries. They were able to identify themselves to the other squad and put a stop to this fight.

The finding of this investigation was that the Bn Radio Operator failed to make note of the changes during his watch and neither of the squads were found at fault for what had happen. The problem is that this was not the only incident that occurred to my company. It has always amazed me how just one person in the chain not doing their job can put so many at risk. I have from time to time stop to think about how many situations or incidents Marines find themselves dealing with without other Americans knowing anything about it. The Navy Seals must have a pretty good P.R. person working for them—I guess.

As always, this is a true story—“Sh– you not”!

May peace be with you. Semper Fi

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!

19 comments


  • SUDDENDEATH

    You are right on again Izzy!! I agree it is time to let it go but,agree this a BS story with a lot of NON-MARINE tactics. A Mosely WPNS PLT. E-2/1 68-69


  • Izzy

    OK Marines let’s put a lid on this and assume there may have been some elements of this “story” that may have taken place some where in country and as recollected by the author. I just wanted to say I’m still skeptical go figure; 1. The deployed tactics, just doesn’t make sense having two squads from two different companies in proximity to one another for two different missions, strange? 2. When setting up to flush out usually VC and not NVA out of a village we deployed the “Hammer & Anvil” tactical maneuver where the fighting force on one end of the village would flush out an drive Sir Charles towards the awaiting blocking force to their demise. 3. We humped with a Weapons Team usually consisting of M60 guns and 60mm mortars, didn’t recall the “3.5 rocket”, but hell what did I know I was just a dumb Bush Marine. Semper Fi L3/7 Lima 3 Charlie 69-70 Quang Nam Province, RVN.


  • Harry

    I was with the Engineers so I don’t know a lot about Grunt tactics but this story seems to be loaded with embellishments .I’ll never understand why some think it is necessary to try and be someone else Be proud of what you did ,no more no less we all had a job to do.I built bridges and ferries that transported convoys of supplies to the grunts in the bush and I am dog gone proud of it!!


  • SUDDENDEATH

    How can you be so sure he is a Marine? Lot of faking wanabees out there making up stuff all the time We all know about friendly fire cases but this story just smells funny!!


  • BRENDAN MCCARRON

    WHAT A RANGE OF COMMENTS. SOME SUPPORTING THE STORY SOME CALLING IT BULLSHIT. MY THINKING. WHY WOULD HE MAKE IT UP? SHIT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. EVEN IN CIVILIAN LIFE. ASK ANY COP WHO CAME UNDER FRIENDLY FIRE. I BELIEVE IT’S PART OF WAR. HOW MANY OF US IN NAM WERE BOMBED OR SET ON FIRE BY ACCIDENT OR SHOT IN THE CHOW LINE. YOUR ALL SOMEWHAT CORRECT BUT ” SHIT DOES HAPPEN AND IS STILL HAPPENING. GIVE THE MARINE A BREAK. HE IS A MARINE AFTER ALL BRENDAN McCarron . VIETNAM 1ST MARINE AIR WING DANANG 1966 1968. SEMPER FI. MARINES. LETS TAKE CONGRESS OUT ON THE SHOOTING RANGE AND SEE WHO SURVIVES FRIENDLY FIRE OR PENDELTON FOR POW TRAINING AND FILM IT ALL THEN SHOW IT TO THE PUBLIC.


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