Right after Dewey Canyon we received a new platoon commander, Lt. R. We were his first command and I’m sure he wanted to do everything right. I’m almost positive it was operation Apache Snow, of course the Lt. was the last one on the chopper to lead us off. This was only my second operation but after life in the Valley it seemed I had been in Vietnam forever! Our new Lt. with map and compass in hand stood by the ramp ready to lead us into combat. Thank God it was a cold LZ, we touched down and he walked off the chopper? Still looking at his map and compass, a lowly private ran past him and the others followed to set up our section of the perimeter. That lowly private just happened to be me, little did I know I was about to receive a royal a$$ chewing. After all was secure I was singled out and told in no uncertain terms never to run past my commanding officer(putting it lightly). Later on that day our new Lt. called a break, our 10 minutes was almost up when in the distance we heard the tupe, tupe of incoming mortars. Needless to say we all did the Marine Corps disappearing act. I looked up from my small depression in mother earth only to see the new Lt. still looking at his map and compass oblivious of what was about to happen. Thankfully the mortars fell short of the target and all of us were spared. I’m not sure whether he got a heads up from our NCOs or he just figured it out all by himself but later that evening I received a visitor with an apology, it was our new Lt. He turned out to be one of the best officers I ever served under. Wishing you well Lt. R and hope life has treated you well!
W. Whitley, Corporal of Marines!