Operation Pocahontas Forest
© � 2000
by: Warren Lucas
 

Warren Lucas A Co 196th Light Infantry Brigade 23rd Infantry Division Northern I Corps Quang Nam province in country May 1968 May 1969 Participant in Operation Pocahontas Forest in the Hiep Duc Valley July 1968.

Late one night we got hit. The crack whump of incoming rockets and mortars tore the air and shook the ground. NVA sappers had infiltrated our bunker line. C130s droned over us at almost stall speed and shoved bright-as-noon parachute flares from the lowered end of their aircraft. A firefight broke out across the chopper pad at what we called the rock pile. Green and red tracers bounced crazily in the air. We beat off a ground attack and was of course on 100 % alert the rest of the night. At first light we got orders to fix bayonets and form a skirmish line.

The squad leader Don Allen said "Keep a short distance apart and blast anything that moves." One new guy' jaw dropped open: "Even if they're wounded...you mean...kill them?" The squad leader got in his face and said sarcastically, "They tried to kill you didn't they?" He pointed where we knew there were dead NVA and he said again emphatically, "Let's go let's go !" The foggy dawn moonscape that was LZ Ross. The smell of cordite in every breath The torn up dirt and vegetation in the subdued light. Stuttering gunshots and moans. Guys yelling and shouting and figures of us walking slowly deliberately. We retook LZ Ross the way the marines had took Iwo Jima. We had no mercy for them. When we got to the outer bunker line we saw a dead sapper one leg twisted behind him. He had been shot with an M16 and one of the rounds had set off one of the Chi com grenades on his belt . His thighs were very thick. He had a bowl hair cut and wore dark green shorts with web gear. The AK 47 he had been carrying was splintered stock by our concertina wire.

One time at LZ Baldy we were sitting around in our hooches drinking warm beer and bs-ing. It was early evening. With all our weapons ammo and gear we had our own OD jungle of straps and packs and skinny RTO antennae. All at once ragged volleys of mortar and artillery fire boomed to the north of us. We stopped talking automatically and listened for the sound of incoming rounds. From the intensity of the shelling we knew that out there some where elements of the 2nd NVA division were moving in great strength.

This was about November 1968.

Warren Lucas
A Co 196th Light Infantry Brigade 23rd Infantry Division Northern I Corps Quang Nam province in country May 1968 May 69

 

From: Wayne Dean
Subject: War-Stories:Operation-Pocahontas

Hi Warren, my name is Curtis Dean, I was in Bravo Company 2/1 Inf. 196th LIB, I didn't remember the name of the operation until I read your story however we were right in the middle of that mess ourselves It was in July of 1968.  That was the only time the whole year, that we were given the command of fix bayonets. To this minute when I hear that command it gives me goose bumps.  This was the first version I've heard of this since I left Vietnam, I returned to the world in Jan2 1969.  Well just wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading your story  Thanks   Curtis Dean member of B co. 2/1 inf. 196th LIB from May of 1968 until Jan of 1969, I was called HeavyDuty From Jan 1968 til May of 1968. I was a door gunner with A co. 123rd Avn Bn. Stationed in Chu Lai.

 

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