Vietnam Era, U.S. Navy, SeaBee.



NMCB-7, Camp Campbell, Phu Bai, RVN 1966

by: Raymond Cochran
© 2009


While on guard duty at our main gate, I met two special Marine riflemen.
The two were on wounded camp patrol. One had a cane and the other was on crutches. The one with a cane had been shot in the leg. The other had been shot in the gut by a 50 cal and lived. At first, I did not believe it. I thought no one gets shot in the gut by a 50 cal and lives. He told me somehow it missed all of his organs and just ripped up his intestines. Then, I saw the silver dollar sized entry wound in the front and the 5" dia. exit wound in the back. Both wounds were just starting to scab . They told me that they had been medevaced to a med station, then to China Beach hospital, then to Okinawa. In Okinawa, some brass said their wounds were not permanent and that they would have to finish their tour with their unit.

Over the next two months, the three of us became good friends and they soon got well enough to jog. Then their CO said they were well enough to go on a search and destroy mission with the rest of their platoon. Their platoon was camped in two-man tents adjacent to our Seabee camp. These two heroes were heloed out with the rest of their platoon on a search and destroy mission and NONE of the platoon returned. We were told the whole platoon was annihilated, when they were dropped at an NVA regimental headquarters and surrounded by 3,000 NVA near the DMZ. Two weeks later, some Marines came by their camp and picked up personal items for return to their families. They left the tents up for another month in memoriam.

I have never read anywhere that an entire platoon had ever been wiped out at one time in Nam. My best guess is they were a part of Operation Hastings.

Ray Cochran

.50 cal comparison.
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