Kilo guns rumbled down the hill and took Highway 4 toward Hill 52. There was no dust because of a light rain. One of the ammo trucks pulled a trailer loaded with provisions to supplement the C-rations.
It was apparent this was a large operation as we could see helicopters inserting Marines into positions on Charlie Ridge. The 105 Battery at the northern end of the hill was firing a sustained mission into Arizona territory. Rumors were running wild about a new operation.
Hardly anyone showed up for lunch. We only had 90 Marines left on the hill, and some of those were in transit during the day. Sumo had the idea of serving a “Baked Potato Bar,” with different types of hot fillings, for dinner. We had large gunny sacks of small spuds and after washing, they required little prep before baking.
We tried this concept and set up a self-serve toppings bar. It had chopped bacon, Velveeta cheese, hot dog chili, broccoli in cheese sauce and chicken pot pie filling. It was a potato smorgasbord. The meal was a success, but it was a small turnout. Many Marines came back for seconds. The dessert was cherry crisp. Reb chopped ANZAC biscuits into a loose topping and covered sheet pans of canned pie filling with a crunchy but gooey crust.
The new operation was officially named “Maui Peak,” and the goal was to deny the VC/NVA access to the rice crop in the An Hoa basin. We heard this information on Armed Forces Radio, and I thought it odd we would announce our strategy on the local air waves.