Sometimes Marines felt they “owed something” (like a debt) to someone who got them out of a jam. This was how it was with Sergeant Diaz. * He figured he owed me for bandaging his head after being shot through the helmet near Hill 52. It was like an IOU.
I joined Diaz in the mess deck and rattled off my concern about having no communication in our new OP. After breakfast he checked the new emplacement and promised, “I’ll hook you up.” As a start, he delivered a large spool of comm wire and connected an electrical box to the top of a vertical timber in the OP. The wire was spliced into this outlet and was ready to be rolled out to FDC.
We accomplished setting up the new field phone before lunch, and it passed the Gunny’s inspection. The phone came in a metal box which looked like a lunch pail (I had used one exactly like it in Thuong Duc).
Lieutenant Hadley was our first guest in the new OP. His platoon was in charge of Hill Security, and he was interested in our “field of fire.” We had a clear view of the sandbar “crossing” in the river, and he warned about India Company setting up patrol/ambushes in that area. “You need to get clearance before firing into that sector.” His mortar platoon had pre-targeted many of these hot spots, and he promised to supply us with a map, highlighting the “on-call” targets.
The view from our OP extended beyond the river into Arizona territory. The mountains on the southern horizon loomed over An Hoa. This would become my new theater chair for watching the nightly war.
* See previous blog, “A Long Walk to Thuong Duc” June 13, 1968