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Walt Philbin Remembers

by Corporal Walt "Phil" Philbin

81mm Mortar Platoon, BLT 2/26

“I also remember sticking my head slightly out of the hole long enough to see a crazy Marine named Kelly from Chicago or St. Louis, who I actually got in touch with 10 years after the Nam, coming out of his hole with canteens and pouring water over the unopened boxes of 81 ammo that had taken a partial hit and were smoking.

“And I thought, ‘God, thank you Kelly, but I’m about to watch you go up in smithereens!’”

Cpl Walt "Phil" Philbin

The Night Before

I recall being at the Rockpile with Smitty [Cpl Eric Smith] the night before we left for LZ Margo.

We were nosing around and came across some battalion maps of Khe Sanh that FOs [Forward Observers] had used around there.


We copped them.

Into LZ Margo

I remember flying in the next day and seeing Navy Phantoms fly low over the valley adjacent to our hill at Margo or over the next hill where incoming might be coming from.

I could almost see the pilot's face.

He was nearly level with us when he dropped his shit into the valley with a loud boom!

Smitty on Cua Viet op.jpg

Cpl Eric "Smitty" Smith during a landing in the Cua Viet area. Weeks later, Smitty single-handedly led the medevac under fire of dead and wounded mortarmen on LZ Duster in the DMZ. Photo courtesy of Eric Smith.

Marine F4 Phantom.jpg

Marine F4 Phantom on an attack run in Vietnam. The photo is a screen capture from the YouTube video "On Target" about  Marine aviation in the war.

I also remember trying to dig in on Margo, into the impossibly rocky surface of the LZ.

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