Walt Philbin Remembers (continued)

A Mortar Misfire

I don’t know how long we were at LZ Margo but I think it was about two nights. We later flew by chopper to another hill or location closer to but not in the DMZ [LZ Susan].

I remember this fairly well because of an incident when 81s was setting in at the new place, which I remember as a thin finger of land like a long grass-topped ridge or grassy path wide enough for vehicles (though I don’t remember any). Someone in 81s accidentally misfired a round that landed close to Golf Company’s temporary patrolling position.

1stLt Bob Riordan at Charlie-2 prior to the DMZ op. Riordan commanded Golf Company until late September. Photo courtesy of Bob Riordan.

Lt Green had gone off to check in with Major Lynch at the battalion command post. I hadn’t gone with him but was back at the Whiskey command post monitoring the radio.

 

Suddenly the Golf Company commander Lt Bob Riordan broadcasted a query whether the round that had landed near his company position was a friendly round. He directed his query to John Brown Whiskey, our call sign at the time.

 

I grabbed the handset after yelling out to the guys setting up the 81s down a little distance from me (I could hear them but couldn’t see them down this grassy ridge) and asking if they had fired.

 

At first the word came back “Negative!” and I quickly relayed that to the Golf commander.

But immediately after that, someone down the line of mortars yelled up to me “Yes, it was our round,” apparently fired by mistake when setting up.

 

I shouted at them to check-fire and called the Golf Company commander back again and told him, to his relief, that the round was friendly and that “it won’t happen again, Golf 6!”

He was too relieved to chew me out, as I recall.

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