LZ Margo and the DMZ (continued)
A Battle Wagon Helps Out
But the battalion had a powerful ally with 16-inch guns offshore, although we were operating far inland from the Gulf of Tonkin.
The only active battleship in the world, the USS New Jersey, fired its first mission since the Korean War in support of the Marines slogging through the DMZ.
Many of the grunts were directly under the flight path of the huge rounds.
According to the commander of the 1st Platoon of a Margo-ravaged Echo Company, First Lieutenant Dale Wittler, his men were moving through dense jungle alongside the dirt road that traces through the DMZ.
Suddenly 16-inch shells sounding like freight trains passed overhead and blasted craters so enormous they could swallow a large truck.
1stLt Dale Wittler led the first platoon of Echo Company, which had been hit hard on LZ Margo. Wittler and his men were patrolling along the trace in the DMZ when they found themselves under the flight path of the battleship's 16-inch shells screaming overhead. Photo courtesy of Dale Wittler.
A Stars and Stripes article about the battleship New Jersey's deployment to Vietnam mentions its first mission: supporting the Marines of BLT 2/26. Photo courtesy of Alan Green.