LZ Margo and the DMZ (continued)
After LZ Margo, under no illusions about the dangers of the DMZ, BLT 2/26 continued to move and patrol for several weeks in the fall of 1968, under the 9th Marines in September and then under the 3rd Marines in October. As Captain Chuck Broughton, skipper of H Company through much of the year observed, "We were a bastard battalion. We had no mommy or daddy."
And the strategy of projecting force into that terrain, filled with hidden fortifications and resupply routes, continued to pay off. On September 19, F Company found and destroyed a complex of 25 well-built bunkers connected by a land line field phone and containing stocks of combat gear.
But with large weapons constantly in use in thick jungle, accidents happened as well. As they moved away from the bunker complex they had destroyed, F Company was hit with three rounds of suspected friendly artillery fire, killing two Marines and wounding four.
Each day until the end of September, when the BLT transferred to the operational control of the 3rd Marines, BLT 2/26 engaged in daily firefights and find-and-destroy missions. On September 20, Company G received automatic weapons fire from a bunker complex and called in artillery. Two hours later, they discovered another new, well-constructed bunker system -- and much blood on trails in the area.
The next day, H Company found 23 well-built bunkers storing small arms and mortar ammo, and tracks from an estimated 30 soldiers from the night before. Two hours later, they discovered another complex of 30 bunkers and sleeping holes, again with fresh blood. And then an ammo cache filled with mortar and RPG rounds, and mines.
At the same moment, Company G was receiving automatic weapons fire as they reached their patrol's objective, resulting in one dead Marine and two wounded. They called in an 81mm mortar mission to cover the evacuation of their casualties and, an hour later, they discovered yet another large bunker complex.
On September 22, Golf Company found an NVA battalion base camp with bunkers, dispensary and kitchen, and destroyed it all. The next day they destroyed another bunker complex with an attached mess hall, which appeared to be an NVA R&R site.
And so it continued, until the end of the month.