Kent Wonders Remembers LZ Margo (continued)
The Command Chronologies states “13 Sep at 1145H, elements of BLT 2/26, Alfa Command Group were helolifted to LZ Margo, encountered sporadic fire and continued mission.” This dry military jargon understates what lay ahead.
Mutter's Ridge was the name given by 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines to Núi Cây Tre ("Bamboo Mountain") ridge when they first secured it and then abandoned it in 1966. It had been contested ground ever since, dotted with landing zones like Margo. Photo courtesy of Mike Sommers.
A letter written to Judy on 14 September 1968: "I’m sitting on a mountaintop a mile south of the DMZ. The area is very rugged, but very beautiful. We landed by helo, the landing was only slightly opposed and since then (13th) we have had no opposition.
We have lost people to mines, US type that were put in several years ago; so many of our wounded are self-inflicted, i.e., accidents. We have no idea how long we will be out in the woods. I wanted to write today because there is a man going to the rear if a helo gets here."
Operation Lancaster II Truesdale North was one of those regimental sized sweeps northeast of the Rock Pile, about midway between the ocean and the Laos border. BLT 2/26’s LZ was a bomb-cleared saddle between a small knoll and a steep higher hill. LZ Margo was the western most portion of the operation.
From Margo there were long narrow ridges that ran north and south. Our battalion was to place a company-sized unit on separate ridge lines, and they were to move north toward the DMZ. The plan was to continue into the DMZ and eventually reach the Ben Hai River that separated the North from the South. As each company landed they immediately moved to their assigned ridge and started patrolling north to intermediate objectives.
The S-2 briefing had foretold of extensive trails, bunker complexes, base camps, and supply depots in the area. The prior Marine reconnaissance patrol’s reports proved very accurate. In our battalion, TAOR (tactical area of responsibility), it was reported that an NVA company of 82mm mortars were based there along with supporting infantry. Soon our patrolling Marines confirmed all of the above.