Kent Wonders Remembers LZ Margo (continued)
The Mortars Return
The mortars did return, fortunately after the general had left. On the second day of incoming mortars, officially there were 130 rounds resulting in 1 KIA and 16 WIAs. We continued to dig in, anticipating more incoming.
The story as told to family in a letter dated 19 September 1968: "I’m sorry I couldn’t write sooner but the conditions are very difficult for writing. We landed by helo in the mountains near the DMZ. The first 2 days were quiet, but the third day we took over 200 rounds of 82mm mortars. Most of the rounds landed in the CP, 81 mortar and LZ area. We really took a beating. Over 175 causalities in two days. I lost a lot of friends and I feel about 10 years older.
"We moved yesterday—finally. The reason we got hit so hard was because we were ordered to pull back our companies into a small area so the B-52’s could bomb in the DMZ. We pleaded with the generals telling them that it was going to happen---and it did. If we can keep the companies on the move and get resupplied and get enough support, we should be OK.
"Some people still talk about going back aboard the ships 1 October but I doubt it very much. I still haven’t heard about R&R and I’m losing hope. The year is getting very long. I hope I never have to go through that again but the Lord provides the strength and calms fears. I went down to the LZ and organized the wounded for medevac. It’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever done. I had to identify some of my old platoon---it was really hard."
The move to the new location was by helicopter for the battalion command post. This happened four days after landing at Margo. The move included one rifle company and the supporting units.
No one had to be asked to dig in deep since everyone started digging immediately. The location was on a ridgeline that led north into the DMZ. The land was covered with multilayered jungle. The ridge had very steep sides that led to narrow valleys below, with small, but quick flowing streams several hundred meters below. A few meters from the small LZ was thick, untouched jungle leaving our position completely out of sight and much safer from mortars.