Jim Anton Remembers LZ Margo (continued)
A Beer Run for the Captain
The rest of the day was pretty quiet. Occasionally rounds would hit in the open area where we'd been yesterday. And at one point one of their big Soviet machine guns got a firing position and tore up a lot of rocks and dirt in the same area. I noticed they used green tracers.
Capt John Cregan, skipper of hard-hit Echo Company. Photo courtesy of Kent Wonders.
Late in the afternoon Captain Cregan came over and sat down with me. He asked how I was doing and we chatted for awhile. My back was feeling better as I moved.
After more small talk he got to the point.
It seemed the night before when he'd moved me from the hole I'd dug, he'd taken it over. And the last chopper in that day had dropped off supplies. Among them a case of beer.
He'd buried a case in the mud in front of the hole. He said we could split it if I'd retrieve it.
We were sitting about 200 yards from the beer across the open ground where all the rounds were landing. We kicked it back and forth and I decided to go.
What the heck. A beer sounded good.
I asked him to write a letter to my folks if it became necessary but leave out the part about beer. Would seem stupid to have your family know you got killed going for beer. He said he'd have the team cover me. I took a few deep breaths and took off.
I ran all the way, took some time to rest, dug up the case, and hauled it back. To my knowledge there wasn't a shot fired the whole time. I took a couple beers and we passed out the rest to the guys. I sat on the edge of my foxhole, sipping a beer, and watched the sun go down. A lot to think about.
I was pretty sure we'd be leaving Margo in the next day or two. Choppers were coming in and picking up sling loads of unneeded gear. Load after load of M16s, flak jackets, packs, cartridge belts. None of it needed any longer by its previous owners. Very sad to watch. Those same packs had been humped to Khe Sanh, Camp Carroll, the Rockpile, and dozens of other nameless places by some good Marines.
I took one machine gun, got someone to take the second one, but still had one left and no takers. A joy to shoot, but a lot of guys don't want to hump one. They weigh 23 pounds and tend to draw a lot of enemy attention when they open up. I carried the extra one over to the captain. He really surprised me. He said he'd carry it. Not many officers would have taken on the load.
We spent one more uneventful night on Margo.