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Jim Anton Remembers LZ Margo (continued)

Leeches Everywhere

We moved slowly maybe 10 yards apart. Occasionally we'd bump into NVA regulars and brief firefights would break out. They seemed to want to keep contact with us but not initiate a major battle.


We paused often as the heat and humidity were overwhelming.

During breaks we'd burn leeches off each other. The ground looked alive with them.

A leech. Photo by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic.

We moved until near dark in that strange twilight jungle. The company stopped for the night but my squad was directed to continue up the trail about a half click and set up. We were to be protection for the company's uphill flank. Given the huge numbers of enemy troops nearby, a dozen guys on their own would have a real fight ahead if bumped.


Fortunately for us my squad leader Kurt Walters, knew his stuff. As we walked he spoke to each of us and explained what he wanted.


On his signal we all got down and found a tree or log to hide behind. There would be no digging of foxholes. We couldn't afford the noise. Also no smoking and nobody was to heat their C rations. It would be a long quiet night.

The light is odd during daylight with the high canopy overhead. At night it's completely dark. No light penetrates to the ground. You keep watch only with your ears.


After what seemed like an eternity, it began to get brighter. When we could see pretty well we slipped back down the trail and rejoined the company. They'd had some contact during the night but just probes looking for weak spots. When everyone was saddled up we headed higher into the canopy.

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