Jim Anton Remembers LZ Margo (continued)
Thunk Thunk Thunk
I don't even know what happened to it. My relaxing was suddenly interrupted by a distant "Thunk thunk thunk." It sounded like someone hitting a hollow log.
Somebody yelled "INCOMING!" and it was on.
Mortars began shrieking through the air and crashing down around us. And these were their big 82mm mortars. I don't know how many tubes were firing on us. I later heard 11 and as many as 16. But the air was full of mortars and the impacts were so loud and constant it was almost deafening.
I was tucked into my little cave looking across the ravine. One of our guys ran toward me and hit the dirt a few feet away from me as a round screamed into the ground. I'll never forget looking into his eyes. They were huge. He was really scared. That's when I knew this wasn't just a quick exchange of rounds.
This was bad.
There was nothing I could do to help him. I barely squeezed most of me into my cave.
After the round exploded to my right he was on his feet and running uphill to my left, where our 81mm mortars were dug in. I heard Hotel company open up with machine guns and M16 rifle fire that quickly grew in volume. The NVA was sending ground troops in under the mortar umbrella.
To get ready for whatever came next I grabbed my socks and boots and started putting them on. I clearly recall forcing myself to run every lace through every eyelet in an effort to calm down. I don't know that it helped but it gave me a simple task to focus on.
About the time I got my boots laced I could hear someone yelling, "Ammo! Ammo!" I had been hearing a machine gun firing nearby, but hadn't paid it much attention. One of our gunners had moved his gun to the top of the ravine and was firing on the telltale puffs of smoke from their mortars.
He'd run out of ammo and was hollering for someone to bring him some. I could see him on the top of the ravine to my left about 100 yards away. I could also see rounds landing almost constantly in between us.
There didn't seem to me any way to make that 80 yard run alive.