Larry Jackson Remembers His Last Days in Vietnam (cont.)
Back Up the Mountain
We were so glad when they hollered to us to move back up the mountain. Echo Company had about 45 to 50 guys in it. They had started up the hill when I found out my other good friend, PFC Frank Farren, had diarrhea so bad that when he went to crap he had blood coming out in his stool. Our officer gave me and three other guys the order to stay down with him and help him up the mountain and the rest of the company would go on up to the top.
It got real quiet after the rest of the company got out of hearing range. We would take a few steps, sliding on the thick terrain, and Frank would have to crap again. He was really in bad shape. The was no way to Medevac him out as you could only hear the chopper above the trees. It was too thick to see out, let alone have a gurney lowered down.
As we would walk a short ways, there would be noise out on each side of us. We would stop and there would be a delayed stop on each side. We were thinking these were probably rock monkeys following us on each side as they were very curious and had been known to follow Marines before in swamps and rain forest. I bet we slid down hundreds of times as it was so slick. All our clothes were wet. We had already stopped many times to find leeches on us from staying down in the swamp all night.
Thank God we finally made it to the top of the mountain. We dropped our packs and rifles and it felt really good to be up on top and finally in the sun for a while.
Usually when guys were going on R&R, they got the crap details. We also were going to Medevac PFC Farren to a hospital. We were to collect all the squads' canteens and carry them down to a ravine to fill with water from a spring.
The waterhole and a mortar pit on LZ Margo. Photo courtesy of Eric Smith.
I had just gotten to the edge of the ravine when I heard my friend Doug Pedrick call my name. He was in Fox Company and we had not seen each other in Vietnam although we'd been in boot camp together and all the way to deployment. He and I had just shaken hands and hugged each other when the first mortar shells started to fall.