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L. E. McCartney: My Recollections of LZ Margo (continued)

"Prepare To Be Medevaced"

As 1stLt St. John was coordinating the defense, LCpl Reed alerted me to an injured Marine who was apparently in need of assistance. As I went to check on him I saw other Marines, apparently injured, unattended, in dangerously exposed positions, and in need of assistance. After notifying Corporal Schroeder of what I was doing, he took charge of that recovery effort and we retrieved them.

After HM3 John Lancaster tended to my wounds, during which time he pushed me down and shielded me with his body when we took even more incoming mortar fire, Lieutenant St. John ordered me to take an evacuation helo as soon as space on one was available. I gathered my gear and as I was preparing to leave, since I didn't want to appear insubordinate by arguing during combat, I told him I was not badly injured and could stay.

I wanted to stay. I knew I could still do my job and I knew the Marines who had done so much for me over the previous nine months needed me. I pointed out that most of the blood on me was the blood of my fellow Marines.

The Hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) known as the "Angel of the Orient". Operating mainly in the I Corps area, she treated over 9,000 battle casualties including many wounded from the battle of LZ Margo.

Lt St. John ordered me to go, telling me he wanted me to be sure the men on the evacuation helo got to a medical facility since there were stories that wounded men, in their confusion, had 'wandered off' and did not get treated, then were found dead.


This was the easiest order I ever received since the evacuation helo took us directly to an offshore hospital ship, USS Repose (AH-16).

While waiting for the evacuation helo, SSgt Sanchez, with his ever present green notebook and pen in hand, approached, asking if I could tell him about some of the unaccounted for 2nd Platoon Marines. I pointed to and identified those I knew; first the wounded, then those who had lost their lives.


However, I could not identify the two Marines who were killed at the water hole while helping PFCs Hunter and Durham. Sanchez identified them from his notes as well as their dog tags; PFCs John M. Donohue and PFC Edward Cunningham, two Marines who gave their lives helping Marines they had never met.

PFC John Donohue died on LZ Margo, age 17. He had been in Vietnam just 9 days. Photo courtesy of the Virtual Wall.

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PFC Eddie Cunningham of New York, NY, was 18 years old when he was killed on LZ Margo. Photo courtesy of the Virtual Wall.

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