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

Death of the Point Man

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On Sunday, September 15th, the 3rd platoon took a patrol further north of our position. That patrol encountered the enemy, more than likely a listening post of a combat outpost and in a brief firefight the point man, Corporal Stan Pettit, was killed while PFCs Bill Griffith, Henry Davis, Goodwin, and several other Marines were wounded.

 

I recall seeing Cpl Pettit, who I had served with in 3rd platoon for six or so months, shot at close range and thinking how young he was; he was only nineteen, if that old. Just a few months older than me.

Cpl Stan Pettit on Hill 861A, Khe Sanh, February 1968, six months before his death on LZ Margo. Photo courtesy of his cousin Scott Whitlock.

We blasted some trees so the helicopters could drop slings to hoist out our injured and fallen Marines, then we 'set-in' for the night.

That night almost everyone was out of food because we hadn't been resupplied since landing.

 

The 2nd platoon, my platoon, had only been issued a single C-Ration meal before loading on the helos three days earlier.

 

So I didn't have anything left to eat. My Squad Leader, Lance Corporal Bob Reed, was in the same situation.

 

Fortunately, Lance Corporal Gary Daffin, my Fire Team Leader, had a can of C-Ration spaghetti. So the three of us shared it.

A C-ration meal of spaghetti, produced under government contract by the lowest bidder. Marines in the field rotated among 12 meal combinations, all containing a meal, toilet paper and cigarettes. Some boxes of C-rations dated to World War II. Photo courtesy of PicClick.

Daffin told us that since he didn't have a heat tab with which to cook the spaghetti and I did, or a spoon with which it to eat it and Reed did, then it was only fair that he share his food with us.

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