Pete Schroeder Remembers: A Hellhole Named LZ Margo
by Corporal Hilary K. "Pete" Schroeder
Echo Company, BLT 2/26
Cpl Pete Schroeder joined Echo Company a month before LZ Margo. Photo courtesy of Pete Schroeder.
Welcome To BLT 2/26. We're Going To The DMZ.
In May of 1968 I reported to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, whose main headquarters were in Quang Tri. I served with Bravo until August of 1968 when I was transferred to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines. I was assigned to second platoon where my commander was Lt. J. J. Lloyd and my platoon sergeant was Staff Sergeant Juan Sanchez.
On the 13th of September 1968 we embarked on the operation named Lancaster II which would take us to a place called LZ Margo. At the time I didn’t know the name of this hellhole.
Being second squad leader I was told my squad would be the first into the landing zone. We landed and at the time I was sure that we were taking .51 caliber fire, as that is what came over the radio from the helicopter crew.
The fixed wing cover was firing and rocketing something.
We had been told that the Special Forces had left toe popper mines in the area and to be watchful. My squad didn’t encounter any.
As the rest of the company landed, we were told to start digging in. We attempted to dig our foxholes in the draw which was dubbed later as “death gulch”. It was hard digging as it was mostly rock.
Death gulch on LZ Margo. This photo was taken September 15, 1968, the day before the first day of enemy mortar attacks on the Marines and corpsmen of BLT 2/26. Photo courtesy of Eric "Smitty" Smith.
After digging for a short time and accomplishing little more than a two foot hole, we were told to saddle up and move out. The platoon then left the area and moved down to a little valley at the base of a mountain and set up for the night. My squad was given the job of listening post and all was uneventful that evening.