Pete Schroeder Remembers: A Hellhole Named LZ Margo (continued)

More Patrolling Near LZ Margo

The next morning we were given the point, I took the point and being that all I was carrying at the time was the M-79 and a .45 caliber pistol I opted to use the pistol to walk point. I know that that probably wasn’t real smart but that is how it was. I moved out and soon encountered a high speed trail. It went up the mountain complete with steps and bamboo hand rail. Sometime later in the afternoon a Major came forward and told me to slow down, he was smoking a cigar and I had discovered a leech on my knee and burned it off.

 

We then moved out again and later set up our night defense right on and off the trail. This was on the 14th of September. The morning of the 15th, Third Platoon took the point and it wasn’t long before they made contact with the NVA. The point was killed and others were wounded after a brief firefight and contact was broken. The wounded were then medevaced and we set up defensive positions and spent the night wondering if we would be hit.

LCpl Shepard, a member of Cpl Schroeder's squad, on a beach landing prior to LZ Margo. Schroeder was with Shepard and PFC Jones when the first rounds impacted LZ Margo. Photo courtesy of Pete Schroeder.

The next morning we were instructed to move back to the LZ. After arriving we went back to our positions in the draw. We got ration resupply and there were Marines going to the spring or water point up the draw. I was talking to LCpl Shepard and PFC Jones when the first rounds impacted outside the perimeter.

The Hellhole Earns Its Name

At first we were not concerned believing them to be our mortar crews registering the mortars for night defenses. It didn't take long to see that wasn't the fact as more mortar rounds impacted the LZ.

"At first we were not concerned believing them to be our mortar crews registering the mortars for night defenses. It did not take long to see that was not the fact as more mortar rounds impacted the LZ.

 

"The NVA mortar crews then started working the draw and water point and the surrounding area. I scrambled for my hole as rounds were impacting up and down the draw...I tried to stretch my helmet down over myself..."

Cpl Hilary Keith "Pete" Schroeder

Echo Company, BLT 2/26

The NVA mortar crews then started working the draw and water point and the surrounding area. I scrambled for my hole as rounds were impacting up and down the draw.

 

As I tried to stretch my helmet down over myself I was beginning to wonder why the hell we had been pulled back to this barren piece of real estate.

 

Then I heard my name being called through all this din and smoke, looking across to the opposite slope I saw LCpl Mercurio yelling for me to get out of my hole as the rounds were being walked right into my area. I also saw him get knocked down about three times, but he got up and kept moving.

(c) 2019, DMZ Rats of Battalion Landing Team 2/26. All rights reserved.