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"Doc" Smith Remembers LZ Margo

by Hospital Corpsman Third Class Raymond "Doc" Smith

Echo Company, BLT 2/26

“The first chopper out on the 17th was overloaded as well. I was on it, trying to sustain SSgt Sanchez' life.

"He died as I worked on him."

HM3 Raymond Smith

Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/26

badly wounded on LZ Margo.

I Learn That 'Corpsman' Is Not a Healthy MOS

I was a Naval Corpsman at LZ Margo, in Echo Company, 2nd Platoon. Staff Sergeant [Juan] Sanchez was the platoon sergeant.

I had joined the Navy out of high school to see the world and stay out of Vietnam, but here I was... In boot camp I was informed that I was to be a Corpsman. I didn't know what that was, but soon found out it wasn't the healthiest MOS [Military Occupation Specialty] in the American military.

On the afternoon of September 13, 1968, our company went down the hill from LZ Margo, crossed the river and set up for the night.


The following night was the most frightening of my life. We had friendly fire all around us to keep the NVA at bay. I could not have felt closer to the corporal that stayed with me than I would have felt at my mother's breast.

We had more excitement that night than I had experienced, cumulatively, in all of my life before.

The First Day on LZ Margo

On the 16th we returned to Margo and were in the little gully leading to the waterhole. We were hit very badly. It is a sight that I cannot shake from my head.

My hole was 15-20 yards from the waterhole. Some 30 yards further to the west there was an emplacement of 81s.

I was the first Corpsman at the waterhole after the incoming and was literally dumbstruck at the sight. It is etched in my mind to this day.

The "story" in the book Brutal Battles of Vietnam [Deadly Dilemma at LZ Margo] fell a bit short of describing what really happened. On the 16th, I helped two Marines body-bag 18 Marines and that was only the first day. Echo Company was reduced to one squad of 12 of which 5 had minor wounds.

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