Teddy Banks Remembers LZ Margo
by Lance Corporal Theodore "Teddy" Banks
Echo Company, BLT 2/26
Editor's note. Perhaps it was in boot camp, or if you haven't served maybe at a parade or giving a speech at a high school. That's when you first saw a Marine gunnery sergeant in dress blues, with a slew of hash-marks up his arm and a boatload of ribbons on his chest.
Maybe you recognized a Purple Heart at the top.
And perhaps you wondered, how did this person become this impressive man?
Well, here's a glimpse of how one young fellow, a lance corporal who served with us on LZ Margo, got his battle scars and earned the Purple Heart that he later wore as a Gunnery Sergeant of Marines.
"They took me out on a stretcher by chopper to the USS Repose hospital ship.
"I didn't think I would ever walk again."
Lance Corporal Theodore "Teddy" Banks
Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/26
All Hell Broke Loose
September 16, 1968, I will never forget.
We had just returned from a patrol.
I walked over to see [LCpl] Harry Rivers. A bird was coming into LZ Margo with supplies.
I told Harry that I'd be right back.
I took about 6 steps and all hell broke loose as we started taking incoming.
Our mortar section was firing back. I ran over to my position to put on my body armor and helmet.
LCpl Teddy Banks with the Purple Heart he received aboard the hospital ship USS Repose as he was being released to rejoin Echo Company, BLT 2/26. Photo courtesy of Teddy Banks.
Felt Like Someone Had Stepped On Me
As I reached for my weapon I suddenly felt like someone had stepped on me.
I didn't see where the blood was coming from at first. I wrapped my arm and tried to get up but I couldn't.
One of the other Marines got hit, so I tried to drag myself with my left arm over to help.
Next I pulled myself to the top of a small hill to look for Harry, but it looked like he had taken a direct hit.
They took me out on a stretcher by chopper to the USS Repose hospital ship.
Twenty years later, Gunnery Sergeant Teddy Banks in dress blues. Photo courtesy of Teddy Banks.
I didn't think I would ever walk again. But I knew I wanted to rejoin my unit.
Editor's note: When Banks recovered from his wounds, he rejoined Echo Company.