Bob Riordan Remembers LZ Margo and the DMZ Operation (conclusion)
Upon returning to our company position, I shared my concerns with Pete about what had happened on the patrol but other events soon overshadowed as our S-3, Major Jarvis Lynch, radioed for "Beans".
Jarvis did an outstanding job but had a keen sense of humor and did not engage in petty harassment of his companies. He eventually became a major general, so obviously did many things right and remains a friend. Beans Reardon was a famous 1940s National League umpire and so Jarvis always called me "Beans" and Pete was "Big" on radio rather than formal protocol and call signs.
His message was that I was done as my Rotation Tour Date had come and I was to report to the battalion position the next day to catch a helicopter and begin my return to the "Real World".
My departure from Golf was bittersweet as we all knew that the company was headed for tough fighting very soon. That in fact happened within days as "Big" took over as Commanding Officer.
Famed National League Umpire Beans Reardon, the inspiration for Major Lynch's nickname for Lt Bob Riordan. Photo courtesy of The Pecan Park Eagle.
Pete provided distinguished leadership dealing with NVA tanks crossing the Ben Hai and assaulting Golf's new position near that river but more lives were lost as expected.
Leaving under those circumstances was hard but I had spent over ten months in rifle companies and it was time to go. In departing, though, I regretted not telling Jarvis Lynch about my concerns regarding that ambush site as he could have directed fire support at that location. Delta Company 1/9 later apparently approached that position moving south from the river and suffered heavy casualties in an ambush just as my instincts had warned.
One last regret to remind those of us who survived just how fortunate we were to have done so.
Golf Company, BLT 2/26
Editor's note: Bob had an interesting 13-month tour. After arriving in September 1967, he served six weeks as leader of Foxtrot Company’s 2nd Platoon. He then was briefly assigned as the battalion’s S-5 (Civil Affairs Officer), a post typically filled only in wartime. He got the assignment because he’d been through Vietnamese Language School at Monterey, California, but “resigned” after a week because he wanted to remain a platoon leader and returned to Fox Company and leadership of the 1st Platoon.
When Lt Dan Pultz became Battalion Liaison Officer (or BLO, facetiously referred to as its designees as the S-3 ‘Zulu’), Bob replaced him as Foxtrot’s Executive Officer shortly before Lt. Kent Wonders arrived in December.
Soon after the battalion moved to Hill 558 near the Khe Sanh Combat Base in January 1968, Bob replaced Dan Pultz as the BLO at the combat base itself. Remember, this was during the siege of Khe Sanh, when the daily incoming fire pounding the base was withering.
He returned to Hill 558 in late February, where he served as the S-3 (Operations) Watch Officer in the command post (CP), a large hole in the red clay of Hill 558 with a layer of metal runway matting above and sandbags over that.
He became Executive Officer of Golf Company in early April, became Commanding Officer in May and served in that role until early in the DMZ campaign when he was replaced by 1stLt Pete Post.
Bob left the Marine Corps as a captain.