Jerry Lewien Remembers (continued)
An Awful Accident
On 9 September 68 as I was standing radio watch I heard some yelling. I looked out and saw my former team leader, Corporal Tom Phillips and another Marine standing in the stream. Most of their utilities had burned off along with most of their skin.
I called the company CP [command post] to call in the “dust off” [helicopter casualty evacuation].
I was told that I would have to do it as I was on scene, and that Army choppers were in the area and to contact then.
At the time I didn't know how many choppers were required. As I got close to the bunker I was told there were six injured.
Three choppers landed on the roadway inside the compound. As the injured were transported to the choppers I saw they were throwing out seats to make room for the wounded.
It wasn't until much later that I learned Cpl Phillips had died of his burns. I don't know the names of the others or their status.
Cpl Tom Phillips taken sometime after Golf Company left C-2. Photo courtesy of Jerry Lewien.
It was later learned that the bunker had been made from boxes that still had increments [powder charges] in one or more of them. A spark or cigarette ignited the fire.
A High School Reunion in the DMZ
In mid-September 1968 at the beginning of the LZ Margo operation we were headed into the DMZ.
We were scheduled to relieve another unit that was just coming out of the DMZ and it was raining and cold. We had stopped for the day and took up a CP position inside an open bamboo hut. It was about a foot above ground, so it provided some protection from the wet ground. As we were preparing a gourmet meal of C-rations the unit we were replacing was headed out of the DMZ and was passing through our lines.
That is when I heard a familiar voice call my name. It was a high school classmate and my bootcamp buddy from home!
It was not until recently after I received his records that I learned that it was Delta 1/9 that we were replacing.