Originally Posted by doc Walters
As to your comments about Ap Nha Mat on 5 Dec 1965; I was the medic for the 2nd Platoon of Bravo CO, and Dibble, Eisenberger, and Upner were my men. When the battle started, I was near the Bt XO and heard him say on his radio to our Bt CO "you got us into this mess, now you get us the hell out". Later one of our RTO's told me that it was his opinion that by using the Bt XO using the word “hell” was what caused all the radios to go down with a lot of static interference. He thought that the FCC’s Uncle ‘Charlie’s’ were blocking our radios signals. Anyway he told me the radios were out for a period of time, and under combat conditions, it may have been only a few minutes that ‘felt like forever’.
But getting back to my three KIA’s/MIA’s; SGT Fugere found me and had me come back to where he was, which was about 30 meters west from where I was near the XO. This was at the eastern far end of an old rice field we crossed to enter the jungle again to get into the Main Force VC kill zone. It was at this place that I treated three men, one of whom was very shocky and it was touch and go with him till we got him dusted off. SGT Fugere had five other people there and this is where he was when I saw his actions for which he was put in for the Medial of Honuor; but he only received the DSC. He single handily captured a total of 6‑7 BAR's, 12‑18 AK‑47's, several SKS's and one carbine. He kept running across the clearing into the other section of jungle and destroyed many main force VC. If not for Fugere, we all would have died that day. I was just looking over the papers on the two !st Div men that got the MOH recently, and SGT Fugere did much more than both of them on 5 Dec ’65. Fugere still deserves the MPH!
About an hour before it turned dark, SGT Fugere led the rest of us from that place back down the trail to where I had been a few hours before. I found SGT Quick as he was left in the middle of the trail with a severe wound to his left shoulder and was not able to make it on his own as he had been given morphine and was having problems walking. SGT Fugere kept coming back for us and we finally got out to the LZ that the volunteers from Lai Khe secured for us.
The following day we went west along the trail back into the kill zone and found a former USMC SGT near a tree on the wrong side of the trail (North side). He was still alive (the only one alive on that side of the trail) and we dusted him off; but died later in one of the Army field hospitals. About 5 meters after we found him, we began to find our bodies. It was here that we found leaflets scattered over the entire area, describing how the Main Force VC had annihilated the 2/2. One side was in English, the other in Vietnamese. The 2/2 was on the leaflets: so just how long had this battle been planned? Former Lt. David Sullivan, 3rd Pl., Bravo Co. of Colorado Springs still has one of these leaflets. I was so bloody pissed reading this that I tore up the leaflet.
Just slightly after this point I found PFC Oshiro who, aside from me, was the only other surfer in the 2/2 that I knew. Oshiro and I had make plans to surf Hawaii when we got back to the ‘Land of the Giant PX’; he was kneeling down, I ran up to him, touched his shoulder and he fell forward; it was then that I found the bullet hole in his head. There was a rope tied around Oshiro, so the VC must have used that to drag him down the trail.
The volunteers from Lai Khe and another unit that was out with us by this time were taking our KIA’s to the LZ. Oshiro was on the South side of the trail so I crossed to the north side of the trail to look for Dibble and Eisenberger, as I found their bodies there the day before. But their bodies were gone. I told SGT Fugere and we continued west on that trail as Fugere had found Upner’s body the day before in the clearing we crossed to get to the main kill zone.
When the fighting started, Upner had stopped at the path I walked into at about 1130 hrs on 5 Dec 65 as I was trying to get our patrol that was flanking us to come in. I saw a bush in the middle of the path and was a few meters from it when Fugere called me back to the trail as the 2/2 was moving again. Behind that bush was a BAR team and Fugere saved my life; but at about 1230 hrs when the battle started, the BAR team got Upner in the back.
When we got to that path, Upner’s body was not there, which really got Fugere mad, as Upner and Fugere had been very close for many years. He and I both stared across the clearing and knew that our three MIA’s were down that trail that we had been on the day before. We started walking toward where we were sure our MIA’s/KIS’s were and then the unit that was with us told us that we had to go back to the LZ as it was going to be dark soon. Fugere would not go back to the LZ till he was assured that he would be able to search for Upner, Eisenberger, and Dibble the next day; the 7th of Dec.
On the morning of the 7th, some news people were choppered in and we could not get out of the LZ till late that day. By the time we finally got to the path where Upner was KIA’ed, it was starting to get dark, and again Fugere was promised that on the 8th we would go all the way. To make sure that Fugere and the few of us that were left of the 2/2 when back to the LZ; we were forced at rifle point back to the LZ. That was the only time an American soldier came close to pointing a rifle at me.
On the morning of the 8th we were ordered to board the choppers and go back to Lai Khe. I thought Fugere was going to explode when we boarded the choppers. This was the battle of Ab Nha Mat on 5 Dec ’65. There was more to it, but I made my point about Upner, Eisenberger, and Dibble.