1530 Local Time
18 December 1965
Phuoc Ha Valley, RVN
Operation Harvest Moon
The operation began nine days ago, and it's been a real bastard. The boys helo'ed into the west end of the Que Son Valley, got into a helluva ambush, watched some B-52 "Arc Light" bombing raids pound the hell out of the valley, then got to walk around for another week looking at abandoned VC base camps before somebody finally realized the Viet Cong had pulled out of the Que Son Valley and were now inhabiting the nearby Phuoc Ha Valley. III MAF committed 2/9 and had them enter one end of the valley whilst 2/7, whom the boys were still attached to, entered from the other end. Both battalions soon found themselves in the fight of their lives.
The squad found itself at the tail end of the 2/7 formation; they could hear a helluva cacophony about a klick up ahead, and they tried to make sense of the chatter on the radio, but it was crazy. It seemed that the 8th Viet Cong Battalion had ambushed the Marine battalion and were trying to isolate HQ and Hotel Companies from Fox and Golf Companies, and 2/9 was in a very similar predicament. In any case, the boys were with Golf Company, which was ordered to move off to the in an attempt to outflank the VC defensive line and breakthrough to HQ and Hotel, but on the way their mission changed.
The Platoon Sergeant, Staff Sergeant Dunn, quickly briefed the entire squad: a section of HQ Company was separated from the main body and found itself in a running gunfight heading west. They managed to break contact but they're beat up pretty bad and they can hear Charlie out there in the jungle looking for them. They don't know exactly where they're at, other than 'in the bend in the river,' so you're going to go out there and be their cavalry coming to the rescue. Golf is moving east-northeast, so the rest of the platoon is gonna be the bridge between them and you, now go get'em, cowboys."
The Marines are from Jimmi's Flashpoint Minis.
The Viet Cong are from Martin's Peter Pig.
Bottom (left to right): Cpl Zamora (in intense pain and with his head covered in bandages), Pvt Washington (the hero of the last fight), LCpl Murcia-Jimenez ("MJ"), and Pvt Holmes.
The initial deployment; "Alright, take five," said Sgt Garcia. "This fork in the river is about 100 yards south of where I'd be hiding if I was those Marines. It's awful quiet, not sure what to make of that. Maybe they found a place to hole up and the dinks can't find'em. Maybe they're all dead... Or maybe it's a trap. Alright, break time is over, on your feet!"
The Corpsman was correct; MJ would undergo various surgeries and treatments back in the States for the next 36 months before being medically discharged from the Marine Corps, a paraplegic. Marks was hit in the abdomen and would be evacuated to the Naval hospital in Okinawa, where he would ultimately make a full recover despite losing a foot of intestines.
"Yeah man, I don't see how you're gonna make it outta this alive." "Me???" Danny said, incredulously, as he stole a sideways glance at his buddy, who tried his best but couldn't hold back a grin. When Danny saw the smile he reached over and thumped Nikki in the helmet, and both boys broke out into nervous laughter.
The boys slept fitfully under the stars, the squad ostensibly performing security for the 2/7 Battalion Command Post, but, in reality, they were being given a brief respite from watch after the grueling fight and recovery mission. Turns out they'd need the rest, they're fighting in Operation Harvest Moon was not yet finished.