1330 Local Time
31 January 1966
Song Ve Valley, RVN
Operation Double Eagle
Operation Double Eagle kicked off on 28 January 1966, with the intent to locate and destroy the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) 18th and 95th Regiments (which were believed to have infiltrated across the DMZ in December of 1965) and the Viet Cong 2nd Regiment in Quang Ngai Province, while the US Army and ARVN forces kicked off Operation Masher/White Wing just south of the Double Eagle area of operations to destroy the NVA and VC base camps believed to be located there. On 28 January the boys' platoon went ashore with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) at Red Beach, spending a couple days patrolling in the local area without contact.
On 30 January the boys' platoon became attached to 2/3, while B-52 'Arc Light' strikes were carried out in the Song Ve Valley. The intent was for the battalion to patrol the valley immediately following the B-52 strikes, but this didn't happen due to poor weather in the area, so the boys spent a restless day and night shivering and soaked under their ponchos. The boys' platoon ended up getting sent back to 2/4, which was then lifted by helo into the west end of the Song Ve Valley, from which they began their search.
The boys' platoon has been humping the valley all day, walking the massive line of craters created by the B-52 bombers, while other platoons paralleled them on the ridgelines to the north and south. The problem was that the boys' platoon was massively outpacing the flanking platoons as humping was ten times easier on the floor of the bombed out valley then it was on the heavily jungled ridgelines, cut a million times by jagged ravines. The boys' platoon seemed to call a halt every ten minutes, trying to allow the flankers to catch up, all the while having that very uneasy feeling they were being watched from those very same ridgelines...
The Marines are from Jimmi's Flashpoint Minis.
The Viet Cong are from Martin's Peter Pig.
"Roger that, Sergeant," muttered Nik, sheepishly.
"Yeah!?" "Hey, grab Nik and drag him in, Cpl Z and I will cover you!" "Bump that, how 'bout I'll cover you, and you come and get him!" "Fine, I'll come and get him. Stand by."
"Splash out, Firedog Director, you're dead on, fire for effect!"
But Danny was right to be concerned; Operation Double Eagle was still slated to go on for another two weeks, and the squad, already beat to hell, was about to discover the VC weren't quite done with them yet.
On a side note, the Platoon Commander was very impressed when he was told how Danny had come all the way from the head of the formation back to the tail end, fighting and rallying suppressed Marines, dragging Sergeant Garcia and PFC Jacobs into cover, under intense enemy fire the entire time. The Lieutenant told Sgt Garcia to write him, and he did, submitting Danny for a Bronze Star, but Battalion downgraded it to a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/V, commonly referred to as a 'Navy Comm' and a slap in the face to anyone that performed an act of valor in combat, but such is life. Battalion tried to make it up to him by meritoriously promoting Danny to Lance Corporal.