1330 Local Time
5 March 1966
Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
Earlier this morning 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines pulled back and the boys humped over to join 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, which was now charged with securing Hill 50. The squad linked up with 3/1 and was briefed on the plan to assault Hill 50 from the northeast, with ARVN units attacking further west; as a matter of fact, the ARVN were claiming they had already secured Hill 50. However, preliminary recon by 3/1 proved that was not the case. So the battalion marched south, to its jump-off positions, where the Marines flopped down in the grass to enjoy a nice C-ration lunch and enjoy the show put on by the 105mm howitzers of 12th Marines and assorted airstrikes by Marine A-4 Skyhawks and F-4 Phantoms. The Marines even joined in with the occasional 'oohs' and 'ahs,' as napalm sent flame and roiling black clouds into the sky, as Willie Pete burst on the slopes, sending its white tendrils in every direction, or a string of 500-pound bombs went off, sending shockwaves across the valley. All a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend one's lunch hour.
"Look at all that," Rivera exclaimed. "This'll be a walkover, nobody could survive all that pounding." "Don't kid yourself, Rivera," Cpl Little replied. "Don't any of you kid yourself, there'll be plenty of dinks up there waiting for us, and they'll be plenty pissed of, just like yesterday. So you keep your @#$% wired tight, we're gonna be in for another helluva fight, and we're gonna need everyone pulling his weight," said Cpl Little, shooting a glance at Contreras. "And I do mean everyone."
The Marines are from Jimmi's Flashpoint Minis.
The Viet Cong are from Martin's Peter Pig.
Then Corporal Little turned, locked eyes with Danny and Nik, and motioned both to keep an eye on Contreras...
They're not receiving any fire from the village, so Cpl Little is thinking they can hug the base of Hill 50, below the East Bunker's (top center left) line of sight, and scale the hill, working east to west (left to right) to clear the enemy defenses atop Hill 50.
"Yeah, Doc, I'm okay, thanks."
"I dunno, little brother. Today wasn't quite as bad as last night, but if Rob didn't do his thing last night, I promise you I wouldn't be standing here right now..."
Following the end of Operation Utah, at the ceremony honoring the Marine fallen and to distribute awards for valor, Corporal Little was already being awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in attacking the NVA anti-aircraft position on the night of 4 March 1966. But several days later, another formation was held, with General Walt, the III MAF Commanding General flying in. The Marine CG was on hand for one reason: to award Corporal Little the Navy Cross, for actions above and beyond the call of duty in leading the final assault on Hill 50. Corporal Little single-handedly broke the back of the enemy defenses on Hill 50, personally eliminating seven NVA soldiers and two enemy bunkers.
The battalion secured Hill 50 by 1500, leaving one company (Lima Co, 3/1) up there to keep it secured, while the other two fell back to the north to replenish ammo and evacuate the casualties. Fire was still coming in from the east, from the village of Chau Nhai (3), pinning down Mike Company, as India Company was sent around to the north, attacking the NVA-held village from the east. Even so, things were not going well, and so the boys and their platoon next found themselves being sent to reinforce M/3/1 in an direct assault on the village.
Coming right up!