Day three, uh, we swept through to the west from that, where we stopped the night before, ah, that we encountered one or two VC a couple booby traps, what not ah, nothing nothing other than extremely light activity. Uh, we, Golf Company was up blocking on the railroad tracks, and by this point we were far south of uh, uh La Hoy where the Sparrow Hawk Platoon was, probably about two miles south and uh...there were two villages there that the battalion wanted swept and searched to see if there were any remaining VC in there.
Uh, we uh swept through the first village which I remember had particularly heavy undergrowth. It was very difficult to move through that village. Ah, we actually were moving through single file in three different columns, and uh, the command group was behind a squad of the 1st platoon in the center, ah, and the 2nd platoon of the company was tracing behind the command group. Ah, we had the easiest route through the village as we checked for any activity. We saw no signs of anybody, civilian, Viet Cong or otherwise as we moved through the village.
We were the first, the squad that we were behind in the command group were the first ones to get to the western edge of the village. Ah, as we reached the western edge of the village an open area, paddies, grave mounds in the, uh, paddies, and you could see another tree line and another village about 300 uh yards...about 300 meters to our front further west uh...The squad in front of us started taking cover behind the grave mounds, cause Vietnam was not a place you'd like to stand around and look around out in the open, you may not be living long if you did.
They, they ah started moving behind the grave mounds and the command group moved out. Uh, meanwhile Lt. O'Connor, who was commanding the second platoon, had reached the edge of the tree line and moved out to uh make a visual reconnaissance and see what the terrain looked like that lay directly ahead of us. He had just turned around and was starting to move back to join his platoon when automatic weapons fire opened up from the village and this was about fifteen, ten or fifteen seconds after the word was passed back that they had noticed some movement in the village ahead of us.
Uh, they couldn't determine at 3 or 400 yards who or what the movement was, but somebody had seen some movement in some of the houses, and next thing we knew we were receiving automatic weapons fire. Uh, Lt. O'Connor was hit in the left shoulder in, above the heart. And uh, he was bleeding quite severely. Uh...I remember sloshing back to where he went down with the company corpsman and uh, we uh started returning fire and providing a covering base of fire calling artillery in and scheduled an emergency MEDEVAC helicopter to come in and get Lt. O'Connor out.
Uh, Lt. O'Connor, I recall, was delirious. Uh, he kept trying to get up, it was taking three of us to keep him on the ground. Uh, he kept trying to get up to get to his platoon to deploy them and command them, not realizing how seriously he was hurt. Uh, the corpsman put a hemostat on the artery to, to, to stop the bleeding, and uh, we were successful in getting a helicopter to take out Lt. O'Connor at the same time as we assaulted the village two or three hundred meters to the front of us where the fire was coming from. Uh, unfortunately, the uh lieutenant jumped up and tried to get off the helicopter as it was taking off, and the, there was no medical assistant or corpsman or doctor on the helicopter. So, when he knocked the hemostat off the crew chief didn't know how to put it back on and he was dead on arrival at the battalion aid station. He bled to death. Ah, he probably would have
died anyway – the wound, or wounds I should say, were quite serious.
End SR #2930.