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I returned to the search area to help and almost immediately one of the guys said he had found Roy Ransom. He was dead. Heíd been pinned under the spade across the midsection of his back and driven deep under water, face down. Iím sorry I donít remember who found his body because it was somewhat traumatic for him too. I was uncomfortable with just one of us pronouncing someone dead, yet the medic was busy doing other important things. I asked that he keep his head out of the water so I could also look, and then did so, checking closely for movement in his iris and any breathing signs. I remember that I did this but the vision was blocked because it was grisly and I thought highly of this fine hard working, quiet soldier. He died instantly with the force of tons of steel on him, but thatís only a miniscule consolation for his family. Thatís all I remember of this whole sad incident.
 
We then discussed making an attempt to dig out around Roy to dislodge his body. Shortly, the aerial observer, our Battalion Executive officer Major Clay, appeared on the bridge and asked for my report. I told him the situation and he ordered all of us out of the creek and into our vehicles. We were obviously reluctant to abandon our gun and comrade so he took the time to explain that the engineers were on the way. There was nothing more we could do. To disturb the gun was too dangerous if the weight shifted. Iíve always been thankful that he was sensitive enough to realize the emotional situation and helped rather than ignored it.
 
FSB Wade put the battery back together in early May 1970. The Cambodian operation (limited invasion) would soon be brought to a successful end with mountains of captured weapons and food taken to Quan Loi for distribution elsewhere. This was probably good for the battery from a logistical point of view. It was terrible for me. I was now in constant contact with a Battery Commander who made it plain that he didnít like me, thought I was immature, incompetent, and should never have been commissioned.
 
To make matters worse I no longer had the competence, hard work, and organizational skills of Reed McDonald to assist me. Everyone in FDC needed to be retrained to take over more duties, as we were losing our more experienced personnel. Regulations were changing to reflect the pressures that the military was feeling due to the political situation at home, and economic pressures bearing on Congress. Being co-located with an ARVN unit would become commonplace and was part of the Vietnamization process of our combat units leaving the war zone. We came under stricter and smaller ammunition use requirements. Combat was still taking place, but it was against smaller enemy units that didnít seem to be as well organized. Our ARVN allies were taking more responsibility for conducting their own ambush and other offensive operations. Most of the GIís thought that the operation had been a success. Disruption of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the main infiltration route, along with destruction of the enemy base camps, would buy us some time. The intelligence gathered from seized documents and numerous Cheu Hoi surrenders would be helpful for months.

Several weeks went by as we settled in at FSB Wade. We received an encrypted call at about 11:00 AM. It was for a ďtime on targetĒ (designated TOT) fire mission commencing at 12:00. It consisted of about twenty targets to be fired in order as listed. There were three of us in the FDC at the time; we were short one or two people. I was training the new RTO, Lester Higa, and someone else was on the FADAC computer, also new to the job. We were not rushed, so I was using the fire mission as a training exercise. De-encryption, plotting targets, double checking map coordinates with elevations and azimuths all took some time.

 
   
 

 


 

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