John G. Daniel

 

On March 10, 1968 we had been running missions all day, had gotten a break and decided to cook dinner.

As we were getting ready to cook dinner Bill Blanton came and called everyone back up to the RADAR van from the cooking area and was briefing us on the status of us and our mission.

He said that we were in dire danger and perhaps we could still get some choppers in that evening to evacuate or we could go ahead and drop bombs and get out at first light.

We all decided to stay and continue our mission.

At this time there was firing of some heavy weapons and the cooking area took at least one direct hit.

It was decided that Blanton and his crew would stay and man the equipment and that our crew, which consisted of Stan, Monk, Gish, Dick and I would go to the bunker.

We decided that instead of the bunker, as it was close to the cooking area and sleeping area we would go over the side of the mountain where we had explored before as there was good cover there. We remained there and sometime during the night there was lots of small arms fire and grenades.

About that time we came under fire and Gish was hit first. I believe that Monk and Stan were hit and Monk's was fatal. Then I was hit in both legs and Gish was hit again and this one fatal.

During this time only Dick and I were able to defend ourselves and the others, which at this time only Stan being alive.

Dick never got hit during this time and was directing me on what was taking place and what to do.

I had the only radio that worked and was talking to the aircraft ("Sandy" flight A-1Es) if I recall correctly.

Dick and I decided that we needed them to drop their ordnance on top of the hill as there was no evidence of life there, except for the ones shooting at us.

They kept dropping all their ordnance and strafing with their guns and as they ran dry other aircraft kept replacing them.

Also there were some flare ships in the area dropping flares for us.

About daylight an Air America chopper came in and was able to drop a lift and Dick was able to get Stan and me loaded into the chopper.

At this time one other person whom we didn't know was alive came down to where Dick was, still on the ground, and got loaded into the chopper.

Then Dick was able to get loaded into the chopper.

As we were lifting off there was a short burst of small arms fire that hit the bottom of the chopper.

I was told later that one round hit Dick and he bled to death before the chopper got to the next LS. We were then transferred to an evacuation flight back to Korat Air Base.