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This is JoCo podcast number two sixty nine with Echo, Charles and Me, Jocke Willink. Good evening Echo. Good evening. And also joining us tonight is Dave Burke. Good evening.


Good evening.


The last podcast with Leif. We covered the first part of this Marine Corps manual, which I don't even know yet. It's not really a manual. It's like somebody made this. It's called the squad leader makes a difference. And I know who made it.


Actually, Lieutenant M-m a baldie and lieutenant am a Tero. They made it at the war, the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in August of nineteen ninety eight.


And we're going to push through the last few pages of this book that we didn't cover last time.


But then we're going to dive deeper into the last example, which I actually moved to the end. And if you've ever wondered where these podcasts come from, where my mind is going, are, you've ever wondered how I'm thinking through these things? This is an opportunity to follow me down a path of discovery, to learn more about leadership, to learn more about human nature and about war and about history and about fear and about sorrow and about life and about death.


It's an interesting ride. And it all starts by picking up where we left off with this this manual, the squad leader makes a difference. The subtitle is Readings on Combat at the Squad Level.


This book is a book that by its very nature. Simultaneously establishes and then reinforces a culture of maneuver warfare. It. Enforces that, it establishes it it it is decentralized command, it's literally a book about the front line leaders making a difference and stepping up and leading so.


Here we go, we're going to go back to the book right now. This one is Sergeant Joe Whooper, US Army Vietnam.


Nineteen sixty eight. Sergeant Joe Hooper was a squad leader with D Company 2nd Battalion 500, the 1st Infantry 101st Airborne Division near Wei City.


A big salute right now, obviously, to the second of the five.


First awesome.


In January of nineteen sixty eight, when he was captured by the North Vietnamese in the Tet Offensive, U.S. forces fought desperately to liberate Vietnam's ancient imperial city. On February 17th, the company was assaulting a defended position along a riverbank outside Wei City when it was attacked by rocket and machine gunfire.


The company had run into a defensive position manned by two North Vietnamese companies in dug out bunkers with the company pinned down by fire, Sergeant Hooper located the source of the enemy fire. He rallied his squad and attacked across the river.


He overran several enemy bunkers, this bold maneuver inspired the rest of the company to join the attack during this attack. Some of sergeant whooper squad had been wounded. He ran out into the open to retrieve them, but was seriously wounded himself. Sergeant Hooper refused medical treatment and returned to his men. Enemy fire continued to hamper the attack. Sergeant Hooper led his squad through the bunkers and buildings, clearing a path for the company and mortally wounding a North Vietnamese officer.


When his squad came under direct fire from a building to their front, Sergeant Hooper assaulted the building himself and killed the enemy with grenades and rifle fire. Upon reaching the final line of the North Vietnamese defences, Sergeant Hooper destroyed four bunkers by running the length of the position, tossing grenades into each of the dugouts.


The enemy soldiers began to withdraw from their positions. Sergeant Hooper then led his squad in destroying the last two Vietnamese bunkers with white phosphorus grenades after the last pocket of resistance was eliminated, Sergeant Hooper organized his unit into defensive positions.


When the remainder of his company had caught up, Sergeant Hooper allowed himself to have his wounds treated. Sergeant Hooper played a major role in defeating a large force of North Vietnamese companies. Attack forced the withdrawal of North Vietnamese reinforcements attempting to enter the city. The this action outside the city weakened the NBA defenders inside way, easing pressure on the besieged city and leading to the eventual liberation of the imperial capital.


And oddly enough, it doesn't talk about him receiving the Medal of Honor or anything after he's charging bunkers by himself.


That's just who.


I guess that's just what we're doing, lessons Sergeant Hooper displayed exceptional leadership, his endurance, despite being wounded, served as an example to his squad and his company after taking initiative to assault across the river.


Sergeant WHO squad assumed the role of the company's main effort and spearheaded the attack. His exceptional courage under fire inspired the remainder of the company.


Sergeant Hooper's combat decisions and tactical leadership at the squad level contribute contributed to his company's success in this bitter fight with the North Vietnamese attempt to reinforce the city halted, other forces were able to clear the city.


This is obviously this is the kind of initiative this is the kind of bias for action that the Marine Corps talks about all the time, this is the kind of initiative that we try and train leaders to have at every level that they are going to make things happen. That's what we want, and they followed up this quote, I've actually we actually hit this quote before, but I'm going to hit it again. We covered it a while ago on Podcast's.


Sixty to. Ah, the peak of his book, Battle Studies. Listen to this, though, listen to this and think about this, four brave men who do not know each other will not dare to attack a lion.


For less brave men, but knowing each other well, sure of their reliability and consequently of mutual aid will attack resolutely.


There is the science of the organization of armies in a nutshell.


When I was in South Africa and I went on to South Africa and we worked with some companies down there and I heard that it wasn't in this context, but they were talking about how back in the day the African tribes would hunt lions with spears, but they would say, you know, be like three or four guys that would be able to take a lion because they could maneuver in from different angles and they could eventually kill the lion.


And this was after the conversation that I don't know if you know this in South in Africa. There's no lions living out in the wild, they're all in these they're in these big giant game reserves which are like the wild, but they're not in the wild. Why is that?


Because then you have African lions roaming around killing people.


I mean, you're no match for a lion, no match. But if you've got some friends. Three friends. I mean, if you think about the OK, what are the odds, if you were to do this, the odds of a human beating a lion in a fight, what are the odds?


Well, you know, like it is not it's almost zero. How is it how is a human going to kill a lion in a fight? Right. OK. OK, you give him a spear. He has some kind of a chance, but it ain't good when a freakin lions coming at you. That thing's going to just it's a slaughter.


Yeah, but as soon as you got some friends and you can make some maneuvers now, you can not only can you win, you are confident enough that you do it on a regular basis.


That's decentralized command, that's not only decentralized command. That's what a good team is, a good team was he call it that the the if you're sure of the mutual aid, if I know you got my back, that's the strength of the team. I like how he used the phrase and that, quote, the science of organizations and we think of science, you think of like all this research and all this analysis and all the things, you know, what the science of organizations is.


I got relationships. I got you. I got your back. That's the science.


That's all you need to know. I think that that quote that word, actually, I wrote that down because that that rung loudly of. There's actually it's not it's not complicated. This is not complicated. You have to have someone that you trust as a person. You'll do so much more with someone with just one other person that you trust than what you do as a on your own.


Yeah. And before I jumped on and completed your sentence for you, you were going to say relationships. Right. And I was already in the combat mode if I got your back, because that's, you know, what do you you don't you don't tell a lance corporal, hey, you need to build a relationship.


Now, you said you got to make sure they got your back. Right. But if you're talking to a business, which is what we do, it's, hey, you got to make sure you're building good relationships. You got to make sure that they know they're going to give you that support, that mutual aid if you need it. That's what we're doing. And if we have that, we're unstoppable. If we have that, three of us can take a lion.


Corporal Gregory, Corporal Gregory was a squad leader. This is Vietnam. Nineteen seventy one US Marine Corps Corporal Gregory was a squad leader assigned to the 1st Combined Unit Pacification Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. The unit was the northernmost Marine unit in Vietnam. Corporal Gregoris, combat experience had made him an extremely proficient infantry leader. He placed strong emphasis on training in the field. Where what way back in the rear where they had plenty of time to train in the field, he placed strong emphasis on training in the field.


He took every chance to conduct opportunity training with his Marines. There were numerous duties required of Corporal Gregory Scrod each day. Corporal Gregory assembled the squad and instructed them in a single practical infantry skill.


I must say that again every day, well, they've got all these duties, got all these. And the reason I'm saying this is we hear this all the time from companies where we really have time to train. So so guess what? No one has time to train. And if you think that this Marine corporal in the field has, quote, time to train, you're wrong. So what does he do? Every day he assembles a squad and instructs them in a single practical infantry skill.


How long does that take? Ten minutes, five minutes, seven minutes while in a patrol base.


Corporal Gregory instructed his men in such skills as helicopter medevacs, close air support and call for fire, Corporal Gregory required that his squad members continue their professional development every day after returning from patrols, Corporal Gregory's squad would work on their Marine Corps Institute correspondence courses. PFC Kirby, a member of Corporal Gregory's squad, finished the Marine Corps NCO, MCI in the field in Vietnam.


In the field in Vietnam, Corporal Gregory took the initiative to train his Marines in the skills required by his unit's mission and environment. His training exceeded the basic requirements established by the Marine Corps and created a squad that was particularly well prepared for combat.


The corporal used scenario based training to run his men through multiple repetitions of probabl combat situations.


He made sure that each Marine in his squad understood their commander's intent, their role in the mission, and how each man affected the outcome of events during battle.


Corporal Gregory is free and squared away, and by the way, everything that I'm saying right now, apply it to what you're doing in your company, in your business.


Think of think of how much you could do to help, how much you could do to train your people, not because you've got two weeks allocated to train your personnel, but because you've got 20 minutes to review with them how this product works or how this piece of equipment functions or what to do in an emergency situation or how to handle a client. It was not long before Corporal Gregory's training proved vital. On the night of February 14th, 1971, Corporal Gregory and his unit came under heavy, heavy attack.


Corporal Gregory was killed. Yet because the squad was so well-trained and understood what it had, what had to be done, the squad was able to meet the challenge and skillfully engage the enemy. Corporal Gregory's exemplary leadership in the weeks prior to the attack had prepared his Marines for this firefight.


The enemy was repulsed and the squad held its position. In the morning, over 30 dead and HVA were found in the area surrounding the squad's position, every Marine in the squad realized that it was Corporal Gregory's training emphasis that had won the battle and saved their lives.


Lessons Corporal Gregory displayed outstanding initiative in training his Marines. He assumed the responsibility for preparing his Marines for the demands of combat, this training greatly exceeded the established standards of the Marine Corps, which, by the way, our no no low standards. And directly contributed to the combat success and survival of the unit after Corporal Gregory's death. Corporal Gregory, you and by the way, if they ended up with 30 dead and HVA over 30 dead and VA, that was a big force that attacked his unit.


Corporal Gregory used whatever time was available to instruct his Marines and hone their professional skills, this aggressive opportunity, opportunity training was necessary because few units could conduct formal training in the combat zone. I talked about this on the phone line the other day.


I absolutely learned more from informal training than I did from formal training during my time in the Navy.


Without question, it's not even close. If you were to remove all the informal lessons I learned, I would be an idiot.


Do you find that the formal training is like kind of sorts itself out to be more valuable early on? Explain. So, like, you know how you have, like, basic training, right? That's where you learn, like all the formal protocols where everyone has to essentially do the same thing under very similar circumstances.


And then the informal training seems to them totally just thinking about jujitsu, you know, and at work, I guess, where when you get informal training, that's when you're trained up on all the basics.


It's kind of like college in a way. You know, you have like all these prerequisites, like, hey, you guys all got to know this, this, this, this and know it good. And then later on, then maybe we'll send you out to a specific company or whatever to learn kind of what they do. And then you can start to apply these things in specific situations.


I think the example to use would be, let's say you went to some kind of a technical school, like being a doctor, being a mechanic, being an air conditioning repairman. You're going to learn some technical stuff in the classroom. But when you really get good, it's doing the job.


It's when it's when someone pulls you aside and says, oh, yeah, when you see this, here's the problem, right?


When when you when you go here, here's what you need to do.


When you see this symptom from a patient, here's what's actually happening.


It's all that informal training that and maybe I'm wrong about doctors because I don't know what medical schools like, but I can only imagine that you get a heck of a lot better by once you're in the field and you're doing surgeries and someone says, hey, here's a better way to here's the technique you need. Is there here's, you know, something like that.


Yeah. Yeah.


It's like, you know, I think it was it was a book you're reading long time ago where where they'd have a name shoot.


It might have been. But it has been one of our guests, I don't know, but they do have a name for the people who don't do. I think it was in the army where they don't do it. They just do all the theory and they call them something like nerds or something.


I don't know that anyway.


But yeah, there's a people who know and they essentially they know what to do and what the protocols are in a vacuum. But once you start and when you get out there in the field, in the real world kind of thing, that's where that informal like, no, this isn't by the book over here. You've got to watch out for this because, you know, and there's also a difference between just learning from experience, which is, hey, I did this operation.


Here's some mistakes that I made. And and that's just experience classroom as classroom. I'm talking about in between where you're you know, someone's pulling you aside and say, hey, JoCo, when you start to see this develop, that's not a good call. Here's a call that would be better to make. And here's why. It's not formal training. It's my platoon chief telling me something.


Yeah, it's my LPO, my leading petty officer saying, hey, hey, new guy, here's what you need to do when you see that unfolding and you go, OK, Roger that. It's not formal training, but that's where you learn. And it's not just experience either. Experience alone would take you way longer. Yeah. Than in formal training. Like how many to jujitsu example here you learn the arm.


OK, now we're rolling. Yeah. And you try and Ormoc, me and I say, hey, Echo, if you if you don't squeeze your knees together, it's real easy. Get out here. Give me your arm. Boom. Oh yeah. You feel that. Try and pull your arm out. Oh I can't. OK, yeah. That's because it's all because I'm squeeze my knees. OK, look the instructor guaranteed the instructor said squeeze your knees.




But you need that an informal assessment of your actual situation to realize. Oh I see what I need to do.


Yeah, exactly right. That's exactly what I was thinking to that.


You did what was the the I mean you have to get in formal training once you're in the once you're done with the rag.




I think just how you described it, the, the you talk about like being on site or being in the field or doing it like that, you talk about even just the air conditioner repairman, what that looks like, the way you described what life would be like if all we ever did was formal training, you'd have no context for anything.


You wouldn't even know how it applies.


So I think that's true in in certainly my case and in aviation, I don't think it's any different. Like everything is taught by the book. Everything is formal training, the beginning. It's all these things. And the minute you get in the airplane and get up in the sky and you are feeling things in a different way, it's really hard to apply them because you're you learned it on the ground. And the context of the informal, hey, hey, listen, look.


Do you see that? Yeah, that's what it means in the book when it says this, that's what it looks like. Oh, man. I would never be able to understand that from reading it in a book. They have to. You have to get a translation. Yeah, you do translations. You have to be able to see and feel it for. And that will not happen in formal training.


It's important to realize if you have some experience and you have people that are on your team, the amount of knowledge that you can transfer to them is so valuable.


And the reason I'm pointing this out is because a lot of times you forget that, right?


You think you've been doing this for a long time. You think it's a big deal. Hey, this is just what you do. You don't you you forget you forget that you've learned all this.


But taking that and saying, hey, hey, hey, hey, pal, come over here. Let me show you something I'm sure how this works. Let me show you a better way to do that.


Let me show you a little trick.


It's very powerful, not to mention when you invest in people like that for ten minutes, for ten minutes, you're helping them and you're building that relationship, which is what this whole thing is that we're talking about.


Yeah, and I wrote down while you were talking that telling that story of that corporal is I just wrote down. I always take notes. It's all I do in this podcast. I just take notes. I take this as home.


I write them down and I keep them. And I find places where they apply.


And as you know, they apply everywhere. And this this idea of this guy training his people is actually the best thing he can do to take care of them. It's the best thing he can do is the best thing any leader can do to help them not give you a break and not give you free time.


And yeah, of course, there's a balance there, but the best thing he could do is prepare them to be in a position. And I think the reason that stuck with me is that when we talk about decentralized command, which we talk about all the time, when business, the scenario that always plays out is the reason why the central one of the reasons why decentralized command is so important is that your people have to know what to do when you're not around.


That's pretty obvious. But the scenarios are usually you're on vacation, you're on a different shift. You've got the day off, not that you're dead. So when you kind of think of it in these context of these of what he was doing is being able to prepare them to be successful without him being around is in the worst possible situation of literally him dying in that situation is the best thing he can do. So so the same thing doesn't happen to them is train them even if it's five minutes at a time.


Is that's how he kept those guys alive. And that is something that you can you can translate to almost any situation to your family.


You know, we talk about this in the code, the protocol, the evaluation. It's like, what can you do your family?


Can you give your family five minutes of training to pass on knowledge that you have more or less into your corporal?


Gregory realized that combat is a dynamic environment which takes a heavy toll on leaders within an infantry company. He trained his subordinates to be able to assume his role. This saved the lives of his men during the chaos of battle. After his death, the men of Corporal Gregory's squad performed well, performed well because they had confidence in their training and in themselves, a confidence that was instilled by Corporal Gregory's leadership.


You know, when we were talking, when we talk about confidence, how do you get confidence, the confidence to work your confidence by doing something, get confidence by doing something, not doing it well, doing it again, doing a little bit better, doing it again, doing it even better.


That's where confidence comes from. That's where it should come from. Otherwise, it's false confidence.


Maybe I should just stop talking because the way he that was written the book was a lot better than the way I said it.


But well, here's what's really cool.


So they have a if he mentions he mentions Kirby in this PFC Kirby, a member of the of Corporal Gregory squad that finished this NCO in the field, will have a quote from him, not from Vietnam, from nineteen ninety eight.


And now Sergeant Major RB Kirby said, The very worst night of my tour in Vietnam when we were involved in a major firefight and we were losing Marines, our squad survived as a result of the corporals training.


We are alive today because of him. Next one, corporal, airballs British army. Falklands, nineteen eighty two in 1982, Argentina invaded the Falklands, Falkland Islands in the South Pacific, South Atlantic Ocean, the islands had been British territory since British days as an imperial power not willing to give up its territory. Britain sent a task force to the islands in order to reclaim them. After an amphibious assault, British forces pushed their way across the islands. The 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, known as two para of the British Army, was ordered to attack the Argentinean forces of goose green.


It was to be the first pitched battle between British and Argentinean forces. The land bridge between Goose Green and the town of Darwin was the only way for forces to move between East Falkland Island and laugh only an island.


If two para could not break through to Goose Green, the British would have to spend valuable time mounting another amphibious assault of the Falkland Islands. Corporal Abduls was a section leader equivalent to a squad leader in a company to parrot a company's mission was to attack along the battalion's eastern flank and assault the town of Darwin. On the night of twenty seven, May nineteen eighty two to PEMRA attacked Goose Green. The Argentineans were well prepared for the attack and the paratroopers could advance only yards at a time.


As the sun rose, the battalion was left in a precarious position to para was stalled, pinned down in the open by Argentinian mortar and machine gun fire. A company was trapped in a crossfire between the Argentineans on Goose Green and those in Darwin. This is a nightmare scenario. You are in a crossfire receiving both mortar and machine gun fire. Realizing that the trap could only be broken by persistent, aggressive action, Corporal Tarballs decided to continue to lead his squad in assaulting enemy positions.


Seeking to break the deadlock himself, the commanding officer of two para charged a machine gun nest. And we shot dead. The commander of a company kept the event quiet, not wanting to demoralize the troops whose predicament seemed to worsen at this critical point in the attack.


At that moment, Corporal Tarballs led an assault upon an Argentinean position. He decided to fire a sixty six millimeter shoulder launched anti-tank rocket into the bunker. The penetration of this rocket caused such a magnificent explosion, which was followed by silence. The first flags of surrender then began to surface from the Argentinean positions. The Argentinians had been demoralized by the utter destruction of this single bunker and the ruthlessness of Corporal Ball's resolve. This allowed a company to turn its full attention toward goose green momentum gathered behind the British attack in the next twenty four hours to para opened the route to left the island.


Corporal Tarballs persistent aggressiveness had broken the will of the defenders. This action proved to be pivotal, pivotal in eCompanies attack to para to pairs victory at Goose Green assured.


A British victory for the Falkland campaign lessens Corporal Abol squad level.


Action effectively turned the tide of the battle at Goose Green. This is this is an example of how an aggressive tactical action can have effects out of all proportion to the size of the action, his command decisions fully supported both his company and battalion commanders intent. His spectacular result of that particular bunker affected the morale of both sides. Crush the spirit of the Argentineans and pass the initiative and momentum to British forces and prove to be the action needed to continue the British advance.


After this action, Argentinian soldiers began to surrender rather than die in combat. One person. A corporal makes a one move and it changes the the the the the tide of this battle, by the way.


Moments after his commanding officer was killed, heroically assaulting a machine gun nest, Corporal Ball's courage, leadership and determination propelled him to persevere and achieve decisive results in extricating his unit from a desperate situation. When all else fails, perseverance prevails, and if you want more on the Falkland Islands podcast, 88 Excursion to Hell.


Sergeant David S. Freeman, US Army, Vietnam, nineteen sixty six. During Operation Crazyhorse. And pay attention to that name, Operation Crazyhorse, we're going to go deep in the Wind Farm Valley in June of nineteen sixty six, a company of Montana Guard troops led by Special Forces advisors landed at Elzy Monkey for a search and destroy mission. Sergeant Freeman, a member of the command element, was the fourth senior man in the unit. Soon after landing, the company attacked and secured a bunker complex.


The company suffered some casualties in a helicopter. Medevac was requested. The company moved back to Elzy Monkey with their wounded at the Elzie. The company began receiving heavy, small arms fire. The command element around Sergeant Friedemann was devastated.


The situation demanded rapid action, Sgt. Freeman grabbed a radio and took command of the company, he called in helicopter gunships, coordinated, supporting arms and reorganized his defenses. The helicopter pilots flying above the battle were amazed at his coolness under fire under Sergeant Freeman's competent command. The perimeter held all night and the enemy eventually withdrew. Stepping up. Lessons Sergeant Freeman, a well-trained NCO, was prepared to lead his company in combat. He knew the techniques and procedures for air support, supporting arms, medevac and company defensive positions.


And they kind of rattle that off. And one thing that the Marine Corps does really good in this manual is they hit on the fact that you got to have the skills.


You got to have these fundamental skills of combat leadership in the technical and tactical skills of combat leadership, meaning how to call for air support, how to call for supporting arms, how to call for artillery, how to call for medevac. These are technical skills that you have to have and they reinforce that throughout this book. So if you're in a leadership position, you think, well, you know, I'm not going to have to do that. No, actually, you better.


You better you better go and dig in and figure out how to do these things. In addition to his technical knowledge, he was able to match these abilities with strong leadership and cool competence in the face of disaster.


Because of his experience and situational awareness, Sergeant Freeman knew that rapid action was required once again. What do we see? We see someone that's taking action.


He immediately took control of the situation, making decisions and issuing orders and extricated his company from a perilous situation. And here's a little Clausewitz's on war, which we haven't covered yet. It's sort of one of those ones.


Is it like not playing the obvious one? You know, we haven't done that one yet. The end for which a soldier is recruited, armed and trained, the whole object of his sleeping, eating, drinking and marching is simply that he should fight at the right place and at the right time.


Check. All right, now, here we go, here we go. So this section that I'm about to read actually came earlier in the manual and I pulled it out and I put it at the end, this is the last one of these examples. And and there's a reason why it immediately struck me when I saw it.


So the title of this section is just. Sergeant First Class, US Army, Vietnam, nineteen sixty six, so soon as I read that, I was kind of surprised because all the other ones to give the person's name.


So I'm thinking, why, why? Why aren't they saying this guy's name? It's a top secret mission. Well, no, this is 1998. There was no no more secret missions.


So why aren't we explaining this?


And it becomes obvious when I read it why they just called this individual sergeant first class.


So here we go.


In May of nineteen sixty six S. Company of 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division established a mortar fire base at Elzy Hereford in the Vingt Fan Valley.


So this is actually part of and I'll get into this. This is part of that earlier operation that we mentioned, the position was one hundred and fifty meters long and 40 metres wide. The upper slope was covered in six foot high elephant grass. The mortar section was led by a sergeant First Class No-Name, given his position, lay on a hill which had previously been occupied by Vietcong guerillas.


He formed his men in a weak perimeter.


We're not off to a good start, arranged in a U shape with the curve facing uphill and set up the mortars in order to provide support for the company, the main body of the company went off to patrol the valley below, leaving the twenty two man mortar section to defend their own position.


The men fired off a few rounds to keep their base plates. The sergeant decided to give the men a break and did not order anyone to dig in or examine the area around the perimeter. No security patrols were sent out. The men lounged eight C rations and walked around in the open. In the jungle heat, it seemed like a day at the beach. At 13 30, an enemy machine gun opened up at a range of 50 meters from the elephant grass uphill of the mortar position, a 200 man unit of v.C had been waiting to ambush the Lack's mortar unit.


Machine gun fire was followed by rifle fire and grenade attacks.


The rest of the company, which had gone down the hill on patrol. The rest of the company took thirty five minutes to rush back to the devastated mortar position. The enemy had withdrawn and left only a handful of dazed survivors.


The failure of the sergeant to properly lead his unit, enforce basic security measures or prepare for enemy contact led directly to disaster. With its support element eliminated, the company was not able to establish its patrol mission, which in turn negatively affected the battalion's mission in the Ivin Fan Valley.


So. I read that and of course, I think about, OK, what does this mean, and they hadn't given away any names, right? They didn't give this guy's name, but they had given away. A date May of nineteen sixty six, they'd given away the Elzy, Elzy, Hereford. So I start to do some research and it turns out that this battle, this specific battle was written about in a book on Vietnam called Battles in the Monsoon.


And this is an out of print book. But I was really curious what happened, what happened?


So I found this out of a book, ordered it and the book Battles in the Monsoon is a book full of basically a bunch of short little.


Stories and this particular story, this particular section in this book about this battle is called Men Facing Death. So let's hear a little bit more detail about this situation, by the way, this is all Operation Crazyhorse.


By the night of twenty one, may the battle of Vincent Valley appear to be slowing to a stop with the enemy, fractionalized and everyone running for cover and landing zone Hereford that well worked over slope where the initial explosion has occurred had occurred.


And I'm skipping to this specific. They give a little bit of background. This Elzy Hereford had been used a bunch. It looked like one of the safest places in the fire zone.


Such had been the constant, the consistency of armed traffic in and out of it. So this was a Elzy that was getting used all the time. That was about how Col. John J. Hennessey thought of it when he decided on a special mission for Charlie Company 1st of the 12th for the following morning.


It was a courteous gesture, the main object being to return Charlie Company to its parent battalion. But before doing so, how does he plan to ask a small favor in return? The company under Captain Don F Warren, a taciturn Georgian who had been with his same unit since winning his gold bars in nineteen sixty one. So this guy's been in the same unit for five straight years. He was on the perimeter in Hill on Hill seven. Sixty six, several ridges beyond Hereford.


The airline distance was about three thousand meters. Hennessey directed Warren to sweep back over the high ground to Hereford after sunup. unWorriEd about that passage, he was most concerned that Charlie Company should reconsider the lower slopes beyond the landing zone, which thus far no one had prowled.


That task done it could rejoin the battalion in the Valley not far away. Hennessey had no reason to be suspicious. He was merely being cautious. The ground around Hereford had not been worked over carefully. For several days, Captain Jack Cummings and Alpha Company were in perimeter on the landing zone at this same hour. They were not left wholly. They were left. They were not left wholly undisturbed. But the occasional sniper rounds and grenades that innocuously bit into their ground were attributed to enemy stragglers.


So there's a company there. They're getting hit occasionally, but there's just a bunch of stragglers is what they're assuming.


Alpha Company needed to be back, so they send in Charlie Company.


Word of that was afoot. And that reached Major Charles Seiler at the on at N.K. shortly after Hennesy gave his order, the division's public information officer was entertaining a visitor and a waying problem all his own, belatedly drawn by the news that Operation Crazyhorse was racking up a score.


War correspondent Sam Kastin.


A thirty to two year old senior editor of Look magazine had just arrived in camp pursuing a theme worthy of Hemingway. Carsten was the only correspondent drawn to the battle, he said to Silah, I wish to know the thoughts of men facing death.


So that's what this war correspondent says. Sam Carsten Seiler voiced an honest doubt that the quest was logical. Men's fears and reflexes not being all of one kind, and the soldier hardly knowing how he thinks about death until he feels he is dying. It is just not the subject that makes for easy talk among combat men, that kind of weird, right? We got this this reporter saying, hey, I want to go get some men facing death.


At the time, General Norton had put the on kay position on semi alert in the whole camp was astir. Seiler and his staff were in the bunkers around the press camp realigning some of the sandbags. You don't have to worry about this ground tonight, said Kastin. I'm the luckiest reporter alive. Wherever I go, nothing happens. So even this guy who's looking for problems, he's got that attitude where I'm going to go look for problems. I'm not going to find him.


Silah remembered the words thinking them slightly ironic in view of what Carson was looking for. This guy wants to go find people facing death, but then he says, hey, I don't worry about they're going to be in any problems because I'm so lucky that nothing's going to happen. There's a big hill not far from here where a lot of men have died in the last few days, he said, then I want to get up there first thing in the morning, said Kastin.


And by the way, I intend to follow the subject all the way through, see the coffins in which you place the bodies. We put them in rubber bags, said Zeiler, grumbly, hoping to close the conversation.


But casting continued to fret about getting up to Hereford. Soon after dawn, Siler broke off work to arrange for Karsten's certain departure. These were the circumstances which resulted in Kastin being delivered to Hereford by the same helicopter that carried ammunition, coffee and a hot breakfast to Cummings and Alpha Company. His first hours were unrewarding that the unit was too busy stacking supply equipment for an early getaway to talk with Carson about death. Besides, the morning was disarmingly fair and quiet.


Warren and Charlie Company Charlie Company, meanwhile, were beating their way along the ridge on the way back from Hill seven. Sixty six, having broken camp at ten hundred, a fairly wide trail runs from the top of the scarp the entire distance.


So fast forward a little bit. Alpha Company was lifted from Elzy Hereford when Charlie Company arrived at High Noon.


Kastin stayed on the landing zone, Warren talked briefly to Lieutenant Colonel Ruff Rutland Pea Beard Jr., the battalion commander, and his three major role.


It was arranged. That Warren and the main body of the company would continue their stroll down slope through the trees and across the river. Now I just want to call out these words.


It was arranged because we're going to get some more information.


So you've got the you've got the battalion commander talking to the company commander and they come to this is what it says.


It was arranged that Warren and the main body of the company would continue through the stroll, through the downslope, through the trees and across the river. The mortar platoon would remain on Hereford to cover its further advance with the with fire from the eighty one millimeter tube. So now you can see where we're going. The sergeant first class of the mortar platoon that we talked about from the squad leader makes a difference.


This is the guy. This is the guy. The platoon, twenty two strong, was led by Sergeant Robert L. Kirby, a 29 year old Negro from Los Angeles, slight of frame, solemn faced Kirby is rated one of the stoutest hearted fighters in his brigade. So that's a little different right now. We're now we're calling this guy one of the stouter stoutest hearted fighters in the brigade. But in this in the in the reflections from the manual, he's not going to do a good job.


And by the way, they're going to get left with twenty two people in a mortar platoon, which is, again, will dive more to that few numbers. His men seeming seemed sufficiently armed. Each carried three hundred more rounds for their sixteen's and from two or four hit from two to four hand grenades.


The one heavy weapon was the eighty one millimeter mortar for which Kirby had only 18 rounds.


That with the tube was as much weight as the men could carry. So sufficiently armed is an interesting way of saying it. Because we know that at 16 with 300 rounds and I'm 16 is fine, a mortar is fine, but if you get into a legitimate gunfight, there's something that you need called a machine gun and you need a few of them. And they don't have any. Not good. Moreover, it had been agreed that as promptly as the descending company passed beyond the range of the platoon, that the platoon would be lifted out by Chopper Alpha Company had one hundred or so mortar rounds behind.


Kirby reckoned he would not need them. The reporter had decided to stay on Hereford instead of moving with the company column. It's an interesting decision. It's an interesting decision. If you would think if you're looking for to get in the fight, you would, oh, they're going to go like I'm sitting on this kind of Elzy.


We're kind of it's almost like a little bit secure. And these guys are going to go on patrol. I would probably think I'd go on patrol, Captain, for whatever reason.


He says he decides to stay up there on Hereford and.


It's Kirby, the sergeant, who says it will happen here if anywhere. No, sorry, that's Kastin that says to Kirby, it will happen here if anywhere like we're going in combat. Kirby says about that you're dead wrong. And he honestly felt that way, though, as he looked about what he saw of his position.


Hardly warranted such a. It was all wrong from any reasoned tactical view. So now this is Kirby. He he's looking at the situation, even though he says that's not going to happen here. He knows it's all wrong. From a tactical perspective.


The landing zone in Hereford was by then a burned off, trampled and rumple rubble strewn about the size of a professional basketball court running lengthwise down the edge of a ridge. It scorched earth and grasses were less apparent than the foxholes distributed more or less evenly around the oval shaped perimeter. Originally, these had been enemy spider holes and were subsequently enlarged by American occupancy. The trouble was that Kirby did not have enough men to round out his holding.


So the position became a you pointed a. you pointed up an upslope and again, this is where you can see the similarity here from from the manual, the uphill open and fronting toward the high ground was not covered by weapons present since the platoon was citing its pieces downslope, the company having gone that way and weapons platoon. So they have a U shape and they're like, well, the platoon went that way. So we don't really need to have much there.


And that's where he decided to put LT and not any any protection in that direction in either direction was the prospect of a fight, was a prospect good of a fight was to be forthcoming. There was beauty everywhere, but there was beauty everywhere for the to see the eye upslope and bordering the very edge of the defended ground was a sea of elephant grass standing six to eight feet tall, downhill.


There was a sheer and rocky precipice extending 30 feet and giving away to an extension in the field of tall grasses, which also invested the flanks. Greenness was all about except where the men looked to their weapons. The company took off down. So now here goes the company. The company took off down the steep, clutching to the rocks, creepers and creepers for balance. No prep, no preparatory artillery fires or air strikes had been put on the slopes around Hereford because of Warren's movement, the earlier presence of Alpha Company and the all round feeling that Crazyhorse operation was slowing to a halt.


This operation had been going on for a pretty long period of time. There's been all kinds of activity. They didn't feel like they needed to do any preparatory fire for this patrol. Kirby worried less about his platoon than about the movements and enterprise of Caston, the reporter. The men had gone to ground.


The correspondent was moving from position to position, standing erect, taking photographs and asking numerous questions, wanting to protect Casten, he did not know how to objectives free wheeling, though he realized that his movements were describing the limitations of the force.


In fact, these things little mattered.


Carson was enjoying himself hugely. He asked Kirby, how do you how do you feel about these things? Kirby answered, If you think you're going to get a story out of this platoon, you're wrong.


Nothing will happen here. Carson continued with his rounds of the perimeter, snapping pictures and asking the men, How do you feel? Kirby lost interest and cast and kept moving.


The position of the mortar of one mortar was near the bottom of the sloped Elzy just inside the two, where the crew dug a little pit at approximately thirteen hundred, the platoon began supporting the descending company with the fire of the eighty one millimeter mortar. The range eight hundred meters. It takes a while to hack through the jungle. Captain Wawn got Kirby on the radio and told him, Bring it closer, which Kirby tried to do. So now you got the platoons up there.


They're dropping mortars in front of the platoon that's that's driving through the jungle. An hour later, Warren called Kirby again. This time, the message was an uplift, said Warren, choppers are incoming to take you out within 30 minutes, so they're just about done. So just to recap, you've got the platoon, you got the mortar platoon in this landing zone. You've got to the rest of the company pushed down the hill and they're just on a patrol.


And eventually they're so far away that there's no point in the mortar platoon being up there any more. So now helicopters are going to come grab them and take them out. Thirty minutes, that was what Warren and Kirby both thought, but the choppers had put down at landing zone Savoy Hennessy's command post in the Valley just to make certain orders that the orders given still stood from their delay.


Wholly unforgettable came rocking General Jack Norton, rocking the high command, rocking us all.


Kearby got off. His 17th mortar round in support of the advancing company, that being the last one he fired. Remember that 18 rounds, he just fired his 17th round, then the thing happened. There was no advance warning.


Sergeant Lewis Buckley and PFC Wade Tast. We're still collecting the company water cans and other material for the flight. Moving carelessly in the open, even as was correspondent Kasten, the other men, including Kirby, stayed put in their foxholes. That they did so was less a sign of their alertness than of their forthcoming operational routine. Once lodged in position, they had not moved to scout its surroundings. The long trek via the jungle trail had half had them half bushed.


So they're tired over much of the distance they had to move, they were crouching because the tiny overhang, there was no shade where they were sprawled, the sun beat directly down on them, and it was not less than 100 degrees. The word was passed from hold a hole that they were returning to home base, nothing much else, not even the eccentric movements and questions of caste and interested them. The hour must have been about 13 30 from upslope and from not more than 50 yards away came a cave, the fire of a heavy machine gun.


Its bullets dream was dead on the mortar, the first rounds ripping through the tube as if the weapon had already been zeroed in. Thereafter, a beat directly on the mortar pit with never a pause.


So came Kirby's first warning that he was engaged. He yelled out Fire.


But it was superfluous, though he did not know it being too close to the border, a split second before Kearby had reacted, his own men had started the fight on the left of the inverted you. It would have been the right flank had these men been facing uphill winds. The fire was Speck's for Paul.


George Harrison and Charles Stucky had seen three enemy skirmishes moving in through the elephant grass, not five meters beyond their foxholes. There they're there, I'm 16, fire signal detection of movement to which the enemy machine gun instantly responded as swiftly as those three weapons spoke from the elephant grass on three sides of the perimeter. Rifle fire cracked and Kearby sensed that his position was almost totally enveloped. So he gets the feeling that we're surrounded. He yelled to his radio man, spek for John F Speranza, call company.


Get them back. We're being hit. As the message was relayed to Captain Warren and as he remembered it, the words were, come back, we're being hit. Though the main body moving through the jungle was too far down the slope to get the sounds of the fight. Warren had his movement of agony, had his moment of agonized shock.


And that's an interesting. Tidbit, moment of agonized shock, almost as if he may have expected that this would happen, he knew Kearby as a thoroughly brave soldier. And this is the unnamed person from from the manual to steady to seasoned to be stampeded by a little random fire when he called for help. The thing had to be fully desperate. The confidence between the white captain from Georgia and the Negro sergeant from California was complete. So these guys had trust.


Wasting not an instant, Warren called back on the radio to Lieutenant Robert McClelland of 1st Platoon, bringing up the rear of the far stretch column. Get your ass back up that hill. All hands reversed and started scrambling upward. Men clutching at rocks, tearing, tearing their palms on foreign vines, sliding, falling and panting and desperate effort to raise up the steep. All did not fully understand the reason why there was no attempt to observe security. And had they been, without knowing, moving into an ambush.


The disaster that too soon followed could have been even greater, far above them. On the slope of Hereford, men who still move crouched below to escape the sheet of fire beating from all sides. Most of Kirby's men had died in the first 10 minutes, though he did not know that yet. The return fire from his people grew steadily fainter.


Sergeant Isaac Johnson, a twenty seven year old Negro, had been sitting with a plat board at the mortar pit when the fight began. He heard someone yell there, coming out of the woods. In his agitation, he tried to turn the mortar round, fired up hill, not even noticing that it had been drilled through. The incoming fire was too great and his strength too little. So he slithered up on his belly to the left flank and dropped into a foxhole upslope.


He could see 40 to 50 men at a run out of the trees into the elephant grass where he lost sight of them.


They were partially camouflaged in their shirts were of all colors, looking down how hill he saw many more of the enemy moving through the grass, some crawling, others hunched over firing as they moved in. It came to him as a sudden idea that he should fire, too. He thought he he thought as he fired, he had dropped at least four enemy skirmishes with them, 16. So, by the way, I mean, we're already talking about a totally outnumbered force.


This in one flank sees 40 or 50 bad guys. From the next foxhole above him, PFC Henry Benton and Joe Tamayo were alternately firing up slope and down hill, yelling as they pulled the trigger. Johnson saw his last of them when he ran out of ammunition and crawled back to the mortar pit in search of a magazine inside the pit.


There were four four men heads down the enemy machine gun and at least two automatic rifles were bearing directly on the hole and smashing its rim. Johnson could not be sure whether the men were ducking or dead.


Sergeant Bucklew, Paul Bucklew, twenty two years in the Army was having his first go in combat. The opening barrage cracked him wide open, he bolted straight across the perimeter, vanished into the elephant grass, and was never heard from again. Sergeant Johnson couldn't find a spare magazine, so we picked up an M 16 with 15 rounds in it from the dead hand of Sergeant Edward Sheppard, who had no business being there that afternoon. Though he ranked Kearby and might have taken command, he was overdue to be lifted out by chopper for an appearance before a promotion board.


So he passed up the honor and died inconspicuously from a bullet through his brain. Another long time soldier under fire for the first time, he had stayed motionless, petrified by personal terror as boundless as the horror exploding all about him, his 15 bullets gone, Johnson crawled toward the mortar pit screaming, Come out, you'll all be killed. There was no response. It was minutes too late for that. The whole held four corpses, heads bashed in by bullet fire.


In the nearby hole with Kearby was another bloody welter, a rocket the Russian made 40 round of so slow of motion at the eye easily follows the trajectory came asking in dead center of the mark. Kirby saw it in flight and yelled, Watch out. So did his foxhole mates. Spec for Austin L. Drummond and David S. Crocker, who cried, warning in the same sex split second before any man could move, the rocket exploded just to the left of the whole.


Crocker died instantly from a shard that crushed in his skull. Drummond took heavy fragments in the left arm and left leg, such gout's of blood spouted from him that Kirby, who had taken four pieces of steel in his head but remained conscious, knew that Drummond couldn't. It could not last long. In physical torment, Drummond tried to rise, Kearby pulled dim drum and screamed, Let me go, I'm hurting, hurting. Kirby pulled him down. Within a minute, he died under Kirby's body.


Blood from Kerbis paint was streaming into his eyes, but the little sergeant could still see and think he yelled to his auto specked for Speranza call company, say I'm being hit by mortars and rockets. We got to have gunships.


And Aadi Speranza did his part. Captain Warren, struggling uphill, remembered this piece of the message coming in. We are hit by rockets and mortars. He later, could later, he could not recall that Spreads had also asked for gunfire and air artillery, but anyhow, he relayed that message to the command capsule at Elzy Saveloy and Speranza got the word back from him.


It's on the way. Those were his final words, right then communication between the company and platoon ended both radios worked. The mass of the ridge nose intervened. And what they mean by that is these FM radios that they're using, they work when you can see them, so they work a line of sight, what we call line of sight. But if there's a orange line in between you, then they don't work. So whatever the terrain was, they kind of dip down the terrain and all of a sudden they lost communications.


At that moment, the frontmen in Warren's Warren's column were halfway back to Hereford. The breakoff doubled Warren's anxiety, though he was already doing everything possible, he had asked that artillery to be placed on the slopes alongside the perimeter, not on Hereford itself, for Kirby had passed on nothing about casualties, and Warren was still thinking of 20 to live men holding the contested ground. The double time climb had begun to slow from sheer exhaustion, men stumbled, dropped in their tracks, were pulled to their feet by their mates and reeled upwards again.


Warren realized now that if he continued the pressure, the company would note would reach the scene of the fight dead beat. About that, he no longer gave a damn. Yes. Passing information on the radio is so freakin important and so hard, but if you always think that you're trying to paint a picture for the person on the other end, you've got to think that way. They don't know what's happening.


And, you know, if you've got casualties and if you could give any additional information.


Now, look, I mean, obviously, these guys are in such a horrible way, but that's what's happening.


That's what's happening. He's he doesn't know that anyone's been wounded. He's no one's been killed. He thinks that they're in that position. And he's saying, hey, start to put artillery on the on the outskirts of the Elzy.


The sounds of the struggle had not carried to Elzy Savoy in the distant valley bottom, the control point was a throb, partly because of Warren's call for help, still more because the monitoring of the conversations between eyewitnesses who were viewing the fight from platforms directly overhead, what they saw and what they said in no way lessened the confusions. Colonel Bit. So this is the interesting thing about Vietnam is that. A lot of times there would be aircraft because they had air superiority for the most part, and so there'd be helicopters that would just get up CI, a.


helicopters, command and control helicopters that would just get up and fly around and be watching this stuff.


I have a friend whose dad was in Vietnam and he he was a Silver Star recipient and the whole thing was photographed.


This whole event, you know, there was a gunfight broke out and his dad sort of jumped into a dike and then crawled along and flank the enemy. And the whole thing had pictures.


The whole thing is. But that but that tells you what it's like. What do you got? Look, I got all sorts of things going on in my head right now, this is a brutal scene that you're reading. This this whole thing is it's playing out and you're describing these different things as brutal, partly because we already know we know the outcome and you're describing these little pieces.


But when you're talking about the the the inability for the and I think it's the company commander that's the kind of warrant warrants trying to visualize what's going on with with Kirby and his and his platoon.


When you when you as a leader, get something in your head, when you kind of create what you think is the outcome. When you when you when you get comfortable with what you think, you know, the outcome or the situation is and you sort of solidify that, it's really hard to change that. So if I, I picture this guy leaving and there's there's this complacency slipped in all these comments that you've read through these little pieces of complacency of, yeah, it's not going to happen.


Yeah, I know what's going on. This is my best guy or all those little pieces are helping this guy Warren solidify in his mind what he thinks is is going on. And it's impossible for him.


And the part that I'm connected to in my mind is how hard it is to for him to visualize things are nowhere near what you think they are. And he can't get it in his head that this whole thing has been wiped out. His best guy is getting overrun and. When you, in your own mind, predetermine the way the outcome is going to be, it makes you so much less flexible and adaptable and incapable of maneuvering the way you need to.


And, you know, it's all in retrospect. I'm just thinking of myself. Don't presume how this is going to go. Yeah, it's one of the worst things you can do and you can you can almost hear this guy's brain struggling, trying to accept what's going on.


So it's interesting that you bring that up. And as we start to hear more sides of this story, you got this guy, Warren, who's he doesn't really know.


He knows that his guy is a good guy and he's calling for help. And it says that's enough for him to realize that there's something really, really bad. But there's a panic. There's a panic of hate.


Like, you know, if you call me Dave, you're on the Elzy, you call me, hey, Jack, I need support right now. I'd be like, OK, hey, guys, listen, we're gonna start talking about this almost immediately.


Go into, you know, go get your ass back up. He's literally says, get your ass back up the hill now.


So there is a level of, let's say, urgency that he gets to almost immediately.


And as we peel this onion back, you're going to see that you're right.


But the picture that he's painted is what's happening. He knew something was going to go wrong.


And as soon as it starts to happen, he's like could get back up there because he didn't feel comfortable with it. It's. Like you said, it's just freaking awful. Yeah, back to the book, Colonel Beard, the battalion commander, major role, his S3 and Captain Robert offer artillery liaison work at the brigade. When the news came in, they took off in a hurry to view the fight from above. This is a this is a Hackworth would get on the ground just kind of halfway, I just said everybody knows Hackworth would get in the helicopter and he land when it made sense, obviously.


Yeah. Before they could reach the scene. Out of sheer happenstance, Major Otto Cantrell, the battalion executive officer of 112, was already hovering above it. He'd been flying in the area. He'd arrived at the opposite peak when he heard Warren's voice in the earphones saying that a platoon was being overrun on Hereford. So. So Warren did know that the platoon was being overrun at this point. So he flew to station directly above and began orbiting low enough to see people milling around and firing on the ground below him.


Cantrell was yet too high to determine whether they were friend or enemy. Lieutenant William D. Fessenden, an artillery observer in another age 13, had flown the same way and was circling near Cantrill, he asked Cantrill, Sir, can I bring in fire control? Replied, No, I can't tell where our people are. Cantrell then flew lower and at about that time beared the battalion commander and his party arrived, they could see 40 or more men pressing close to the perimeter.


They must BVC called beard, either that, replied Cantrell, or guys with uniforms soaking wet.


So this is a I know it seems crazy to think that you couldn't tell the difference between, you know, American soldiers and Vietcong. I'll tell you, when you're in a helicopter, you're looking at things on the ground. It is not obvious.


No, it's not obvious. And you don't need to be miles away. You can get 50, 60, 70 feet away and things get real. It's really hard to tell what's going on.


I was I learned this. I was I was up at Phalen and we were calling in helicopters to pick us up. And I'm sitting there. I'm standing.


You know, the terrain in Fallon, Nevada, is not there's no trees. It's just dirt. And we're standing there and the helicopter is sitting there looking at helicopter.


It's it's like the wind is hitting me. That's how close it is. And they can't see me.


Yeah. And I was just like, what do you mean you can't see them waving?


They're like coming around will come back around. We can. We can't. And so I had to get out the the red small orange and the orange smoke or whatever. Here we are, violet smoke because red smoke was emerging here. I was thinking the orange panel. Yeah. You got some signal.


Yeah. Well, I think I tried an orange orange panel.


You know, it wasn't big enough. So that's where these guys were at.


Back to the book is weird's his words merely aggravated doubts all around. Cantrell's trouble is that he simply could not make himself believe that one whole American platoon had been wiped out there. And he was right. Now, this is where what you were talking about, you have this idea, how could a whole American platoon get wiped out?


And it says in the book, you're there. And he was right. And it is right.


Why when we'll get to this later, this American platoon with twenty two guys is not a platoon, right? That's not a platoon. You think a platoon.


You think of multiple machine gunners.


You think of forty guys. Then he dropped to one hundred feet for one swift pass, the phenomenon of those few seconds doubled his perplexity on the ridge crest above Hereford. He saw a company of men in dark suits marching, marching, marching to the to the fire. Shell fire was breaking into the landing zone. Cantrell had no way of knowing that these were enemy rocket rounds, not American rounds coming from other bases. The dark suited men upslope identified as enemy.


He knew that he knew that camouflage rig, which from a distance made made them to him look like so many turtles.


But where were the Americans, if not on Hereford? Just then he heard a friendly voice on his FM radio. Please, please, you must hurry. It was Speranza getting off his last message, but Cantrill had no way of knowing that either beard viewing from the same height was for a moment equally in the dark. From the start of the fight with good reason, Kirby had forgotten Kastin, the correspondent.


He remembered only when Kastin slid into his position to ask, When are we going to get the hell out of here?


Kirby didn't answer.


Then Kastin said, I've got to have a weapon.


And Kirby silently handed him his own. Three hundred and fifty seven Magnum quiet now. He briefly fitted into the hole beside Kirby. He spoke only wants to say Sergeant Sheppard is dead. So now Carsten, the reporter, is in the foxhole and he's got a three fifty seven Magnum.


All curiosity about the force of men facing death was gone from Casten.


He had been eagerly questioning Shepard when the first shots were fired that that soldier's swift moral collapse and sudden death were his first shock contact with the realities which mocked his quest.


While Karsten's opening words to Kirby rankled, they also rang a bell almost anywhere seem to be better than the exposed ground to which the survivors clutched. Now under a dust pall kicked up by the grazing fire. The fight had been going somewhere between 20 and twenty five minutes, and the fire was fast, becoming wholly one sided. Next to Kirby's position, the enemy skirmishes crawling through the elephant grass were not more than fifteen feet away. The fire buildup suggested they were bunching probably for a rush.


Kirby saw them fleetingly and vaguely as through a haze, the flash of an arm, the bobbing of a head. Kirby got off three hand grenades in that direction as rapidly as he could throw. The explosion seemed to damp the close up fire, but not for more than 60 seconds. In this moment of decision, Kirby did not doubt that the ring had been closed and that all the skirmishes weighted on the lower slope amid the tall elephant grass between him and the company poised for the kill.


So he's sitting there thinking, OK, we're surrounded and I know the company's down the hill, but there's there's bad guys in between us. Still, he yelled out, let's make it with that, he rolled out of his hole and down the slope and jump from the hole just ahead of him and was running upright. And in the clear PFC Bob taste and spec for a spikes from the foxhole above, Kearby went past Kearby, one rolling, the other sprinting.


Then Speranza dashed by him. As he rolled, Kirby thought he glimpsed Isaac Johnson off to his left, firing two more sixteen's.


He was wrong about that Johnson had heard someone not quite echoing Kirby shout, move down the hill. His own weapon was empty. He paused briefly to pick up another, only to find it in like condition. Kirby had seen him in that fleeting second when he clutched two useless pieces before throwing them both aside. Johnson's face was already a bloody mask from three superficial grenade wounds. Such was his tension. He neither heard the blast of the grenade nor knew that he had been hurt.


Now in panic because he was unarmed, he made a running dive at the rocky embankment, giving him getting him off. Hereford lowers side. Then he rolled on and on downslope till his body could take no more beating. In that spinning descent, he covered one hundred and fifty meters of rock strewn trail. When and where he stopped a twisting V shaped cleft in the ridgeback, gave off to the left along this slit, the trickle, the stream no wider than the palm of Johnson's hand, he crawled into the bed of it 20 yards or so to where the jungle growth stopped him.


Then he gathered bushes and vines down around him and lay with his face flat in the water. So he's hiding, dove off a freaking cliff, fell down one hundred and fifty meters, and now he's hiding in this little ravine not too far above him. The ordeal of the other few survivors continue to grow worse. Of this, Johnson felt and remembered nothing thought. Paralyzed by the grip of exhaustion, he had closed his mind to the sounds. Getting out separately, some running, others rolling, Kirby's men had stayed that way during the first few yards of flight through the short grass just off the Elzy coming to the rocky steep, they began to converge toward the center whence the trail ran downhill.


It is always so with men against fire. Fear and herd instinct brings them together, which is the worst, which is the worst thing that can happen since it just shapes up a broad target.


Speranza was the first to get it as they approached the steep Kearby, still rolling, others crawling, Casten standing, I'm hit. Speranza yelled and screamed like a panther, three bullets, one in each leg and one in the head.


But marvellously. He still lived and now he was erect and walking. Kastin, the reporter yelled back, Hell, everybody's hit.


That was news to the others, Kastin had taken a bullet in one arm and several grenade frags in the back, saying nothing. In his last moments, the correspondent had the courage of a lion. Here was a man and they knew it. Spikes yelled, I'm hit.


It was a bullet through the right arm. They then moved 20 feet down the Rockbank when Speranza yelled again, hold it up there in front of us, expecting it would come, Kearby froze right where he was cast and kept moving and long strides straight to the trail, which led downhill through the elephant grass.


He had made up his mind and Kirby did not bother to shout. A warning standing clear on the on the trail was an enemy shoulder soldier rifle aimed. Kirby heard a scream as Kastin went down. Leo Carsten was not 15 yards from him. He could not see the fall as the body was enveloped by the sea of grass. He heard the whack of the bullet and the thump of the body, the bullet had drilled Kastin through his left temple. Karsten's personal effects were looted as soon after he fell.


The camera films and Persse were later recovered from the bodies of the enemy in the fight that soon followed. Many of the next of kin get not even that grain of comfort. It is an agonizing matter for the commanders having to explain why the dead soldiers most prized possessions and pictures cannot be returned.


Kirby could now hear enemy soldiers moving up slope toward him, they're chattering the clang of metal from their weapons being worked. He was down on his haunches and so we're speranza spikes and taste. None was firing. Their only thought was to hide in the grass, which rose two feet taller than a standing man. They all knew taste was slowly dying, two bullets in his neck, multiple mortar shards in his back. Though conscious, he made no complaint, only asking for water, of which there was none.


The skirmishes we're moving up now and beating the grass on both sides of them, Kirby saw seven of them coming right toward him, not 10 feet away, and he knew he was discovered.


He still held an M seventy nine grenade launcher. So did Spikes, they fired right together and the blast killed five of the enemy. The other two crawled away, leaving blood trails, another skirmish or closed in from the left, spraying the ground between them with automatic pistol. Kirby had his seventy nine crocked in his arm. He had just taken another bullet through the right wrist and was feeling the wound. The skirmish came on and looked through the grass straight at them.


Spikes fired his seventy nine. The range was so short that the grenade didn't arm, but the sheer velocity it blew the man's head off.


Had it armed, it would have likely killed both Spikes and Kirby, a second VC closed in from the left, only to turn his back as he almost stumbled over them. Kirby killed them at a range of five feet together. Two more groups closed in on them from the right and left. Kirby took two hand grenades from Speranza, who by now was wholly down and throwing them in both directions with his wounded arm. He drove them off. He had no impression of how many he had killed or whether he had even scored a hit.


He simply knew that they had faded back, easing the immediate pressure momentarily. While this deadly hide and seek game went on down slope Hereford, Elzy was being pounded by 105 and 155 millimeter howitzers from the Valley Base's Colonel Beard had called for it from his perch aloft. And still earlier when when Warne asked for it, whether it might have been brought in sooner and done any good is an open question. There was no right moment for its use until the Americans had cleared away.


Which movement could only be guessed at? Now, it had come in, the perimeter was being cratered, one of the effects was to drive more of the enemy to the grass field lower down where Kirby and his mates crouched. The game was still on from down slope. A machine gun opened fire and skied the grass beside them. Kirby went flat in the nick of time and the bullets zing directly over his head. Spikes didn't make it. One burst caught him in the head.


The sound was enough. Kirby, two feet from him, didn't have to look to know he was dead. And he did not wish to look. Kirby crawled down slope about 10 feet now looking for a weapon, thinking that the enemy might have dropped one. No luck. He was wholly out of ammunition and had no arm left but a flare pistol. So we lay flat on his back wondering what to do. Another skirmish came back, came up part of the grass and looked directly down on him.


Kirby rolled over on his side in the same motion, fired his flare pistol upward. The rounds smashed into the glaring face not three feet above him, getting him right between the eyes. The body was spun completely over by the blast, with the figure kicking. Kirby did not wait to see more than that. He crawled back the way he had come to get Speranza. The impulse was that if he had to die, he would rather not be alone.


Both men were silent. Now there was nothing to say. Time at about runout. They thought they were the only survivors, though, this they were slightly wrong. Johnson was still face down in his private cleft spec for Charles Stuckey, whose swift reaction had started the fight had moved obliquely to the others in getting away from the perimeter, hidden in the tall grass alongside the knob, he had rare fortune. Until the final minutes, he came under a grenade shower.


The last of the survivors to get hit. Directly towards Kirby and Speranza, another enemy group, moved down the slope, Kirby didn't wait for them having nothing to fire, he crawled upward through the elephant grass, leaving Speranza and passing the skirmishes undetected. They fairly stumbled across Speranza. He played dead, his head being gorry from a bullet that had entered his left ear and emerged through his nose. It is less remarkable that the deception worked than that he stayed conscious and was capable of thought.


They rolled him over, searched his pockets, took his wallet, knife and cigarettes and continued on. Having gone inert, Speranza stayed that way, Kearby had no sense of the barraging of Hereford, though the fire had been going on all of ten minutes now as he crawled upward, he heard at last heard the explosions and knew what they were that determined him. He would crawl to the fire and try and Huggett. Two thoughts were in his mind. Charlie will get as far away from this as possible, and if he had to die, that was still the preferrable risk.


Halfway back to the perimeter, his ear told him that the shelling and suddenly ceased not knowing what that meant, he still crawled on. It was a tortured, most labored movement as his last reserve of will and strength was draining away. He got within six feet of the first foxhole before he looked up.


What he saw almost no his senses, and he felt as if he would faint. Sitting in the foxhole, pointing them directly at his head was PFC Morgan of 1st Platoon. He crawled a few more feet forward, still prone, looked around every hole at Hereford, was occupied by an American. Captain Warren in the company had returned to the Hill, Sergeant Owen Lewis and James W. Edwards came over to help Kirby to his feet. No words passed between them.


They were not merely choked up, they were sobbing convulsively. And seeing them Kearby new tears for the first time that day later, Warren said, If my men cried, it was because they were so damn mad. Kirby knew better than that. They were mourning, mourning the death of the platoon. Kirby told them where to look for Speranza, not knowing that the company had found him on the way up or that he'd already been evacuated from Hereford by the chopper, Stucky appeared about that moment and he and Kirby were found on board the same huie.


It was some time later that Johnson came in. When the hell went quiet, he started crawling upward, coming to the Tallgrass. He saw his friend, Sergeant Wallace W Hood, standing in the clear on the forward edge of Hereford, and that site brought him to his feet. Days later, he was still in a state of shock. Kearby, taken to the hospital of his own choice, returned to the company duty within 10 days, still convalescent.


Unlike Johnson, he was fully coherent with his emotions under tight control until he spoke of seeing the company in tears. Worn in the company had made that frantic uphill climb to Hereford in exactly thirty five minutes, the descent over the same trail had taken them an hour longer.


If a record market was to little avail, they saw dead Americans in all but six fake foxholes and thought at first Speranza was the only survival survivor. The platoon weapons had been taken, everybody had been stripped of personal effects. Warren deployed two of his platoons for a 600 yard sweep to the east ward along both flanks of the ridge. The hunt proved almost barren of result, though blood trails were numerous and heavily marked. Only five bodies were found and they all, too, obviously had been felled by artillery.


The fanatics must have hauled away larger count of dead than was lost to the company. So in the end, they departed as they had come more suddenly than mysteriously, how the trap had been sprung was easy enough to figure out. In retrospect, retrospect, this enemy force of about two hundred was much too fresh to have followed in along Warren's wake as he came over the trail from Hill seven sixty six, the time intervals not long enough to have permitted ascent from lower levels toward which Warren had kept moving.


If there had been an assembly and movement, still no sound had been detected. Last, the enemy's main weapons were sighted dead on target. Thus, the enemy force must have been there all the time, some yards off the trail and along the ridge sides as Warren's column had walked through.


Had Warren stayed in full strength on Hereford, there might have been no fight. He carried out his orders. Of that came the most melancholy episode in Operation Crazyhorse.


Now, you may have noticed that I didn't mention the author of this book that I'm reading, you know, and the reason I didn't mention the author of this book is because I didn't want to cloud your impression.


The author was a guy by the name of SLA Marshall. And I talked about him on podcast one forty two where we covered his book Against Fire. And you heard him use that phrase in here.


And SLA Marshall was a famous military man, will say, and he ended up being a general.


He was a historian. He was a writer. He was he was a reservist. So he was a civilian writer and wrote a bunch of articles and was worked for a newspaper. But he's also a very controversial figure. And Hackworth Talk did a tour with him in Vietnam and kind of reveals the guy's character. He was very egotistical and he also. He also made claims about his experiences in war that were not true.


He he lied about his experience. You know, he he lied about his military, about his combat experience in World War One.


And then he also wrote in a way. That supported his own theories and his own hypotheses and. You know, in mitigants fire, there's a lot of people that went back and broke down what he wrote in that book, and we covered that book on this podcast, like I said, because we don't want to throw away the baby with the bathwater. But there's a lot of things that were very controversial and some of them just straight up wrong. And on top of all that, he never let the truth get in the way of a good story.


So when I read this portion of battles in the monsoon, this was.


This was on my mind and the article I mean, this book didn't it didn't paint Kirby in such a bad light as this as the as the manual did, which made him just sound like a complete, you know, lackadaisical guy that just let all the stuff go and didn't have any discipline and didn't follow any good protocols.


But at the same time, I'm reading this book thinking, well, you know, SLA Marshall, he's not necessarily a guy that's going to he just wants a really good story. So he's in my opinion and just based on the things he's written the past, is this isn't a reliable source either. Even though he would go and interview people like those quotes he's getting, he would interview people. Absolutely. But still, he's going to he's going to make that story kind of the way he wants it.


And so I was still not satisfied with the information that I had in front of me.


And so I did some more research and I found another article.


I found an article on a on a website called History net dot com. And there's an article written by a guy named Michael Cristie.


Michael Christie, so Michael Christie enlisted in the Marine Corps out of high school, and then he joined the Army, he became an officer. I went to college, became an officer, served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.


And in 1970, he was the commander of C Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, the very same company involved in the battle at Elzy Hereford.


So he wasn't there, but. You know, you're going to have some connections, you're able to put some things together, you're going to hear some some backfill, and he eventually retired and became a writer and he produced a bunch of documentaries.


And then he made a series of leadership videos for the for the military. So the military hired him to make leadership videos. Some of those were hosted by Lee Marvin, which is pretty cool. But he wrote this article and this article is called Last Stand at Elzy Hereford. Soldiers shield themselves as best they can from the dirt and debris stirred up by a Huey squeezing into a tight one ship landing zone around noon.


The pilot touches down and two officers jump from the helicopter and land in a large mud puddle, one guy chuckles, pokes his buddy and laughs quietly at the officers in fresh jungle fatigues, stamping the mud off their polished boots. A dirty, unshaven captain greets them wearing torn jungle fatigues and mud covered boots, toting an M 16, so there's one. Now we're starting to get a little better picture. You know, you've got the stereotypical sort of officers rolling in with their brand new fatigues and polished boots and outcomes.


Warren, who's been out in the jungle now for a while on this just this operation. The trio moves to the edge of the landing zone, where towering elephant grass offers a bit of protection from the early afternoon sun, the major unfolds a map and the three begin discussing a mission within minutes. There is strong disagreement over the plan.


Lieutenant Colonel Rutland Beard, commander of the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, and his operations officer, Major William Role, are insisting that Capt. Don Warren, Charlie Company commander, leave his 20 man mortar platoon alone on landing Zone Hereford to provide fire support to Warren's company as it moves down the steep precipice toward the valley below.


Warren is equally insistent on keeping at least one rifle squad behind to provide security. Sir, my mortar platoon is down to half strength because of malaria and has only six teens and a couple of em seventy nine. If I leave behind a rifle squad, they will have at least one machine gun for security.


Beard tells Warren that the mortar platoon will be on the Hill for less than an hour before it will be lifted out and taken to another Elzy, Warren's eyes lock on beards. Anything can happen in hours, sir. Irritated at Warren's near insubordination, Beard warns, Captain, if you don't do as I order, you will be in more trouble than you can imagine. Is that understood? Warren hesitates a moment before answering tersely, Yes, Colonel, will that be all, sir?


Beard indicates yes, and Warren spins on his heels and walks over to his rifle platoon leaders to pass the orders, Beard takes a sideward glance at roll, shakes his head and returns to his helicopter.


So automatically we see where this is going.


And by the way, look, I love this book, the squad leader makes a difference, but the squad leader is getting put in a bad situation right now.


Yeah. Warren has every reason for concern about the safety of his understrength mortar platoon, Herefords topography makes it nearly impossible for even a fully armed rifle company to defend it from a determined enemy. It is a small saddle hundred sixty five yards long by forty five yards wide. This partially encircled by tall elephant grass beyond the elephant grass, is completely surrounded by rugged, unforgiving landscape, the most hostile being the steep Razorback Ridge line reaching northeast toward a towering mountain nearly a thousand feet high at the base of the ridge, Herefords northern boundary begins to slope gently downhill.


Continues on explaining what we already know, Hereford is also the center of fierce fighting that began seven days earlier on May 15. So now they give a little background to this, this whole operation, Crazy Horse. When word of that battle filtered down to first cavalry leaders, they then decided the next day to conduct a major operation in the area. And that's what they're doing, sitting on the edge of his foxhole on Elzy Hereford, Staff Sergeant Robert Kirby watches as Captain Warren leads three platoons from his rifle company off the mountain and down a steep slope in search of the enemy.


When the last man disappears over the rim, Kirby checks his watch. It's one 40 p.m. less than in less than 45 minutes. His mortar platoon is to be airlifted off Hereford to Elzy Savoy, where he'll continue providing fire support for Charlie Company to occupy a company sized defensive perimeter with only 19 men.


So now we're talking company sized perimeter. That's that's one hundred and fifty people. Yeah, he's got the 19 guys.


Kirby figured the best way to do this was to form a U. Shaped defense and placed two men into every third foxhole. This, however, left the top of the horseshoe open, knowing his men are spread too thin.


Kirby, a 29 year old native of South Los Angeles, scans the perimeter from his foxhole at the bend of the Horseshoe, beginning with the gun crew directly behind him. Inside the pit is Sergeant Charles Gaines and specked for Austin Drummond, a former Golden Gloves champion with fast hands, perfect dropping rounds into a mortar tube. Sergeant Isaac Johnson sits on the ground nearby with a pot board on his lap. The gun crew is ready to place supporting fire when and where the company commander needs it.


Most of the mortar platoon have been together since Fort Benning, Georgia, but a few are replacements who have never been in battle. So Kirby has no idea how they will react under fire. One of his new men is spek for David Crocker. A 21 year old medic who sits a few feet from Kirby reading a paperback, his medical bag ready at his side in the foxhole next to Kirby is longtime radio operator spek for John Speranza. Who is the platoon's link to the outside world and is never more than an arm's length away from Kearby communications are unreliable because the high mountains and deep valley, how is the common Kirby?


So far, so good answer, Speranza, but who knows for how long? Kirby focuses on the western section of the perimeter holding down the most forward position at the top of the open.


You are two men who have fought bravely in previous firefights Privates Salani Sleepy Williams, whose deep sleep often resulted in heavy snoring and clearance. Gomer Brame, a good natured hillbilly who looked and acted like TV's Gomer Pyle.


Two empty fighting positions below them are combat vets Robert Radar Roder and PFC Harold Mack Jr. in a fierce firefight a few months before Kirby had been wounded and pinned down when 18 year old Roder, ignoring heavy fire, ran out and pulled him to safety. Mack and Rotar have been close friends ever since airborne school. So we didn't know that about Kirby, that Kirby's been in combat, he's been wounded and he's still out there doing his job. This guy has combat experience and now we're to think that he's just going to be the physical in this scenario.


In the last defensive position on the western side, Kirby assigned a competent and respected leader, Sergeant Lewis Buckley, with PFC Henry Benton, who joined the platoon only two weeks ago. Kirby knows little about Benton and the two new privates covering the southern sector a few yards away from Kerbis position, Joel Tamio and James Francis Brooks Jr., both of whom join the platoon just a few weeks earlier. So he's got those guys that he doesn't really know too well, kind of close at hand.


Kirby decides to walk the eastern side of the perimeter, but before he goes, he tells Buckley to collect and stack water cans, food containers and other equipment in preparation for the helicopter pickup. Roger that, Sarge, says Buckley as he springs into action. As Kirby walks away, he hears Speranza take call, take the first call for reconnaissance fire in advance of the company's movement in the valley below. So why is Kirby walking the perimeter?


Because he's doing his job as a leader. And he's also prepping to leave because when you when you when the helicopters come in, is that the good time to stack up stuff and get it off the the Elzie know you want to have it prepped so the helicopters don't spend a bunch of time there and you want to get all the stuff off the eyes of the enemy.


Can't use it. Sitting in the nearest position to Kirby Kerbis on the eastern sector is specked for avy spikes. Who is complaining about something to PFC Wade tast spike. Stop bitching and keep your eyes open, warns Kirby as he approaches. Spikes twenty six to seven year veteran whose disregard for authority is well known, looks at Kearby but says nothing. Kirby orders 18 year old tast to help Buckley, who's already picking up scouten cans and containers. So he's stop bitching and keep your eyes open.


This is what a platoon sergeant should be doing. Kirby moves the next position where LOOK magazine correspondent Sam Carson is interviewing spec for Daniel Post and PFC Roger Robert. Benjamin Carson came out of the field the day before to write a story about death.


He had chosen to stay on Hereford with a mortar platoon rather than travel the company post known as Platoons. Practical Joker feeds Carson mischievous responses, while Benjamin only responds and yes or no answers. Kirby queries the two troopers on what they will do if attacked, they tell them they plan on throwing hand grenades down the rocky prepositional below their position and firing interlocking fires. With their positions on their left and right. So that's Kirby Kirby. OK, what do you do if we get hit, they say we're going to throw grenades over there and we got interlocking fender fields of fire with these other position.


Satisfied, Kirby heads for the most forward position at the top of the eastern sector sector manned by Paul Harrison and Charles Stuckey, both battle tested. Specialist Harrison is ducky. You've established interlocking fields of fire across the open end of the perimeter with Williams and Brame on the western side.


So he set the positions, he went out, inspect the positions, make sure that people understand their field of fire. Squad leaders actually doing his job on the way back to his position, Kirby nods, nods to Sergeant First Class Edward Sheppard, sitting on the rim of the foxhole not far apart from the mortar pit shepherd. Thirty eight is the only soldier there who's not in the mortar platoon. He stayed behind to catch a helicopter where he is about to appear before a promotion board.


Kirby sits on the edge of the foxhole and watches Speranza talking on the radio with Captain Warren, who's calling correction on where to place another mortar round. Speranza yells back correction to the gun crew and then fires a few more rounds shortly after two p.m.. Warren Radio Speranza that the helicopters are on the way and that word spreads from hold hold. What Warren does not know is that the helicopters are actually delayed and still sitting on the ground at Elzy Savoy in the Valley around two, fifteen, five minutes before the anticipated arrive in the helicopter, Stucky spots three well camouflaged North Vietnamese army soldiers watching him from the elephant grass.


He opens fire with them and Harrison joins in the three enemy drop either dead or wounded. So. You're if you don't catch well camouflaged, inva, if you're not paying attention, these guys are paying attention, then in the next instant, a massive volume of automatic fire and small arms fire is unleashed from the high ground to the north and a ravine to the shepherd sitting on the rim of the foxhole is killed in the first valley volley. Within seconds, the rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds explode near each occupied position.


Men burrow deep inside their foxhole under the terrifying shrapnel slicing through the air and bullets cracking overhead. The platoon is surrounded, outmanned and outgunned. Kirby also a radio warn and tell them they are under attack and need immediate air and artillery support, a Warren acknowledges immediately calls battalion for fire support and orders his company to turn around and head back up the hill. So to your point earlier, Warren, the reason he was able to turn around and head and go is because he didn't even want to leave in the first place.


In the open stacking equipment, taste falls to the ground with two bullets to the throat. Buckley, his shoulder covered in blood, dashes across the open perimeter screaming, get off the hill, get off the hill and disappears into the elephant grass. Harrison yells for Stucky to go to the mortar pit while he stays behind to hold off the enemy. Stucky takes a few more shots at the enemy, turns and zigzags for the mortar pit when an RPG round explodes in front of him, throwing him to the ground after the shrapnel and dirt stop falling, he raises his head and looks to see where Posta Benjamin had been trying to make an escape.


Both are dead. He sprints towards a large rock, large rock right just outside the perimeter. As he turns the corner of it, he encounters an enemy soldier about to throw a grenade into the Elzy spotting stucky. The NBA tosses the grenade directly at him instead. Instead, the grenade sales over Stuckey's head hits the rock behind him and explodes, wounding him, managing to stay on his feet. Stucky fires three rounds at the end of his chest, killing him instantly.


Stucky then moves around the rock face, finds a narrow crevice and squeezes into it hidden from the enemy. Paul Harrison slapping magazine after magazine to his rifle fires at every charging enemy soldier you can see when he runs out of ammunition, he jumps up from his foxhole and charged the VA using his mountain as a club, cracking a few heads before the blood covered rifle slipped from his hands. He then wades into the enemy with his fists until he falls dead from dozens of bullets.


As North Vietnamese burst through the elephant grass, Speranza opens up with his mixin on full automatic, tearing three of them apart. He managed to fire off a few more shots before Archie Brown's RBG rounds visible in their slow trajectory plunge toward the mortar pit. One round slams in front of Speranza foxhole, showering his back with shrapnel. Another explodes to his left, killing Doc Crocker. Instantly, the third round sent shrapnel into Kirby's arms, head and chest. The last round hits the rear lip of the mortar pit, tearing off drubbings right arm and mangling his left leg.


He dies in a pool of blood.


Gaines is killed with a bullet through his head. Johnson, the only gun crew member alive, take shrapnel in the face, but continues firing on the advancing enemy as attackers fall, others jump over them, running toward Johnson, who keeps firing until he is out of ammunition. He makes a running dive at the rocky abatement on Hereford Southern edge and rolls down the slope, careening off rocks and over tree roots until finally coming to a stop. He spots a v shaped depression hidden in thick vegetation with a stream running through.


He pulls himself into the stream and gathers brush and vines to hide his body grip with fear and exhaustion. On the western perimeter, Williams and Brain frantically fire the rim sixteen's on full automatic at the waves event VA, as do Rohter and Mack a few inva fall dead but most brave.


The wall of fire overrunning the position and killing Williams and Brehme before turning toward Rotar and Mack. Mack pops up to get a better shot when he takes a bullet to the head grumbling back into the FoxxHole dead. Rotor fires is 79 until he's out of ammunition, then picks up machsom 16 and continues firing until it, too is empty. He throws two grenades at the charging enemy, forcing them to fall back, then jumps out of his fighting position and heads for Benton's foxhole.


When he tumbles in, he finds Benton dead. He crawls out and with bullets trailing his every step, races over to the foxhole of Brooks and Tamio, but they are dead as well. The Western defense has crumbled. Figuring everyone else is dead, Roeder does what he is trained to do, escape and evade, he tears down the side of the hill into the elephant grass, followed by several enemy with bullets zipping over his head. He runs deeper to the elephant grass as fast as he can until he's overcome by exhaustion and drops to the ground.


When he is gasping, when he's gasping for air subsides, he realized the enemy is no longer following him. He stays hidden silently, praying that he will be spared. Still in his whole Speranza sees a figure running toward his position, he fires off a quick burst, somehow missing his target. Don't shoot, for God's sake, it's me, Sam Kastin screams as he drops into the foxhole. The reporter looks over a curb and yells, We need to get the hell out of here.


Kirby shouts Back where we're surrounded. Get six on the horn, Kirby, tell Speranza. Tell them to hurry or we're dead, Speranza screams into the headset. Please hurry, we're being overrun, but Warren doesn't get the transmission as communication between her and the company no longer exists, Speranza turns to the artillery frequency and repeats the message that artillery radio passes the call to Warren, who now pushes his company even more, ordering his men to double time up the hill.


A murderous pace in the mud and tangled vines. By this time, the battalion executive officer, Major Cantrell, is circling above Hereford in his observation helicopter and Colonel Beard is watching the battle from his command and control. Huey, the swarm of enemy they see below, is so intermingled with the mortar position, neither officer can distinguish who's who. Rather than kill the defenders by mistake, Beard holds off on artillery requested by Kirby.


Meanwhile, Kirby sees four enemy crawling towards his position less than 50 feet away and tosses three hand grenades as fast as he can, stopping their advance. Kirby now realizes Kastin is right. Their only chance for survival is to get off the Elzy. He keeps his hands to bark the order when the badly wounded tast suddenly drops into his foxhole. Kirby ties addressing on Taste's bleeding throat and yells over the enemy fire. We've got to make a break for it.


Call already on the hill.


Speranza reaches the artillery net, shouting into the handset, We're getting out of here, the place is covered with enemy. Just about every buddy is dead. He has told artillery is on hold. With bullets kicking up dirt all around them, Kirby and taste low, crawl over to Speranza and Kastin, we'll go over the rim in the direction of the company will be coming in Hollas. Kirby Let's go. As Speranza struggles with his radio while he climbs out of the foxhole, Kearby screams Forget the radio, blow it.


Speranza pulls the pin of a hand grenade and throws it in the foxhole with the radio. The three soldiers in Carson move quickly away from the blast and a few steps later come across a wounded, wounded AvX Spikes clutching his seventy nine. Kearby and Speranza have their own sixteen's but very little ammunition. Kastin, who is also wounded, has a three fifty seven Magnum that Kirby gave him. Taste is unarmed. The five wounded men now move toward the slope, descending into a deep ravine to the east.


Kearby tastes. It spikes and cast and run, crawl and roll into the elephant grass while Speranza act as a rear guard before rolling down the hill to join them. As they reach a small ravine, they hear the enemy coming down from the Elzy in hot pursuit, they lie down figuring the Americans are hiding. The VA began beating the grass. The first North Vietnamese to spot the Americans is shot in the face by Speranza. Kirby kills another standing nearby spikes fires as seventy nine in the group, killing five.


The other to crawl away wounded. Seconds later, another group of North Vietnamese spray the ground around the American spread's, it takes three bullets in his right leg, one smashing into his kneecap, severing the tendon. Another bullet rips through his left leg hit Speranza screams as he falls into a heap on the jungle floor. Kearby sprays the advancing enemy with the last of his ammunition, causing them to retreat when he bends down to check on Speranza bullets smashes into his right arm.


He's now losing blood from many wounds. Kirby eyes and VA peeking over the grass and pulls out a rusty French flare gun he'd found on an old battlefield and fires hitting him between the eyes. The soldier falls backwards, screaming in agony as his flesh burns away. In the meantime, tast silently bleeds to death from his throat wounds. Hearing something behind him, Speranza spins around just as a bullet enters the back of his skull, travels through his John X, is out of his nose, tearing away the cartilage, teeth, tissue and skin, eyes filled with blood sprains.


It goes down badly wounded, but somehow still alive. Possibly to regroup, the enemy stops firing, Kirby tells everyone to head further down the ravine quietly, the four survivors crawl, then walk down the slope with help from Kirby and Spike, Speranza manages to keep up. Feeling somewhat safe with the NBA about 100 yards behind, they move a little faster, suddenly spotting a small group of enemy. Coming up, a trail to their flanks, brands, all signals to get down.


Carson does not see Speranza warning and keeps going, running straight into a group of North Vietnamese coming from another direction. One of the NBA shoots Carson in the head, killing him. The enemy now opens fire to the grasses from two sides, spikes, takes several bullets in his chest, Kearby checks his pulse but cannot find one.


The North Vietnamese troops slowly wade through the grass toward Kearby and Speranza Kerbis out of ammo, Esperanza's rifles jammed, but he has two grenades left and he gives them to Kirby, who tosses them into the advancing enemy. Just then, friendly artillery rounds begin pounding Elzy Hereford, the deafening explosion stop the enemy's advance. Kirby and Speranza take advantage of the situation to begin to move slowly back up the hill. But it's too much for Speranza. Go without me.


He gasps. I can't move any further. I'm dying.


I'm not leaving you alone, says Kirby. Go now, Speranza, yell, save yourself, I've made peace with my Lord. Just go. Kirby, believing Speranza will die for sure, reluctantly accedes to the Artigas demand and crawls away back towards Hereford. Speranza, although growing weaker from lots of bad blood, finds the will to take off a scabbard knife strapped to his leg by a leather thong, he places the knife around on the ground. Next to him, uses the rawhide as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding in his right leg.


He then somehow manages to open his first aid kit, find a gauze bandage and begins wrapping around his head and eye before he can finish. However, he hears rustling of men coming toward him through the grass. He takes his knife into his hand and rolls over face down in the dirt. Playing dead speranza doesn't move a muscle as three or four NVF slowly approach, he smells their bodies and stale breath as they search him for anything of value. One man turns him over and roughly strips off his signet ring and others take his wallet, cigarettes and dog tags.


Unable to stay motionless. Another second, he's about to jump up with his knife. When he hears a helicopter rapidly descending, it sprays the ground with bullets, some so close they spattered dirt in his face, screaming frantically. The VA run for cover. Still afraid to move, Speranza continues to play dead, and seconds later, he hears someone carefully moving toward him. He grips his knife a little tighter and when he feels a hand grab his shoulder, he musters all the strength he has left and tries stabbing the man.


But the large, shadowy figure battling by the sun, drifting through the trees quickly grabs Franz's knife in hand, screaming, Hey, it's me, Carlos. Carlos Cruz.


Charlie Company had made it back up the hill. The last of his energy drained, Speranza lays down his head and slips into unconsciousness. Kirby is halfway up the slope when friendly artillery pieces falling uncertain what it means. He keeps crawling. His many wounds are taking their toll, but he keeps going until he reaches the top of the hill where he sees Charlie Company troops everywhere. Unable to control his wounded body and frayed emotions, he slides to the ground and medics, gives him a shot of morphine and stops bleeding.


When the wounded stucky comes crawling into the Elzy, another medic rushes over, lays him down and treats his wounds, Spreads is carried up the hill on a stretcher made from Poncho's. And shortly he, Kirby and Stucky are placed in a medevac helicopter and flown out. Passing the medevacs, flying out, helicopters begin delivering reinforcements who pile out onto Hereford. A look of horror passes over their faces at the site of so much death and destruction. One soldier throws up.


Hearing the helicopters coming and going, Johnson, who got off the Hill and evaded the enemy, slowly approaches the Elzy only to face the muzzle of an F-16 held by PFC Morgan. He drops to the ground out of relief when he is recognized by Morgan. The last mortar platoon survivor to get back to the Elzy is a dazed rotor company platoon leader, asked Rogen to identify the bodies, all of which have been stripped of personal effects and shot in the head.


He is able to name a few before the weight of the massacre takes its toll. You cannot look at another dead friend. As he sits down the afternoon, monsoon rains begin pouring down out of the dark sky. Roeder shivers as the rain pelts his sobbing body. So much death in such a small place. So there's another view of this battle and clearly. You know, the the difference is immense, the leadership issues.


You know, there's a whole discussion to have about that, you know, at what point when you're being told to do something that doesn't make sense, at what point do you at what point do you say we're not doing that? And and, you know, this is a leadership strategy and tactics. And they got the whole assessment of that.


And it's not like I'm not saying leadership and strategy and tactics tells you the answer, but it gives you the the options and it's heavy options the way.


And and you could look at war and say, well, if that if it wasn't safe, I would do it. OK, well, then he fires you on the spot. He puts some young lieutenant in charge of the platoon and you get thrown on a helicopter and taken out. So what good did you do? Now, you can also say, hey, Roger that, by the way. Give me give me a fireteam over here. Give me a give me a machine gunner.


This is what we're doing once the once the boss leave, you can do that. That's a good option. I like that option.


You and you don't know what kind of relationship we have because there's also the I mean, I guess we could say that appears that the relationship isn't great. I guess we do know that much.


But sometimes if somebody is very convicted in the way that they're offering advice. It can be convincing, and this is something that I have to be careful of, because I know I can be convincing. I know I can be. And I have to be careful.


In fact, that's one of the probably the original reasons for me being such a listener is I know that if I say I think we should do this, a lot of people just gave Roger that. Like, if that's what you think we're on board. I mean, that that's kind of something I had to watch out for.


And it turned me into more of a listener because I didn't want to subdue people's thoughts.


I didn't want to tamper with their ideas, and I didn't want to to override how they thought something should go. So we have to be careful of that as a leader to make sure that we aren't just being so overbearing that people don't push back against us.


The three different versions, if you want to call them, versus just the three different perspectives of that paint, each one paints such a unique picture. And, you know, I wrote down on my notes again, everything that I write down are just the things that I'm thinking in real time.


And it's really frustrating to sit here and listen to this, knowing the outcome and seeing all these pieces play out, knowing. That this was a totally this was this was a preventable. This is a leadership failure. It is a leadership failure. And a lot of different levels in this last one really paints a more clear picture of how this predicament happened.


But knowing that this is this is not an unsolvable problem, that they were just in no way could this have been prevented. This just simply not true. And and the frustration of that and when I when I picture just the conversation of the of the person in charge telling a subordinate do it or else just the just the the philosophy that I lead through my authority and the catastrophic events that happened, that has and in this case, we're talking human life.


I mean, this is a catastrophic thing.


But those same that same approach and how often leaders are emphatic and what they want, not recognizing just how destructive that is to them as a leader.


And I'm sitting here trying to picture these guys up in a helicopter looking down and the sickening feeling they must have had.


This is what what what did I create? How did I how did this happen? Well, it happened because of you. Because you as a leader demanded things happen the way that you want. And I'm picturing what I mean.


And I was struggling earlier with this guy, with with the company commander not being able to reconcile. And that's just me piecing things together. And and I imagine this feeling of the entire time walking down the hill, knowing knowing he didn't want to do that. The Patnaik out front line, the front line, the leader in the field is always right, right. You're coming from your helicopter, you're getting off and you're telling me what to do.


That just sits so foul for me.


And the other thing that's interesting about this is you would think that we could be sitting here saying as to, you know, military leaders that you and I were you. You it's very easy to say we could you and I could be sitting here having a conversation where, look, discipline is paramount.


Obviously, we could sit here and say, JoCo JoCo saying discipline is paramount. No one would question that. For one, millisecond discipline is paramount.


You have to you have to get people into a point where they will obey what you say and they need to do it. That's what military training is. That's what you learn in boot camp. That's what you learn in officer candidate school to do instant obey orders.


Like that's what we want. And that's just just so wrong.


It's just so wrong. It's so wrong to think that. It's so wrong to feel that way. And you know what?


Like, I'm so thankful. That. I had the luxury of being in the military and being able to experience this and and and then on top of that, getting to see it while I was training people and then on top of it, getting to see it with all these companies that we work with because occasionally to this day. Someone will say to me, somebody at some company will say, yeah, but sometimes don't they just need to shut up and do what they're told to do.


I get that. I get that. I still get that. And what they think I'm going to say is, well, hell, yeah, that's what everybody thinks I'm going to say.


And it's like, actually, no, you don't want that. And I actually I actually had a good situation like this. I was working with a client and I had two people on the call. There's more than two people, but there's two people that kind of rose to the conversation.


One of them was, you know, but they just need to do it.


And and I rebutted that guy and said, well, if what you're going to do is just bark to shut up and do it, whether you believe it or not, that's not going to have a good outcome. And here's why I went through the whole thing.


And when I got done with that, the other guy said, that's what we need to do. We need to actually listen to what they have to say.


We have to take their input and look all those things.


We make their plan, all those things that we talk about all the time, which is it's just shocking that people still.


You know what they think tactically, because tactically, if I say they've shut up and do what I told you to do, you're going to do it. I just like this guy did. It's a tactical win.


Hey, the battalion commander says, hey, you shut up and do what I told you to do. Yeah, roger that. OK, you just won the tactical battle. But look what happens. Look what happens. You won that little tactical battle and you lose these other people.


And and look, could there have been no one waiting on that? Absolutely. There could have been no one way. There could have been no enemy on that island and everything would have gone fine.


And that guys, that guy's tyrannical behavior would have been reinforced as the right way to lead it in ain't the right way to lead, is not the right way to lead. This guy's a battalion commander. He's probably been leading like that through his whole career with with with no consequence, certainly. No nothing like this to this degree, this story.


And you know what makes that happen? And I brought this up with a client the other day. In the military, because I say, look, you can be effective with that kind of browbeating, tyrannical leadership for for whatever for an hour, for a week, right.


I can just yell, Dave, shut up and do what I told you to do. And actually in the military, I can get away with it for my whole career. Why is that? Because you, Dave, you're working for me. You know, you only have to work for me for 18 months.


You know, it's going to take me a couple of months to figure myself out. By the time my tour is starting to look coming to an end, you're not even going to give me resistance anymore. You're like, cool, he's gone and whatever. So these guys can bounce from job to job to job being in charge of this group by the time he leaves, they he's hated, but he's accomplished.


He's accomplished the mission. Right. He's got his good fit rep. He's done his job. He's accomplished a mission he's hated. They don't want to do it. They're sabotage more. They're they're sloughing them off. They're doing all those things.


But no one knows it. His his chain of command above him thinks, oh, yeah, well, he did a good job. He got the mission accomplished. First of all, they never got tested. Second of all, doesn't know the morale of the troops because that guy is able to hide it. So that's how these military leaders, sometimes they get through their whole career. Yeah. And I mean whole career. I'm talking thirty four year careers where they never actually let anybody.


All they did was bark orders and they retired as an admiral. They retire as a general and and they don't know how to lead.


They don't know how to lead.


Obviously, there's some incredible generals and admirals, obviously, and captains and colonels, obviously, but just because you became an admiral or you became a colonel or you became a captain or you became a general, that doesn't mean you knew how to lead. And you know what? You if you were a tyrannical leader. You you can get away with that in the military. Yeah, you can get away with because only a two year command. No one wants to.


They want to guess what everyone below you actually also wants a good fit. So you want a good fit. So you're going to and everyone and everyone below you just wants a good evaluation. So they're just going to kind of follow your lead and put up with it. That I mean, that's that's self-preservation. I saw that in my career all the time, too, and and we had a term for it. We call it a run out the clock scenario.


And we'd sit and we'd have, you know, young captains. The junior guys would sit around and it was just us. And we'd vent and we'd get frustrated and I'd see people complain and I'd see my peers getting this off their chest. And and when you do the calculation of, hey, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to push back or are we going to you know, are we going to fight back up the chain?


In the end, the conclusion is always just run out the clock, man.


This guy's gone in seven months or whatever, or just this guy's gone in seven months. And by the way, we have we got a two month trip here. He's not coming with us. We got this. We got that he's going to this thing. And it's really what is it going to be face to face with him for another month? Don't worry about it.


Suck it up. And I don't want me to paint some picture that we just sort of resigned ourselves. Really what it was, was, you know, I'm going to focus my energy on my guys. Yeah. I'm going to I'm not going to waste my time with this guy. But but it does create that that it helps perpetuate the scenario you just described. And, you know, to whatever small percentage there are leaders in the military, just like every other organization that got their way.


They they got their way through. And and they're not good leaders because they do exactly this. And and I'm thinking, too, of not just a scenario where you're my subordinate leader and I go, hey, I want it done this way, JoCo, and you're not like me.


You know, I was kind of thinking maybe plan B is better than plan A.. You're saying, Dave? No way, man. What better position for me as a leader to have a guy who who. The more emphatic you are about what you're doing, more likely, it's likely that the more loyal you are and the more you want the outcome to be good, that's why you're pushing back. And if you're in a leadership position and your people are pushing back aggressively.


That's even more of a reason to listen to them, because there's clearly something and what always happens is we meet, we see people meet resistance with resistance. The more resistance I get, the more I should stop resisting, the more I want to listen. Now, if you go well, yeah, I mean, I guess so.


OK, cool. Just do my way. And that's kind of the end of the story.


But if you if you go to the mat with me, know this is a bad idea and I'm not going to listen to that as a leader, why is this person pushing back? Because they because they don't care about the mission. They don't care about the people.


They don't care about the outcome.


And it's it's JoCo pushing back because he doesn't because he doesn't care about his people, because he doesn't want this to be successful. Why why would JoCo possibly be drawing a line in the sand right now?




Yeah, there's a you know what the reason is? There's a reason. There's a reason. There's a damn good reason.


And you need to figure it out. And also in this thing, the scenario we're painting where you're my subordinate leader, I also have to give you a little bit of credit that you recognize you are putting your career at risk. What you're going to bow up to me, junior subordinate. I have to recognize that you even realize this is a sketchy move you're making right now. You're going to the boss and telling him, no, you don't think the subordinate leader recognizes the risk that he's taking by by by digging in a little bit and gone?


Boss, this is a bad idea.


I mean, of course, I'm sitting here with the luxury of having benefited from all the things that Echelon Front has done and all the things that you've written about in all the podcasts I've listened to. It doesn't make it any less easy to hear this story and picture that conversation and know that that tyrannical leadership is widespread and it's all over the place and it doesn't work.


It's it's it's it's frustrating to listen that story, to think about that, the catastrophic outcome. But even the subtleties of people leading through, hey, at the end, you know, we can go back and forth, but in the end, you're going to do it my way. What a what a devastating approach that is to to the to leading the people around you.


Horrible in every possible way.


So digging a little bit deeper on this, there was some there were some people that wrote in to history, net dotcom, and asked Michael Christie for some more amplifying information.


Here's one of the letters that got written in the article. Last Standard, Elzy Hereford by Michael Christie had me living the experiences as if I were there. I served in Vietnam with the Marines, including forty days under siege at Contin in nineteen sixty seven.


We always feared a human wave attack like experienced by the soldiers in Hereford. I would like to know if Lieutenant Colonel Rutland Beard was ever charged with negligence for ordering Charlie Company Commander Captain Don Warren to leave his murder platoon behind in a vulnerable position with no infantry support while the rest of Charlie moved out. Also, I was curious to know if Staff Sergeant Robert Kirby was recognized for his harrowing attempt to lead a small group of soldiers and journalist Sam Kastin to safety.


I have to wonder how John Speranza, who is badly wounded and played dead before his rescue and the other survivors are doing today after their dreadful experience? Well, for one thing, we know that Staff Sergeant John Kirby, though not named, was written about in a very negative way in this other manual.


But guess what? Michael Christie responded. And here's where here's his response.


As one would expect, the horrors of the massacre at Elzy Hereford had a tremendous impact on the lives of those of all those involved. Captain Don Warren became an alcoholic and eventually committed suicide.


So the decision that we're sitting here toiling over. He toiled over to. Sergeant Robert Kirby retired from the Army and refuses to talk about Elzy Hereford, claiming he remembers almost nothing about it, although he did receive a Silver Star for his part in the battle. God bless him, Bob Roeder has a severe case of PTSD, but still managed to succeed. He married his high school sweetheart, raised a family and operated a multimillion dollar medical supply business. John Speranza overcame his physical injuries.


This is so. So Bob Roeder was the last guy to be recovered. The guy that broke down trying to identify his friends, John Speranza, who's got shot in the ear, exit wound in the nose. John Speranza overcame his physical injuries but suffered from emotional damage. His drinking led to three divorces, yet the same determination that saved his life. Forty six years ago allowed him to work successfully in two long careers, first in the printing industry, and then as a rural postman for 20 years.


He and his wife of 26 years are retired and live in northern Georgia. Charles Stucky died of cancer six years ago. No one has heard from Isaac Johnson since Elzy Hereford was overrun. No official record exists on Rutland Beard receiving any reprimand. He retired from the army as a colonel. As for the company members who rushed to the rescue. All are still horrified by the carnage they witnessed once they reached Elzy Hereford. There's another letter, the story of carnage on Elzy Hereford is a riveting piece of work, but as noted it very glaringly in spots from the SLA Marshall narrative published forty six years ago.


Nonetheless, both our authors accurately capture the overall horror of the event. About a week before the attack, described by Christie on a company from another battalion had been overrun at Hereford, and my company from the one five Cav First Cav division was airlifted onto the Elzy the following morning to assist. In his book, Battles in the Monsoon, Marshall claimed that all that dickeys had been evacuated the previous evening, but I distinctly recall seeing the poncho covered bodies of the U.S. soldiers still ringing.


The landing zone, Dan and me were everywhere, the Americans gave as good as they got. And there's one more little well, maybe not so little. There's one more detail that I want to go into. So Sam Kastin. The journalist, he was married when he was in Vietnam. And he and his wife, a woman named Fran Kastin, had moved to Hong Kong while he was working in Vietnam, so they were. You don't close flight, and he figured you still want to see you, so we'll move to Hong Kong and then when I go work in Vietnam and then when I'm not working, I'll come back.


And they'd been there for about a month before he was killed. And they had a 13 month old toddler at the time.


They are in Hong Kong, and after he was killed, she. She packed up, she went back to the states. I mean, devastated, obviously, and not only devastated, but. Now what? Now what? You know, whatever plans she had are now obviously gone. So she had to put her life together as best she could. She she had been to school, she'd studied English, I believe, and she went and started knocking on doors and eventually got a job at The New Yorker magazine.


And then she moved over to the Scholastic magazine and eventually became a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Teaching, writing, and that is when at age 40, she started to write poetry. And she wrote a poem about her husband. Sam Kastin, the brave journalist. Who was killed on that awful day and the poem is called Operation Crazyhorse. And here it is.


A grand Kowloon Hotel, a hedge of red hibiscus, a tiled pool, a misuse, supressed fragrant oil of almond into my body in the full heat of the sun.


Elsewhere. Northeast of Saigon, a man beheld you. And fired. At the undertakers, you were all made up. And your hair was parted wrong, so I smoothed it the way you would have liked. Someone shouted, stop as if we were caught making love on the couch in my father's house. God knows what they feared. Unfamiliar streaks in your hair must have paled at the moment of terror. And grown longer in the time since. Eerie as strands of ticker-Tape still printing.


Such dark hair shocked white. How afraid you were. All I could do. Was told you. And there you go. There is. More to every story and. More for us to learn. And what we need to learn here. In my opinion from all of this. Is that your decision and your actions make a difference and have an impact on the world? Again, like, this is an incredible manual. The squad leader makes a difference and an.


It doesn't just apply to squad leaders, it applies to all of us. Your actions make a difference and have an impact on the world, you're going to leave a mark. You leave an imprint on the world and you leave an imprint on the people around you.


So make it a good one. Well, Echo Charles yes, sir, go ahead, man.


Well, it's true we do leave an impact on the people around us and we do make a difference.


And to make a difference, we need to be capable so we can do the right things for ourselves, for the people around us. We start with our physical health, in my opinion, as I always say, so on our journey through improvement and maintaining physical health.


You know, we need supplements. I give you a hard time about just being able to press record. Sure. Because that doesn't seem like a very hard job. It's not. But what I just did to you is kind of a shitty thing to do, isn't it? Well, you're throwing out challenges. And I understand, you know, I've come to understand these things, which is OK.


It's OK for those of you that might be joining us for the first time.


Sometimes the podcast can be a little much heavy, and so early on we realized that maybe a little decompression would be good.


I know I need it. Yeah, I know I need it sometimes.


So. So. I'm sorry for setting you up with the freaking horrible job of going from that conversation that we just had into whatever it is you're talking about.


I'm sorry. It's OK. And you know what is in the spirit of understanding and how should I say doing my part?


I should.


It took what you said and really kind of gave my thoughts on it because my thoughts can be a little bit lighter than yours generally. So it'd be a little bit of a transition, a little smoother transition, smoother transition, because you just went straight into talking about, you know, yeah, let's drink it.


But yeah, you know, yeah, it's yeah. So it was kind of rough for sure. Still true.


What would your thoughts have been. Oh oh man.


That's I guess that's why I didn't go into it because it was like dating. I should just be quiet just for a little bit you know, maybe.


Yeah that's and that's part of the thing. That's part of the deal is it. That could just be the end of the podcast. I get it right. But I actually don't want to leave anyone that way, to be honest with you.


I don't want to leave. Look, the point has been made. We get it right.


It's true. Yeah. I don't want to leave. I don't want someone to press stopwork out and like, that's what's going through their head. Yeah, they go to work. All right.


We need a little we need to bring it back around. Right. Bring it back. The world has darkness in it. Right. We just saw that.


Yeah, we just saw that. Yeah. By the way, the author, the his wife, Fran Castan, she's alive.


She's in like Easthampton or something. She's out there writing poems. Yeah.


Maybe we'll hear from her, you know, I mean, given the circumstances, it's like it's what do you call like. Good to meet you. But not under these. Serkin Yeah.


That's a common one anyway. All right. Well, how can we make a difference if we're not capable?


Right. True.


We'll just say it's hard. I would say where we want to make a good mark on the world. Yeah.


How do we do that? What what how how do you suggest us doing a better job of leaving a positive impression on people and on the world? I say keep your stuff together. Cool. Got it at it. Keep it together clean.


Yeah. You know, get it together. Keep it together. Dave Berghofer, you're so bored. He's reading freakin cans. He's reading ingredients for a go. I'm not saying you're wrong.


He's looking that that's like a what do you call it. Like a not vanity. But he's looking at his own hand.


He's like, oh, did you notice after forever or why? I do. I just happen to notice that these are two different cans.


So it caught my attention. Oh, really? Oh, I see that to see. So I told you I guess I could be more vain than I am.


But honestly, I'm just I'm just now barely noticing that these are different kinds of the same drink yet, because right before that you're looking at your fingernails and like, you know, I don't know if you worked out today whether you're looking at your physique. I saw the whole deal. I saw the whole deal.


So all good. And or or he could be bought, whichever.


Well, you've successfully lighten the mood.


Well, don't, you know, record things from time to time.


Nonetheless, when we're working out, we need supplements. Joints get take a beating. Sometimes you got something for you.


Joints you need protein. OK, so if you're working out hard and hard, isn't, you know, depends on who you are, whatever you need a certain amount of protein to facilitate the gains or should I say the results.


OK, you said gains everything you said gained the most with the game.


The point is you need a certain amount of protein, otherwise not be not going to recover, recover correctly.


Do you know the protein range. Yeah, not much.


Yeah I see. Yes. One gram. What. Go ahead. You're like shaking. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I interrupted you.


Go ahead. One gramick or lean but one gram per pound of lean body mass.


Yeah I think that quite correctly. I think that's the old school. It's actually less the new school.


The new school is a range from point six to I mean one that's high one gram per, you know, fancy stuff.


It might, it starts to level out I think like point eight or something like this.


OK, nonetheless, not everyone knows that is what I'm trying to say.


So and furthermore, not only do not a lot of people know that it's hard to do that unless you're like just that's your jam. You know, you're planning the week and all that.


Not all of us do that. You know, I didn't realize that. So, look, let's say you have hundred eighty. Five pounds of lean body mass and you're trying to get the point, seven will say it's a lot of protein, not for you, not for you.


I know, but I'm just saying for the rest of us, you know, like when you don't think about everything up that extra area, you need milk anymore.


You're not like you. Not really understanding, like, OK, it's seven one range. No, no, no, look. Milk is needed.


Let's say I didn't say any of that. OK, what if I just said, hey, you need more people than we like right now? You have failed point to describe why you need milk. I'll stand down, but can you hurry a little bit?


I'm staring down like you, just like we get them. Do you want to. Do you though. Do you get them? I think we get the message. I really don't think you do. And that's why I'm here. Okay. Between you and baby. Oh, drink more. It could be like, you know, I think Alastor tastes good. Anyway, take them all of this go.


I never seen it like this.


I like it anyway. Speaking of discipline, go OK and and bear with me here.


Bear with me. So discipline go. It's a thing. It tastes good. It's a little drink. Kind of like a soda.


Yeah. I mean ok, it's not like a soda but it's like a soda so. And I'm going to tell a little story short so you know how I like when you go to the movies, right.


You go to movies. Do you get no soda and popcorn at the movies. Sure. They break soda. Popcorn I use sometimes. Right. Yeah, yeah. Think I understand.


So you go to the movies, you get your story, you get your popcorn, you have to watch the movie with your kids. It's awesome, right?


You come home and you kind of remember whether it be later that night or the next day, you're like, oh yeah, the local movie I man.


But I ate that whole thing a popcorn. You know how many calories are in popcorn. Injunct calories too, by the way. There's a difference. I have no idea. It's a lot. It's like two thousand. It depends on how big the popcorn is. And then you got the soda.


Right. And there's a small tinge of guilt that comes with you. Same thing with the brownies, same thing with the other stuff that you eat.


Don't act like, oh, the pretzel pretzel wrapped hot dogs that my wife made for me on Super Bowl Sunday. I somehow I forget where everyone was, but like they came out of the oven and my fam wasn't around and I was like, oh, I'll just have one or two while my family's not attracted, I half a half a tray I crushed. And how big was the tree.


I don't know the specifics. It's like a cookie type. Oh like like a standard. Yeah. The standard. It must have been good.


I'm going to go and say twenty, twenty twenty of those things you figure like no like no factor.


That's one hundred calories per probably be true. They're real small.


They have but those are like sausages with freakin straight up biscuits. Right. Who knows. But I Howard there. Oh yeah. It sounded nice but. And you.


I get it like you'll just go punished, you know, you'll pay the price and that's the protocol.


I guess the next thing a lot of us we got a little bit more like guilt and we're like, man, I should I kind of just shouldn't have done that, you know?


Anyway, the point is, when you drink the discipline, go and the milk, too, by the way, you get that same sort of satisfaction that you would have had with the soda or the freakin Oreo cookie shake from the drive thru or whatever.


You get that same front end, but you get a way better back in you. Well, you get actually positivity. Exactly what's actually better.


What was weird was I kind of thought about it because I had a milkshake with a banana, by the way. And the next day I was like, man, last night I had that dessert. I was like, wait, the dessert wasn't something junk, it was something good.


So it's like you get the fresh you got a double positive hit, actual protein getting to your point seven and then you got four. Not even Gilfry, but positivity. Yeah.


So this is like across the board when we're in front and back and tactical. Strategic all good stuff out here.


Appreciate that. They've got a bunch of other stuff. They're Super Crill, Vitamin D, three Cold War warrior kids. Molk, you got all kinds of good stuff. You can get it from JoCo fueled dotcom. And by the way, if you subscribe to any of these things, the shipping is free because we know that that was kind of an issue. People are like, I want this stuff, but shipping is expensive.


We're trying to allow people to more easily stay on the path. And also, if you're just if you're just a person that doesn't quite stay on track. Yeah, that doesn't quite it's a thing to do things that they're supposed to do. And they end up saying, well, I actually ran out of joint warfare or whatever, just subscribe, Ecotrust. Just subscribe. If you subscribe, it's coming. Yeah. And it's free shipping. Get some Jakov, your dot dotcom also.


You can get that.


You can get that the the drink at Walwa you chain wide by the way, chain wide. Apparently there's some insurgency happening. Some other some other brands are trying to, you know, maneuver and they're getting ambushed. So I appreciate everyone going in there and and just getting after it, clearing shelves. Yeah. And it tells kind of a good story. Corey Corey, he he went in with a cooler. He literally posted it. He literally cleared cleared the the the the fridge out.


Yeah. You can imagine the guy at the front desk or the cashier guy. It's like, bro, why do you have a cooler here.


He's like, OK, because I'm going to go.


My current favorite thing to do is I get tagged on on Instagram all the time of people doing that. And I just put it on my story.


And it's just story after story of people going in, tagging Walwa and just emptying the shelves and like buying everything they can. It is awesome.


Appreciate everyone getting after that.


And you can also get all the supplement, the whole line at a vitamin shop. And like I said, free shipping with you.


If you subscribe, if you might also need jiujitsu gear to get you might need a rash guard. You can get all that stuff from Origin, USA, Dotcom, by the way, implement it implemented Origin, USA, Dotcom, you can get that there, all this good stuff.


And plus, if you if you ever are off the massive justice and you need something to wear because we know what we're wearing on the mats. Right. We're wearing our origin or an origin, Raschka. But if you're off then that's justice and you need clothing, which you do, you can get jeans, you can get boots, you can get daing.


We've got socks coming. Once you get you get everything we're getting we're getting where we get everything.


All that's always made in America. Made in America, which is which is what we are doing to rebuild manufacturing in this country. So go to Origin, USA, Dotcom, get whatever you need.


Also, if you need more stuff, you know, to to wear off the mats and on. By the way, go to Dakotah Dotcom. No, here you can find you're more discipline.


Themed, I don't like the word theme, but more disciplines that slanted, skewed apparel.


OK, here's the thing. You do want to represent one when you're on the path, you do think about what you are representing. No. Let's face it, you you do run the risk of representing the same thing, your neighbor across the street who's not on the path, by the way, is or are you an elitist?


No, no, no, no. My neighbor across the street is a badass. Well, then OK, then. There you go. That's cool.


But I'm saying you do run the risk. Got it. So I'm saying, look, if you have this political freedom or you have good or you have like one of the hoodies or something like this, you don't run that risk. You seem sane.


So if you're going to represent on the path here, this is a good place to get the stuff and it's a good move overall.


Where do you get it? JoCo Stockham? We have a little subscription situation going on to called the shirt locker.


That's a different it's not different, but it's kind of different, Jack.


It's a shirt every month. Cool new design exclusive. You can't get them on the store otherwise.


Can't these new ones, you're into this elite kind of elite shirt where I'm just I'm just letting them know, letting everyone know nonetheless. Called the shirt Lockington on jako store Dotcom's. Yes, I know for that man. If you think that that's cool, if you think you want to represent that way, that's a good, good, good deal. Roger that.


Subscribe to this podcast. Also, we got the JoCo unraveling. We got the Grounded podcast. We got the Warrior Kid podcast.


We also have that JoCo Underground, Dudko Underground Dotcom, where we give some a amplifying information, other things, different topics, different subjects behind the scenes we're setting up for a Q&A, right.


Yeah. And that's like questions like, OK, so I get it. Dave brk JoCo up front again in. They can say hey how do we, how do we get buy in from the team. Right. That's a common one.


It doesn't have to be pro questions about like work, what to do at work and to be outside of work. Yeah. We're setting that up.


Yeah it's set up. So go to questions at JoCo Underground Dotcom to submit your question. Submit audio or video question.


Dude, that's you Proactiv. You just made that happen. The squad leader makes a difference.


Make a difference. Yes, sir. I'm trying over here to a are you the trooper squad leader?


If you if you want to if you want to get all this and you want to support us, you can go to JoCo underground. Akana cost eight dollars and 18 cents a month, which is a number with layers.


And that just protects us from no one having to be a slave to sponsors and protects us from if we from people saying they didn't want to they don't want a hostess anymore, they can try it.


We got it. We'll be standing by and execute contingency plan.


So thanks to everyone that supporting on that. We've got a YouTube channel. We've got a YouTube channel that echo Charles.


He makes videos and I am the assistant director of the Good Ones, which is important to know.


Also, Origin, B.J. has has there putting some cool videos up as well. Check that one out. You got that one.


Also, psychological warfare and the album. Don't forget about this, OK? Sometimes we can shy away from the support that we need from seeing.


Sometimes we need the support, we want to slip on the diet, you know, skip the workout, turn a workday into a rest day, let's face it, that's the thing. Anyway, Psychological Warfare is an album where Jack was telling you why you just shouldn't do that and then you won't do it.


When we find that on Amazon and you know where everybody empathy's boom psychological warfare is, they're also flip side canvas dotcom.


My brother, Dakota Meyer making cool stuff to hang on your wall. The coolest stuff to hang on your wall. You're going to hang something on your wall is if you're going to hang something on your wall, don't you want to look at it and say, that's from Dakota Meyer?




That's one hundred percent every single day. I can't believe I've never said that before. Yeah, that's one hundred percent what I want. If I'm hanging something on my wall, I want it to be from Dakota Meyer. Yeah, I agree with that.


Flip side canvas dot dotcom, if you want that. We've got a bunch of books. Final spin.


What is it. It's it's a it's a not Dave assessment, you've read final spin. Oh, I have assessment. I'd like actually kind of secretly want to know where I sit in the log of readers. Where am I?


Actually, you know what? I haven't got you I haven't gotten you the final version. The final version.


I find it is not just a book. I can tell you that for sure.


You know, I think it is they're going to have a hard time figuring out where to put this one on the bookshelf. They put it over there and they put it over there in the. Yeah, like like where does it go?


I have a hard time, my my validation that it wasn't just me just digging. What I was reading is I shared it with my wife, which I got to be honest, I don't there's not a lot of crossover in my world that I'm doing. I don't share all this stuff with my wife. We've got other stuff going on. I don't like, you know, bombarded with work stuff. You're not talking about battles in the monsoon? No, I'm not.


How is the podcast? It was awesome. OK, cool. What do I need to do around the house? How can I help? I know I've been gone for seven hours.


I shared this with her and she just burned through it. I think in two days, you know, and burn through is like ten o'clock at night, gets in the bed and she stays up way too late and finishes in two nights. And she's like, that was really good. That's when I knew my version of it being good had to be validated by a totally disinterested third party with no no bias. Yeah, she was totally stoked. Well, interestingly, my mom.


So you would think what you just said, like, oh, biased, right? You would think, oh, I send it to my mom, that's a given, right? You know, my mom my mom is because she was an English teacher. And so she's just there to just just she's just there, I would say throw darts, but she's not there to throw darts. She's there to huc machetes at your work. Yeah, I got my work right.


And so I sent it to her for a final read and she sent me a text that said, like halfway done, I am loving this book.


That was complete shock.


In fact, I don't laugh about it because life was Laveaux with me in New York City when extreme ownership made no No. One New York Times bestseller, which is which is like sort of the thing, the cool thing for a book.


Right. And I called my parents on speakerphone and and laughs like standing there listening.


Like, I just want to let you guys know, you know, we made New York Times best selling list, you know, with the book that I wrote with Life in my mom's like, oh, well, we'll see how long it's on there for.


I was like, oh, yeah, I guess we will. So a positive review.




And it'll be interesting, you know, you go into a bookstore and they have, I guess, categories, whatever they are.


Yeah. I'll be interested to see where they put it. I will tell you, it's going to be it's going to be very interesting. So we got that if you want to preorder that thing is also it's all way. Why preorder? Well, so you can get it, because once again, we don't want you to not get it. We don't want definitely don't want you to not get a first dish.


Big deal when you want that first dish. And here's the other thing.


The the publisher. My publisher. Do you think they're nervous about this? They are nervous. They're nervous because they're like you you disperse.


Right. Leadership books. What about all this? Well, yeah, that that they're going to write a novel.


We don't even just want to stay in your little lane over here.


No. So. Put them at ease before they freak out.


So final spin, leadership, changing tactics, field manual code, the evaluation of protocols, discipline coach, Freedom Field Manual, The Way of the Warrior Kid for Field Manual, where the warrior get one, two and three making the dragons about face.


By David Hackworth Extreme ownership and the dichotomy of leadership Echelon Front, it's a leadership consultant, so you can hear Dave and I talking about it today. So what we do, we solve problems through leadership. Go to ashlawn from dot com for details f online.


It's leadership training for everyone.


F online, dot com. It's it's where you can get your whole team training tomorrow. It's tomorrow. You have to do something crazy. You have to contact that. You can go to Echelon, go to F online dot com, you can start training tomorrow. The muster in twenty twenty one. We got these things lined up. Go to extreme ownership dot com.


It's our live event. All these have sold out, these are going to sell out to EAF overwatch if you need leaders inside your company, Jeff overwatched outcome and we have leaders that understand the principles we talk about.


They can go in your company and help you win. And if you want to help service members.


Service members, active, retired, you want to help their families, you want help Gold Star families, check out Mark Leigh's mom, Mama, she's got a charity organization. If you want to donate or you want to get involved, go to America's Mighty Warriors, dawg. And if you want more of my protracted parables. Or you need some more of EKOS perplexing postulations. Or you just crave some more of Dave's super serious soccers. You can find us on the interweb, on Twitter, on Instagram, which Echo only knows as LeGrande and on Facebook, Dave, is that David Aaberg Echo is adequate, Charles and I imagine willink.


And thanks to all the people out there in uniform, all of you, all the military, the police, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, dispatchers, correctional officers, a Border Patrol, Secret Service, first responders and all of your families.


Waiting at home. Thanks to all of you for making a difference every single day with what you do and everyone else out there.


Keep learning. Keep evolving. And never forget that your decisions and your actions, they make a difference not just in your life, but in the lives of other of other people.


And don't just go through life, don't just go with the flow, be intentional about what you're doing, set things in order to leave a positive mark in the world. You do make a difference. And until next time, this is Dave, Eneko and JoCo out.