Pay Back


Erick W. Miller

This story is second hand. I know the men who played the major roles and this story has been verified by many other people. I would like these men to receive proper credit so I will refer to them by their names. John Albro and Edwin Wartsbaugh. They were in my company but in a different platoon. Both men were well into their second tour. Ed came to us from the Big Red One and Johnny had spent nearly two years right here in the 1st 327, Bravo Company.

Neither one seemed crazy or burned out. Many of us looked to them for a wealth of information that can only be obtained through experience. As far as I knew, neither man had ever been wounded. That fact made them my heroes because I didn’t want to die. Both men had many miles on point which was my usual job. However, there didn’t seem to be any particular secret that either man could impart. The usual stuff, “Stay alert, stay alive, period.” Our company was on 882 when it was a very bad place. We were split into platoons as was the norm. Their platoon, third platoon, already had one KIA, Sammy Gullart, and several wounded from AK and RPG fire. They had a nagging problem to accompany what was already a very stressful mission. The problem was in the form of alone NV A. Third platoon must have killed his dad or brother because this NV A was waging a one man war on them Any time they were set up for more than an hour, this maniac with the grudge would sneak up on their perimeter and empty a 30 round clip, then take off running. He may have been trying to lead our 3rd platoon into an ambush or away from something bigger. They weren’t taking the bait. They did come up with a plan ‘B’.

Plan ‘B’ was for Ed and Johnny to hide when the platoon moved out. That was brave to the point of insanity since that hill was literally crawling with enemy. Those men had no way of knowing if they were waiting for one man or an entire company. To cap off this story, their ruse was successful for them and fatal for the one man army.