A couple of weeks before Operation Delaware at the end of March or beginning of April 1968, Company C -1/327 walked off Fire Base Birmingham west towards Fire Base Bastogne along Highway 547. It was getting late in the day and after a few klicks Captain Westbrook decided to go off the road and set up for the night. The bush was very thick with a high canopy and we found well used trails as we moved in. We stopped and set up a defensive position. My position was on one of those well used trails. It was in a 3-man position with Ken Berryhill and Paul Cousins. Paul was on my right and Ken the left as we quickly set out trip flares and claymores. Ken drew first watch, he was ready. Paul was lying down and I was getting ready to lie down but still sitting up when snap – pop and a flare went off. It was now pitch black under that canopy and out of the blinding glare of the flare and running towards me was an NVA caring an SKS Rifle. He stopped about 4 feet from me and we looked into each other’s eyes. I reached for my M-16 next to me. He took a step back when Ken fired a 3 or 4 round burst into him setting off a grenade on his belt. He dropped instantly. All of this happened in seconds. Neither Ken nor I were wounded. Paul, however, took 2 or 3 hits. Ken then set off the 2 claymores we had set out. The flare died out and it was pitch black again.
Paul was moved into the CP and another troop joined us. I don’t remember his name. He would be KIA after the assault on LZ Veghel. I wish I could remember his name. He was from California, a blonde, blue eyed surfer dude. He said he knew movie stars like Sharon Tate. It’s been a few years now.
The following morning the company moved down that trail and we found 4 or 5 bodies from the claymores. This is one of the many stories we all had imprinted in our minds.
Ken Berryhill passed away 2012, a good guy. Paul Cousins returned to action and did a second tour with the 75th Rangers of the 173d. He retired in 1993 as a SGM. Myself, Charles Wallace, is doing fine making a living and almost ready to retire.
God Bless and always . . .
Above The Rest!
Company C-1/327 Jan ’68 – Jan ’69