Bad Moon Rising


Combined Action
Verified Military
Jun 29, 2014
Decisive Terrain
This is an account of the events of 28 April 1971 involving the 12 Marines and Navy Corpsman of Combined Action Platoon 2-7-6 (6th Platoon, 7th Co., 2nd Combined Action Group).

2nd CAG.jpeg

Cap 2-7-6 patrol received SAF from an USEF at grid BT 037613...wounding one USMC...

At dusk, the Marines went mobile from their Day Haven near a small village toward their predetermined night ambush site--a trail approximately three klicks to the west--in the Thu Bon River valley. After proceeding in column halfway toward their objective, the Marines were faced with crossing an open dry rice field under a rising full moon. During the crossing, rifle and automatic weapons fire erupted from a treeline some 150 meters to the south, impacting the Marines position and wounding Lance Corporal Gerard Henkle. The Marines took cover behind an earthen paddy dike and began returning rifle, M60 and M79 HE fire on the treeline, although the enemy position could not be determined with certainty.

...the CAP returned OWF causing the enemy to flee south...

Henkle had been hit in the upper chest with an AK round and almost immediately went into shock. While the Corpsman and another Marine tended to Henkle, the CAP continued to pour suppressing fire on the treeline. Sgt. Tingen called for a priority medevac with gunship support. After a while it became apparent the enemy had disengaged and withdrawn to the south.

...While sweeping the area one USMC detonated (1) M-26 booby trap rigged with a tripwire firing device, wounding (3) USMC...

Sgt Tingen ordered another Marine to assist the Corpsman with Henkle and told Cpl Gene Pirtle to establish a secure LZ for the incoming medevac. At this time, Sgt Tingen took the other half of the unit and proceeded south to clear and sweep the treeline prior to the arrival of the helicopters. Approaching the treeline, this element sprayed the treeline with automatic weapons fire as a precaution. As there was no subsequent return fire or evidence of enemy activity, Sgt Tingen and the others proceeded to enter the treeline. There was a blinding flash and detonation. Sgt Tingen, PFC Hargis and one other Marine were seriously wounded. Lance Corporal Hoffman, Lance Corporal Willy Fulfer and myself extricated the wounded Marines from the tangled undergrowth into the open where they could be attended to. Sgt Tingen, conscious, but bleeding from multiple fragmentation wounds to his face, neck, arms and legs, asked for the PRC-25 tactical radio and immediately began to call in additional instructions for an expanded medevac with gunship support.

Only after having done this did Sgt Tingen accept first aid.

Two United States Army Huey medevac helicopters escorted by two Marine AH-1 Cobra gunships arrived on scene fifteen minutes after the booby trap detonation and all the wounded were medevaced to 95th Evacuation Hospital, Red Beach, Danang.

...A sweep of the area disclosed...

The remaining 8 Marines of CAP 2-7-6 cleared and entered the treeline discovering one dead Viet Cong, an AK-47 and assorted gear. Due to the number of casualties, it was determined at this time to abort planned Night Acts and return to a more secure location, set up a perimeter and cease offensive operations until the CAP could be brought up to full 12-man compliment.
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All the wounded survived. Some years later Gerard Henkle became an Army paratrooper. Sorry to say he passed away back in the 90's. Marv Hargis was later an MP at Lejeune. I saw Bill Tingen two years later with a rack full of ribbons and a few rockers under his stripes.
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