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June 1969, we were operating out of LZ “Ike” along the Mustang Trail.
Every night, each squad in C 2/5 had to have one man awake on guard duty.
Depending on the size of the squad, guard duty would last between 60-90
minutes. You would be wakened, do
your guard duty, wake the next guy and then go the sleep. You would often pull
guard from your assigned foxhole but sometimes you would have to go to another
position especially if it was on a trail.
One dark and moonless night, Richard Hamilton had moved to another foxhole for guard duty. This position was 3 or 4 holes away, which is a long way in the jungle at night. At the end of his guard, he woke his replacement, who happened to be sleeping at the guard position. Richard then proceeded back to his foxhole. However, he got lost and disorientated and wandered forward of the perimeter until he set off one of the trip flares. Everything after that turned chaotic. Richard started to yell that he was a GI but he didn’t want to get down or hide because of the Claymore Mines. Fortunately for Richard, the guy he just woke for guard duty recognized him and didn’t take action. However, the guards from the other squads had already thrown some grenades and set off a claymore. Richard then decided to just make the 50yard dash in the direction where he heard some shouting.
Updated January 27, 2001