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Con Thien

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AP Wire PhotosLIFE Photos '65Marble MountainNSA Hospital DaNangQue Son Valley

Inside the Cone of Fire
Mike Company, Third Battalion, Ninth Marines

Con Thien 17


By night, my world spun around Mike Company's command bunker, overlooking a no man's land sporadically lit by flares and tracers. As soon as Captain Frank Breth had briefed his platoon lieutenants, every man in that massive timbered haven ripped open rations and began cooking, cleaning weapons, writing home, or talking: of communism; of there being no retreat for a Marine; of God-an intensely personal God; of their hatred but respect for enemy Charlie.

Con Thien 18

"Captain-I've been hit...." the voice on the field phone from OP One was perfectly clear, although the sandbagged position-blasted by a recoilless rifle from the DMZ-was nearly in ruins. Corpsmen Dennis Mclean and Bill Dancy had the forward observer, Cpl Harry Hutchinson ,back in Mike Company's bunker almost before shock set in-but not before he weakly joked, "Oh mercy, friends, whatever was that noise?" Shock, concussion, the burned arm and the sense of humor apparently balanced each other. Harry Hutchinson was back in OP One two nights later.

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