John Bobb

Lt. John Bobb was platoon leader of the 1st platoon and shares the following recollections:

On the 26th.  Two WIA.  Second platoon was on point, my platoon, 1st, in the rear.  Two WIA, another in 2nd platoon. Name unknown, took off his rucksack, and put it in front of him, and an NVA bullet lodged in his purple heart, which was in the ruck. I set up flank and rear security, then we assisted in getting the WIA to a dustoff LZ.  Human interest note: Last summer Dick Snow and a shake and bake Sgt. Dale Bishop and I got together.  As previously noted, Dick came in the morning after our 6/28 VC Valley firefight.  Dale was at the battalion firebase set to join us on Chu Moor, when we were pulled off in April. [Welcome to Charlie Company, Dale]

On the 28th, I remember stopping at the top of the hill, it was rocky, and I remember picking leeches off my boots with my rifle barrel.  I remember soldiers actually seeing NVA on the top of the hill.

Battalion wanted us to join up with the 3rd platoon, at the new night location.  The captain and I had a conversation about leaving the top of the hill, under the circumstances we were in.  We already did some mental planning.  The 2nd platoon was on point, and 1st platoon in the rear.  I would like to compliment our previous CO (Capt. Konermann) who taught me lot about rear security when leaving a hill, and Capt. Barron for being  prepared to make a quick decision, under adverse circumstances.

On the way down the hill I heard an explosion to the front of 2nd platoon.  If others remember it could have been a grenade, B- 40, or small arms fire. I don’t remember.  I immediately ran to the Capt and we both agreed the frontal attack from the downside of the ridge was a diversion, and he said to send a fireteam, cautiously, back up the hill.

Once everyone was in perimeter, funny I don’t remember leeches anymore, we hunkered down, were quiet, I remember Harper kneeling down behind a tree looking into the perimeter, with his ever-present unlit cigar in his mouth. And then two NVA walking into the perimeter, right next to his tree.  They had their weapons slung over their shoulders, and they were laughing and joking.  My platoon sergeant, Lynn (Kelly) Berliner and I opened up on them.  I wish I could name and remember everything everybody did, but I can’t remember.

Tim Dieffenbacher recalls:

They began running down the slope in a human wave formation.  And they were yelling ‘move out’ in English as they were running toward us.  It was eerie.

Dale said he fired about 17 magazines, in a rapid fashion.  Blair fell dead across his legs.  Watson had the radio, and the handset was shot out of his hand, severing his thumb, except for a piece of skin. Adrenalin and time does strange things to your memory. I remember getting the medics morphine, and patching up the NCO’s arm, I think I gave morphine to the medic, Elmer patched up Watson’s hand.  I re-bandaged it again, and gave him morphine.  I remember he was pissed off, and telling me he wanted to be a barber.

Harper, would love to find him, had his M-79 with an HE round.  Those rounds have to travel nine meters, rotating to the right, to arm the HE round.  An NVA soldier was bearing down on him, and Harper put a 40 mm, HE round through his neck, and it did not explode.

The NVA evidently had a machine gun on our right flank, as we were looking up the hill.  Another shake and bake NCO, I don’t use that term in a negative fashion, took three machine gun bullets to his forearm, my medic, name escapes me, took a round through the front of his steel pot, the bullet travelled across the top of his skull.  He had blood in his eyes and couldn’t see.

We moved back up the hill.  It was so dark, I remember they had to fire flares off in the distance, the platoon sergeants had to face everyone outwards and physically make everyone hold hands to make sure that the perimeter was intact, and wounded were inside of it.  I took a detail and recovered Blair’s remains, and carryed him to the top of the hill.  We put sand bags on the ground, and covered with ponchos. Cold as hell.

I don’t remember a thing about the next day.  I remember being at the new night location, and somebody deciding to walk outside the perimeter and pee, and our LP was still so jumpy they threw a grenade at him.  No injuries.  I remember choppering into the battalion firebase at some point, and being met by SMG McGuire.  I remember returning the unused morphine to the battalion aid station.

About Kimbrell; I had totally blocked out his death for years.  I was real close to him.  I still can’t visualize him being killed.  In the way of background, he was at Chu Moor, was real close to Caplan who was killed on 5/29 out of Firebase 3 that had 8 inch guns.  I got him assigned to Elmer and the captain, after Caplan’s death to try and help him.  He died anyway.

About Davis;  He actually died from peritonitis.  I don’t remember how or why, but I was in the rear.  I picked up his mail, one from his girlfriend, and went to the hospital and read his mail to him.  He wasn’t in our platoon, but there was something special about him, I felt close to him.  I left the mail with him.  I asked the nurse if he was going to make it and she said no.

Bottom line on VC valley, is that if we had not recognized the NVA tactic, and everyone had not fought so tough, especially the fireteam I sent up the hill, they would have overrun us from the rear, and we would have all been killed.  God bless all of you.

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