Web site by Craig Slaughter © 2009
This is not an official USMC site.
Republic of South Vietnam - August 1965
by L/Cpl George Covell
3rd Platoon India Company 65’
My first recollection of Operation Starlite began the night before the landing. It was sometime prior to dawn and I could not sleep. I was in an upper bunk and I was trying to lay still, but ended up waking “Doc” Harris who was in the rack below me. We talked a bit about what we were
in store for and then we both went back to sleep.
At dawn we were in an amtrac approaching the shore. I believe it was Sgt. Towne that opened a rear hatch. He was sitting very exposed when an explosive device went off covering him with water. He closed the hatch and someone yelled. “Lock and load!”
The details become fuzzy after the landing but I do
recall being in a ditch full of dead VC and one of
them had a chicken in his belt.
I remember a helicopter coming down and the crew evacuating Captain Webb (KIA) and a few other men
that were wounded.
Late that night, after the attempted rescue of the
ambushed amtracs, we had stopped in a small area surrounded by a hedgerow.
I was just inside the opening with my team leader Don Dober on my left. Dave Smeltser was on my right. We were sort of dozing when I heard unmistakable Vietnamese voices. As it turned out, two VC had one of their dead hanging from a pole. One had reached down and was asking if he was okay, I think. The conversation continued until the VC touched Dave's helmet and I swear I heard the words, “Oh oh”. The two VC dumped the body on Dave and myself and split before we had the chance to shoot.
We eventually got back to the beach and were told to sack out. The next morning while collecting my gear, I noticed I had several empty magazines and no grenades. The strange part is I do not remember shooting that many rounds or throwing the grenades. However, I do remember seeing the chopper evacuating O'Malley’s squad. The rest is fog.
Since my first reunion a few years ago, Charlie Fink and I have compared notes and he cleared up some of the fog. Not all, as Charlie was wounded during the day and was not around for the evening activities.
Charlie, Frank Zechmeister and I went to Dave Smeltser's 60th birthday and we talked, but he was reluctant to discuss more. Dave died in 2007. I think he would have liked to have seen this site; the Starlite map and read the stories.