National Geographic : 1966 Feb
the first huts of the village. Firing burst out to our right. I could see several of our men, small in the distance, shooting deliberately. I fixed my eyes on the huts and prayed our momentum would not carry us-barely a reinforced platoon-straight into a whole Viet Cong village. Lieutenant Vincent threw back over his shoulder at me, "How many clips you got? I only have ten." I wondered what kind of battle he expected; his clips held 180 rounds. "I've got four," I replied. "But can't they support us from the base with the big mortar?" "Not much help if this thing goes hand to hand," he answered. "You know, we can be cut off from our base, too, just as we've been trying to cut off the VC. Though I think they've gotten clean away." Just then the Vietnamese officer seemed to realize how far we had charged. He waved "He was a man," said Dickey Chapelle of Lieutenant Meyerkord (above). It was her highest accolade. Automatic rifle in hand, Meyerkord directs fire from his gunboat. "Doughty but aging," the author described this craft, called FOM after the initials of the former French colonial administration in Viet Nam. Lightly armored, it carries one turret-mounted .50-caliber machine gun and three of .30 caliber. t lA-MHUML (RIGHT) AND KODACHROMEBY DICKEYCHAPELLE@ N.G .S .