“We were outnumbered 10 to 1.”
“We were outnumbered 10 to 1. I followed Taft. The lieutenant got hit. Then [Spc. 4] Jerry Kirsch was hit by automatic weapons fire.” Kirsch survived, but Beck came upon another soldier who was already dead and saw still another take wounds.
To his right, Beck watched Spc. 4 Bob Hazen attempting to give first aid to Taft. North Vietnamese bullets smashed into the radio on Hazen’s back. Hazen’s efforts could not save the lieutenant.
“The rest of our platoon was in the jungle and we were on flat ground on the flank. We fought there, on and off, for an hour.
“I went back near the LZ to get some ammo. On the way back, I came across Lt. Raul Taboada and gave him first aid.” Taboada was badly wounded, but survived.
“While returning to Russ Adams I encountered two NVA. I dropped my ammo box and used my .45 [automatic pistol] to fire at two NVA who popped up near me. I apparently hit both of them.
“I got back to Russ just as an NVA bullet hit him in the head. It was a hideous wound.”
Virtually every American Beck had seen since arriving at LZ X-Ray was now dead or wounded, except for a medic named Nall who appeared to help Adams.
Beck took over the M60 machine gun.
“The fighting lasted all night. We used everything – rifles, grenades, bayonets – doing some of the fighting in the glow of flares and some of it in pitch darkness. At one point I braced my rifle on the body of a dead NVA and sighted over top of him to shoot at his comrades.”
“Russ was laying there with his head open. That was the most afraid I ever was in my life. Everything I’d seen up to then was my guys wounded and killed. The only people left were me and [medic] Nall and I figured, we’re next. The fear is ice cold and it numbs the hell out of you but you know you have to act.”