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Page 553 (1968: The Defining Year)







Photo trom the Abel Collection


His face covered with camouflage paint, Marine PFC Robert L. Scheidel looks out upon a landing zone for his Stingray team from inside a Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter. Note the smoke canisters strapped to his chest.


for detection by the enemy was known as "Cayenne".' On 30 May, Team "Cayenne" occupied a position on a narrow finger near the Song Thu Bon less than one kilometer north of the border between Quang Nam and Quang Tin provinces. The jungle surrounding the position had been burned away, revealing a gentle slope upwards to the north with steep drops to the south, east, and west. Five days and four nights passed without a single sighting of the enemy. At 2245, on 3 June, the Communists struck suddenly. A series of explosions rocked the observation post and, almost instantly, 4() Viet Cong overran the Marines' position. The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion lost contact with the team immediately following the initial report and called for help in the form of a Douglas AC-47 "Spooky".'1-'"


"Spooky 11" arrived on station over Cayenne's position at 2340. At 2351, the patrol leader reestablished radio communications with the battalion headquarters and requested an emergency extraction for himself and his wounded corpsman. He reported that the other 13 Marines of Cayenne were either dead or missing. The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion called fm the extraction as another AC-47 and a flareship responded to the call for help and arrived to support Cayenne.


Just over 50 minutes after the request, two Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters arrived, sup-


*Thc teams were distinguished from each other by their radio call signs, e.g. "Cayenne," "Eit Skin," "Auditor," and "Hanover Sue" to name but a few,


-The "S--x>oky," sometimes referred to as "Puff, the Magic Dragon," was an attack version of the venerable Douglas C-4"? Skytrain cargo aircraft. Armed with Vulcan miniguns, "Sp(x)ky" was capable of placing 18,000 rounds of 7.62mm machine gun fire on a target in one minute.







Page 553 (1968: The Defining Year)