Name: 1SG James L. Gibson
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Forest Grove, Oregon
Milblog: The Life of Top
The night was June 30, 2007. The funny thing is that I don’t
remember anything that happened earlier in the day. The first thing I
remember is where this story will begin. It’s hard to
write about. As I type these words I get a flood of emotions through my
body. Anger, sadness, adrenaline, and excitement are bombarding me at
this very moment. I have wanted to write about this night for a long
time. I have been afraid to write about it, wanting to get it right. Too much happened for me to accurately capture
everything, but this is my story. My take. What I remember.
It had been a while
since our last scuffle with al Qaeda. Jimm Spannagel had recently
talked with our whole platoon telling us that we were going to conduct
“Steady State Operations,” as the sector was quiet and we had the place
on lock-down. I was sitting outside playing some Texas Hold ’em with
some of the guys. I was wearing my ACU pants, boots, and had taken off
the top as it was still pushing mid 90s well after the sun had set.
Spirits were high, talking trash as guys won hands with the Sneaky
Sadiki, Impalla (6-4), The Hund (K-9), Dirty Trucker (10-4), Dinner for
Two (6-9) and many more that I wish I remembered. Little did we know
that the events later that night would change the lives of thousands of
people; both good and bad.
“Tracer fire to the east,” came from the rooftop observation post. Nothing out of the ordinary, I thought.
“Lots of tracers to the east,” came a few seconds later.
Still nothing out of the ordinary. I continued to play cards. Celebratory fire was common.
“Saber 7, Red 7 is on the net, they are in contact” yelled my Command Post RTO as he ran towards the card table.
I immediately threw down my cards and ran to the Command Post. I
snatched the radio. “Red 7, Saber 7, over,” I called.
“Saber 7, Red 7,
we are in contact with 75-100 insurgents." I remember
looking over at Jimm, who had rushed into the CP, or maybe he had been
standing there the whole time, with a quizzical look on my face as if to
say, “He can’t be serious!”
“Red 7, Saber 7, say again over?” was my
next radio transmission, hoping he would respond with something else.
“THIS IS RED 7, WE ARE IN CONTACT WITH 75-100 INSURGENTS. WE ARE
RUNNING BLACK ON AMMO, WE NEED IMMEDIATE RE-SUPPLY!” His reply left no
room for interpretation as the steady sound of an M2 Heavy Barreled .50
Cal machine gun was rocking in the background, coupled with the reports
of tracer fire from my OP, they were in the shit. Jimm looked at me and asked “What do you think?”
By the time the decision was made to roll out, half our platoon was
standing in the CP awaiting instructions. Jimm made the call to leave
the JSS minimally manned with only a couple guys on the radio and
the somewhat trusting Iraqi Police to pull security. Jimm pulled in the
Squad leaders, Iraqi Police Chief, and began to come up with a hasty
plan. Each truck was already loaded for bear, but each stopped by our Ammunition
holding area to load up additional rounds for Red Platoon. They were four
trucks with less than 20 Soldiers.
We needed to hurry. I loved my
platoon for their ability to react quickly, but more for the fact that
they were always hungry for a fight. The tracer fire to the east was
visible as we conducted last minute radio checks, mounted gear, and
threw on our night vision devices. We were headed east towards the
river; nasty, rough terrain that was full of irrigation ditches that
made navigation in a straight line impossible. This terrain also made
“choke points” that were perfect places for the enemy to emplace IEDs.
The city had been quiet for a while. US forces had taken back
control of Ramadi, the capitol of Al Anbar province -- a province
that had been declared un-winnable by a Marine General. What we didn’t know
that night was that al Qaeda was making one last desperate attempt to
create havoc. Two 40-foot trailers loaded with IEDs and munitions were
surrounded by 75-100 al Qaeda insurgents, most of whom were wearing
suicide vests. Red Platoon from Charlie Company 1-77 Armor was
conducting area reconnaissance in an area along the Euphrates River near
Donkey Island, named for the donkeys that live on it. They surprised
the insurgents, and may have surprised themselves running into such a
large element. The fight was on.
We flew out the gate of the JSS and headed towards Red Platoon. Our
platoon had already been hit by three IEDs and we were moving into
territory that we didn’t spend much time in. We didn’t want to rush to
failure. The threat of possible IEDs was high. We moved slow and
deliberate. The amount of tracers that filled the air was surreal. I
kept thinking “This looks like the laser light show at
the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.” Red platoon kept calling on
the radio asking for our position. We couldn’t move fast enough. Saber 1 was in the lead. The shitty terrain, lack of knowledge of the
terrain, and threat of IEDs limited our speed.
By the time we arrived at Red Platoon's position, the fighting was at a
lull. The enemy had hunkered down due to the superior night-fighting
capabilities our weapons and equipment provided. We cross-leveled
ammunition from our trucks to resupply Red platoon while Red 7 gave us
the run-down of what had happened. Red platoon had put a smackdown on
the enemy. After he was finished giving us the update I thought, “Well,
Red kicked their ass, we won’t get much action.”
How wrong I was.
I have been asked more than a few times if I ever thought while serving in combat that I was going
to die or thought death was imminent. The
answer is “No.” However, on numerous occasions I had thought to myself,
“If I am ever going to be killed, this would be a situation in which I
might.” I was confident in my abilities. I was confident in the
abilities of my platoon. If al Qaeda was going to get the jump on me,
they were going to have to be the best, because my platoon was great, if
not the best, and I believed in their abilities to wreak havoc. And it
wasn’t because they were Cavalry Scouts. We had Commo guys and Medics
that were part of the team. Your job in the military doesn’t matter;
it’s what you do to benefit the team that counts. And they all kicked
ass the night of June 30, 2007.
I mounted back up into my truck after cross-leveling ammunition to
Red Platoon, and gave my crew a quick run-down. Jimm was on the radio
giving orders to sections of trucks. Alpha Section would move south and
orient their trucks to interdict movement south of the engagement area
while another section was to move with the Company Commander that just
so happened to be leaving to conduct a patrol himself. We effectively
set a half moon cordon of vehicles around the engagement area with the
Euphrates River to the backs of the enemy. Smack in the center were
the two large semi-trucks.
With everyone set, Jimm made the call to assault through the
objective towards the river to clear any remaining enemy. As our trucks
crept toward the vehicles we received small arms fire from its vicinity
and witnessed four enemy Soldiers bounding back to cover. Jimm ordered
his gunner to engage the cab of the truck to destroy it, and the .50
Caliber Armor Piercing Incendiary rounds did just that and then some. The
truck quickly caught fire. Munitions in the back of the trailer began
to cook off. Mortar rounds, IEDs, and small arms began to explode and
the fire, becoming increasingly larger, began to wash out our night
vision. With the rounds cooking off and our inability to see, the call
was made to move back a few hundred meters and wait for the fire to burn
out. We backed up our trucks and waited.
By this time, two Apache gunships had arrived on station and
conducted check-in. Jimm along with Red 7 were giving him situation
reports on what was going on. One of the Apache Crews was conducting
their last patrol; giving the new unit a tour of the area. They were
soon headed back home to Texas after a long deployment. Chief Warrant
Officer Kevin Purtee was one of the pilots with Chief Warrant Officer
Allen Crist as the gunner, or what they call the “Front Seat-er.”
As we were sitting and watching the fire grow, I received the second
worst radio transmission a leader can receive. “Saber 7, my gunner lost
his rifle.” I wanted to flip out, but we had bigger fish to fry. I
called back to the JSS and let them know what happened. They left one
guy on the radio and took our two satellite operators and left the JSS
on a dismounted patrol to find it. Luckily for the crew, the weapon was
found at the first turn out of the JSS. The gunner had set it on top
of the truck and in the hurry to leave the JSS, failed to secure it
inside his truck as they left.
The fire began to intensify and the Apaches began to engage a few
targets of opportunity. One of those “opportunities” happened to be
about 50 meters from my truck. The 40mm High-Explosive rounds going off
so close, without warning, startled the hell out of me and my gunner.
The Apaches were reporting numerous hot-spots through their thermal
vision but with the sheep, donkeys, exploding shrapnel from the trucks,
and the enemy laying still, it was tough to determine what was what.
And then the largest explosion I have ever witnessed happened. The
two trucks went up in a ball of flame, so large and intense that it knocked the
UAV’s thermal vision out of commission. With the fire now subsided by
the explosion we assaulted east, and all hell broke loose.
We started receiving heavy small arms, RPG, and grenade fire from
various distances. My gunner, “Boots” began to open up with his M240
machine gun. The irrigation ditches and terrain didn’t allow us to
remain on line and forced us to follow each other “ducks in a row” to
move east. “OVER THERE, OVER THERE, I SEE KNUCKLES!” yelled my medic
that sits behind the driver.
“WHERE IS THERE?” came from my gunner.
explosion rocked near the back of Jimm’s truck; an RPG had just missed
him. Tracer fire everywhere as we continued our push. Boots was
smoking the hell out of the enemy as we finally reached the bank of the
river. I look back at Doc and ask him “What the hell is Knuckles?”
“You know, when a guy is running and pumping his fists as he runs --' I
saw his knuckles.'” I placed this brief conversation into the memory
bank to remember to re-train target designation.
We hit the bank of the river and moved south to clear buildings and
tents. Our hope was to catch those that had possibly been injured or
were seeking safe haven from some of the locals. As we began to clear
the second building my element providing security outside came under
heavy automatic fire. One of the basic rules when on patrol is if you
hear the gun firing, you are not the target. However, if you hear the
crack of the round as it breaks the sound barrier passing you, and THEN
you hear the gun, take cover. I don’t remember hearing the machine gun,
but I do remember us getting pelted with bullets and the hundreds of
small sonic “Cracks” as the bullets flew past us. Everyone dove back
into their trucks and we moved back towards the engagement area with
everyone’s gunners, and the Apache Gunships, lighting up Donkey Island.
Pain 6, our Company Commander, along with Saber 9 and his section
began their assault south to clear along the river bank from the
northern side of the engagement area. The river level had dropped about eight feet from its levels during the winter. This created a perfect six-foot cliff along the road for the enemy to use as cover while the trucks
moved south. Pain 6 and his dismounts would clear along the river bank
as the mounted element moved in conjunction to provide mounted machine
As Pain 6’s element cleared the river bank they became pinned
down by the overwhelming enemy fire. The net was heavy with traffic
as Red 7 and the Apaches were talking about targets. Through a break in
the chaos on the net, I overheard Pain 6 say that he was pinned down
and unable to move. I don’t think anyone but myself had heard it as
conversations continued about what the Apache needed to be doing.
“BREAK BREAK BREAK, this is Saber 7, we have a commander pinned down and
unable to move. THAT needs to be our priority right now!” I yelled over
the net. And what was said next, depending on who you ask, is up for
debate, but I know what I heard.
“This is Saber 9, my gunner has been shot in the face, he’s done.”
Everyone in my truck stopped and we all looked at each other.
just say Jamal is dead?” asked my driver.
“No, he’s shot, but not dead,”
was my reply, but now that my driver had asked, I began to wonder. I
wanted to feel bad, but had no time for it. I had to keep my guys
focused. “He’s going to be fine, let’s move out.” My job as a Platoon
Sergeant now changed from killing bad guys to Casualty Evacuation. I
immediately grabbed Saber 1’s section and we maneuvered towards Pain 6’s
Pain 6’s element had taken some casualties and we were going to need
more than my truck to evacuate the wounded. I got on the Task Force net
and immediately requested a MEDIVAC helicopter to pick up Jamal. I was
denied. The firefight was too intense, MEDIVAC wouldn’t risk a
helicopter. I was livid. I think part of the reason I respect those
that work in the Tactical Operations Center is that they have to put up
with guys like me on the radio. I didn’t care who was on the other end --
I wasn’t afraid to tell them how pissed I was that a bird wasn’t
Specialist Jamal was the gunner on a truck moving south along the
river bank. As he was scanning he spotted an Insurgent engaging his
truck from below, along the river bank. With the M240 in its mount,
he was unable to depress the weapon far enough to fire back. He stood
up, pulled the machine gun from its mount and fired while exposing
himself from behind his ballistic shield. He killed the insurgent, but
took a round in the face. The force of the bullet knocked him back
inside his truck.
Near the same time that Jamal had been shot, the dismounted element
began to take heavy casualties as well. Specialist T, Corporal A,
Sergeant Nick, and Pain 6 had become casualties. SGT Nick took a round
to the head but helped SPC T move to a little bit of cover. He then
low-crawled back to the nearest truck which happened to be SSG N’s.
“Get to the medic, I’ll get SPC T,” SSG N ordered.
SPC T had been shot
multiple times and was pinned down on the river bank, unable to move
under his own power. SSG N, under intense machine gun fire, low-crawled
to SPC T and asked “Can you walk?”
“Does it look like I can walk?” was
his reply. SPC T was full of bullet holes. SSG N then dragged SPC T back
to safety, putting his own life at risk for that of another Soldier.
We arrived at the designated Casualty Collection Point (CCP) and
began to load the wounded. I don’t remember if we were under fire or
not, but I remember the amazing work of our Medics and my Senior Scout
as they were cool, calm, and tending to the wounded.
SGT Nick conducted self aid and wrapped his head wound up. He was
going to drive one of the trucks back to Camp Ramadi with one of the
wounded. I loaded up CPL A into the back of my truck while Saber 1
loaded up SPC Jamal. We had numerous wounded and we needed to get them
back to the Level 2 Aid Station as soon as possible, especially SPC
Jamal. He was covered in blood, and barely able to walk, but alive.
Each of the trucks we were using for evacuation had problems. Flat
tires, power steering pumps inoperative due to bullet holes, or
windows that could barely be seen out of due to spiderwebs that were
created by bullets. That wasn’t all...
We again had problems with the terrain. We were in an area that we
had only been in a few times, and then it had been during daylight. This time it
was pitch black out. It seemed every turn we took led us into a square
100-meter field with no exit. It was like a giant maze that we were
trying to find the exit to, only this time lives were at stake. We
turned into a field and slammed into an embankment that sent my gunner
flying into his weapon. The force was so hard that his feet came up off
the ground and hit the windshield. Groans from CPL A in the back were
constant. He was holding up, but the rough terrain and bumpy ride were
killing the bullet wounds that had broken his ankle.
The net had been silent for a while. Not normal...
One look at my
radios and I noticed that they had overheated. Great! Another thing to
shit the bed. First the weapon, next was wounded Soldiers, no MEDIVAC
bird, now my radios go out? What else could go wrong? I will tell you:
my transmission takes a shit. It was like the truck wouldn’t go fully
into gear, like a clutch was slipping. We had no power to move over
any rough terrain. Any small hill needed a running start.
frustration could be heard in my driver’s voice as I would yell commands
at him. I had to calm down; yelling wasn’t helping anything. I was
starting to get light headed. We had been going hard for a few hours
and I needed some water but our truck didn’t have any; we had thrown out the
cooler full of water to make room for the casualties. Time was running
out for SPC Jamal. Something needed to be done. I was starting to feel
a little overwhelmed. That’s when two bad ass National Guardsmen took
The aviation unit was from Texas and was conducting their final
flight over the city of Ramadi. They had no idea what was in store for
them that night.
After receiving updates from Red 7 and Jimm, they started rocket and
gun runs along Donkey Island. They were monitoring our Task Force net
and could hear my anger-filled pleas for a MEDIVAC helicopter. Having
heard stories about Soldiers dying due to the lack of a MEDIVAC bird,
they weren’t going to let it happen this time. That’s when they decided
to do something that had never been done in combat (and done only twice
since). Fully understanding the risk, they landed their Apache
helicopter after Saber 1 established a Hasty Landing Zone. Chief
Warrant Officer Crist got out of the front seat to allow room for a
critically wounded Soldier. SPC Jamal was loaded into the Apache’s
front seat. They had two choices. The first was for CW2 Crist to stay
on the ground while CW4 Purtee flew back to camp Ramadi. The second,
and the one they chose, was for CW2 Crist to strap himself to the
outside of the Apache and sit on the small wing for the ride back. The
bird took off and made its way back to safety.
We still weren’t out of the maze of irrigation ditches yet.
Frustration was at an all time high. I kept talking to CPL A, trying to
keep him calm, but in all honesty I think it helped me stay calm as
well. Pain 6, who was suffering from heat exhaustion and a bullet
wound, was in one of the vehicles headed back to Camp Ramadi. Somewhere
along the route he gained consciousness and ordered his driver to turn
around and take him back to the fight. He refused to leave his troops
on the battlefield.
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it out of the
maze and were on familiar terrain. My radios were working again and
Task Force HQ was getting minute by minute updates as we made our way
back. I wanted them to ensure that the Entry Control Point would be
open and let us through without having to stop. I think this was about
the third or fourth time I was entering the FOB with wounded, and it
never failed; the ECP wasn’t expecting us. The Armored Personnel
Carrier was blocking the road and nobody was around to move it. I
flipped out, screaming at the poor kid pulling guard; so hard in fact
that I about passed out. I was maxed out on adrenaline, dehydrated, and
After the vehicle was moved out of the way we flew to the Aid station
to unload the wounded. The medical team was waiting for us by the
entrance to unload the wounded. The medics had it down to a science in
Ramadi; they had seen their fair share of casualties. The Level 2
facility, or “Charlie Med” as they called it, was located across from
the chow hall. For the first few months that we lived there, you
couldn’t eat a meal without a medic running in and calling out a blood
type. “O Positive!” they would yell, and anyone with that blood type
would get up and rush over to Charlie Med to give blood to a wounded
Soldier in need.
Rule one when dropping off casualties was to stay out of the way; the
medics were in charge. Standing behind the large concrete barriers was
my Battalion Operations Officer, 1SG, and Brigade Command Sergeant
Major Stanley. Word had spread quickly on the intense firefight and
everyone and their brother was standing by to get a firsthand account of
what was going on.
“You all right, Sergeant G? What’s going on out there?” asked my
Operations Officer Major J.
I looked at him square in the eyes “It’s a
fucking laser light show, sir. They were everywhere. I need water.”
My 1SG, or a Medic, I can’t remember, brought be a 1-liter bottle of
water and I downed it. I began to explain what was going on, and I must
have been speaking a thousand miles an hour. CSM Stanley grabbed me by
the flack-vest and yanked me really close so our noses were about two
CSM Stanley was a big dude that stood well over 6 feet, weighed
easily 240, but was always really cool with me. But you could tell that
he could get into some ass if needed. He would frequently stop down at
our JSS to drop off some care packages and shoot the breeze. We would
walk out on the front entrance of the JSS, fire up a couple of Newports,
and just talk. He didn’t come down to bust our balls, or get in our
ass about anything; he came down to show us he cared. He knew our
living conditions were terrible, and our mission wasn’t the easiest.
With a half cocked smile he said, “Gib, I can see it in your eyes, you
got a lot of adrenaline pumping through you right now. You need to
take a few deep breaths and c-a-l-m d-o-w-n.” I took a deep breath,
another, then yanked myself away from him and threw up all over the
concrete barrier. Serious adrenaline dump…
By this time, all of the
wounded had been taken inside and a medic was standing beside me wanting
to take me in as well. “You're dehydrated, you need an IV, get inside,”
I wasn’t having it though. I needed to get back out to
Donkey Island to get back with my Soldiers. “Not going to happen Doc,” I
CSM Stanley piped in: “Doc, it’s a lost cause, he aint going
inside.” He looked at me and finished his sentence: “He wants and needs to
get back with his boys.”
I walked inside Charlie Med and received a roll-up of all the wounded
and proceeded to the Company Command Post to radio back to our boys in
the fight. I knew that hearing that everyone had made it back safely would
ease their minds. I began to rattle off the names and the wounds they
received and even managed to throw in some humor when I described SGT
Nick’s. “And SGT Nick, Gunshot wound to the head, through and through,
walking wounded.” It is still one of the most bizarre wounds I have
ever seen. He was shot in the head, just above his ear. The bullet
pierced his skin, but not the skull. The bullet wrapped around his
head, exited the skin at the back of his head, and then blew a hole
through his Kevlar helmet. God was looking out for him that night.
I left the CP and headed over to our maintenance area and the
mechanics were going a hundred miles an hour fixing our trucks. The
warm hue of the fluorescent lights lit up the motor stables. Our
vehicles were jacked up, full of bullet holes, and needed some serious
work. The Motor Sergeant was barking orders, mechanics swapping parts,
and not a single complaint could be heard. It was the first time that I
was completely satisfied with our mechanics. It seemed like any other
time we needed something done it was done slow, with complaints, and
grudgingly. I remember wondering why they couldn’t work like this all
the time... I guess it takes some of our Soldiers being shot for them to
show some urgency.
After a few hours at maintenance, around eight hours after the
initial firefight, Saber 1’s section and I were headed back out. It
still wasn’t over. The intensity of the firefight had subsided, but the
worst of the event was yet to come.
The sun had started to rise over the Iraqi desert. I had been
monitoring the radio while the mechanics worked feverishly on our trucks,
and I was tracking on what was going on out in sector. With our trucks
fixed, we headed out the gate to link back up with the platoon and the
rest of the element that had showed up.
I met Staff Sergeant Michael L. Ruoff Jr. after I returned from the
Master Gunner Academy back in 2000. He and his wife Tracey had just
PCS’d to Germany. He was high speed, and a “Gear-do." Everything about
him was Army. He quickly gained the nick-name “Ranger Ruoff” and fit
right in with C Company, House of Pain. While most of us Tankers liked
to keep our distance from the Infantry side of the house, Ranger Ruoff
gladly cammo’ed up and played Grunt.
One of my favorite stories involving Ranger Ruoff was when we were
shooting Tank Table 8, our annual Tank qualification. The Battalion
Commander wouldn’t let anyone sit in the Battle Positions while another
crew went down range to qualify. This didn’t allow any crews the
ability to “G2” the range prior to the qualification run. This didn’t
stop Ranger Ruoff. Armed with some cammo, a radio, binoculars, and a
range sector card, he and a fellow crew member snuck through the woods
behind the range tower and did some “Recon” of their own. They fired up
the radio to listen to the tower prompts and watched as tanks went down
range and qualified. After a few runs, he had the order of the
targets, target locations, and anything you needed to know for each of
SFC Raymond R. Buchan was a burley Infantry Noncommissioned officer
in the Infantry company that was attached to our Battalion. During the
first few months of the deployment, myself and my Scouts were itching to
get into the City of Ramdi and fight. We were afforded the opportunity
on a few occasions to work with SFC Buchan’s platoon. He loved to talk
shit about me being a tanker and being on the ground kicking in doors.
With a big ear to ear grin he would look down from the turret of his
Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and yell “You able to keep up, old
Both of these fine Soldiers were taken from us the morning of 1 July,
2007. As vehicles continued to clear the objective of Donkey Island,
many bodies on the ground were discovered to be wearing Suicide Vests.
The decision was made to establish a hasty defensive position and wait
for EOD to clear the vests. By the time I had arrived back to my
Scouts, a Platoon of Infantry and the Battalion Commander with his
Personal Security Detachment had showed up. One of the Brads had
engaged some enemy running into a tent; SFC Buchan and SSG Ruoff were
conducting Battle Damage Assessment inside the tent. They walked
outside and were gunned down by an insurgent that was behind some
That’s the crazy thing about combat. In one fraction of a moment,
everything can come crashing down. Immediately the Navy SEALS that had
arrived conducted first aid and sped them back to Camp Ramadi, but were
unable to save their lives.
At some point later that morning, we Scouts were ordered back to the
JSS to bolster security and continue operations. I headed back, upset
about the loss of a friend. I then received a radio call that the Iraqi
Police that were tasked with getting rid of the dead insurgents were
acting like fools on the Objective. Each of the insurgents had a
back-pack that was full of ammo, ID card, a $100 bill, and a cell phone.
The Iraqi Police were all fighting over the back-packs instead of
clearing the dead bodies. I lost my mind. After the most stress-filled
night of my life, losing two of my buddies, and then the IP’s acting
like idiots, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I got word that one of the IP trucks was entering the JSS. I flew
outside and flipped out on the IP Commander. I kicked the door of the
IP truck and pushed back all the IPs as they attempted to grab a
back-pack. “Burn them all” was my order. My poor Soldiers having to
deal with me -- I lost my mind. I really believe that they could have
admitted me into the loony-bin that morning. I took all the bags, threw
them in a pile, covered them in gas, and was about to light them on
fire when one of my Soldiers stopped me. The bags had some machine gun
rounds in them. Good catch...
And that’s the last thing I remember about the event.
I haven’t wanted to write about this night because there is so much
that I didn’t cover or missed. The events that Saber 9 and his section
took part in, the Company Commander and his actions, and the actions of
my Platoon Leader Jimm are so numerous that I plan to interview each of
them prior to writing my book about our deployment to Ramadi. The JSS
and limited amount of security they had and their actions. So much
happened that night that still needs to come out, and will at a later
time. Many awards were given out that night for Valorous actions:
Two Distinguished Flying Crosses.
Two Silver Stars.
Bronze Stars with V for Valor (two that I know for sure, but think it could be four).
Army Commendation Medals with V for Valor (four that I know of but could be more).
Purple Hearts (too many).
Thirty-five confirmed enemy killed (that is just the bodies that were
recovered on the main land, not counting those that were swept away by
the river or were on Donkey Island).
Sergeant First Class Raymond R. Buchan – KIA
Staff Sergeant Michael L. Ruoff Jr. – KIA
Rest in Peace, Buchan and Ruoff. We will meet again at the Fiddlers Green.