Written 1996 by Sgt. Bob Wilson
Recon, 1st Bn 14th Infantry

The tiger’s growl greets the midnight watch inside of LZ Lane

as another darkened dirty hole hides these troopers on parade.

Hypersomniac filled OD ponchos will miss the sentinels change

and silently bless their god of war for granting this reprieve.

Another night, another day, another numbing humping recon trek

into this jungle filled with death and memories called Plei Trap.

American and Montagnard, common burdens to which they’re born,

a single file beats endless time to the border just beyond.

The red clay earth that blankets all, and creeps into the soul,

a rusting paste of body paint, one more reward from hell.

The trails filled with creeping scores of thin blood sucking leeches,

drinking the life from passing soldiers and other living beings.

Stained burnt ocher combat packs filled with personal things,

Claymore bags filled with grenades and pouches of magazines.

Well taped metal combat gear, from which no sound gives voice,

windproof lighters filled with fluid, cigarettes, and fuel chunks of C4.

Green tracer rounds and whistle sounds announce the daily fray,

to kill us all and keep this land, to honor freedoms flame.

The bunker line erupts with fire directed towards our front

as sergeants signal follow me, a race to form a flank.

Firepower, firepower, that awesome raptor of war,

a growing thunderous cacophony, eruptions great and small.

105s and 155s, screaming support from Plei Djerang,

while 82s and RPGs are the PAVNs communal refrain.

Above the roar fly birds of prey, fat hogs and fast F4s,

orchestrated air symphonies conducted by Bird Dog.

ARA, big bombs away, percussive waves and napalm flames,

the power on call, lord of all, gives voice this murderous way.

The enemy too holds cards today; their numbers are times ten,

they flank the right and then the left, a growing hungriness.

Fire now from everywhere, the Troopers make their stand,

within the center the wounded lie, waiting to be over run.

The day wears on with dry canteens and mouths like popcorn farts,

Morphine Rangers work away so the bleeding can be stopped.

Leaders fall, the led step forth, each man takes charge this day.

Everywhere, on both sides too are well-fought infantry.

The nineteenth of November now, nineteen and sixty six,

this year of the horse is ably fought between both foe and friend.

What men are these whom know the pain and yet respond once more?

Golden Dragons, 1st of the 14th, they answer duty’s call.

I penned the above in 1996 after 30 years of trying unsuccessfully to come to grips with that day.  As far as I know, the Battalion established the combat level of effort required to survive in the Plei Trap on 13 and 19 Nov. 66.  I believe that the Golden Dragons were the first line Battalion to operate there.  Lt. Joe Grant won the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously on the 13th.  Sgt. Ted Belcher won one posthumously on the 19th.  The Plei Trap was hard money.

                                                                                                           Bob Wilson