Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one here.

After the NVA soldier tapped one of RT Lion’s team members on the shoulder and told him that it was his turn to pull guard duty for the NVA, RT Lion Team Leader Pat Watkins and two of his team members headed toward the remainder of the team, safely maintaining its night defensive position. After a brief skirmish with NVA soldiers manning a 37mm anti-aircraft weapon, Watkins and his two Montagnard teammates, Er and Rong, approached the “remain over night” (RON) site. It was now near dawn. Watkins heard DeSeta demand the password. He responded and asked if DeSeta had made contact with Moonbeam—the night airborne command aircraft that flew over the area of operations daily.

“Affirmative,” DeSeta replied.

“Then tell them we’re declaring a Prairie Fire Emergency and we want out of here ASAP.”

While DeSeta radioed the distress call to Moonbeam, Watkins and Rong quickly buried three M-14 “toe-popper” anti-personnel mines behind them and then moved forward to join the rest of RT Lion.

The Prairie Fire Emergency was the ultimate “force multiplier” that gave SOG its astounding kill ratio of hundreds, and at times thousands, to one. If a team was not overrun and wiped out in the first few minutes of contact, the enemy knew with dead certainty there was going to be hell to pay. A rain of bombs and fire was headed their way and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

Moonbeam came back with the word that two F-4 Phantom jets were on station and armed with 500-pound bombs. They were asking to be directed to any “hard” targets that needed attention. “Tell them we have a 37mm position and storage area they can work,” Watkins said to DeSeta.

Watkins then asked Godwin if he had the exact coordinates for the team’s location. With 500-pound ordnance about to fall out of the sky, being exact was a matter of life or death. Godwin assured him they were right where he had marked them.