Note: This is part of a series. Read part one and part two here.

Capt. Gene McCarley had the men of MACV-SOG B Company hatchet force moving north well before the sun rose on day two of Operation Tailwind—a mission deep into Laos to take the pressure off of the CIA’s Operation Gauntlet in the Bolovens Plateau farther west in southern Laos.

“We zigzagged a lot during that mission because we didn’t want the NVA to get a good fix on our position, as we knew they’d try to pin us down and attack us in force if that happened,” McCarley told SOFREP.

Within an hour, NVA soldiers hit first platoon with automatic weapons fire, B-40 rockets, and mortars. Two squads maneuvered against the enemy while McCarley directed air strikes against the enemy position. The tactics worked. Because of the thick jungle, they weren’t able to get an accurate body count, as McCarley continued to march north. However, SF Medic Gary Mike Rose knew the casualties were climbing among both SF and indigenous troops of B Company.