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

The morning of Operation Tailwind day four dawned upon the B Company hatchet force of MACV-SOG (SOG) as they moved toward an LZ to lift out the more seriously wounded among the remaining 130 men who could still walk. All 16 Green Berets had been wounded at least once, and about 30 Montagnard troops were wounded during the first three days of this secret foray deep into Laos to take pressure off of the CIA’s Operation Gauntlet in southern Laos on the Bolovens Plateau.

B Company commanding officer Capt. Gene McCarley had the point element moving toward an apparent clearing with one thought in mind: Get one Marine Corps heavy-lift CH-53D helicopter in to pick up the wounded and then continue to march, destroying any NVA fortifications, supplies, or troops they encountered. By now the entire 2nd platoon was being used to help care for and transport the wounded under the tireless leadership of SF Medic Gary Mike Rose, including three who were carried on impromptu stretchers.

On the previous day, when one CH-53D medevac was shot down by enemy gunners, B Company had strong support from the Marine Corps Cobra gunships of HML-367 (Scarface) in addition to 22 sorties flown by A-1 Skyraiders; eight sorties flown by Air Force F-4s from Ubon, Thailand; and Stinger and Spectre gunships working against enemy forces during the night. More than once that night, the transponders failed to provide a commo link to Stinger and Spectre, which meant they had to direct their air strikes from white phosphorous grenade explosions or strobe lights held by B Company men.