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

During that NVA wave attack, Boggs called in an airstrike. He told the Spads to hit ST Louisiana to break the charge. The first 20mm gun run ripped into the NVA and through ST Louisiana’s perimeter. Cunningham was in a world of shit and there was nothing he could do about it. The next thing he knew, he was having an out-of-body experience. There he was, 100 yards away, watching himself get hit twice with 20mm rounds. One round went through his right leg, one through the radio on his back.

Although the radio was destroyed, it saved Cunningham’s life. Boggs got hit with shrapnel from the exploding PRC-25. The Vietnamese team member who was sitting where Walton had been was killed instantly. The rounds detonated the frag, smoke, and CS tear gas grenades on the dead indig. More shrapnel knocked Boggs into semi-consciousness.

The gun run broke the NVA wave attacks against ST Louisiana. It also left the team in a plume of tear gas, and smoke from smoke-grenades, weapons fire, and the earlier napalm run. The NVA probably felt the conditions around the team perimeter were far more deadly than facing the gun runs from the Spads and gunships. Walton performed a quick triage on Boggs and Cunningham.

He found that while the explosion of the 20mm round had left only a single piece of flesh holding the leg together, it had seared a good portion of Cunningham’s wounded right leg, actually helping the situation by keeping the loss of blood to a minimum. The medic pulled out a green cravat for a tourniquet. He used his knife to twist the bandage tight above the stump to stem any further bleeding. Walton also treated Cunningham for severe throat burn from the CS gas.

Realizing the PRC-25 had been destroyed, Walton reached into his pocket and pulled out the URC-10 emergency ultra-high frequency radio and called Covey. He reported one dead, three wounded, and that if Covey was going to get them out, he had to do it ASAP. Walton didn’t have the luxury of spare seconds to think about the short distance he had crawled earlier. Those eight to 10 feet had saved his life.

Cunningham, still watching himself from far away, heard someone on a radio calling Covey saying there were two dead. He thought he’d better find out whether or not he was alive. The Green Beret had a unique test to find out. He yelled. It sounded like it was far, far away, but he knew that he was alive. The yell also ended Cunningham’s out-of-body experience. He returned to his body, lying on the ground. Cunningham knew that he had to help himself. The more he did, the better it would be for everyone.

While Walton worked to save Cunningham’s life, Covey directed a series of deadly air strikes around the knoll where ST Louisiana was fighting for its life. Walton returned to the URC-10 to tell Covey that two of the three wounded were in serious condition and request an immediate extraction. Covey rider Pat Watkins told Walton to move the remainder of the team closer to the open area along the ridge.