Corporal Charles House led his Marine Recon patrol through thick undergrowth under the jungle canopy forty feet above. The country was Vietnam and the year was 1968.

Team Dublin City had been inserted three days prior, North of Phu Bai to reconnoiter the area for signs of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army troop buildups, with a secondary mission of identifying possible enemy bunkers, trench lines, or caches for possible airstrikes. After days of patrolling the 1st Recon Battalion Marines were tired and out of water. House halted his men and put them into a security position so that they could refill their canteens at a waterfall that dropped into a small pool and turned into a stream.

After about thirty minutes, House looked over at one of his men, Lance Corporal Perry Gordon, as he put on his cartridge belt. Suddenly, House saw the oddest expression wash over the young Marine’s face.

“What the shit?” House thought to himself.

Gordon could hardly believe his eyes. At first he thought the man he saw standing in the stream was one of his teammates filling up his canteen, but quickly discounted that thought as they had already done that. He describes the person he saw stating, “he wore knee-length dark green pants. Across his chest was a red sash like the kind beauty contestants wear. It looked to be made of silkish ao dai material. Maybe he wore it to keep the VC from firing on him.” Moreover, he was clearly Caucasian. “His brown hair was close-cropped but long on top,” the way the VC wore their hair.

Team Dublin City, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. May, 1968

The two white men looked at one another for what seemed like a long moment. An AK-47 rifle was slung across the stranger’s back. Gordon’s rifle lay on the ground next to him. The white Viet Cong turned as a North Vietnamese came walking up from a boulder behind him.

Gordon lunged for his rifle.

The Recon Marine opened fire with his M16, firing approximately five to eight rounds at the white man dressed like the Viet Cong. The White Cong was flung backward into the stream and yelled, “Help me!” in clear, unaccented English. The Marines then opened fire in unison. Lance Corporal Wilkin’s M16 jammed so he hurled several M-26 fragmentation grenades toward the enemy as two more came from around the boulder in front of the patrol. The Marines estimated a total enemy force of about 25 Viet Cong. Gordon dropped an expended magazine and slammed home a fresh one before continuing to fire. Meanwhile, another Marine opened up with his M79 grenade launcher.