At “zero dark thirty” on January 30, 1971, units of the U.S. Fifth Mechanized Division embarked on Dewey Canyon II, a mission to reopen the road from Khe Sahn Air Base to the Laotian border. Alpha Company of U.S. 61st Infantry performed commendably, returning to Firebase Charlie 2 in April, exhausted but hopeful—the Fifth would be leaving Vietnam in July. They patrolled the “western hills” through May as rocket attacks fell each evening. On the 21st, a direct hit on a bunker killed 30 of the 63 men inside—18 were from the Alpha Company. This is their story, as told to Specialist Lou Pepi by members of his unit.
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