Stan "Doc" Sellers report on Dallas Girl patrol April 4-5 1968.
I am dedicating this to Delta Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, especially to the recon team DALLAS GIRL, and those who supported the team on April 4th and 5th, 1968.
Let me start by introducing myself, I am Hospital Corpsman (HM3) Stan Sellers. I served with team Dallas Girl of Delta Company, Third Recon, from February, 1968 until April, 1968. I was with team Hungarian from December, 1967 until February, 1968.
There is no other person in this world that is more proud of the actions of this recon team(Dallas Girl) than myself. The Marines that served with this team in April '68 showed me the real meaning of honor and courage on those two days than on any other day in my life.
On 4 April 68, we left Camp Carroll on foot going towards Dong Ma mountain. We were to locate an NVA observation post located just north of Camp Carroll and Highway 9. The OP had been spotting for an NVA artillery and mortar position further to the west on the mountain.
The artillery and mortar tube had been shelling highway 9 and Camp Carroll with pinpoint accuracy because of the NVA OP position on the south side of Dong Ma mountain. There were several skeletons of supply trucks laying on the side of highway 9. We passed them at the beginning of our patrol.
We had made our way up three-quarters of the mountainside. Everyone on the team had a nervous feeling in their gut. The Patrol Leader and assistant PL and the Kit Carson scout had been checking on comm wire that had been seen ever since about half way up the mountain. We had expected to encounter the enemy at any time, but we never saw a one of them.
That night we set up a 360 perimeter and set out the claymores, The PL told me to take the first watch, He said he wanted me rested come morning because he had a feeling that we would make contact with the enemy then. I woke my replacement about two hours later, and tried to get some sleep. Nothing happened that night. We woke about 0530 next morning, April 5th.
The patrol saddled up and moved out by 0600, we had not moved but maybe up to edge of the northwest ridge line by 1200 hours. We were seeing more and more signs of where the enemy had been. The PL decided to take a 10-minute break. It had been a hard climb up. The PL and the assistant PL were studying the map and double checking our position.
The Kit Carson scout was about 20 meters ahead of us. The KC scout signaled the PL, the team moved forward in a single-file formation. It was then that the PL saw more comm wire. That is when the PL and assistant PL signaled "enemy ahead."
The patrol leader signaled for me to take a position up farther on the edge of the ridge line. The rest of the team spread out on either side of my position. The PL and assistant PL went down towards the sound of the NVA voices and where the comm wire led to. About then I noticed an NVA soldier about 30 meters above the PL and tapped the Marine in front of me on the shoulder. While I was taking aim he signaled to the PL and the assistant PL that we were going to get into deep shit.
It all happened so fast. About the same time the PL threw a CS grenade into the cave where the NVA were, I fired at the soldier in the site of my weapon. All of a sudden it seemed like the whole world had exploded into one big fire fight. The NVA regulars were firing from what seemed like every piece of rock, bush or landscape that was there.
The team immediately moved into a 360 position around the edge of an old bomb crater. I was just up on the ridge line when I saw the PL get hit. He had caught a full burst from an AK-47. I started to move towards him immediately. I got about ten feet from the PL and the NVA put a round through my leg. I fell only a few feet short of the PL. Other Marines were also hit.
I tried to reach the PL again but the enemy cut me off with full automatic fire. I looked at the PL from about five feet away; he was already dead. I had to make a choice: try for him one more time, or take care of the other wounded marines. I moved back towards the rest of the team.
There were two other marines wounded. I moved towards were the radioman was. He had taken cover in some rocks at the north side of the crater. He kept hollering that he could not feel his legs. The radioman had taken a round across his back cris-crossing his spine. Just as I pulled myself up towards him I felt real weak and dizzy. I fell backwards and passed out. I came to a few minutes later. The assistant PL was yelling corpsman up. I tried to get up again and move towards him (the assistant PL). I started to seeing black again. In a last ditch effort I threw my unit one towards him.
The next thing I remember is being pulled up a hoist on a CH-46 and a Marine gunner pulled me inside. The rest of the team followed. The other two Marines that were wounded came up next. Then the rest of the team was brought up except for the PL, we had to leave his body behind I was told. The Kit Carson scout had vanished right after the fire fight had started. I never saw him again. The team was flown into Dong Ha to the battalion aid station. From there we all went separate ways
That is why I say I owe my life to those brave Marines of Dallas Girl. I have pledged to myself that I would one day let the world and the United States of America know what happened on April 4th and 5th of 1968 in the Republic Of Viet Nam.
The Names of the Marines who put themselves in danger above and beyond the call of duty, as far as I am concerned, follow below
God Bless the Marine Corps
God Bless Dallas Girl
The above story is as factually true as far as I can remember. If I have left anything out it is not purposely done.
Stan (Doc) Sellers
Note: Another report of the Dallas Girl patrol of April 4-5, 1968, appears in Larry Vetter's book, "Never Without Heroes," pages 224-25.
List of names of Marines that were on that patrol. One patrol member is still missing from the list.
Donald J. Matocha KIA - BNR* April 5, 1968
Gary Myers KIA May 13, 1968 KIA with Lt Bruce Wilson's
patrol with Echo Co. when they went back after the
the body of Lt. Donald Matocha.
Andre Boersma WIA April 5, 1968
Michael D. Cappa WIA April 5, 1968
Leslie Goebel WIA April 5, 1968
Stan (Doc) Sellers WIA April 5, 1968
Charles (Chuck) Suchocki
Nickie G. Smith Sr. WIA April 6,1968: Nickie was wounded the next day
going back in with a reactionary force out of Camp Carroll to retrieve the body of Lt. Matocha.