101 airborne combat patch
ALPHA ORIGINALS
July 20, 1968
Vietnam 1967 - 1968
The third platoon was point platoon with Earnest Evans "Cool Pappa" and Austin Gibson in the
lead. We were heading up a steep mountain when "Cool Pappa and Gibson were cut down by
enemy machine gun fire after crossing over the crest line and onto the top of the mountain. I was
third man, and had just crossed over the crest line when they got hit. The bullets that cut them
down barely missed me.

As I dove for cover, a trip wire caught me across the neck and I cringed as I hit the ground
waiting for the blast. I stared in amazement at an old chi-comb grenade sputtering and spewing,
strapped to the side of a tree -- it was a dud. After realizing that we were cut off from the rest of
the platoon and no help was coming,  I crawled forward as the machine gun continued to fire to
assist "Cool Pappa" who was calling for help. He had been severely wounded.  I lifted him up and
carried him in my arms running back down the trail when a sniper opened up on us

Lieutenant Whitaker was waiting for us at the crest line. Two men scooped up "Cool Pappa" in a
poncho and whisked him down range to a chopper pad which was being prepared for the
medivac of the wounded. Sniper rounds were hitting all around us as I talked to Lieutenant
Whitaker and our Medic, James Cleveland. I told Lieutenant Whitaker that I was going back for
Gibson.

Before he could really say anything I was crawling back down the trail as the sniper continued to
fire. When I reached Gibson, he was screaming in pain, he had a terrible abdomen wound. I
straddled him on all fours and he wrapped his arms around my neck and held on as we started the
long crawl back. We made it back to the crest line and he was whisked away to the Medivac.

Both "Cool Pappa" and Gibson died on the Medivac. Our Medic, James
Cleveland was hit and died
just a few meters away from where I was talking to him and Lt.
Whittaker.

Combat account by: Perry
Lewis

Special Note: Perry Lewis received the Silver Star for his actions.