101 airborne combat patch
October 22, 1968
2nd brigade crest
22 October 1968

1st Platoon, A Company, 2nd Bn, 501st Infantry ( Geronimo)


Our company had been moved from LZ Sally by CH47 Chinook helicopters to FSB Tomahawk.
We launched this operation along with C and D companies from the battalion. We had landed
briefly at FSB Tomahawk (the fire base actually looked like it was just being established, there
were no bunkers or barbed wire to speak of) and moved off of the FSB within the hour. We were
assigned to move up towards the high ground to the southwest and work the ridge line. The
terrain quickly went from scrub brush up into double canopy jungle along the ridge top. Within a
matter of hours we made contact at the point of the company. What followed were a few days of
point contacts and running fire fights with the NVA as we pushed them back along the ridge line
(the ridge line was a few miles in length and was typically one little hill top to the next with thick
vegetation and overhead canopy). Each platoon rotated on a daily basis as the point element. As of
21 October the company had 3 confirmed NVA KIA and one soldier from the third platoon KIA
Rehder, friendly fire accident).

22 October 1968

first platoon took the point with 1st Squad leading and PFC Michael Holmes at the point. The
point squad line up was as follows. Behind Michael was PFC
Culberson (another southerner that
Michael use to hang with) in the slack position. Next came PFC Young (a new guy "cherry").
Then came SP4 Mike
Davis, acting squad leader.  (SP4 Floyd Turnley had been medevaced by
myself about a week or so earlier for an unknown fever). Next came a fat cherry with glasses (he
was the RTO and I can't remember his name). I was next in the number six position. Behind us
the rest of the platoon trailed us. We moved out towards another hilltop along the ridge line some
time between mid morning and noon.

We were cautiously working our way up the trail when about half way up the hill the whole area
ahead and about us exploded. Everyone in the lead squad was knocked down and had both their
helmet and weapons blown away by the concussion. I intermediately scrambled to get both my
helmet and weapon, which lay nearby. I looked up the trail and several feet to my front was the
radio laying in the middle of the trail (the fat cherry with glasses had fled). I immediately saw PFC
Young followed closely by PFC Culberson scrambling down the trail in an evasive manner as they
fled the kill zone. Both appeared to be slightly wounded (I saw blood on Culberson's hand but
neither appeared to have sustained life threatening wounds). Both soldiers went literally right over
the top of me, forcing my face into the dirt of the trail. I noted that SP4 Davis had scrambled to
and retrieved the radio. A moment later we both saw Michael come crashing through the foliage
along the trail and collapse about 30 meters up the trail. I could see he was going into shock (his
complexion was already turning very pale). We both yelled words of encouragement for him to
come to us. He didn't respond so I ran forward to his location and dragged him back down the
trail and stopped adjacent to Mike Davis' location. I rolled him over with my back facing up the
trail and Michael's back to my chest as I examined him for wounds. I immediately found an
entrance wound about the center of his torso just below the rib cage and realized he had sustained
a probable fatal wound. I yelled in his ear (the explosions and weapons fire coming in our
direction was almost deafening) that he was going to be OK. He responded "Yeah Doc". Those
were the last words I recall him ever saying. I continued to attempt first aid life saving procedures
by placing an abdominal bandage on the wound as Mike Davis yelled into the radio to get some
more people up to us so we could get Michael down the hill. Moments later several soldiers
scrambled up to our location (one being Michael
Christensen). About this same time I located an
exit wound in Michael's back. We carried Michael down the hill a little further as I placed a
bandage on the exit wound. Michael was lying on his back in the supine position when I noted he
had stopped breathing. I immediately started mouth to mouth resuscitation. I blew into his mouth
two or three times and each time the air escaped through his abdominal wound even as a soldier
applied pressure. As I already knew, his wound was fatal and at that point I let him die as
peacefully as possible. I doubt that Michael was very coherent during the last moments of his life,
there were no more responses (that I am aware of) from him after his last words to me.


The above narrative took literally only a few minutes and some of the narrative took place in a
matter of seconds. Michael's body was wrapped in a poncho and carried back to the company
command post area as the platoon rallied for an assault on the hill. The platoon got on line and
opened up with all weapons and the NVA responded in kind. I noted rounds impacting around me
just as an RPG exploded to my front. I was shrouded by black smoke and falling leaves as I
yelled for a casualty report. SP4 Mike Davis went dashing by me to my left yelling "Yeah me
Doc". I noted that he was covered in blood about his back and side of his face. I treated him
moments later for multiple fragmentation wounds to the back, neck and left side of his face. In a
matter of minutes the 1st Squad point element had sustained five casualties. All were evacuated
except for PFC Young and I who had only sustained minor wounds. I took another 20-30
minutes to figure out if I had been hit due to the large amount of blood on my uniform. The blood
of my brothers whom I will never forget. God Bless them all and may Michael rest in peace.


Doc Deuce

P.S. We did finally take and secure that hill and it never did have a formal name or location but in
my mind it's always been, "Holmes Hill".

Article written by Dave