Royce E. Eddleman
(© Copyright, 2004)
I was there when Royce Eddleman was KIA. We had just made an
assault into a valley and were moving off the LZ. This was
the first time Charley Knott and a few others had gone out with
Tigers. We had been picked up by choppers at, I believe it was
FB Birmingham, and had made the assault into a clearing near what
would become FB Vehgle. We moved off the LZ and followed a train
that wound through several freshly dug bunkers. A guy by the name
of Clark was on point and I was slack.
There were fresh footprints in the dirt around the bunkers.
Clark walked through a clearing while I covered. When Clark reached
the other side he turned to motion me across. I started into the
clearing and an NVA soldier popped his head out of a bunker to my
right front. he disappeared quickly and I didn't get a chance to
fire. I dropped to the ground and Clark jumped into the brush.
About this time Charley Knott crawled up to our position. Clark
circled around through the brush and linked up with us. We fired
a couple of M-79 rounds at the bunker while behind us other Tigers
were makingcontact with NVA soldiers in other bunkers. We pulled
back to a bomb crater and set up defensive positions. From there
we fired on enemy positions on the hillside. We were taking small
arms fire, Max Gallegos was returning fire with his M-79. SSgt Knott,
Royce Eddleman and maybe one other made an attempt to move forward to
retrieve some equipment we left on the road when they came under fire from an RPD.
This is when Eddleman was fatally hit. The platoon pulled back under the cover
of some trees and spent the night.
Eddleman was flown out on a chopper
the next morning. A short time later we moved up to the base of the hill,
joined up with a line company and made the final assault up Vehgle.
This is the first time I have discussed this with anyone. I hope this
might be of some help for the family.
My sincere condolences to the family.