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POSTED ON 6.24.2014

Final Mission of CPL Crawford Snow

Mother’s Day in 1967 Vietnam fell on May 14th. The bone-weary men pulled themselves off the jungle floor and reluctantly greeted the morning with a palpable tingling of doom and danger. They tried to shake off the nervous stiffness by focusing their mental effort and energy on readying themselves and their gear for the day’s final push. The men popped malaria pills, policed the immediate area, readjusted rucksack loads, locked and loaded weapons, and shared a last cigarette or swig of precious water with their squad-mates. While the captain reviewed plans for the day’s track with his inner command circle, both the acting 4th platoon leader, a senior NCO, and the 2nd platoon lieutenant vociferously ‘suggested’ to the Old Man the inadvisability of continuing the route’s direction. The NCO, a seasoned infantryman with plenty of ‘field-time’, realized they could only walk into an inevitable ‘world of hurt’ the closer the hilltop. Ignoring the advice, the Captain’s only concern was meeting the projected supply drop as he once again set the order of the march. The 4th platoon point squad with anxiety and tension clearly etched on their faces, started-off the column into the thick jungle gloom. It was not even mid-morning when a fork in the trail was reached. After being advised of this, the Captain split the column ordering 2nd platoon to take the right branch while keeping his command element intact with 4th platoon, veered off to the left angle. It was perhaps within a few minutes as both platoons moving somewhat abreast entered the kill zone. The point squad of 2nd platoon had stumbled onto a bunker complex off the side of their trail and while the platoon LT was radioing the Captain of this new development, the jaws of ambush snapped shut. The enemy’s opening salvo was a tremendous fusillade of automatic weapons fire unleashed simultaneously at both platoons. Within seconds, the air was filled with flying lead, shredding and chopping the surrounding jungle foliage into bits of green confetti. A shower of Chicom grenades soon followed, peppering the men with hot metal fragments and blowing several of the troopers back down the hill. The initial contact killed the 4th platoon point-man, SP4 Pat E. Phillips and the scout dog handler, CPL Michael J. Bost, and wounded several others. Reacting like muscle memory, the troopers shed their rucks, unlimbered weapons and began to lay down a base of return fire adding to the incredible noise and exploding violence. Snapping small arms fire whipped inches off the ground, muzzle flashes blazed in the dark undergrowth, endless bursts of enemy machine-gun fire hosed down the area as the incoming rounds found, smacked and thudded into the bodies of the troopers desperately clawing for available cover. When the call went out for ‘guns up’, 4th platoon M-60 gunner, CPL Benito R. Gonzalez, a Mexican-American from Texas, charged forward like a linebacker carrying the ‘Pig’ [M-60] with its needed suppressive firepower, caught a bullet to his head killing him immediately. Without hesitation, the platoon medics along with the senior company aid-man, scuttled forward like land crabs low-crawling directly into the firestorm to retrieve and assist the wounded. The command element edged up, not quite to the point of contact, but close enough to better assess the chaotic fluid situation. The company captain shouted into the radio for a priority fire mission while the forward observer (FO) called-in coordinates, and just as quickly a marking smoke round arrived. Since the immediate terrain presented only a 20-meters visibility restricting accurate observation, there is some confusion from the participants as to what followed once the first volley of 105mm artillery rounds hit. Some believed to have heard the point squad yell ‘Drop, Drop!’, when others heard shouts of ‘Stop, Stop! Check fire!’ Those near the command post heard the Old Man without waiting for an adjustment check, over-ride the FO by demanding fire support to ‘drop twenty-five and fire for effect!’ The troopers who instinctively knew the first volley was ‘danger-close’, began to scramble wildly, burrowing for deeper cover once they heard the distant booming of the second volley shot-out and the incoming on its way. The second volley of six 105mm rounds screamed in like a runaway freight train and struck the nearby upper tree-line. Time-delay fused for the enemy emplacements, the projectiles ricocheted off the canopy tops resulting in a classic tree-burst effect. One cone of deadly shrapnel spray deflected downward, blasting directly into the company CP. Killed immediately were SGT Jerry A. Norris, and both of the company’s radiomen, CPL Crawford Snow, a full-blooded Paiute Native-American Indian, and PFC Michael E. Peterson. Others in the CP were wounded including the FO and the Captain himself. In the Department of the Army’s official combat after-action report on Operation MALHEUR, the Battle for Mother’s Day Hill was reduced to one (verbatim) sentence: ‘On 14 May, one company of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry contacted an enemy force of unknown size in well fortified, dug-in positions, resulting in 8 US KIA and 36 WIA’. To the memory of the eight courageous paratroopers who gave their lives on Mother Day’s Hill, May 14, 1967. [Taken from]
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POSTED ON 9.30.2011
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Crawford is buried at Shivwits Cemetery, Washington County,UT. PH
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POSTED ON 7.11.2011


Rest in peace with the warriors.
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POSTED ON 12.10.2007
POSTED BY: Steve Black

Full Circle

Crawford, yesterday i met your brother, sister,and nephew.He knew and worked with my son. I told them of our journey together to mothers' day hill.
i have thought of you many many times since i left that hill without you. now i have a part of you again in my life.
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POSTED ON 4.5.2006
POSTED BY: Bill Nelson

Never Forgotten


"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind...."

Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.

We Nam Brothers pause to give a backward glance, and post this remembrance to you, one of the gentle heroes lost to the War in Vietnam:

Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul ... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.

From your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers
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