Protected by thought

Running down a South Vietnam jungle trail straight into enemy fire, a Marine was free of fear—and unhurt—in doing his duty.

A line Of Marines , 120-men long, quietly snaked its way along a narrow South Vietnamese jungle trail just below the demilitarized zone with North Vietnam. It was 1966, and these Marines were sent to stop North Vietnamese Army units that were coming through the DMZ in violation of international agreements.

"In the process, they saw us before we saw them," explains Brian Morse, who was a first lieutenant at the time. "The company I was with came under ambush by a North Vietnamese regiment of about 500."

In the thick jungle, the Americans couldn't see where the rifle and mortar fire was coming from, so they couldn't return fire. Casualties mounted—18 killed, 50 wounded. That's when Morse, an artillery forward observer, had to start doing what might have seemed impossible.

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November 12, 2001

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