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Jean Ponder AllenKeith HackettMike AriasDiane Sikorski KramerJane BrotmanJim RowenJack CipperlyPaul SoglinJoe CostelloClark Welch
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Mike Arias (2:18) video | transcript

When we pulled back -- I think it was about 100 meters -- we formed a small perimeter with our wounded, and Captain George and Top Valdez and myself were in the center of this circle. I kept yelling to Top to use my radio and get us some reinforcements, because if he did not know it, that we had just walked into an ambush. He kept yelling at me that we was trying to do so. Several minutes later the second wave hit us. It was first a claymore mine [that] was burst in our section of the perimeter. We felt that we were out of the ambush site, but we were not, we were still in the ambush, in the "U" part of the ambush.

So when they opened up on us a second time with a claymore mine, some RPGs, and some automatic weapon fire, thatąs when Captain George grabbed me and asked me if I could lead us out of there. I yelled at Captain George and I said "Give me a compass." And somebody from the circle heard me screaming for a compass, and he gave it to me. And the only reason that I knew how to get back to the NDP was because, since I was the RTO for Sergeant Pipkins, I remember going out on a 180. So to get back to the NDP, I knew I had to shoot a 360.

We took off in a right-front direction, and as we were leaving as fast as we could, I looked over my shoulder, my left shoulder, and I saw Paul Fitzgerald and Olin Hargrove running in the opposite direction. Now my understanding later, after 30 years, was that Top Valdez had ordered them to provide security for us while we were withdrawing. We couldnąt go very fast because of the dense jungle. I remember I must have gone about 50 meters when I was hit in the back of my radio. It knocked me flat on my face.

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