Whole Man and his A-6 Intruder were gone, and the jungle below was silent, as well as the drums mounted on what was left of the upper lip of the cliff.  The lack of the mind-numbing drumbeats was balanced by the emptiness I felt over losing what air support we’d had until the Intruder might, or might not, return later in the night.  How many had been lost of Sugar Daddy’s platoon to accomplish the resupply, and getting McInerney’s body back to the rear?  The enemy fifty caliber machine gun had to have taken an awful toll in being able to penetrate both sides of the bridge’s metal structure.  The river’s depth and flow almost assured that some Marines likely hit had been lost in its waters. The firing had been very extensive, and directed only at the crossing Marines and not the resupply chopper at all.  Whether the NVA leaders had determined they wanted to avoid the withering fire of the Cobra Commander Turk, and his squadron of Cobras, to preserve the gun, or whether their reasoning was about something else I couldn’t know.  There was also no way, particularly in the dark, the enemy could have known about the addition of the 81 mm mortars to our inventory.  They had to know the Ontos was pinned down, and the dangers we ourselves faced in calling in another 175 mission. The accuracy and murderous effect of the mortar fire had to have taken them completely by surprise.

Had the fifty caliber been neutralized, and if it had then why was there no RPG rocket fire that might have accompanied the machine gun attack, or even come blasting in after?  Another unanswered and unanswerable question.