Royce E. Eddleman
by: Stephen Standridge
(© 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 making contact 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.