RT New York: Tribute to John St Martin & Ed Wolcoff
When we did our training with Royal Marines we took the opportunity to stage another photo-shoot. For our latest shoot we chose RT New York as our subject, we were inspired by the story in Frank Greco’s book Running Recon about John St. Martin, Ed Wolcoff and John Blaauw.
The team launched from Dak To launch site with St. Martin as One-Zero, Wolcoff as One-One and Blaauw as One-Two. They inserted late in the day and two days later they came across what they thought was a Binh Tram (a way station on the Ho Chi Minh Trail) but was actually the headquarters for an NVA regiment. St. Martin took a bold choice and called in an air strike on the enemy complex, and in the resulting confusion rush in and try and grab an NVA officer and as many documents as could be carried by the team.
Unfortunately for the team the air strike was not exactly on target and as St. Martin dashed in to collect documents he was shot three times, once in the gut and twice in the leg. The belly would resulted in St. Martin's intestines spilling out and he had to be bandaged up by Wolcoff. The team was now compromised and came under heavy attack from the NVA.
Covey pilot Don Fulton and Covey rider Howard Davies watched in amazement as wave after wave of NVA poured out of the wood line and pursued the team. Attacked from A1H Spads failed to stop the enemy so Davies joined in with his M16 filling the cockpit with hot shell casing as the aircraft was struck by fire from small arms and 12.7mm fire.
The team members fought their way to an emergency extraction LZ as dusk fell and a thunderstorm approached, both of which would halt any extraction. The pilots managed to locate the team and they were extracted on strings under ground fire from an estimated enemy platoon. Suspended from the Hueys by Hanson rigs (the precursor to the STABO rig) the team was pelted by the thunderstorm as they sped back to Dak To at 90mph, all while St. Martin was critically injured.
It was a rough landing as darkness approached and it was a rough landing as the pilot’s vision was diminished. Wolcoff was dragged along the airstrip on his back, with sparks flying from his gear and the asphalt wearing away a Claymore mine to within a quarter-inch of the blasting cap.
St. Martin required 7 pints of blood but survived through the determination and the courage of his teammates.
This photo shoot is inspired by RT New York’s actions and hopefully will serve as tribute to their brave actions.
We have also got a black & white and colour versions of the shoot, as well as full details of the gear carried by each team member.
The shoot was held in a Victorian fort that is used by the Royal marines for training and features 3 levels and 14 mils of tunnels that are perfect for room clearing tactics. You can see some pictures of the location here. To top of the days training we stayed in the Senior NCO's mess at Tregantle Fort, which has amazing views of the sea.
The boys at Southwest Wargames put on a great event and we cant recommend Gaz, Liam and Mich highly enough. http://southwestwargames.webrok.co.uk/
All photos by Natasha Talarico