At the end of March 1967, Marine 2nd Lt. Jim Capers stepped off on what was to be a four-day foot patrol into the jungles near Phú Lộc, Vietnam.

He snaked through that jungle terrain, sporting a recent battlefield commission as a second lieutenant, leading just nine 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company Marines and a dog named King.

The mission: maneuver through rugged enemy territory and locate a suspected North Vietnamese regimental base camp. That meant creeping up on a force of 1,500 or more enemy soldiers with support far in the rear.

They weren’t there just to gather more intel for reports back to headquarters. They were to observe the NVA regiment to protect the flank of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines.

The first day of that planned four-day march, the recon team found out there wasn’t any reason to “suspect” a regiment was in those deep jungles. They bumped into a 20-soldier force.

Two more contacts on the second day, which resulted in 22 enemies killed in action, but also severely wounded one of his Marines. That might have sent another team home. But Capers pursued the enemy calling fire on their base camp, which reports following these events would show thwarted an attack on Company M.

On the final day of their jungle jaunt, an enemy daisy-chained claymore mine triggered an attack on his team. Capers sustained multiple wounds from both the explosion and subsequent “dense barrages of direct and indirect enemy fire.”