Wheatley was with a company patrol that had
split into three platoon groups. Wheatley and Warrant Officer II
R.J.Swanton were with the right-hand group. At about 1.40pm Wheatley
reported contact with Viet Cong soldiers and soon after he requested
assistance. Australian, Captain Fazekas, who was with the centre
platoon, organised about fifteen irregulars and fought towards the
scene of the action. He received another message from Wheatley to
say that Swanton had been hit in the chest. Wheatley requested an
air strike and an aircraft for casualty evacuation.
About this time the right platoon began to
scatter and although the medical assistant told Wheatley that
Swanton was dying, Wheatley refused to abandon him. He discarded his
radio and half dragged, half carried Swanton, under heavy enemy
small arms fire, out of the open rice paddies into a wooded area 200
metres away. Wheatley was urged to leave the dying Swanton but he
refused, and was seen to pull the pins from two grenades. Holding a
grenade in each hand, he calmly awaited the encircling Viet Cong.
Captain Fazekas led the search party that found the two bodies next
morning; both had died of gunshot wounds.