Remembering Operation NATHAN HALE

June-July 1966

Submitted by Rick Golbeck, Mike 3/5

Chuck Greene and I were both on Operation Nathan Hale together with Mike 3/5. We were assaulting a bunker complex, and we had some kickass close air support coming in at treetop level, and they were bombing and strafing the livin' shit out of our objective! These planes were A-1 Skyraiders, prop jobs that could stay over the target for much longer amounts of time than jets could. They carried bombs, rockets, and 20mm cannons. 

We were rushing the bunker complex while they took low passes over our heads with guns blazing! It was all great excitement!!! On one particular pass this one plane came right over me and let loose with his 20mm cannons, and one of the expended brass shells fell to earth and bonked yours truly right on the helmet!!! It didn't hurt me at all or anything, but in the heat of battle, I stopped and stared at it, and said to myself that this shell was just meant to be MY souvenir!!! 

So I picked it up, and it was still kind of hot, even so I put it in my pack. I kept that shell and saved it, brought it back home to the States, and it has sat in a revered niche on my gun cabinet for over 26 years!!! I even made a replica projectile on a lathe, and that made it look even neater! 

Chuck was shot and wounded on that operation. Through some of our first e-mails to each other now, he remembered that very day when those planes were strafing over our heads like that! So what I did was I sent it to a jeweler, and had it polished and engraved as follows:                     

"To Chuck Greene from Rick Golbeck
Republic of Viet Nam
July, 1966
Semper Fidelis"

Chuck Greene, M/3/5

nathanhalemem.jpg (73699 bytes)

Memorial Service for 3/5 Marines KIA on Operation DECKHOUSE and NATHAN HALE.
(courtesy of Chuck Greene)

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(Two A-1s from VA-145 in flight picture courtesy of the A-1 Skyraider Association website

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