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Operation MAMELUKE THRUST
9 June to 23 October 1968

This is not an official USMC combat operations page, but our personal attempt to recover as much info as we can about the operations participated in by the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in Vietnam. We will be posting recollections and pictures (when available) from Marines and FMF Corpsmen who participated in Operation MAMELUKE THRUST.  Comments are from informal emails, phone calls, and other correspondence to Brad and I. All related pictures and information is greatly appreciated.~

(click images to enlarge)

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Command Chronology
Operation MAMELUKE THRUST
June 1968

(submitted by John Gundersen, I/3/5)


Arthur Diabo, Mike 3/5  

Served with 1st platoon Mike Co. from January to June '68. I was hit on June 14th during Operation MAMELUKE THRUST. I took an AK round through my left forearm, shattering it to pieces. I thought I was going to lose it, however through the miracles of modern medicine and a few dedicated doctors who promised they were going to save it, I'm here today with this constant reminder that life is worth living (most of the time).

art5.jpg (92252 bytes) art4.jpg (93920 bytes) art2.jpg (81633 bytes) art1.jpg (84902 bytes)  
Ambush site in the Arizona, June 1968
(picture courtesy of Art Diabo, M/3/5)

Midway up the lower left quadrant is the body of an NVA. The ambush was from the far tree line. The dead NVA thought the Marines had left, and when he got close during the night the whole line opened up on him.


Rod Johnson, India 3/5 

Arrived at Da Nang on Oct. 29, 1967. The next day I was sent to the India 3/5 Section Leader. My first job was ammo man, which lasted till December. In December '67, I became A-Gunner, then Section Leader of Guns, and held that position until I rotated on Nov. 9, 1968. I was awarded two Purple Hearts. The first I received on June 17, 1968 (while on Operation MAMELUKE THRUST) when I was hit by shrapnel from an RPG Rocket. The second was received on June 18, 1968 when I was hit by shrapnel from a chi-com grenade.

Operation MAMELUKE THRUST
July 1968

(submitted by John Gundersen, I/3/5)
1-3 July 1968 and 26-31 July 1968
(5-25 July 1968 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines participated in HOUSTON Phase IV)


quinn.jpg (84174 bytes)
Jim Quinn, 2nd plt. M/3/5

I arrived in Vietnam in late Jan. or early Feb. '68...was with 60mm mortars with Mike Company until May or June, and then was assigned as 2nd Plt. Commander/Sgt. in (I think) June '68...right after Hill 1192 and ALLEN BROOK. Gunny Harville (?) was 2nd Plt. Commander, but was KIA on 1192, so I succeeded him. Lt. Walters joined Mike Co. in July or Aug., and he took over the 2nd. platoon. He was really in charge after I got WIA on Aug. 15 or 16, '68, and was medevaced, and never made it back. They got hit real bad a couple of weeks later (Sept. 3 and 4??), and he was wounded severely, as were lot of other guys including my good friend, Cpl. Rick Almanza (KIA 9/3/68) and "Doc" Whitbeck WIA 9/3 or 9/4.

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Command Chronology
Operation MAMELUKE THRUST
August 1968

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Combat After Action Report
Operation MAMELUKE THRUST

September 1968
(submitted by John Gundersen, I/3/5)

28 August-9 September
Operation SUSSEX BAY
9-30 September
Operation MAMELUKE THRUST

KILLED IN ACTION ON OPERATION MAMELUKE THRUST

11 June 1968

PFC. CHARLES EDWIN LEE
I/3/5
Born on Jan. 23, 1946
From DALLAS, TEXAS
Casualty was on June 11, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 58W - - Line 29
Memorial page

12 June 1968

LCPL. OSCAR GENTRY JR.
I/3/5
Born on Mar. 19, 1948
From BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
Casualty was on June 12, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 58W - - Line 31

13 June 1968

GSGT. ROBERT LEE SPROUL
H&S 3/5
Born on Dec. 16, 1933
From ONTARIO, OREGON
Casualty was on June 13, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 14

CPL. PAUL JOSEPH BONETTI
H&S 3/5
Born on July 23, 1946
From OAK PARK, ILLINOIS
Casualty was on June 13, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 6

CPL. ALAN RICHARD LYMAN
M/3/5
Born on June 30, 1946
From GEORGETOWN, TEXAS
Casualty was on June 13, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 12


15 June 1968

CAPT. HENRY KOLAKOWSKI JR. (Silver Star)
I/3/5
Born on July 13, 1938
From FARMINGTON, MICHIGAN
Casualty was on June 15, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 26
Memorial page

1LT. JOSEPH TIMOTHY CAMPBELL (Navy Cross)
I/3/5
Born on July 3, 1944
From STONEHAM, MASSACHUSETTS
Casualty was on June 15, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 23


2LT. WILLIAM GRAY ROSS
I/3/5
Born on Oct. 11, 1945
From BIG ROCK, TENNESSEE
Casualty was on June 15, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 31

Memorial page


PFC. RAYMOND NEAL MC INTYRE
I/3/5
Born on June 8, 1949
From FOSTORIA, OHIO
Casualty was on June 15, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 23
Memorial page

PFC. GARY CARL SEYMOUR
I/3/5
Born on June 26, 1949
From HAZEL PARK, MICHIGAN
Casualty was on June 15, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 57W - - Line 31

16 June 1968

LCPL. THOMAS LEONARD MILLER
I/3/5
Born on May 6, 1949
From CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Casualty was on June 16, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 56W - - Line 6

18 June 1968

LCPL. KEITH DEGERO TAYLOR
H&S 3/5
Born on May 6, 1949
From CARSON CITY, NEVADA
Casualty was on June 18, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 56W - - Line 28

LCPL. CHARLES BLAKE THOMAS
H&S 3/5
Born on Nov. 18, 1948
From CUCAMONGA, CALIFORNIA
Casualty was on June 18, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 56W - - Line 29

LCPL. AMOS DAVID LAWSON
H&S 3/5
Born on Apr. 21, 1948
From CINCINNATI, OHIO
Casualty was on June 18, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 56W - - Line 24
Memorial page

PFC. JAMES RUSSELL SALISBURY
I/3/5
Born on Feb. 10, 1949
From LEBANON, OREGON
Casualty was on June 18, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 56W - - Line 27

20 June 1968


PFC. TERRY LEE PARSONS
M/3/5
Born on July 1, 1948
From COLUMBUS, OHIO
Casualty was on June 20, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 55W - - Line 8
Memorial page

11 August 1968

PFC. TONY JOHN AYALA
M/3/5
Born on Oct. 5, 1949
From PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS
Casualty was on Aug. 11, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 49W - - Line 46

3 September 1968

CPL. RICKY JEROME ALMANZA
M/3/5
Born on Oct. 16, 1947
From MOLINE, ILLINOIS
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 30
Memorial page


SSGT. GEORGE JOHN BELANCIN
M/3/5
Born on Apr. 18, 1937
From PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 30
Memorial page

LCPL. LARRY DALE COATS
M/3/5
Born on Aug .1, 1948
From TWIN FALLS, IDAHO
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 31


PFC. ANTONIO BENAVID HERNANDEZ
I/3/5
Born on Feb. 21, 1948
From ABILENE, TEXAS
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 32
Memorial page

PFC. PAUL EDWARD HYLAND
M/3/5
Born on Nov. 15, 1946
From DALLAS, TEXAS
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 32
Memorial page


PFC. TIMOTHY EDWARD SHANOWER
M/3/5
Born on June 11, 1948
From PERRYSBURG, OHIO
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 34
Memorial page

PFC. MICHAEL DONVIAN WILSON
M/3/5
Born on Mar. 9, 1948
From LIMA, OHIO
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 35
Memorial page

HN RUSSELL L. WRIGHT III
M/3/5
Born on July 9, 1947
From RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 34
Memorial page

5 September 1968

PFC. LIONEL ALVAREZ RYAN
H&S 3/5
Born on July 18, 1948
From HOUSTON, TEXAS
Casualty was on Sept. 3, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 45

PFC. GLENN OWEN HELKA
I/3/5
Born on June 26, 1950
From DEARBORN HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN
Casualty was on Sept. 5, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 45W - - Line 41

11 September 1968

LCPL. JERRY DON COPELAND
M/3/5
Born on Apr. 6, 1948
From OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
Casualty was on Sept. 11, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 44W - - Line 22
Memorial page

PFC. JAMES KENNETH HOYEZ
M/3/5
Born on Aug. 13, 1949
From ALBANY, OREGON
Casualty was on Sept. 11, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 44W - - Line 25
Memorial page

PFC. ARMANDO LOPEZ
M/3/5
Born on June 3, 1950
From LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
His tour of duty began on July 1, 1968
Casualty was on Sept. 11, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 44W - - Line 27
Memorial page

PFC. PHILLIP EDWARD SLAUGHTER
M/3/5

Born on Mar. 22, 1949
From KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Casualty was on Sept. 11, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
OTHER EXPLOSIVE DEVICE
Panel 44W - - Line 30
Memorial page

PFC. OWEN WHITE JR.
M/3/5
Born on Oct. 14, 1947
From CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Casualty was on Sept. 11, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 44W - - Line 33
Silver Star

Memorial page

13 September 1968


PFC. ARLEY GEORGE ABRAHAM
L/3/5
Born on Feb. 24, 1947
From MADISON, WEST VIRGINIA
Casualty was on Sept. 13, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 44W - - Line 44
Memorial page

19 September 1968

CPL. RICHARD ALFONCE HOFFMANN
I/3/5
Born on Oct. 9, 1946
From HIGHLAND, ILLINOIS
Casualty was on Sept. 19, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 43W - - Line 37

29 September 1968

CPL. TERRY PHILIP BRADY
(I/3/5)
Born on June 6, 1948
From TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA
Casualty was on Sept. 29, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 42W - - Line 38

14 October 1968

LCPL. SYLVESTER JOSEPH HOWARD
M/3/5
Born on Dec .30, 1948
From WILMINGTON, DELAWARE
Casualty was on Oct. 14, 1968
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 41W - - Line 62

****************************************************************

Operation MAMELUKE THRUST Citations
9 June to 23 October 1968

mamelukepuc.jpg (87607 bytes)
(click to enlarge)
Presidential Unit Citation to 5th Marine Regiment
23 July-23 October 1968


The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS MEDAL to 

LIEUTENANT JOSEPH CAMPBELL

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

  For service as set forth in the following

  CITATION:

For extraordinary heroism while serving as Executive Officer of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, in connection with operations in the Republic of Vietnam.  On 15 June 1968 during operation MAMELUKE THRUST  in Quang Nam Province, Company I became heavily engaged with a large enemy force and sustained several casualties. As the company prepared to evacuate its wounded, an artillery round impacted nearby, killing the company commander, a platoon commander, and the company gunnery sergeant. 

Although seriously wounded by fragments, Lieutenant Campbell realized that he was his unit's only remaining officer and refused medical aid in order to assume command of the company.  Despite his weakened condition due to the loss of blood, he ensured that a landing zone was secured and selflessly directed the evacuation of the other casualties. When the medical evacuation helicopter arrived and immediately came under intense enemy ground fire, Lieutenant Campbell fearlessly moved among his men to direct suppressive fire on the hostile positions, enabling the helicopter to extract the casualties. 

Ignoring his weakened condition, he directed a second helicopter into the zone to complete the emergency medical evacuation. He subsequently succumbed to his wounds before he could be evacuated.  By his courage, inspiring leadership, and selfless devotion to duty despite the severity of his wounds, Lieutenant Campbell undoubtedly saved the lives of numerous Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.  He gallantly gave his life for his country.

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to  

  CORPORAL DANIEL J. HIGNIGHT

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

  For service as set forth in the following

  CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Scout Observer with Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 9 August 1968, during Operation MAMELUKE THRUST, Company M became heavily engaged with a large North Vietnamese Army force in Quang Nam Province. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Corporal HIGNIGHT unhesitatingly volunteered to assist a fire team in attacking a hostile machine gun position, and as the Marines maneuvered toward the objective, the enemy attempted to halt their advance with several grenades. 

Disregarding his own safety, Corporal HIGNIGHT immediately commenced searching for the hostile position from which the grenades were coming and was seriously wounded. Ignoring his painful injury, he located the enemy emplacement and silenced it with a hand grenade, enabling the fire team to continue the assault against the North Vietnamese machine gun position. When one Marine was wounded and lay dangerously exposed to the intense enemy fire, Corporal HIGNIGHT fearlessly maneuvered across the fire-swept terrain to the side of his injured comrade and moved him to a position of relative safety. 

After the Marines had reached the hostile machine gun and silenced it with a heavy volume of fire, Corporal HIGNIGHT entered the emplacement and, observing an enemy soldier alive, quickly subdued him in close combat and captured him. Although subsequently wounded again, he steadfastly refused medical evacuation and resolutely continued his determined efforts. His bold initiative and resolute determination inspired all who observed him and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unitís mission.

By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Corporal HIGNIGHT upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

  For the President,

  H. W. BUSE, JR.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL,  U. S. MARINE CORPS

COMMANDING GENERAL, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to

  CORPORAL GEORGE E. BRICK

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

  For service as set forth in the following

  CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Forward Air Controller with Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 17 August 1968, during Operation MAMELUKE THRUST, Company M was conducting a search and destroy operation in the village of Phu Loc in Quang Nam Province when the Marines became heavily engaged with a large North Vietnamese Army force. 

Alertly observing that the lead element was pinned down by intense mortar, antitank rocket and automatic weapons fire. Corporal BRICK unhesitatingly left his position of relative safety and ran across 100 meters of fire-swept terrain toward the point position, despite sustaining fragmentation wounds in his leg. Ignoring his painful injuries, he boldly maneuvered to a vantage point from which he skillfully commenced adjusting air strikes on the hostile emplacements.

Continuing his determined efforts until the hostile force was completely disorganized, he enabled his company to initiate an assault on the enemy position. Observing three Marines fall wounded during the initial moments of the attack, Corporal BRICK completely disregarded his own safety and exposed himself to the heavy volume of hostile fire as he aided in moving the casualties to a landing zone for medical evacuation.

Undaunted by constant enemy mortar fire, he steadfastly refused to seek cover while directing helicopters into the zone and assisting in embarking the wounded men. Although wounded in the arm and shoulder by enemy mortar fire impacting nearby, he resolutely remained and continued performing his life-saving duties until the seriousness of his wounds forced his evacuation on the following day.

By his courage, determined efforts and selfless devotion to duty at great personal risk, Corporal BRICK undoubtedly saved the lives of numerous Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

  For the President,

  H. W. BUSE, JR.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS

COMMANDING GENERAL, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to

  CAPTAIN FRANCIS D. PACELLO

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

For service as set forth in the following

 CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as the Commanding Officer of Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 17 August 1968, during Operation MAMELUKE THRUST, Company M was moving across an open area near the village of Phu Lac (1) in Quang Nam Province when the Marines suddenly came under intense mortar, rocket propelled grenade and automatic weapons fire from a large North Vietnamese Army force. 

In the initial moments of the engagement, the lead element of Company M sustained two casualties who fell wounded only five meters from a hostile position. Rapidly assessing the situation, Captain PACELLO fearlessly rushed forward across 50 meters of fire-swept terrain to a vantage point from which he directed the movement and covering fire of supporting tanks. Then, with complete disregard for his own safety, he boldly maneuvered toward the injured Marines, and upon reaching their position, he was wounded in one arm by automatic weapons fire from a North Vietnamese soldier approximately five meters away. Ignoring his painful injuries, Captain PACELLO quickly killed the enemy soldier with a hand grenade and then moved the two casualties to a position of relative safety. 

Disregarding the accurate antitank rocket and mortar fire being directed at the tanks, he unhesitatingly climbed aboard one of the vehicles and commenced adjusting air strikes against the hostile emplacements, simultaneously coordinating an aggressive assault that forced the enemy to flee in panic and confusion. Continuing his determined efforts, he directed the establishment of a defensive perimeter and, despite the seriousness of his wounds, steadfastly refused medical evacuation until the following morning.

By his courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty at great personal risk, Captain PACELLO inspired all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

  FOR THE PRESIDENT,

  H. W. BUSE, JR.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U. S. MARINE CORPS

COMMANDING GENERAL, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to

  CORPORAL DURWARD E. TIMMONS, JR.

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

  For service as set forth in the following

  CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Squad Leader with Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 10 September 1968, Company I was participating in Operation MAMELUKE THRUST when the Marines came under a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army unit occupying well-concealed emplacements. 

Observing that the point man had been seriously wounded during the initial contact and lay dangerously exposed to the intense hostile fire, Corporal Timmons unhesitatingly raced through the hazardous area and pulled his injured companion to a relatively covered location behind a rice paddy dike. While he was rendering first aid to the casualty, Corporal Timmons and his comrade became separated from the remainder of their squad. 

When the squad was directed to withdraw to a more tenable position, Corporal Timmons ignored the hostile rounds impacting about him as he boldly stood in full view of the hostile soldiers, hurling hand grenades and delivering rifle fire which enabled his fellow Marines to safely redeploy. His heroic and timely actions inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in killing seven North Vietnamese Army soldiers and capturing a large quantity of weapons and equipment. 

By his courage, sincere concern for his fellow men and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Corporal Timmons upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

For the President,

  H. W. BUSE, JR.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS

COMMANDING GENERAL, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC

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