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In Loving Memory of  Sgt. Arthur Desclos
Passed away January 15, 1999 at the age of 54

Arthur Desclos, "Sgt. Dac," died of cancer due to agent orange...VA confirmed. He is dearly missed by his wife, Shirley, their 3 sons, and daughter. They are looking for any information from Marines and Corpsmen who served with "Sgt. Dac." Semper fi, Brother Marine, we will never forget.

"Sgt. Dac"
2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, Hotel Co., 3rd Platoon
April 23, 1966-Jan. 26, 1967

Sgt. Arthur Desclos, known as "Sgt. Dac" to his fellow Marines, served in Vietnam with 3rd platoon, Hotel Co. 2/5, 1st Marine Division. He went to Vietnam on April 23, 1966. He fought in Operations WYOMING, APACHE, COLORADO, NAPA, PRAIRIE, MISSISSIPPI, LINCOLN, and TUSCALOOSA where he was wounded twice. He left Vietnam on Jan. 26, 1967. 

"Sgt. Dac" was a Squad leader under J. J. Kirschke. and J. J. Doherty. He was also a fire team leader before a squad leader. Kirschke has written about his time with Hotel 2/5, including his remembrances of Arthur Desclos, in a book called, "Not Going Home Alone...A Marine's Story."  


H/2/5 buddy Stephen Gedyzk and Arthur (right) on R&R
Stephen was a machine gunner with 3rd platoon....he died in "82" from cancer, also.

Arthur (left) and fellow Marines


Arthur's wife, Shirley
"Arthur loved to ride his Harley and restore old cars."

In a letter J.J. Kirschke wrote to Arthur's daughter, Lori, he tells of his love and pride for this very special Marine: 

Hello Lori:

Thank you for your warm note. I am very glad, but not surprised, to learn that Arthur was such a good husband and father to all of his children. The Rifle Platoon which I had the privilege to Command in Vietnam, 3rd Platoon, Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, was an outstanding unit in all respects. Our record in combat proved this, and there are many indications that we were considered the same way both by our higher command and by the North Vietnamese Army.

On the unit's strength aspect, a reading of my book should in large part prove the foregoing assessment beyond any doubt. In this Platoon, from the outset and throughout my tour of duty, Arthur was one of our two or three maneuver Squad Leaders (we were so short-handed at first that we did not have enough unwounded Marines with us near the DMZ even to make the three standard maneuver sub-units). His was almost certainly the strongest and most reliable of our Squads. Moreover, Corporal Desclos to me characterized this Platoon in all of its qualities.

As most unit leaders will tell you, whatever the group, it almost always takes on  special, distinctive, tones, such as depressed, defeatist, braggadocio, loud, and so forth and so on. Just so, 3rd Platoon, this powerful fighting unit of some 30 tough and capable Marines, was very much like Arthur; well controlled, self-contained, healthfully self-confident, reliable, extremely competent, massively generous, absolutely loyal, loveable, and quietly and justifiably proud. Every one of these traits your Father manifested in Spades as a Marine Rifle Platoon Squad Leader. My instincts tell me, also, that this was Arthur the entire Man, yes?

For all of these reasons I loved that Platoon. I'm telling you straight that I would, without a second's hesitation, have died for them. And to me Corporal Arthur Desclos represented the heart of 3rd Platoon. His Squad I would have entrusted with the most difficult mission with the confidence that Cpl. D., in his quiet way, would come through in the best fashion possible. What in ways made him the most remarkable was that he was such a quiet leader.

 Revealingly, the only time, as I mentioned to your Mom, that I EVER heard him raise his voice was when I surprised him and the other two maneuver Squad Leaders having a loud argument in an out of the way gulley near Con Thien (dangerous place!) as to why I had assigned his Squad the point for two days' combat patrols in a row. Since you know him as you do, of course, you'll surmise that he was arguing, "that's that: the Lieutenant has assigned us point again, and that's  the end of the argument!"

 The most popular film about the war thus far is PLATOON, a to me thoroughly disgusting piece of trash about a fictional US Army unit. The best way to give you a sense of how Arthur's 3rd Platoon was would be to say, watch Hollywood's repulsive PLATOON, and then stand the entire ugly lot of them upside down, and that would be our 3rd Platoon: where the Army guys are disgusting,  the Marines Arthur and I served with were incredibly good, loveable, loyal, and absolutely reliable. And Arthur represented well all of our Platoon's many remarkable qualities, qualities which have inspired me almost every day of my life for the past 33 plus years.

There's a lot more I could tell you about your Dad, and all of it is outstanding! Aside from being a great combat leader, he inspired his men continually by his example: for instance, I'm almost certain he hid from me a gunshot wound he had sustained on Operation Prairie. In addition, he carried the worst case of Jungle Rot over his entire body(!) that I've ever seen. And never a word of complaint from him about it. As I recall, once he came down with immersion foot (skin peeling off from being too often immersed in water ), and I had to secretly order the medical personnel to hold him for a few more days inside a tent "in the rear",  since he was so exhausted, and yet he would never have freely consented to leave his men for even the five to seven days.

On the most dangerous missions your Father led his men from the front. I thought the best of Corporal Desclos then, and I continue to think the best of him now. As I say, I am delighted, but far from surprised, to hear from you and your Mom that he was such an outstanding family man. I encourage you to share these  thoughts and recollections with your entire family. I think we'd all agree that any country would be much better off immediately if it had a lot more men in it like Arthur Desclos.

I hope his soul rests in happiness and peace. God bless you all!


Jim Kirschke
(Arthur's Platoon Commander, 1966-67, and Captain, United States Marine Corps, Retired)

(2/5 crest courtesy of 2/5 website)


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