DALE RUSSELL LOUDIN
on July 23, 1945
From ATWATER, OHIO
Casualty was on Nov. 7, 1967
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
29E - - Line 41
Dale Loudin served with the 3rd
Battalion, 5th Marines, Mike Company. He was Killed In Action during
Operation ESSEX. His name stands proudly on the Mike
3/5 Wall of Honor. Semper Fi, Brother Marine. We will never forget.
2nd Lt. Dale Loudin
written by Jack Swan to 2nd Lt. Dale Loudin's family
name is Jack Swan,
After 36 years I
still recall when 2nd Lt. Dale Loudin joined Mike Co. 3/5 in October
of 1967 as our 1st platoon comander. Craig Sullivan was our 1st platoon
Seargent at that time, and when Dale joined us in the field, Sgt. Sullivan
brought the new LT to meet Cpl. Bill Vandegriff, 1st squad leader, 1st
platoon. Vandegriff was my Squad leader, and we walked point for the
company. Vandegriff had ben incountry nine months or better, and Sgt.
Sullivan and I had been there close to 6 months when Dale joined us.
The reason Dale
wanted to meet Bill and I was to inform us of a conversation he had
with a few officers he met who had ben lucky enough to have survived
the 6 months required in the field as a line officer. My memory of Dale
Mid afternoon, chopper
comes in to resupply us with C-rats, ammo, mail, water and a new platoon
comander. I don't recall how we lost the last one cuz we went through
quite a few. I saw the 3 of them headed straight for me. My thoughts
were - Damn! Gotta break in another one. As they approached, I noticed
the sincere look in Dale's eyes which had a calming effect on me. He
came to us to talk truth.
Sgt. Sullivan introduced
him to me, then Dale turned to the 3 of us and said, (these are close
to his words) "Marines, good officers who have survived the field
have informed me that if I desire to live through combat and get back
to my loved ones in the real world, I had best listen to the ole salts
who have been here for some time. Walk with the point man and see how
he reads the land and uses his gut feelings." He then said, "I
want all of us to get back home."
Bill and I let him
walk point with us for 2 days, a few hours at a time. He learned fast
He also came out on a night ambush with us and I informed Dale that
he was a big man in size and that humping in the day time was a diffrent
world from not being heard at night. He was noisy at first, then quickly
adjusted to not being heard at all.
as a platoon commander was outstanding from the start. Vandegriff would
ask Sgt. Sullivan, who was always with Dale, how he was handling the
3 squads in 1st plt. Sully's reply was, "We found us a good one
Bill." Bill would then come to me, smiling and say the same.
I figure Dale had
been with us almost 3 weeks (which is like 3 months in a combat zone)
when our company was called out to support 2nd Batallion. 5th Marines
who were engaged in a heavy battle with the North Vietnamese in a place
we called Antenna Vally. It was given that name because of the high
mountains which surrounded it. The radio operators in the field had
to remove their small antennas and replace them with a much longer,
whip antenna to pick up signals.
Mike Co. did a lot
of humping to meet our objectives by the 7th of Nov. By this time, all
of 1st platoon had total confidence in 2nd Lt. Loudin. Late that afternoon
we spotted 3 NVA solders moving into a tree line ahead of us. We opened
fire on them and advanced forward into a rice paddy which came up to
a sandy berm overlooking heavy brush and more tree line behind it.
Unkown to us, their
comrades had regrouped and opened up on our platoon with AK - 47's.
The first man to get hit was Cpl. Bill Little. He caught a round in
the chest. Then Roger Nicholsen and the radio man Steve Walker were
wounded. I turned sideways to put another clip of ammo into my rifle
and saw Dale take a round
as he was directing our machine gun fire to a target he spotted. He
felt no pain. The NVA disengaged not long after that.
When the medivac
chopper arrived, the door gunner informed us they had wounded aboard
and could only take our wounded. Cpl. Little died on the way in. The
men of 1st platoon carried Lt. Loudin with us throught the night and
put him on a chopper the next morning. That night we took good care
of a great man we cared about.
Two days later our
company walked into an ambush. A lot of good men died that day. Speaking
for myself, I don't have total recall of Viet Nam. I do recall the great
Marines I met there. After 36 years, I am proud to say DALE LOUDIN is
one of them. Jack Swan
Would Do It Again
on the detail that carried Lt. Loudin's body all night on Operation
Essex, I believe it was Nov. 8. There was no way we were going to leave
a fallen brother behind.Tony Martinez, two other Marines and myself
carried Dale until the next morning. I believe we may have been the
only four but I am not sure about that. This task was one of the most
difficult things we did, not only from an endurance and strength demand
but also emotionally! Believe it!, we would do it again!! Semper Fi,
I will never forget!~Steve Lovejoy, 2nd. Plt. Mike Co, 3/5