shadow box was put together by Tom Gainer, India 3/5, in remembrance
of Pfc. Phillip Pierce to be presented to Phillip's mother. The plate
on the left has Phillip's name, rank, platoon, and company, with "Semper
Fi" at the end. The plate under the picture has Don Eberle's
name and Phillip's. Phillip's mom, Myra, passed away 3 weeks before
the box arrived in Austin. The box was instead presented to his sister
by a Gunnery Sergeant from Austin.
following letter was waritten by Tom Gainer to Phillip Pierce's mother
way of an introduction, this is Tom Gainer; I served with your son
Phillip in the Marine Corps in Vietnam and recently spoke with you
regarding the return of his dog tag. I had known Phillip since early
in the year of 1966 when we first met at Camp Pendleton when the company
and battalion were forming up.
and I were in the same squad and platoon together, the 3rd.
We were known as the ď3rd HerdĒ by the rest of the company.
Phillip and I went on liberty together a couple of times with some
other guys while we were in the Philippines, Japan and Okinawa and
shared a few beers and a few laughs. I do remember that we often shared
a smoke or two when one of us was out of cigarettes and we often swapped
our C Rations around. He was the sort of Marine who always, when he
could, wear his cover (hat) sort of pushed back on his head, rather
than down in front as it should be. He was a good man and a very decent
person. I wish there was more I could share with you, but itís been
so long ago that itís difficult to remember a lot of the details regarding
the good or bad times we had together.
was a good, strong Marine, easy going, with a sense of purpose and
a dry sense of humor, someone you could count on and well liked by
everyone. I donít recall talking with him the day he was killed. I
did see him briefly right before the ambush and we may have exchanged
a couple of words as we always did. I certainly remember the circumstances
under which he was killed, but I feel those details would only bring
you renewed pain, and that is certainly the last thing I want to do.
of us who served with your son and who came home have not and will
not ever forget him or others of our company who did not. They and
their loved ones will always hold a very special place in our hearts
and in the hearts of all Marines, for we as Marines are brothers and
we are all part of a family. And you Mrs. Pierce, like your son, are
also part of the Marine Corps family now and forever.
I remember when the company had itís first reunion after 30 years
in 1996 in Washington DC. Your son and the others in our company were
remembered and forever will be remembered with a moment of silent
prayer for them and for their families. As each of us touched their
names on The Wall we each reflected on times long ago and the brothers
sincerely hope the enclosed will bring you some peace, some good memories
and some closure after these many years. If there is anything you
need or questions you have, please do not hesitate to contact me.
From your Marine Corps family and the men who served with your son,