Michael Alden, early Feb. '69 on Operation TAYLOR COMMON

Michael Alden, M/3/5 I served with “Mike” Company from May of '68 to end May of '69. I was a machine gunner in 1st platoon, 1st squad Mike 3/5.

Operation TAYLOR COMMON was the longest and hardest on 1st.squad, just as the op. was near its end. We lost five salts in a little over 20 hrs. Two Marines were killed on recon patrol; I received a round to my left shoulder. We were all to rotate about the same time. This took place in Quang Nam Province on March 3, '69. I received the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for actions resulting in the fire fight in Operation TAYLOR COMMON. Also the Purple Heart.

"Doc" Bob Aloisio, Richard Reed, Ron Thayer, Tom Wiseman, and myself, along with our wives had a minnie reunion near Davenport, IA on the 15, 16 and 17th of Feb. 2008. It was a good time for all. Richard Reed and his wife Vicky had just returned from visiting the Freemans (Joey's folks) in Greenville, S.C. Joey's dad gave Richard a picture. It is one Joey took during that mentioned resupply somewhere around Tomahawk and Maxwell Fire Support Base, SOME TIME FRAME NOW ESTIMATED AROUND END OF JAN 69. Richard sharing this picture is most appreciated by us, myself in paticular, as this is the first picture I have seen of Ron Christiansen. One that you can actually know who he is.

The picture the Freemans gave to Richard is a treasure for all of us who knew these Marines. I never thought I'd see one like it. A lot of pictures were taken that paticular time. God only knows where they ended up. I recall my camera held 8 pictures in a pack and both packs were gone in no time. I did not think much about it during the time, but everyone I could see was pretty darn happy. Several Marines were "shooting" pictures. Here comes Thompson up to me. "I want a picture of me with your gun." This was totally different. I do not recall another time on Operation TAYLOR COMMON such as this. This was plain out of the ordinary. Ron Christiansen and I had good plans after the Nam.

I pass this picture (below) on with a sincere appreciation for the Freemans and Richard Reed for sharing this wonderful picture of members of 1st squad, 1st plt. "M" Co. 3/5. Semper FI.~~Cpl. Alden, M.D.

1st squad, 1st plt. "M" Co. 3/5
, late Jan. 1969
(picture courtesy of Joey Freeman's family)

Pictured standing from L-R: Ron Christianson (Millville, CA), Les Thompson (Orlando, FL), Richard Reed (Knoxville, IA), Mike Alden (Manly, IA), David Johnston (Pinkerting, Ohio), Simpson, and kneeling, Luther Maxwell (only known picture of Luther, unless someone else has one they don't know about).To anyone not aware, Christianson,Thompson, and Johnston were K.I.A. on Hill 332. Also in rememberance K.I.A. on 332, Dennis Merryman, Joey Freeman.


(click images to enlarge)

Michael Alden, Aug. or Sept. '68
Mike Co. CO quarters in An Hoa

I ordered from home the "Buck knife" on my left side-Mom wanted to know exactly what I intended to do with it! I informed my mother-to chop down small trees.

Very late "68"

This picture was taken at the start of Operation TAYLOR COMMON-the location should be in the Que Sons west and south of An Hoa. I am holding a can of black label beer. Hard to read what is written on the bottom of the picture-but says-"Looks good, huh Dad!!" The green sweater was sent from home. It rotted in 3 weeks, if not 2.

LCpl. Michael Alden after Operation TAYLOR COMMON (18-yrs-old)
WIA 3 Mar. '69, Hill 332

Notice gun shot wound in upper left arm. No one, except the dog handler was medevaced-and the dog. Could not get choppers in-too much canopy and enemy ground fire. Most fortunate to get dog handler and his dog out-that was not easy. Quite a delay for the Company-3 hrs. or so. When "M" Co.made its advance up the side of the leading hill to Hill 332, we were ambushed. Rather than proceed on, because of our delay, the decision was made to set up a perimeter for the night right where the company was stopped. Word came down to get 7 Marines and recon the trail north of our perimeter. About 70 to 80 meters up the trail we were ambushed by entrenched enemy forces.This was the beginning of the end for Operation TAYLOR COMMON, and the start of the battle on Hill 332.

LCpl. Michael Alden (left) and Sgt. Leslie Thompson

Left picture is me taken in early February of '69 on Operation TAYLOR COMMON. Compare this photo with photo of Leslie Thompson (right picture). Both photos taken minutes apart. Thompson is holding my machine gun, and my belts around his shoulders. I was superstitious about having my picture taken. But the guys talked me into this one. I have two pictures of me in the bush-that's why. We had just been resupplied and received mail-I got a couple packs of Instamatic film, and some of the guys went nuts wanting to take pictures. Location, I don't remember-on patrol around Maxwell and Thomahawk-somewhere. (Sgt. Leslie Thompson was KIA 5 Mar. '69, see Sgt. Leslie Thompson Memorial page).

(click images to enlarge)
Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for TAYLOR COMMON

M/3/5 1st Platoon Rockets Team
L to R: LCpl. Alden, Dewight (?), Perri Frago (Flower Child), and Ford (?)

I have Ford's "Thompson" submachine, and Ford has my M-60. The three of them were 1st platoon Rockets team members. Flower Child took a (?) can of what came in C-rats and engraved a can all mystical, for me, to mount on left side of machine gun to help feed rounds. I heard Dewight or Ford were killed later on. I know nothing of what took place.

Compound "Charlie" outside An Hoa, after Operation TAYLOR COMMON
I have an NVA belt on my trousers (utilities)-notice the brass buckle.

Ronald F. Christianson, KIA 3 Mar. '69 on Operation TAYLOR COMMON

LCpl. Ron Christianson-my best friend ever! I miss him today! He was point man in our recon patrol of 7 Marines, when Ron and David Johnston were KIA in the initial ambush March 3, '69 (See LCpl. Ronald F. Christianson Memorial and Cpl. David Johnston Memorial).

My Brother

We did walk thru the Valley in the Shadow of Death-
In the presence of mine enemies he prepared a table before us-
We feared no evil-we were comforted-
You walked to the table in the presence of mine enemies-
I see you no more-God has you. Oh how I miss you!
I find you look more familiar each time I look at your picture-
It's been 27 years since I've seen your face-
My mind remembers you as not the person in the picture.
Time has changed your image in my mind-I am saddened of this-
I am almost afraid of this-what else have I forgotten over the years.
I always tried hard to remember your looks-I've never forgotten you.
I never had a brother-if I had a chance to of had one-I'd wanted you.
You were one person that made a big impression on an 18-yr-young man.
I looked forward to greeting you as you greeted me, and your positive attitude, so overwhelming-
I admired you so!
I look at your picture and just wish I could talk to you-if only I could


Will my Sundays-Days, not Nights-ever be to be-once again in my life a Day to enjoy?
I lost a friend on a MonDay, not Night, years ago in Viet Nam.
Here in the World-a day behind in time and hours earlier-a SunDay it was, not Night
I hold his memories-the short ones I enjoy in time-close to my heart.
Do I hold his soul so close also, that on SunDays, not Night-
He will not let me rest and enjoy the Day, not Night.
He is on the other side-He is reminding me this is the Day, not Night, I crossed over.
I will always let you know-in a rather uncomfortable way-I am in touch with you-
Every SunDay-not Night

Michael Alden and Tom Wiseman together again, Aug. 6, 2004

Here we are, I am left in the pic, and my absolutely GREAT friend, Tom Wiseman-Been 28 years since we have seen one another. It was great to see Tom and his wife, Rose!

M Co. 3/5 Marines together again after 36 yrs!
Michael Alden (Gunner), Tom Mahlum (1st Plt. Co.), Tom Wiseman (A-Gunner for Mike Alden)

Camp Lejeune, NC, at the Marine Memorial of those killed in the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut
3 Apr. 2005

Michael Alden and Tom Wiseman at The Wall in DC, Apr. 2005

Michael Alden and Tom Wiseman traveled to DC to pay respects to M Co. 3/5 Marines KIA on Hill 332 during Operation TAYLOR COMMON in Mar. 1969...the names of the fallen are reflected in the picture they took.


MIKE 3/5 website

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