Batten, Mike 3/5 I served with Mike Co. late Sept. or
Oct. '67. Participated in Operation SHELBYVILLE, ESSEX, AUBURN
(TET), BAXTER GARDEN, HOUSTON I and HOUSTON II, ALLENBROOK, MAMELUKE
THRUST, and countless No Names, and patrols and ambushes.
enlisted into the Marine Corps on what was then called the "BUDDY
PLAN" in the fall of 1966 and had been guaranteed (HAHA)
by the recruitment Sgt. that all enlistee's east of the Mississippi
went to Paris Island, S.C. and that everyone west of the Mississippi
went to San Diego and would become a Hollywood Marine (QUOTE--UNQUOTE).
was later inducted in New Orleans, La. along with my reach and
grab-em physical. In the spring of 1967 I was told to report to
New Orleans International Airport and upon arrival to go to the
Delta Air Lines ticket counter and they would have my travel voucher
located there. Upon my arrival at Delta I was informed to go to
Piedmont Airline ticket counter that there had been a change in
my travel orders. Oh well, so it began already!!
my getting over to the Piedmont counter I was given a ticket and
told what time my flight departed and what the flight number was.
I then looked at my ticket and saw Charleston, S.C. I told the
ticket agent that there must be some mistake but he told me that
there was a change and that a whole bunch of us were going to
Parris Island for training. He did not know anything more than
that and neither did I.
After boot camp and A.I.T. at Camp LeJune, N.C. I was then shipped
to Camp Pendleton for further training in my M.O.S. which was
0351 (Rockets--106 Recoilless Rifle--Flamethrower). Upon completion
of advanced training I was herded aboard the BIG BIRD and sent
west (FOREVER and FOREVER). Upon arrival in Viet Nam I was assigned
to 5th Marine Regiment.
checking into 5th Regiment I was assigned to Weapon's Plt. of
Mike Co. 3rd Bat. 5th Marines. At the time I arrived the company
was in the bush on an operation which I later learned was called
"OPERATION SWIFT". I got there during the last couple
of days of this operation, but I do remember everyone talking
about a Chaplain and some of the heroic deeds which he had performed.
Later found out it was Father Capodanno and he had gotten killed
while attending to wounded Marines, something most Chaplains do
not do on a regular basis, most of them just aren't that close
to the action. It was VERY evident to this BOOT that everyone
really liked Father Capodanno and not only did they like him,
they respected him.
1, '68, transferred from 1st Plt. Weapons to 2nd Plt Weapons.
The reason was to be a squad leader in 2nd Plt. Shortly after
this, I contracted Malaria, and was medivaced to the hospital
ship USS Sanctuary which was cruising off the coast of South Viet
Nam. Boy was that ever slack duty. Ended up getting put onto report
because a bunch of us JARHEADS got into a food fight with the
SWABBIES in the mess hall (for some reason the Captain of the
ship did not like that, I guess it was because we had backed all
of his SWABBIES out of the mess hall. I don't know what all of
the fuss was about, it was all done in fun, just nobody has a
sense of humor.)
course it was fun after the chills and fever subsided, those of
you that contracted Malaria know what I'm talking about, my temperature
was 106 when they checked me in and then placed me into or onto
the aluminum ice bed.
my returning to An Hoa, the company was in the bush (The Arizona
Territory), one bad place for booby traps and huge rice paddies.
Seems like someone would hit one of those God awful booby traps
at least everyday if not more often. I was shot in the left leg
on Sept. 18, 1968, and subsequently medivaced back to Japan (The
101st Medical Evacuation Hospital) from Charlie Medical in DaNang.
Japan I was medivaced to Corpus Christi, Tx. Naval Hospital for
final recuperation and therapy. From Corpus Christi, I was assigned
duty at M.C.A.S. Yuma, Az. in the M.P. Battalion where I ended
up as Sgt. of the Guard. I was discharged from the Marine Corps
April 1970 in Yuma, AZ..~Semper Fi, Curtis Batten
Friend or Foe?
We all liked them, friend or foe
some reason Brad Reynolds is one of the few people that I have
recognized. One of Brad's pics is taken standing outside of weapons
platoon tent on Hill 55. I remember the day Brad was zinged by
the Betty (June 15, 68), I was not far behind. I
also remember Willie Riviera, "THE" Dirty Dan, Jerry
Lomax, Doc Bowman (MY TRUE HERO), I just thought that he was invincible.
Left pic: Brad Reynolds on Hill 55
Right pic: Willie Riviera (left) and Marine (can't remember his
remember the camaraderie which we shared along with other things.
I mean we never gave it a second thought to drink something behind
someone else or to eat from the same can together or smoke the
same cig--it is memories like those which I enjoy the most. WE
WERE TIGHT. I can remember so many things which took place, but
yet all of the faces and names are so fuzzy to me. There was a
LOVE among us that no one else can know unless they were there.
Not that I think that our combat experiences were different from
other combat veterans, but we did fight the oppressed war. So
we were the only ones that we could truly trust at the time- EACH
Left: Curt sewing pants with needle and thread from Doc
Right: Curt and Willie Riviera, too pooped to pop
Ontos on Operation ESSEX
30-Feb. 8 '68
remember that they told us we were going to Phu Bai, and then
we ended up landing on a bald hill where we set in for the night.
Gunny told us to dig in deep cause we was up north now, and the
GOOKS got artillery. I remember all of us saying --- Well why
don't you just stick up a red flag as to our location, I mean
DUUUUH we just landed a whole company of Marines on top of that
hill not like there was any secrets about it.
night was the coldest I think I can ever remember, EVVVVER. Man
it was cold, all of us were down in our holes huddled together
trying to stay warm. It really wasn't all that cold temperature
wise, it is just that we had been flown up from the flatlands
into the mountains and we were not used to the temperature change.
I also remember someone, a Sgt. I think, checking the lines that
night and someone shot him. Don't really remember much about that.
All of us were pretty jumpy right then when the GOOKS kicked off
pulled us out of Dodge City and sent us to attempt to make contact
with an ARVN compound, or maybe it was a RuffPuff outfit that
was being overrun, but anyway when we entered that village while
walking down the road they ambushed us and kicked the dog poop
out of us. They knew that we would come and help out, so they
set up an ambush using that compound as bait.
Hill 1192 (Haivan Pass)
May 8-16, 1968
Haivan Pass looking from the South
remember when Jerry Lomax was hit in the arm, it was on Hill 1192
and I think that all of us that were up there remember what that
steep mother looked like. That truly was a BAD scene. I remember
Doc Bowman when he got hit the last time he was only about 15
or 20 twenty feet away from me. Jerry was there with him, and
then the other corpsman (can't remember his name) crawled over
to them but it was too late. I truly think and always will to
the day I die that Doc deserved The Medal of Honor for that day,
man, he just would not stop even though he was already hit.
Going up Hill 1192 (Haivan Pass)
remember crying that night, we lost so so so many good men during
those few days. Years later after I got home, my stepfather told
me one day that he remembered a time in May 1968 that he and my
mother were eating breakfast and had the morning news on. He said
that it mentioned something about a Marine unit being pinned down
and surrounded, very vague.
said that my mother just looked at him and said "That is
Curt that they are talking about", something only a mother
could understand. Since we were on that hill for "MOTHER'S
DAY," I remember that after we were finally relieved I took
a poster down from one of the huts (mess hall) I think. It was
very a pretty picture of some flowers which had been water colored.
I wrote a short note on it and then in larger letters wrote "HAPPY
MOTHER'S DAY," to this day it hangs in her bedroom.
Muts at Haivan Pass and USMC K-9
Viet Family and Irrigation System
A Real Combat Story
Operation HOUSTON II
NVA Base Camp