M Co. 3/5 Marines 1969
Kneeling (L to R) Capt. Burns, Lt. Ted Lewis
Standing (L to R) Lt. Ed Browder, Lt. Jim Treadwell

Ed Browder, Mike 3/5 Served as Platoon Commander M Co 3/5 after transferring from 1st Force Recon where I helped Capt. Burns bring back 3 from Mike Co. who made the ultimate sacrifice. Semper Fi, Ed Browder

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Mike Co. Marines, 1969
Left picture: Ed Browder and Rick Nappi
Right picture: Lt. Jim Treadwell and Lt. Joe Coyne

This is not the 1st Force logo that we used in Vietnam. That was a skull and cross bones with crossed rifles in the background and the words, Swift, Silent, Deadly. We of course changed it to: Swift, Silent, Surrounded!!

5 March 1969

On Operation TAYLOR COMMON, Mike Company 3/5 was attempting to recover the bodies of three dead Marines that lay directly in front of an enemy fortified position. There had been numerous unsuccessful attempts that had cost many casualties.

I led the Force Recon platoon (Special Ops) that retrieved Sgt. Leslie Thompson and two other Marines' bodies, Dennis Merryman and Ronald Christianson. On two other occasions, prior to our insertion by ladder (150 feet attached to the bottom of a CH-46 helicopter), there were attempts at getting the bodies out, but they were shot out of the LZ by enemy fire. After much bombing, defoliates (Agent Orange), and the dropping of CS Crystals ( a very potent tear gas) on the area, my platoon took off at 1030 hrs. on 4 April '69 to fly the 20 to 25 minutes to the area in order to get the Marines. 

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2nd Platoon, 1st Force Recon

Five of those troops retrieved the bodies off Hill 332. That is a very young Ed Browder in the right rear with the "butter bar' on the cover. Three troops from Mike went with us, Capt. Burns, CO; Lankalais; and another whose name escapes me now.

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This is the chopper that took us to Hill 332 for the body recovery. Those are my troops and 3 of Mike's troops, including Capt. Burns on the ladder. The first ladder insert in Marine Corps history

When we got to Hill 332, we were inserted by ladder into a blown out area through the canopy. Three Marines were with our platoon (usually 6 men) from Mike Company: Capt. Burns, Company Commander; LCpl. Westphal; and Pfc. Lakalis. The "Mike" Marines took us to the area. We found the bodies very close together, no mutilation (they were where they had first fallen) with their weapons intact, including an M-79 grenade launcher and its ammo bag full of "blooper" rounds.

The enemy had been regular NVA. Bodies untouched and gear left. I'm sure they (NVA) had to clear the area fast as return fire, artillery strikes and air strikes came to bear, so that Mike Company could safely clear the area.

Sgt. Leslie Thompson Memorial page

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3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Reunion 2003
LaGrange, Georgia

On 17 May 2003, Sgt. Leslie Thompson's Family was presented with a shadowbox of his medals. Marines escorting the family are Tom Mahlum, Ed Browder and Paul O'Connell.

October 2002 Mini Reunion
Ed Browder and M Co. 3/5 Marines together again after 33 years!

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L to R: Randy Pelt, Danny Hovanesian, Ed Browder and Paul O'Connell

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L to R Kneeling: Joe Coyne, Danny Hovanesian
L to R Standing: Randy Pelt, Ted Lewis, Ed Browder, Jim Treadwell, Tom Mahlum

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Ed Browder at the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Reunion 2003
La Grange, Georgia

Mike 3/5 website

(Background by Redeye)