Murray, Nov. '66
West of Hill 49, Operation MUSTANG
(also called Operation STARVATION)
Murray, Mike 3/5 66-67 Enlisted 1962--plt 245 P. I. Commissioned 1965
under the Meritorious NCO Program.Went to Camp Pendleton in Dec 65
and assigned to 2d Plt M Co. 3/5. Served as 2d plt cmdr, XO and CO
of M Co. for most of the next 18 mos. Served under two fine Co. Cmdrs.,
Dell Pettengill and the JUDGE. JD
pictures by Gary Bolen, M/3/5...well done, Gary!
Company 3/5, Dec. 1965 to Nov. 1967 Formed at Camp Pendleton,
Ca. Dec. 1965. Initial officers-CO Capt. Pettengill, XO- Lt. Prince,
Wpns Plt- Lt. Matthys, 1st Plt-Lt. Keker, 2d Plt-Lt. Murray, and 3rd
one month on Okinawa training and preparing to form the Special Landing
Force for operations in Vietnam. Spent another month of concentrated
training in the jungles of the Philippines.
pictures to enlarge)
Co 3/5 Okinawa, Apr-May 1966
Co. 3/5, 2nd Platoon
Song Cau, Phu Yen, Vietnam
in support of the US Army, Vietnam
Operation DECKHOUSE II
Gio Lien Province
for DECKHOUSE II
lifting off M Co from USS Princeton heading for the "Street Without
Joy" area just north of Dong Ha on Operation DECKHOUSE II 16
DMZ, Cam Lo, Quang Tri, Vietnam
Completed our Special Landing Force mission and offloaded in Chu Lai,
map graphics were created in honor of Hans Haupt, H&S Co commander
for BLT 3/5 on HASTINGS. In the last several years he has personally
been responsible for locating many of the surviving members of the
BLT 3/5 through his diligent and persistent efforts on the internet.
have used the following references:
"A Few Good Men" by Ronald Brown
"Semper Fi, Vietnam" by Edward Murphy
BLT 3/5 After Action Report and Command Chronology
My experience with M Co as 2d Platoon Commander on HASTINGS
Input from Reiss Tatum, CO of L Co. on HASTINGS
3/5 was airlifted into the area to exploit the B-52 strike and act
as a blocking force for any NVA units escaping from the Song Ngan
area where most of the Task Force were located. No friendly forces
had operated in BLT 3/5 initial zone of action prior to their entry.
It was suspected that the area might include a regimental sized CP,
and perhaps, even the CP for the 324B NVA Division.
3/5 was commanded by LtCol. Ed Bronars, with his able commanders,
Capt. Hans Haupt (H&S), Capt. Sam Glaize (I Co), Capt. Dick Maresco
(K Co), Capt. Reiss Tatum (L Co), and Capt. Harold (Dell) Pettengill
Helos preparing to liftoff 2d Plt., M Co into HASTINGS (JD is
holding map in pic)
"Capt. Pettengill had briefed the platoon commanders 10 mins.
prior, and I believe I was able to brief my squad leaders only minutes
before this pic. I doubt whether the troops got more than, "Get
ready to Rumble.'"
Co making helo assault on NVA positions
the initial landing, only Capt. Pettengill's M Co encountered serious
resistance. The company landed on an NVA unit in LZ CROW at 04362,
and after heavy airstrikes were able to overrun the NVA. 20 NVA killed
during the afternoon battle.
Co also landed in LZ CROW. Cos K, I, H&S, and BLT CP landed in
Co Helos landing in LZ
think this is just after we landed where M Co landed on top of the NVA
on the 18th.
was little contact during the morning of the 19th. L Co made contact
with a platoon of NVA at 045625, and K Co had NVA contact at 038608
that afternoon. L Co discovered a Bn CP at 040620 with 140 bunkers.
first light all BLT companies resumed search and destroy operations
west in their assigned TAOR's.
At 0915am Co L destroyed an NVA Hqs.
At 040620. Both L and M Cos had contact early in the day. A patrol
from the 106rr platoon discovered a possible political reception center
At 1610 K Co at 044598 found a Bn/Regt CP with hundreds of uniforms,
packs, shirts, shelter halfs, etc. and documents. All were new.
M had contact at 028616 and 022610 killing 4 NVA and capturing supplies
At 1815pm L Co killed 2 NVA at 025610.
At 0100am K Co ambushed 10-15 NVA. Results unknown.
Co Command Group and radiomen
Wineriter, GySgt. Goodrich, Capt. Pettengill, Lt. ("ready for inspection")
BLT 3/5 companies continued search and destroy missions in their TAORs.
Co M at 0920am discovered prepared positions at 024618 with much equipment.
200 bunkers, hospital and mess hall in area. Large quantities of engineering
equipment and explosives and mines found indicating probably an NVA
Engineering Bn. Probably evacuated because of B-52 Arc Light.
Co found a Chinese Mine Detector at 028618. 2 NVA bodies, 12 graves
were also found, apparently caused by arty fire or an earlier contact
with Co K or M.
M Co Capt. Pettengill, with radiomen Wineriter and Leslie, calling
in an air strike on NVA positions. Lt. Lindblom wounded during the
strike and evacuated. Lt. Joe Mirgeaux was sent in to replace Lindblom
by the Bn. Cmdr., LtCol. Bronars.
Mirgeaux, WIA 21 July 1966
of NVA Engr. Bn. mines and equipment found by 2d Plt. M Co on 21 July
search and destroy operations to the west, Co M reached Hill 314,
which intelligence sources indicated was the site of a regimental
CP. 1 NVA killed by M Co 024625.
1545pm Co M 2d platoon surprised 30-40 NVA in prepared bunker positions
vic. 034625. Co M overran the positions. While evacuating the wounded,
the NVA assaulted from 034623. Both the 1st platoon under John Keker
and the 3rd Platoon under Joe Mirgeaux overran the NVA on top of the
nearby hill. The NVA probed M Co positions throughout the night.
1700pm, an ambush from L Co. fired on 4 NVA at 025610. Reinforcing
squad helped kill 4 NVA.
At 1845pm I Co at 026608 contacted 12-15 NVA. NVA withdrew.
Plt M Co going down streambed just before we ran into NVA bunker complex
which Vernon Ford describes so well.
Co patrolling in triple canopy jungle
of 22nd and Morning of 23rd
The LZ blown out of the triple canopy the night of 22 and morning
of 23 when M Co ran into the NVA in bunker complexes along the streambed.
Joe Mirgeaux and John Keker, among others, were evacuated from this
Matlock, 2d Plt. M Co eyeballing NVA shack for sleeping purposes
At 0040am Co M killed 2 NVA.
At 0815am I Co killed 1 NVA.
At 1000am Co M killed 2 NVA at 033627. Co K found 1 dead NVA at 025611.
Co I at 1105am sighted 2 NVA at 018602, killing one, capturing one
and one 57mm recoiless rifle.
At 1555pm I Co discovered a large equipment cache at 017607 and captured
At 2230pm L Co killed 1 NVA at 005605.
down into blown out LZ
0700am L Co was approached by 2 NVA at 005605 wearing camouflaged
utilities and U.S. helmets. 1 NVA killed.
At 1115am I Co discovered 21 NVA bodies near 016617, in area of previous
L Co ambush.
At 1155am H&S Co patrol found NVA bivouac site at 083614 with
At 1200 Co I made contact with 3 NVA near 011616 along well used trail.
1 NVA killed, 1 captured.
At 1215pm Co I came under intense automatic and small arms fire at
1425pm Co I received mortar and automatic weapons fire while moving
up draw at base of Hill 362. Once on top of Hill 362 and moving across
a saddle, I Co came under very heavy concentrated enemy fire from
three sides. LtCol Bronars ordered K Co to reinforce I Co. K Co got
within 300 meters before heavy NVA fire from an estimated 30-40 NVA
halted their advance at 018614.
I Co. remained under intense enemy firing including at least 4 NVA
mortar positions. The mortars took a heavy toll on I Co Marines until
an UH-1E helicoper gunships strafed the NVA mortar positions identified
by Lt. Jim Kirschke, the 81mm Mortar Platoon Commander, who discovered
the position through a quick map study.
captives identified the NVA forces as 6th Bn, 812th Regt., 324B NVA
Division. Captured were 3 mortars, 27 rifles and machineguns, 1 57mm
Recoiless Rifle and large numbers of packs and equipment.
2335pm M Co was probed at 025636.
believe this is a photo of Hill 362 where I Co got ambushed on the
24th. This photo was taken on the 26th when M Co arrived on the hill.
Co Command CP with the WO, Capt Pettengill, Leslie, and other radio
Bob Wineriter is in there somewhere. The terrain reminds me of the
24th/25th when M Co was directed to protect a downed helicoper and
crew deep in the DMZ.
Plt. M Co moving towards downed helicopter
photos probably off Hill 362 of Helicopter Valley (the valley gained
its name during this operation when several helos were shot down earlier).
the early hours, Co I was contunially probed by an estimated 2 reinforced
NVA companies. NVA broke contact 0430am.
1000am L Co killed 1 NVA at 016607 and at 1500am they sighted 7 NVA,
killing 1 NVA at 011612.
At 1630pm L Co was attacked by approx. 20 NVA at 011617, killing four
At 1645pm L Co received a tear gas grenade.
1700pm Co K discovered 6 NVA bodies and numerous drag trails vicinity
018617 and a large store of equipment including machineguns, submachineguns,
grenades, and uniforms.
By 1715pm I Co patrols around 011617 had found 14 more NVA bodies
and numerous drag marks.
was relatively quiet, with contact consisting chiefly of small probes.
M Co joined the other companies on Hill 362 in preparation for the
foot movement to a newly assigned TAOR.
Hill 362 on the 26th. As I recall, it was the only hill we were on
in HASTINGS that we could see other terrain.
Co received probes at 0015am on Hill 362. After conducting intensive
air strikes and artillery preparation, the rifle companies moved westward
to designated positions in the new TAOR. The BLT CP displaced by helicopter.
0815am, L Co. received sniper fire, returned fire killing 1 NVA. at
011617 and capturing 1 NVA with 2 submachineguns.
Co. Command Group
Front Row: Lt. . MacArthur, Arty FO, JD, Lt. Fred Matthys, and WO Griggs
Back Row: FAC, Capt. Pettengill (CO), and Lt. Mullinex, XO
following companies conducted search and destroy operations against
NVA forces in the grid squares indicated:
K - 7960
Co L - 9660
Co M- 9860, 9960, 0060
1215pm Co M found a cache at 999593 of NVA equipment. An hour later
M Co found another cache of clothing and equipment at 999593.
1227pm, the 2d Platoon M Co sighted 25-30 NVA at 989613 digging a
mortar and 50cal MG position on top of the hill as the 2d platoon
moved up a steep ravine. Artillery and air strikes were called in
on NVA position. During a search conducted by Co. M, a trail eight
to ten feet wide was discovered in the area of 0161 to 9661 along
the mountain ridge line. It was noted that tall trees were pulled
and lashed together to complete the jungle canopy over the trail.
The trail showed signs of frequent use and had communications wire
throughout its length.
2nd Platoon, M Co. 3/5
Right: 3rd Platoon, M Co. 3/5
2d and 3rd plts M Co, taken the afternoon after 2d platoon had run
into the NVA Mortar Platoon as described by Rick Golbeck. We returned
to this knoll for our M Co night defensive positions. Arc lights hit
the high ground that night on the hills directly to the right of the
pics. Although at least 1000 meters away, shrapnel fell into our lines.
Lots of after action explosions.
believe this was the ravine 2d platoon M Co climbed and found the NVA
1400pm K Co received 10-20rds sniper fire from 987592.
At 1605 L Co made contact with 4-5 NVA snipers at 965603.
At 1815pm I Co moved into the BLT CP area to provide security and
constitute the BLT reserve.
At 0915am Co K commenced movement to Landing Zone Bluejay vic. 983563
for subsequent helilift to the USS PRINCETON. H&S Co., 2d platoon,
Co B, 1stMotor Transport Bn, and I Co followed in trace. The helilift
was completed by 1610pm.
F commenced helilift from vic 117579 at 0900am to USS PRINCETON.
HASTINGS ended for BLT 3/5 on 30 July
At 0830am Co L and M and the remainder of H&S Co commenced movement
towards LZ BLUEJAY. Helicopters lifted the first elements of Company
M at 1305pm, and by 1530pm all units of BLT 3/5 were aboard assigned
Lou Walt, CG 1st MarDiv, visited 3/5 in Chu Lai for congrats on our
performance in HASTINGS
West of Tam Ky in the pineapple forest area.
Hill 49, K, M
2. Griffith, Barlow, Hunsucker
3. Griffith, Turner
4. Carlin, Griffith, Hunsucker, Barlow
5. Griffith, Barlow, Hunsucker
Platoon M Co. 3/5
Northwest of Tam Ky.
3/5 TAOR expanded to include 2/5 TAOR to the north and west of Hill
49 in Chu Lai
M Co. operations in SE sector of 3/5 TAOR-Chu Lai
Operations in support of 1/5
Oct-1 Nov. '66
M Co. OPCON Chu Lai Defense Command--Defense of the Air Field
Co. M operations west of Hill 49, sometimes called Operation STARVATION
2. Goodrich, Lindblom, Finn
3. Goodrich, Lindblom, JD Murray
4. JD Murray
M and K Cos. provided protection for downed aircraft in Que Son Valley
2. McElroy, Hurrin, Clark
3. Turner, Clark
1st Plt. hit BT434058 on Hill 76 (?) near Chu Lai after returning from
Co. M withdraws from BT434058 and 452038 (Hill 76)
Hill 69, Chu Lai
Hodery, McElroy, Johnson
3. Johnson, Turner, Hurrin
Lindblom and his 3d pl.t radio operator
2. Lindblom, Cullin, JD Murray
3. Pettingill, Howe, Hunsucker, Turner
4. Turner, JD Murray
M Co(-) operation in TAOR
29, 35 Tam Ky
2. JD Murray
3. Steve Lindblom and Bud
Duc Pho in support of 3/7
Apr-17 May '67
OPCON 1st Marines Que Son Valley
May-6 June '67
Que Son Valley
June-1 July '67
July-3 Aug. '67
Aug-28 Aug. '67
M Co. security from Tam Ky to Hill 63
Que Son Valley
route of M Co. 3/5 on Operation SWIFT
day-to-day mapping should be considered a subjective report, done
some thirty-five years later, with an attempt to be as accurate
as possible. I took the After Action Reports from 1/5, 3/5, and
Task Force X-Ray and used Fred Riddle's map and route in some places,
as well as my own recollection to develop the graphics. There are
several areas that I just don't remember and have relied on Fred
Riddle's map, in some cases, and relied on the official AAR in others.
And I have also applied my own opinion when I felt differently than
Strichker, Lt. Dunnigan, and Father Capadonno before the beginning of
of M Co at Hill 63 into SWIFT
CP crater on knoll
Right: Lt. Hayden CO M Co.
in the open
on phone on the grassy knoll
Sgt. Sullivan, Lt. Hayden, JD
Right: Kevin Kelly, 3rd plt. radioman
Mortar found just outside M Co position
Weapons and our KIAs in background. The RPG on the rifle was located
10-20 meters away from CP, with dead NVA behind sights ready to fire.
KIAs on knoll
NVA on knoll
Weapons captured on the 4th/5th
is another knoll where M Co set in defenses on the 8th. The knoll
had numerous boobytraps around it. Notice the large rock w/2 other
rocks on top! I had walked twice between the two large bolders looking
over the area for M Co night position. Tom Barnard shortly thereafter
detonated an artillery shell booby trap between those boulders.
M Co. Marines on that knoll
Steve Cottrell, CP radioman
route of M Co. from 10th-morning of the 14th
map covers the remaining days of SWIFT. Because it moves into a different
area in the Que Son, I have used another map area west of the map
for the initial days of SWIFT. I have been unable to find additional
information from other sources to validate some of the movements and
nighttime locations of all concerned. I have depicted Fred Riddle's
map movements as well--they disagree with the 3/5 AAR. I also disagree
with 3/5 AAR in some areas as well. The AARs, in my estimation, are
put together after the fact and sometimes make gigantic mistakes.
I have corrected those mistakes to the best of my knowledge.
The biggest question, in my eyes, was the night of the 11th. AAR has
M and H Co. about a click away from the Battalion. I remember distinctly
being with all companies when we caught the NVA during their night
movement near our position. We had an outpost that was hit with friendly
fire that night, and I remember the fighting because it was primarily
on the other side of the Battalion perimeter. It was also one of the
nights having the entire Battalion together.
operators, probably Steve Cottrell and Kevin Kelly
Sept. saw us march on an objective some 3 clicks away, turn around
and go back two clicks to an LZ, AND ONCE HOT, decide to march out
at night some 7 clicks over terrain we had not seen before, and arrive
at 0700 at Hill 35, and lift off up north followed by 2 days of nothing.
The 13th continued till early on the 14th.
Jurney, JD Murray, and inspectors after SWIFT on Hill 63
Reilly and Cpl. Hatzfield receiving Silver Stars for UNION from LtCol.
This was after SWIFT, Frank Jurney is taking pic in background
Battalion, 5th Marines Reunon 2002
Front: D. Krueger, C. Septien, Vernon Ford, JD
Back: S. Lindblom, J. Cravey
Septien, Jim Cravey, Gen. Ray Davis, Dave Krueger, JD Murray
Ed and Susan Combs, Randy and Judy Cernick, JD and Beth Murray.
(Ed had 1st Plt. and Randy had 3rd Plt. on Operation SWIFT)
2. Steve and Ann Lindblom, and Beth Murray (Steve had 3rd Plt M Co for
the first 7 months in country).
(Both Ed and Randy were told about the reunion only one month before
3. Ford instructing McElroy on *How to do it*
4. Rob Whitlow and JD. Rob was our AO on Operation SWIFT. He, working
with Chuck Goebel, saved the day!
Hurrin and JD Murray
Battalion, 5th Marines Reunon 2003
and Beth Murray with daughter, Paige
Former M Co. 3/5 Captains JR McElroy, Frank Pacello, Randy Pelt, JD
2. Jim Johnson, JD Murray, Bill Mulcrevy, Dave Krueger
3. Jack Swan and JD
4. Kevin Kelly, Frank Jurney, Steve Cottrell, JD
M Co. 3/5 Operations
DECKHOUSE II and HASTINGS
and Mike 3/5 website