"Nick" Nicholson, Mike 3/5 Served with
1st Platoon Mike 3/5 from 1966-67. Operations include
DESOTO, UNION and UNION II, ADAIR, COCHISE, SWIFT, SHELBYVILLE,
and ESSEX. WIA on ESSEX, Nov. 8, '67.
with hands on hips is Melendez, guy with shovel I think is Schrader,
and the Marine with no shirt I believe is Fisher. He was awarded
the Navy Cross. He was KIA on Operation Swift, I think, hard to
remember things you tried to forget for 30 years. (Jack Swan in
back with shirt on).
the right picture, I think the guy in the foreground is Walker,
but I'm not sure. The guy in the back is Roarff, not sure of the
On the left is Sakora, I think, and Woody
Draper on the right
Hill 69, North of Chu Lai, December 1966
14th, 3/5 was on Hill 69 north of Chu Lai. "Mike"
had security for two other hills that were a few clicks out. They
formed kind of a triangle, platoons would rotate to man the other
two hills. The platoon in the rear would run patrols and ambushes
around the other two hills. The night of the 14th I think,
one of the hills got hit by a large number of VC. My platoon was
in the rear, so we got ready to go out and help, but got the word
to stand down. All we could do was watch the fire fight, and the
flashes from the grenades going off.
fight lasted for quite awhile, then a few Marines who survived and
made it back to the area told us what happened. The hill was not
fortified enough yet and the VC knew it. The VC just swarmed up
the hill and over ran it very quickly, the PF's (popular forces)
that were on the hill with the Marines did nothing to help fend
off the VC. According the survivors they just hid in their bunkers,
oh yeah, none of them got hurt. Lucky, you think?
found out a few days later that the VC had an ambush waiting at
the bottom of the hill to get any help that might show up. We also
got word that the VC had been practicing their tactics on
another hill prior to the attack. They had it together that night.
It was a terrible thing to have to watch and listen to and not be
able to help. That was just one of thousands of battles that went
unnoticed except for those who were there.
14 December 1966
Cpl. Joe Bowers on left, Ron Mercurio in back, Doc Griggs (Walker
thinks it's Griggs) on the right.
1st Platoon, maybe on Hill 52 in 1967.
Leonard (left pic), he was from W. Virginia. That pic was taken
on a hill about 2 or 3 clicks from Hill 52. We had a reinforced
squad on the hill. The next bunker down the line was where Charlie
Crump shot the little kid (accidentally?). We had to stay up for
three days and nights, thinking the gooks were coming to get us,
with no shirt (center pic) is Melendez, kneeling with tray is James
Overpeck. He was KIA on Operation Union or Swift, not sure. Seabloom
and I had to go out and get the Corpsman that went out to get Overpeck
after he was shot. Then we went back out and got Overpeck. He seemed
to be doing okay, but later died in the hospital. Never did hear
how the Corpsman made out, he was hurt pretty bad, also. The black
Marine is a Sgt., can't remember his name.
2. Frank McPeak
3. Bill Vandegriff (far left), can't remember the other names
and UNION II