Craig Sullivan, Platoon Commander 1st Platoon of Mike Co.
Hill 53, Sept. '67

Craig Sullivan H&S and Mike 3/5 I arrived in Vietnam on May 30, '67 at the end of UNION II. In June '67, I was assigned to the 1st Platoon of Mike Company as the Platoon Right Guide. SSgt. Rogers who came over with me, was assigned as the Platoon Sergeant and 1st Lt. Jack Fretwell was the Platoon Commander. SSgt. Rogers was later KIA.

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1. Que Son Valley. 
2. Sullivan, Que Sons south of Hill 63.
3. Steve Walker/Haygood, second man back (rockets).
4. Sullivan coming out of a tunnel.
5. Covered well. 

Propaganda Leaflets left by the NVA on Operation UNION II. 

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Sullivan on the side of a fox hole on Hill 63.

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1st Platoon Mike Co. 

1. Sgt. Frank Clark, Sgt. Craig Sullivan, LCpl. Mercurio, SSgt. Rogers (KIA on ESSEX).
 2. Sgts. Lewis, Clark and Sullivan.
3. LCpl. Mercurio and Cpl. Donald Kretsinger (KIA on ESSEX).
4. Sgts. Lewis and Sullivan. Sgt. Lewis was wounded in the back with several pieces of shrapnel from an 82 VC Mortar on SWIFT.
5.  Sullivan giving haircuts to the engineers at Hill 53.

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Ken Fields beside a sign he painted for the 60 Guns Section.

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1. Sgt. Sullivan on the left and Ron Mercurio in front. Ron was Sgt. Sullivan's Radio Operator.
2. LCpl. Mercurio, LCpl. Luke and Sgt. Sullivan south of Da Nang on Highway 1. 
1st Platoon set up a small camp around a Bridge to prevent the VC from blowing it up.
3. Ron Mercurio.
4. Cpl. Luke.
5. Cpl. Jack Swan.

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Sullivan and SSgt. Mc. (don't remember his full name) at Phu Bai. 
They were on the Drill Field together at PI.

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1. 1st Platoon CP at our Platoon Base Camp on Bridge Security on Hwy. 1.
2. Bridge 1st Platoon was guarding.
3. Mortar guys, (don't remember their names). They were killed on the bridge on Hwy. 1.
4. 1st Platoon Rocket Team (don't remember their names).
 5. Tank coming down Hwy. 1 towards our Bridge Security position South of Hill 63.

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1. Village south of DaNang.
2. Papasan.
3. Two Honeys on Hwy. 1.
4. Village store.

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Hueys and an old CH-34.

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Mortar crew and mortar pits

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1. Sullivan coming out of a VC hootch.
2. Mercurio and Sullivan..
3. VC Mamasan and her Babysan, LCpl. Mercurio to the right.
4. Sullivan and VC Mamasan.

Operation SWIFT

The 4th of September 1967 has been burnt in my memory forever. My Platoon was the point element for this Operation on the 4th of September. On this day we walked straight into HELL, and the ones of us that made it through are truly lucky to be here today.

We lost some damn good Marines and Navy Corpsman, and a very Special Navy Chaplain. We had a lot of good men who became mangled, crippled and some had their minds messed up for the rest of their lives. I have been told that we walked into approximately 2,500 NVA, and we were cut off from the rest of the Company.

2nd Lt. C. E. ED Combs, 1st Platoon's Platoon Commander just prior to Operation SWIFT.

The middle of August, I became the Platoon Sergeant. 2nd Lt. C. E. Ed Combs was the Platoon Commander, was wounded by a 50 cal. round across his chest, and also received three rounds in his right arm during Operation SWIFT. Lt. Combs was one of the first men to be wounded when we were ambushed by the NVA at the start of the battle of 4 Sept 1967. I then took over as the Platoon Commander.

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Sgt. Sullivan coming through a stand of banana trees on Operation SWIFT.

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"Doc" David Phelps and ARVN. Doc Phelps was KIA the second day of SWIFT
(See also
"Doc" David Phelps Memorial page)

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NVA Weapons captured on SWIFT by the 1st Platoon.

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Left: Russian 7.62 Anti Aircraft Gun we captured on 4 Sept. 67. 
Other gear that was captured is in the background. 
"This was a good day for us and a Bad Day for Charlie."
Right: Captured AK-47.

Bomb crater the wounded were put in on Operation SWIFT on the night of 4 Sept. 67.

 Sullivan and NVA killed by the 1st Platoon on Operation SWIFT.
Far right: "
NVA Fire Team that attacked my position when I was trying to gather up several 
of my wounded troops on Operation SWIFT. They had a Bad Day."

Left: Receiving the Bronze Star from Lt. Col. Rockey in Battalion formation at Hill 53.
Right: Receiving Purple Heart medal from Lt. Col. Rockey for wounds received on SWIFT, Hill 53.

South Vietnamese Marine Ranger Squad that worked with the 1st Platoon on several occasions.

 They were waiting to be picked up by CH-46 and taken to the Hiep Duc area for a patrol. When they reached their LZ and debarked the CH-46, the entire Squad was gunned down by the NVA. All were killed that day. If I remember correctly, it was some time in mid to late Feb. '68.

VC Prisoners captured by Sgt. Sullivan's 1st Platoon of Mike Company 3/5 in March of 1968.

I transferred to H&S Company as the S-3 Chief after the TET Offensive. I remained in this position until Master Sergeant Adise reported in. I then became the Assistant S-3 Chief until I rotated back home at the end of June '68.

While in the S-3 Chief position I built a Rifle, Hand Grenade, LAW, Machine Gun and Pistol Range, outside of Hue Phu Bai. I gave classes to the new incoming troops reporting to the Battalion. The classes consisted of: M-16, 45 cal Pistol, M-60 Machine Gun, Patrolling, Ambushes, Booby Traps, Personal Hygiene in the field, and many other subjects relating to the demands that would be placed on these new troops when they were assigned to a Platoon.

SSGT. Sullivan and 2nd LT. Webber in Subic Bay on a break from being on the USS Okinawa off the coast of Vietnam in the summer of 72, while serving with Delta Company 3rd Recon.

I served as a Recruiter after this tour in Vietnam, then I went to Bravo Company 2nd Recon Battalion Camp Lejune NC. I then went to Okinawa, 3rd Recon Battalion Delta Company. After Okinawa, I went to Coronado Calf, as an Amphib Recon Instructor, then back to Recruiter School. I was assigned as the NCOIC of RSS Salisbury NC. Where I met my wife. I transferred from RSS Salisbury, to RSS Charlotte NC, I then took over as the AFEE'S  Liaison in Charlotte NC. I retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant on January 1, 1982. 


On February 4, 1991, I was called back on active duty for Operation DESERT STORM, and remained on active duty for a period of 4 months, after being retired for over 9 years. I received 2 Navy Achievement Medals from Brigadier General Neal, for DESERT STORM and DESERT SHIELD. One of the medals was from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the other was from the District Director of the 9th Marine Corps Recruiting District.

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After my retirement from the Corps, I went to work for Philip Morris USA where I retired on 1 June 1998. I am presently the Shift Manufacturing Supervisor for S&D Coffee in Concord, NC. I have two children by my first marriage and they have 6 children. My wife and I have a son and a daughter.

Platoon Commander of 1st Platoon of Mike Company.
Master Sergeant Ret.
Craig Sullivan

 MSgt. Craig and Barri Sullivan
Marine Corps Ball * Nov 1991* Charlotte, NC

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the




for service as set forth in the following


For heroic achievement in connection with operations against the enemy while serving as a Platoon Sergeant with Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division. On 4 September 1967 during Operation SWIFT in Quang Tin Province, Sergeant SULLIVAN'S platoon, serving as point element for the company, absorbed the brunt of a fierce attack by a massed force of North Vietnamese troops using small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire.  Immediately, the platoon commander became a casualty and summoned Sergeant SULLIVAN to move forward 100 meters to his position and assume command of the platoon.

With concern only for his duty, Sergeant SULLIVAN started to advance, but the increasing hostile fire forced him to seek cover. While waiting for an opportunity to move, he heard the cry of one of his squad leaders who had been wounded. Under the covering fire of an M-79 grenade launcher, he courageously exposed himself a second time to the intense enemy fire to go to the aid of his companion. Moving the wounded Marine to a safe position behind a large rock, he skillfully administered first aid and applied a battle dressing to the disabled man's wounds.

In the meantime, enemy units had moved behind the entrapped unit and had commenced to deliver a heavy volume of fire. Reacting instantly, Sergeant SULLIVAN ordered his men to move to a bomb crater thirty meters distant. During this movement, he was wounded in the forehead by a fragment from an exploding enemy mortar. 

As dust came and the intensity of the attack increased, Sergeant SULLIVAN radioed for assistance, but the other nearby units were also heavily engaged with the enemy. Realizing the need to move the critically injured to safety, he organized a team to evacuate them, but enemy fire was so heavy that they could only gather the wounded into the bomb crater. When one of the casualties ceased to breathe, Sergeant SULLIVAN applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the man was revived. 

Upon receiving directions to leave the area in  preparation for an air strike, Sergeant SULLIVAN radioed the company commander that his platoon was pinned down in the bomb crater only seventy-five meters from the enemy positions. Despite the proximity of his unit to the target, he courageously recommended that the air strike commence.  Subsequently, the air strike silenced the enemy automatic weapons and Sergeant SULLIVAN was able to lead his men back to the company's position.

By his composure under the most hazardous conditions and complete disregard for his own safety, he inspired all who observed him and undoubtedly helped save one Marine life. Sergeant SULLIVAN's courageous leadership, determined fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Sergeant SULLIVAN is authorized to wear the Combat "V."



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Brad Reynolds, Craig Sullivan, Frank Ambrose, Ken Fields
Together again after 34 years at the 3/5 Reunion in La Grange, Georgia!
1st Platoon Mike Co.
May 2001

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3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Reunion 2003 La Grange, Georgia
Left: Craig and Barri
M Co. 3/5

H&S and Mike 3/5 website 

Operation UNION II

Operation COCHISE

Operation SWIFT

Operation AUBURN

(Background by Redeye)