Vilionis, HQ 7th Marines, RVN '66-67 Fresh out of High School, I left Canada
and enlisted in the Marine Corps on 12 November 1963. During my enlistment
of four years, I served with the 2nd and 1st Marine Divisions, Fleet
I completed my Basic Training with the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion,
"K" Company, Platoon 291, MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina
in early January, 1964. Upon completion, I was assigned to "Camp
Geiger" N.C. for Basic Infantry Training and then to the "H&S"
Company, 81mm Mortar Platoon, 3rd Battalion, "Betio Battalion",
2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
In 1964 we were deployed as Battalion Landing Team 3/2 to the Caribbean,
this was my first experience with Ocean travel and the Navy on board
APA 44 the USS FREMONT.
In 1965 our Battalion was deployed to the Mediterranean and our Platoon
traveled on board APA 31 the USS MONROVIA, with our return, most of
us were reassigned to units in Southeast Asia.
After a brief stay in Camp Pendleton for a "refresher infantry
course" it was off to Okinawa and Vietnam. When I arrived "in
country" in the month of June 1966, being an "0341"
I expected to join a Mortar Platoon but instead I was assigned to Headquarters Company 7th Marine Regiment S-2 Section.
The "Prepared to Fight 7th" was deployed in Chu Lai,
and was under "OPCON" of "Task Force X-Ray" since
the 1st Marine Division was redeployed to Da Nang. The 7th Marine and
elements of the 5th Marine Regiments TAOR included Quang Ngai and Quang
Tin Provinces RVN.
April 1967 the 7th Marines in Chu Lai were given marching orders to
move North and we were replaced by the 196th Light Infantry Brigade,
U.S. Army. Headquarters Company moved to HILL 55 which was located approximately
20 miles southwest of DaNang where I completed my tour "in country"
July 1967 and returned back to the "World."
Prior to be released from active duty in November, I was stationed
in Camp Pendleton, California with HQ Correctional Services Co.
"I Have Been, I Have Seen,
I Am Thankful To Be Alive"
Victor Vilionis, Sgt E-5
is quite the traveler. His trips in 1999 included going back to Vietnam
after 32 years. The picture on the top left is Vic, with Col. Roger
Barnard, former 3/7 CO, (center), and Guy Maxwell, I/3/7, (right),
proudly holding the USMC flag on Vietnam soil.
Vic with Gen. James L. Jones, USMC Commandant in Washington, DC
for the 224th USMC Birthday, Nov. 10th, 2000 and Veterans Day, Nov.
Marines in the left picture are Ed McCurry, H&S 3/5, Vic, Ed Henry,
Corpsman 3/7, Terry Dixon, India 3/7, and Col. David Garner [Ret], served
a tour as FO with 2/9, and later as CO with 11th Marines. The handsome
group on the right is Ed, Vic, Cpl. Tom Hanneman, B/1/7, and Jimmy La
Chappelle, I/ 3/7.
Vic Vilionis and Bob Ingram
Ingram (right) and myself. He just recently returned from VietNam...a
trip that he took after being left for dead having been shot several
times during Operation Indiana on 28 March 1966. He received his
award in 1998, a truly humble and decent person, and I may add, the
only Medal of Honor Recipient who served with the 7th Marines and survived."~Vic
Bob Ingram's Medal
of Honor Citation is proudly displayed on the 7th
Semper Fidelis 7th Marines Website
(Pictures courtesy of Vic Vilionis)