Michael "Turk" Wears (right) and Steve Olsen
(Steve was with Delta Caco HQ in Dien Ban, KIA May 23 1968)

Michael "Turk" Wears, Mike 3/5 I served with M Co. 3/5 as a radio operator from Sept. of 67 till May of 68 when I was transfered to 2nd cag. returning to Dein Ban area. People would only remember me by the name of Turk (given to me by Lt. Tony Clements, his was Wyatt Earp for the pistol he carried).

Me (Turk) on the left, Thorny in the middle, and someone I can't remember his name.
But I know that Face..
(Picture courtesy of Dick Wilson)

Dec.19, 1967

On Dec.19, 1967 Cpl. Vernon "Randy" Randolph and I were to go on an afternoon patrol. We had gone to the mess hall, I had our sq. radio with me. We had just sat down when I heard over the radio that 1st sq. was under attack. We ran out to the mess towards the direction we knew that Cpl Thormeyer's patrol was to end. We had gone about 1/2 click when we meet Thorny and his
grenadier. They told us they had come under attack and we moved to help them after sending Thorny to the Bn. CP.

Randy and I moved to the open rice paddies to the east. We called and looked for a while not seeing or hearing them. I can't remember what unit it was, it may have been a plt I believed to be Lt. Blackledge swept thru the area. Found Spanky (I didn't know his name till today 36 years later, John "Frankie" Riegal) John Vidler (whose name I thought was John, but also found out today that his name is Murray) and Jim Klopmeyer. They had been attacked and all were dead. I had helped them be transported back to the Bn CP.

Later that night I went to the Bn. aide station to say goodbye. The chaplain saw me coming out of the tent where the 3 were and told me I shouldn't go into the tent. I told him I had and I had to come to say good-bye to them.To this day, I still think of them remembering the night before and how Spanky always complained about being point. It was Jim's 6th day incountry and Vidler was an old salt.

In Memory Of
Pfc. James Martin Klopmeyer, Pfc. Murray Dean Vidler,
Pfc. John Franklin Riegel
Killed In Action
19 DECEMBER 1967

Vernon "Randy" Randolph, KIA 7 Feb. '68

Friend and Fellow Marine

Vernon "Randy" Randolph was my Best Friend of all my time on active duty. He was my squad leader, and I was his bodyguard. We were like one person in those days. We went everywhere together. When I had gotten there (Vietnam), I had been in training in Hawaii, so I thought I wasn't so green.

On my first night patrol we sat in an ambush, and it was so dark. I had to ease nature, so I crawled out away from the partol and went in a ditch. When I got back Randy told me never to do that again, that they might mistake me for a Gook and shoot me. This is my first remembrance of Randy. A teacher as well as a friend. Months later we had a guy killed in our base camp after he crawled back into the lines. Randy is always on my mind. He has always been on my mind. He will never be forgotten.

I was not there when Rnady was KIA I was on R&R and I didn't find out about it till I got back from Gary Wells. He told me. He didn't mention how it happened or when. just that Randy had his million dollar wound and was going home. Gary said Randy was talking and laughing about going home before him. Then they got the word that Randy died in the hospital.

After Randy not very many names stayed in my head. I think after he was gone I really realized that I was in a war. Before him dying, I didn't think of death. It just happened to everyone else, and by then I was in the CP and I didn't meet anyone really. I know I didn't get into their lives like I did with Randy. Randy and I were only together about 76 days. It sure seemed like longer. Not long enough.

"Doc" Wally Johnson
Killed In Action March 25, 1968

The first time I met Doc Johnson was in the CP Tent. My first thoughts were, Hey this guy belongs in front of some Science class someplace. About 5' 10" sandy hair and a mustache that had to have taken him the better part of 23 years. Glasses topped off my first impression. I accepted his handshake and he welcomed me into company CP group. Kindness is not a big enough word. He helped the younger corpsman with enthusasism. He held his classes for the aliments we may have had, but we never heeded his warnings. I cannot recall any time I heard him complain about anything. I remember the night I was asked to go and indentifiy Doc. A night that will stay in my memory forever. I may have been the last to say, "Goodbye, Old horse." His name along with others are on my Wall. Semper Fi, Doc! Even if you were an anchor clanker. I hope you call me friend.

HM2 Wallace B. Johnson lll, you are honored in this house.
Michael "Turk" Wears
USMC Mike 3/5 RVN 1967-1968


I have a little story that I have sent out over the last few years. The E-Mail starts with a picture of me as a recruit, then a picture of a veteran leaning against the wall which is called Wait For Me. The story goes:

There is a dream I have from time to time. I am walking over a small hill and there are shadows all around me. I see The Wall where all my friends are. There are lots of tears on this day. I turn and walk away. Then another day I walk over the small hill, and I can see all my friends in The Wall: Randy, Spanky, Jim, John, Jeff, Willie, Gunny Acton, Ski, and Doc. They all say, "C'mon Turk, the plt. is waiting, Saddle up and move out!" As I move into The Wall to join them there are no tears on this Day.

~Wears. M.S. Sgt. USMC

My time after service was not good I left the Corps with a bitter feeling. I had a bad instance when I returned to the States where a woman demonstrator at the airport threw a soiled diaper in my face. I spent 30 years trying to put being in the service out of my mind and memory. I went thru over 120 jobs trying to run away. In 2002 I was diagnosed with PTSD. And still have trouble with employment.

If any one remembers the old Turk please contact me. Thank you~Turk (M. Wears)

Mike 3/5 Website

(Background by Redeye)
(3/5 Corpsman graphic by Vic Vilionis, 7th Marines)