President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the
Silver Star Medal to William K. Moy, III), Corporal, U.S. Marine
Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while
serving with Company M, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, FIRST Marine
Division, during combat operations against the enemy in the Republic
of Vietnam on 4 September 1967.
in by Tom Klopmeyer, June 15, 2001)
brother, James Klopmeyer, M Co. 3/5
KIA Dec. 19, 1967
don't have many pictures of Jimmy because he was only in Vietnam 13
or 14 days. He was a kind and gentle kid always ready to help. Jimmy,
at six years old, had brain fever and polo and was not supposed to
live through the night. He was forced a year more behind me, he was
always the slowest, weakest and the last one to be picked to a team,
but never complained and no one tried harder.
everyone else was trying to get out of the service, myself included,
he was trying to get in. You see Jimmy was actually 4-F physically
unfit. He was turned down by the Army, Navy and Marines. With help
from one of his friends, a Drill Sergeant, they made a deal with the
Marines if he could pass their Boot Camp and gain so much weight they
would let him be a Marine. Again the last to be picked, but he met
their demands and became what he wanted so much. He gained almost
forty pounds. I didn't recognize him when he came home. Jim wore different
size shoes, his leg was three quarters of an inch smaller in diameter
and his leg was also half inch shorter.
Memorial page you did is beautiful for the other two Marines killed
Dec. 19, 1967, and I would love to have Jimmy's picture there too.
He would be very proud of it, just like I am. Thank you so much for
your kindness and thoughtfulness, even after all these years, but
it never ages in my mind. Can't wait to show my grandchildren and
even my brothers and sisters. Some of them because of the age difference
didn't know Jim that well.
page for James Klopmeyer, John Riegel, Dean Vidler
in by James Johnston, June 14, 2001)
E. Johnston, M Co. 3/5 in Vietnam from May 68 to the end of June 69
served with M 3/5 in Vietnam from May 68 to the end of June 69. I
went to Vietnam as an 0351. When they did away with the 3.5 rocket
launcher, I became a grenadeer and carried the M-79 grenade launcher.
Operations include MAMELUKE THRUST, HOUSTON IV, SUSSEX BAY, MAUI PEAK,
HENDERSON HILL, TAYLOR COMMON, MUSKOGEE MEADOW, PIPESTONE CANYON,
and MEAD RIVER.
I saw Frank Ambrose (M Co. 3/5) when he helped dedicate our new RV
park on Parris Island and it brouight back a lot of memories. I live
in Port Royal SC and work on Parris Island for MCCS in Maintenance.
Semper Fi~James Johnston, "JJ "
Navy Commendation for Sept. 3, 1968
M Co. 3/5 Marines and one FMF Corpsman were Killed in Action Sept.
Ricky Jerome Almanza (Silver Star)
SSgt. George John Belancin
LCpl. Larry Dale Coats
Pfc. Paul Edward Hyland
Pfc. Timothy Edward Shanower
Pfc. Michael Donvian Wilson
HN "Doc" Russell L. Wright II
easy Marines, we will never forget
in by Kenny McKinney, June 14, 2010)
McKinney, M Co. 3/5
60mm mortars, 1968-69
John Lalotte, Jim Quinn
Back: Scott, Montgomery, McKinney, ?, Mason
trying to locate Scott and Mason in the picture above, also if anyone
remembers the name of the Marine next to Mason, please let me know.~Kenny
in by Hal Creel, May 16, 2010)
First Force Recon Co. 68-69,
in by Hal Creel, May 13, 2010)
Smith, M Co. 3/5
Killed in Action May 10, 1968
I was at An Hoa with First Force Recon Co. 68-69. I had a high school
very good friend with Mike 3/5 KIA May 10, 1969. His name was Ronny
Smith (some people called him Smitty) from Mississippi . He was tall
with black hair. I was told that he was killed somewhere at Liberty
Bridge when he and another Marine hit a booby trap in their foxhole.
I was wondering if you or anyone had knowledge of him and what happened.
Last time I talked to him was up by 5th Marines hooches and the so
called little p.x. there. He promised to write and we’d keep
in touch but he never got to write. He and I played sports together,
hunted and double dated sisters so I thought a lot of him. If you
know anything I would appreciate very much finding out about him.
I didn’t know he was KIA until I got home so I didn’t
know any details. My mother knew but couldn’t bring herself
to tell me till I got home. Thank you for your help. I have also had
some of his relatives ask me if I could tell them anything.~Hal
to Paul O'Connell,1st plt. M Co. 3/5, for writing his remembrance
of what happened on May 10, 1969...see Memorial pages for Pfc.
Ronny Smith and Pfc.
Herbert Murphy ~Brad and Debbe Reynolds
in by Gilbert Hernandez, May 13, 2010)
for BLT 3/5 Marines
name is Gilbert Hernandez, I served with Mike 3/5 in 1966. I was an
orginal member from its conception in California to its deployment
on the USS PRINCETON. I was WIA in December 1966. I was on all the
operations including Hastings. I have a wealth of memories and would
like to share them with my fellow marines. I am retired due to my
wound, hope to hear from you.
Email us for Gilbert Hernandez's contact info.~Brad and Debbe
in by Curtis Eidson, Apr. 29, 2010)
Curtis Batten, M Co. 3/5
is with sad hearts that we have to pass the word that Curtis Batten
passed away this evening about 7PM. Curtis has been struggling to
keep his life for several months now but has lost the struggle. I
believe that he is now at the Main Gates standing tall among our friends
that have gone before. I don't know any details as yet but I do know
that Jerry Lomax is going to handle the 3/5 wreath for us. If you
can help with this please send the monies direct to Jerry. Be safe
my friends, Curtis Eidson, India Co. 3/5
(See also Curtis
Batten Picture page)
(courtesy of Danny Batten)
and emails sent in by family and friends of Curtis Batten
already miss a good friend and comrade.
Frank Pacello, "The Skipper"
Apr. 29, 2010
Pacello and Curtis Batten
courtesy of Jerry Lomax)
will be missed
to all the men of Mike 3/5. Curtis loved each of you and thought a
lot about you guys as brothers which you were. Thank you for all the
words, calls, letter and most of all visit when he was in the hospital.
Apr. 30, 2010
I would like to say it was an honor to have served with you and to
have you as my brother. We arrived in Nam and Mike Co. the same day
and became bloodbrothers on Shelbyville, through TET and Haivan Pass
(Hill 1192), to Mamaluke Thrust and countless others. We shared our
C-Rats, stories of home and much more. I will greatly miss you, but
your memory will never fade from my thoughts. Curtis, I salute you
and we will meet again I'm sure.
M Co. 3/5 Sept. 67/June 68
Apr. 30, 2010
Front, left to right: Jim Blankenheim, Doc Tom Wood, Jerry Lomax
Back, left to right: Frank Pacello, Art Diabo, Curtis Batten, Rock
Giambrocco, Dan Hignight, Brad Reynolds
courtesy of Brad Reynolds)
courtesy of Jerry Lomax, May 1, 2010)
Joe Smith, Jim Blankenheim, Joe Walters, Ken McKinney, Doc Wood, Curtis
Batten, Frank Pacello
2. Joe Smith, Jerry Lomax, Frank Pacello, Ken McKinney, Doc Wood,
3. Doc Wood, Curtis Batten, Jerry Lomax and grandson, Ethan, Ken McKinney
4. Curtis Batten, Jerry Lomax, Ken McKinney
by Raymond Backstrom, Apr. 26, 2010)
Corps Vietnam Collection
(Command Chronologies, Operations Files and other records)
am hoping to get word out of this web site offering free easy access
to the Marine Corps Vietnam Collection. 12,000 documents, 1,000,000
pages. You will be accessing what is probably the most complete set
of records on the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. As of right now, I am
still building and repairing the pages you will be using, but I believe
they are about 95% complete. What you will find here are the records
that were digitized by the Gray Research Center at the Marine Corps
University at Quantico Virginia, and hosted by Texas Tech Universities
Virtual Vietnam Archive...For anyone wishing to truly find out what
the Marines of Vietnam experienced, and accomplished, you will find
truly endless days of reading. In time I hope to add maps, (also from
the Virutal Vietnam Archive) that have been converted to GeoPDF format.
This will allow the reader to access these maps, and read the coordinates
referenced in the documents as the curser moves across the PDF file.
- Happy reading - Ray Backstrom - MSgt USMC (Retired)
For information on the battle of Iwo Jima, go to http://www.iwojimahistory.com
Coming soon: recordsofwar.com
by Curtis Eidson, Apr. 20, 2010)
Battalon, 5th Marines Reunion
June 3-6, 2010
wanted to drop a note and let you know that all is in order and all
is set for our gathering in a few weeks. As far as I know only a few
loose ends have to be pulled in and then all will be complete. There
are always loose ends to control right up to the beginning. All is
well though and all is right on track.
Skipper Murray has the T-shirts being made and I should have the covers
the first of next week. I am looking forward to seeing what Skipper
has done with the shirts. Mr. Jurney has the golf tournament set and
will be telling you about the rules during our welcoming on Thursday
evening. Karen has the KIA walk material ready and that is something
very special to all of us. Ski II has the skeet shoot lined up and
several have said they would bring some extra 12 and 20 gauge guns
to use. This is going to be interesting. Ski will explain the rules
of this also on Thursday evening.
The Salisbury family is getting excited about being with us and looking
forward to meeting all of us. This is a great family and we are honored
to have them with us.
If anyone needs directions please let me know so I can help you out
with that. Hickory Knob is kinda set away from everything (which is
to our liking) but really easy to get to from any direction.
Quite a few of y'all have not sent in your $50 registration which
was due the first of the month. Please send this in when you can.
It costs money to do what we do. Thank you.
Remember, if you can, bring something unique from
your home state for our raffle. I know there are things that are common
in all states but also know that most all of us have something very
unique that can only be gotten locally. This is a way for sharing
your part of the country with another person in a special way. Put
some thought into it and see what you can come up with.
Remember, try to be on location as early as you can
on the 3rd so you don't miss anything. The rooms may not be ready
when you arrive but that will not be much of a bother. Many of us
will be there if there is something you need. We have a good time
and the location is open for us to welcome each of you as you come
in. Brenda and Skipper Murray will be ready to begin giving out your
stuff early that morning.
Remember, we have a welcoming at 5PM on that Thursday
(3rd) to introduce our special guest and let everyone know what is
about to happen. Be sure to be at this welcoming. That just about
brings you up on all I know so all I can say is bring it on and enjoy
a good time with friends.
more info, see Curtis and Brenda's 3/5 Reunion website http://www.usmcvietvet.org/)
by Frank Pacello, Apr. 8, 2010)
DAV Winter Sports Clinic
Mar. 28-Apr. 2
1. Myself and Dennis Pohl (Corpsman in Nam) at Snowmass, CO with the
DAV Winter Sports Clinic
Bobby Barrera (left) is the DAV National Commander this year. He was
with C/1/7 in Nam. Great Guy
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki is on my right
Bobby Barrera, Dennis Pohl
Sprint was the first sponsor 24 years ago as I was the one who made
the decision for Sprint to sponsor.
My Company has also been a sponsor since I retired from Sprint in
2002. Great event.
You can check it out on the web here: http://www1.va.gov/vetevent/wsc/2010/default.cfm
SF, Frank Pacello
in by Terry Earhart, Apr. 3, 2010)
Johnston Memorial Post 283 Memorial Day Weekend
We at the David Johnston Memorial Post 283 of the American Legion
are excited to once again have the honor of welcoming MIKE 3/5 to
our...YOUR post for Memorial Day weekend. Below is information that
may be helpful to you in planning your trip to Pickerington Ohio (there
is also information available at our website www.alpost283.org).
We have blocked rooms at three area motels...many of you are familiar
w/ the Country Inn & Suites....we also have rooms available at
the Best Western & the Holiday Inn Express (see detail below).
The Ladies Auxiliary has plans in place to make sure that you are
well fed during your time w/ us...they are also working on deals with
area restaurants (more detail upon arrival). For those arriving on
Friday, the Honor Guard Steak Nite will be held 1800-2000h....it's
the best damn steak in Pickerington and as you know...the HG does
not accept M 3/5 currency on steak nite! Should any of you have any
special needs with which we can assist, please let us know.. As before,
we will have some great live music throughout the weekend. A member
of M 3/5 has recently purchased several memorial bricks for fallen
brothers....they will be available for you to place in the Veterans
Memorial on Memorial Day.
Day schedule of events will be:
Breakfast at the post 0700 (open to all M 3/5 members and family)
Violet Cemetery 0830 - Honor Guard ceremonies.
March to Victory Park - 0900 (w/ DI Blankenheim)
Glen Rest Cemetery - 1100 graveside services for Dave,
followed by Dustin Derga LIMA CO 3/25 KIA 8 MAY 2005 Ubaydi Iraq
Memorial Day Ceremonies - 1300 Post
A complete schedule of events for the weekend will be
sent late April.
Country Inn & Suites
2806 Taylor Road
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
STD ROOM: $69.00
mention MIKE 3/5 American Legion 283 when booking
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS
13300 State Rt 256
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
STD ROOM: $89.00
1899 Winderly Lane
Pickerington, OH 43147
STD ROOM: $69.00
Hope to see many of you this Memorial Day....Semper Fi.
also: Cpl. David
Allen Johnston Memorial page)
T. Turner, Mar.
husband wasn't in 3/5, but served in Vietnam in 1967-'68 in the 1st
LAAM Battalion. My brother also served in Vietnam, and my son served
as a Marine in Iraq. As a writer, I've wanted to tell the story of
the service wife during those turbulent times of the Vietnam Era.
Finally, my novel SISTERS OF VALOR, came out recently - launched at
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, NM. The emotions &
experiences of the four service wives in the book are really universal
for any service wife, but they also remind us of the extra difficulties
we faced then - the protests so personal against the service men &
their families, only having letters for contact, plus being on the
cusp of the women's lib movement. What a time! I wrote the book to
give voice to the service wife. You can check out my website at www.sistersofvalor.com.
SISTERS OF VALOR has been endorsed by Mrs. Colin Powell, other service
wives and Vietnam Vets. It has been chosen as the armywifenetwork
October Book Club choice. Besides being dedicated to all service wives,
especially those of the Vietnam Era, it is in memory of Major Cornelius
(Corky) Ram, USMC - 2/5 - who was killed in Vietnam Jan 10, 1971.
I'd be glad to answer any questions. Thanks for your consideration
- & especially for all you do through your website.~Rosalie
Mar. 23, 2010)
Grandpa and my uncle were in the Vietnam war. Paul Merryman (M Co.
3/9), and Dennis Merryman (M Co. 3/5). They will never be forgotten
by our family and especially from me. My grandpa is my hero. He is
the best. My uncle Dennis, very sadly died. He will never be forrgoten,
he was a great soldier and so was my grandpa!~Kandice Biddlecome
also LCpl. Dennis
Merryman Memorial page
in by LeAnn
Mar. 23, 2010)
LCpl. Bruce Fuller Pearson, Lima Co. 3/5
Killed In Action June 9, 1969
you. Great website in so many ways. My sister told me to check out
the page on our uncle, Bruce Fuller Pearson. Uncle Bruce left a legacy
of faith and duty imprinted on fourteen nieces and nephews who never
knew him.~LeAnn Pearson Capener
Bruce Fuller Pearson Memorial page
in by Ron Barry, Mar. 15, 2010)
for this website. I went through OCS and The Basic School (TBS) with
Dennie Peterson and knew him well. He truly was a good and honorable
man. I remember him as unselfish and intelligent - someone who always
knew exactly what to do in every situation, someone whose companionship
everyone valued. Thanks for keeping Dennie's memory alive. Semper
Dennie Peterson served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th
Marines, India Company.
He was Killed In Action Sept. 6, 1967 on Operation SWIFT.
For his extraordinary bravery, 2Lt. Dennie Peterson was awarded the
Navy Cross, posthumously.
Dennie Peterson Memorial page)
Co. 3/5 had 28 Marines and 2 FMF Corpsmen Killed In Action on Operation
SWIFT Sept. 4-12, 1967
Dennie D. Peterson, 9/6/67~Navy Cross
SSgt. Richard B. Jackson, 9/6/67
Cpl. William R. France, 9/6/67
Cp.l Dale A. Gunnell, 9/6/67
LCpl. Harold S. Bern, 9/6/67
LCpl. Richard W. Crawford, 9/6/67
LCpl. Sam T. Curiel, 9/6/67
LCpl. Patrick Herron, 9/6/67
LCpl. Joseph S. Hume, 9/6/67
LCpl. Reginald A. Jordan, 9/6/67
LCpl. Michael L. Langerio, 9/6/67
LCpl. Cecil R. Moorman, 9/6/67
LCpl. George S. Spak, 9/6/67
LCpl. Gregory L. Yeager, 9/6/67
Pfc. Robert D. Evans, 9/6/67
Pfc. Jerry H. Heizer, 9/6/67
Pfc. Gary E. Hibbard, 9/6/67
Pfc. James B. Miller, 9/6/67
Pfc. James T. Pepper, 9/6/67
Pfc. Lewis H. Proudfoot, 9/6/67
Pfc. Jerry C. Royal, 9/6/67
Pfc. Robert W. Swafford, 9/6/67
Pfc. Frank L. Swinford, 9/6/67
Pfc. Jerry L. Thomas, 9/6/67
Pfc. Ralph P. Villegas, 9/6/67
Pfc. Robert C. Wallace, 9/6/67
James A. Jones, 9/7/67
Cpl. Thomas F. Shanks, 9/12/67
Navy Corpsmen Killed In Action with India Co. 3/5 on SWIFT:
C. O'Reilly, 9/4/67
HM3 James S. Cazares, 9/8/67
Marines...we will never forget
in by Raul Vicente, Jr., Mar. 13, 2010)
originally from New York, but have lived in New Jersey since the month
before I joined the Corps. Every now and then I get nostalgic and
look on the net for things that have to do with "The Nam".
I found your site quite by accident, but, I must commend you on the
job you have done. The site is really very good. I served with India
3/5 from Dec 10, 1967 to around March 3rd. I had just come from up
North at Yankee Station/Quang-Tri where I was with Hotel 2/1. I took
part in the tail-end of Operation Medina. After
India 3/5 I was transfered to Bravo 1/27. I was on Operation Auburn
Townsend (far right) and India 3/5 Marines
(picture courtesy of Ric Lee, I/3/5)
arriving at your site I saw the name Townsend among your Memorials
and when I clicked on it you had a picture (above) of Townsend with
three other Marines. The guy in the forefront of that picture is Me.
I was a few feet away from Townsend when he got shot. Charlie had
just opened up on us and we were all running toward a paddy about
a couple of hundred feet in front of us. Myself and a Corpsman helped
him and then I went on up to the paddy where everyone was at and began
helping to lay down suppressing fire to stop the bullets that Charlie
was throwing at us. I thought Townsend had lived. I am sorry to hear
that he died. I was also a few feet away from Peterson when he tried
to go through the gate. My nickname was Zulu. I was only with the
Company for three months so I doubt if anyone will remember me, but
I was one of "Duckworth's Raiders". When I got to B 1/27
I walked with them for a few months and then I got shot twice on Operation
Allen Brook; It was June 5th.~Semper Fi, Raul Vicente, Jr.
also Pfc. Charles
Townsend Memorial page
in by James R. McElroy, Jr., Mar. 12, 2010)
R. McElroy, Jr. Silver Star Citation for May 12-13 1971
found the original of my second Silver Star award, but it had been
framed. A framer took it out of the frame and made some copies for
me. This copy was made in Vietnam. It must have been made on the first
experimental copier!~ Skipper Mac, "The Judge"
was also awarded the Silver
Star for Operation UNION, May 13, 1967, posted
on Ed McCurry's
Mike 3/5 website)
R. McElroy, Jr. served with "M" Co. 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
from 15 Dec 66 to 24 June 67. Participated in Operations SPOIL, DESOTO,
UNION (hospitalized 13-21 May 67), UNION II, and ADAIR (until transferred
to 2nd Combined Action Group, III MAF). Had an additional tour as
an advisor to VN Marine Corps from 9 Dec 70 to 1 Dec 71.
in by Dylan Lee Bailey, Mar. 11, 2010)
Uncle, Craig Nelson Ward, M Co. 3/5
Killed In Action Nov.
Co. 3/5 Marines, Craig Ward (right)
courtesy of Carlos Delgado, M/3/5)
came across this page searching for my uncle who had died in Vietnam
in 1970. I never met him, as I'm only 21 years old. I've only seen
1 or 2 pictures of him in my lifetime. I stumbled across one picture
on your website and I immediately knew it was him, Craig Nelson Ward.
I want to thank you for his memorial on your website. As most of my
family is gone now, I don't really know much about the kind of person
he was. It saddens me because I never got the chance to meet him,
always described as a wonderful person. I think about him everyday,
as though he's guiding me through my life. Sort of like a guardian
angel. Again, thank you so much for the pictures.~Dylan Lee
CRAIG NELSON WARD Memorial page
in by Steve Brodsky,
Mar. 7, 2010)
stumbled across your web site and thought that I would add something
was when I was with Mike 3/1 in 1967 - we had been been in the bush
for about 4 weeks chasing bad guys near the border of Laos. At the
beginning of the operation we got a replacement who was a CPL - can't
remember his name. Shortly after we stopped for some chopper resupply
and rest, he announced "1st squad - saddle up". He was taking
out a patrol. As we gathered our gear he walked up, pointing to me
and ordered, " you... take point." . I grabbed my M16, stood
up, and told him, "OK - but I'm the corpsman". Embarrassed,
he said , "sorry Doc - I thought you were one of us." Almost
to the man came the reply from the platoon - "he is". Best
complement I was ever paid!
Lima/Mike 3/1 67-68
in by Clifford Henry, Feb. 22, 2010)
Gary Lee Heeman, my brother, was KIA 15 January 1969 while a member
of Company MIKE Co. 3rd BN 5th Marines during Operation Taylor Common.
I have been searching for a long time for anyone who knew him and
can share his experiences with me. I'd love to find photos and maybe
reconnect with his wife, Shirley, who I lost contact with over 41
years ago. I hope to attend the 2010 3/5 Reunion.
L. (Heeman) Henry
CWO W3 USN(Ret)
Gary Lee Heeman Memorial page
in by Glenn Kittleson, Feb. 19. 2010)
I arrived in Nam December '68, M Co. 3/5 1st platoon. The operations
I remember were Liberty Bridge, Operation Taylor Common, and Operation
Durham Peak. Had a medical issue so I spent two months in the rear,
but had bunker watch every night which we got hit a lot, actually
felt safer in the bush.
1. Myself and
two others, Baring, and Fox is what he called himself (would be neat
to get full names?)
2. Myself and ? (can't remember this Marine's name)
(Note: If anyone remembers the names of these Marines, please
let us know)
I truly remember Durham Peak climbing the mountains, we had so much
gear that when we were ready to board the helicopter it took two other
marines to help you up from the sitting post ion. We were dropped
off halfway up the mountain, and I can remember getting ready to jump
out, and was grabbed from behind by a crew chef from the helicopter
who told me to wait till the copter got closer in. Good thing because
after taking a better look after getting out I more than likely would
have fallen all the way to the bottom, and never found.
The worst part was the copter could only bring us halfway up the mountain,
so as we climbed the mountain we had to hold onto small skinny trees
on the mountain slopes, and as you grabbed them they started to come
loose from the ground, and you would continuously look behind to see
who might be the one to have the tree give way to them, it was very
The most bizarre thing of the operation was that once we got to the
top we could hardly believe our eyes, the enemy had anti-aircraft
guns, and many heavy supplies on top. I will never understand how
we barely got up the hill, yet the enemy had items on the top of the
mountain that looked almost impossible without a helicopter dropping
The other memories were looking down the mountain.The planes flew
way below where we were, and we were up in the clouds, plus it was
cold at night, and guess what? Of all things I lost my poncho liner,
in which I was actually freezing in the Nam at night up there. Then
came the good news that we were pulling out after being up there for
a while, we started destroying some of our supplies, including throwing
our hot sauce bottles for the C-rations against the rocks. Soon after
doing all this, the return to move out was canceled!!!
Best Regards, Glenn Kittleson
in by George Autobee, Feb. 17, 2010)
The following is an excerpt from George Autobee's article REMEBRANCES,
published Nov. 11, 2008 in the Washington Times. The full article
is available for download in PDF form here http://www.combatwife.net/autobeearticle.pdf
M Co. 3/5 60mm paltoon, Christmas 1968
kneeling: "Smokey" Robinson, George Autobee
Behind them: Cpl. Mayes, "Cartoon", Stewart (blond), Marine
behind Stewart (unidentified)
Standing: Unidentified, LCpl. DeBose, Cpl. Hill, Richard Montgomery,
Unidentified, Everett Daniel Seed (far right)
was trained on the 80mm and 60mm mortars and prepared for Vietnam
in April and May 1968. We deployed to Vietnam and arrived in Da Nang
on June 21, 1968...We were attached to Mike Company, 3rd Battalion,
5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, located at An Hoa. We did
our initial two weeks in Phu Bai... I was first assigned as the point
for 2nd platoon. Our first action in the field was on Operation Mameluke
Thrust in Quang Nam province... During my 10-month tour in Mike Company,
I saw more than 19 Marines as KIAs and more than 50 as WIAs...
row: Lopez - Tony Ayala (KIA) - George Autobee (WIA)
Second row: Danny Armendez (WIA) - Nava
(photo taken June 1968)
was point man and the first one wounded in the engagement for Hill
310 on Aug. 9, 1968. I had been ordered to take point about 10 a.m.,
and about noon I found a trail and followed it - big mistake - until
a burst from an AK-47 automatic rifle hit the ground in front of me.
Everything went into slow motion. The seventh round hit my right arm
and sent my rifle flying into the jungle. The bullet spun me around,
and I fell on my back, getting my backpack stuck on a tree stump.
Next thing I knew, I was on my back, stuck like a turtle, with my
feet up in the air, unable to get up or move off the trail. It was
that point in life when you know it is over and you think, "Is
this how it ends?" Wow, what a rush. But guess what? I lucked
out big time. The tree stump broke, one of the guys grabbed my ankle,
and the men dragged me back to my squad and bandaged my arm. Pfc.
Rice, Pfc. Danny Armenderez and Pfc. Tony Ayala pulled me back. While
they were bandaging my arm, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) threw
a grenade, and we hit the ground. It was close — I came off
the ground and bounced when it exploded. We worked our way back to
the platoon commander and reported what happened...
Well, my job was over for the time being - I had found the NVA and
was wounded without a weapon. The pain from the bullet wound in my
arm was starting to get bad. I found a corpsman, and I was re-bandaged
and given a pain medication. Next thing I heard was the thump of mortar
rounds coming in. I was told to leave the area and find a medevac
to Da Nang. When I was working my way to the landing zone to catch
a medevac, I looked up and saw the crew was using a hoist from a chopper
to medevac Pfc. Ayala. I could see him while they were pulling him
up. The chopper and Tony were taking enemy fire as they pulled him
out. He had been badly wounded, and he died two days later. We had
shared our stories, water and food and had been on patrols and ambush
together for more than 45 days...
Sept. 11, 1968, my old platoon, 2nd Platoon, again had the honor of
taking point — and walked into an ambush. I counted at least
eight KIAs and more than 20 WIAs. I helped take care of Pfc. Armenderez.
He had been shot and had a chest wound. I found him doing OK in California
when I was discharged. Other than the time in March 1969, when we
were cut off for five days and had eight KIAs, this was the worst
hit Mike Company took during my tour of duty, which was 10 months.
Pfc. Rice was the only one left in 2nd Platoon with whom I had served...
March 1969, I had just returned from Da Nang. While there I noted
that all the streets were empty. I landed at the firebase, and that
night we were hit with mortars. The next few days, again we were hit
with mortars. One of the mortar rounds hit right next to our bunker.
It was very close. Of all the combat in which I was involved during
my tour in Vietnam, what happened on this mission - Operation Taylor
Common - was the most dangerous, and we suffered the most casualties
of all the missions we carried out. Operation Taylor Common resulted
in 500 NVA dead and huge quantities of captured arms and stores. The
Marines lost 183 killed in action and another 1,487 wounded. They
had driven the NVA out of the area, for then. As soon as the operation
ended, the NVA returned in force once again...
Autobee's article REMEBRANCES, published Nov. 11, 2008 in the Washington
The full article is available for download in PDF form here http://www.combatwife.net/autobeearticle.pdf
in by Mary Jane Miller Keene, Feb. 16, 2010)
William Franklin Miller
am not a combat wife, I am the sister of a Marine PFC who was killed
in Operation Swift Sept 7,1967. My brother's name was William
Franklin Miller. He went by the name of Frank. My son discovered
your website in March and after doing some searching he found someone
had set up a memorial site to Frank. He then came to me and asked
if I wanted to know more about how Frank had died. I said yes and
he gave me a stack of papers he had copied from your site. Because
of that I contacted two of the men who had left messages on the memorial
site. One was Don Goulet who was his fire team leader and the other
was Dennis Tylinski who was on the "Knoll" with him when
he was killed. Dennis and I have been sending emails back and forth
and recently I was privileged to meet him and his wife. You see, he
had wanted to go to Frank's grave and say the good bye he hadn't got
to say that day almost 41 years ago. It had bothered him and now I
think he has found the peace he was looking for. I hope he did. I
went to the grave site with him and then let him and his wife stay
there alone so he could say his peace. He later that afternoon met
my parents and answered some of dad's questions the best he could.
He talked so much about your website and how helpful you have been
to him. I also want to just THANK YOU for the website. I found information
and pictures that I did not even know existed. God Bless you for all
the work you have done. I guess I should tell you Frank was a member
of Mike Company 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
he was in the 3rd platoon. Dennis and Frank were in the same squad.
Don Goulet put me in touch with J.D. Murray who was the commanding
officer during that battle. Lt. Murray sent me a memorial shirt that
he had given to the men at last years reunion at Camp Pendleton on
the 40th anniversar y of the battle. It made me feel so good to know
that Frank had not been forgotten.
Mary Jane Miller Keene
(See also Pfc.
William Franklin Miller Memorial page)
in by Diane Jones, Feb. 16, 2010)
brother, Walter Holt Jones II, Corpsman
I knew of my Brother's death in Vietnam December 14th, 1966 is that
he was killed by an incendiary bomb when he went running back to get
a radio. Your website helped to me to finally understand what happened
in those early morning hours of December 14th, and I am so grateful
to you for that. On the page it lists all the men who died that day
and they say one marine is unidentified I believe that to be my brother
Walter Holt Jones II, corpsman, could you please include his name
on your roster of brave young men who died that day, He was a selfless
sweet good person who was dearly loved by his family and friends.
Thank you, his sister Diane
VC ATTACK ON HILL 71,
Dec. 14, 1966)
in by Otto Lehrack, Feb. 15, 2010)
of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd NVA Division by the Marines,
new book, Road of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd
NVA Division by the Marines, 1967 will be available in April.
the operations in the Que Son Valley from April to November 1967 and
operations Union I, Union II, Cochise, Adair, Swift and Essex.
This has been an on and off project of mine for about six years. During
this time I have lived in three states and two foreign countries and
have lost the contact data for some of the Marines and Corpsmen that
cover price is $30 but it is now available on Amazon for pre order
for $19.80 plus shipping which is about the price that I have to pay
for them. If you wish to order them from me, I will autograph and
send them to you for $25 each. This includes the cost to me, including
shipping from the press, the discount price of the book, the padded
envelope and the cost of shipping to you. I
will send you as many copies as you would like. I would like to get
as many of them done at one time as a convenience to me so try to
order as many as you need all at once. If you cannot do so, I will
accommodate late orders into the foreseeable future.
is an excerpt from the book from Operation Swift:
NVA came at Murray’s men in a whirlwind of violence—hard
on the heels of mortars that mushroomed across the knoll throwing
hot, sharp steel in every direction; within the lanes marked by the
tracers of Soviet-made machine guns and small arms that chain-sawed
every bush, sapling and blade of grass to stubble; the NVA soldiers
came by the score, in platoon formation, firing from the hip; they
came in squads, firing and maneuvering their three man fire teams;
they came singly, men orphaned by the Marines’ return fire but
still on their feet and attacking; they came at the Marines in a flood,
like water from a burst dam, flowing around the strong positions,
threatening to carry away the weak and then trying to come together
on the far side; attempting to isolate and surround small clumps of
resistance. They nearly succeeded. Had it not been for the outstanding
courage of the individual Marine and their close air support, the
entire company would most likely have been butchered on the knoll.”
in by Don Houser, Feb. 1, 2010)
Rembrances by Don Houser
Sergeant Don Houser and wife, Marilyn
I had 2 tours in Vietnam - both as a SSgt. My first tour was with
3/26 and also 2/9, 3/5 was my second tour. I made Gunny Sgt. shortly
after coming home from 3/5.
Houser and two other Marines
The photo was on the 195th Marine Corps birthday
I was the platoon Sergeant / Platoon Commander of the 2nd Platoon
with M/3/5. I first arrived with M Company on May 5, 1970. I stayed
in that position until 3/5 stood down and departed Vietnam. This was
about February 19, 1971 (at about 1945 / 7:45 PM - pick one). At least
that's the time I got on a FREEDOM BIRD and came back to CONS. In
reality 3/5 itself probably ceased operations a few days before that.
I know because I was there! Thanks to President Richard Nixon.
of these old memories bring with them a certain amount of stress.
That goes with the territory.
August 27, 1970 two of my men were killed by booby traps. Cpl. Daniel
Murphy Bennett and HM-3 Michael R Kempel. Both these men were of exceptional
quality and their loss caused tremendous pain in the heart of all
who knew them. Each of them tripped separate bobby traps. Cpl. Bennett
hit the first one. While coming to the aid of Cpl. Bennett, Corpsmen
HM-3 Kempel tripped the second booby trap. As a result of these two
booby traps both of these men died shortly after the explosions. Contrary
to some stories there wasn't any fire fight of rifles, machine guns
or grenades, or other such combat actions. They were killed outright
by the explosions of the booby traps. (See also Michael
Kempel Memorial page and Daniel
Bennett Memorial page).
29, 1970 Vietnam time...Near the AN HOA vicinity
Our company was operating near the An Hoa area. July 1970. Our platoon
was operating in an area of brush and such growth and there was a
small, very small, river flowing off one of the hill side. We ran
platoon size patrols up this mountain side along the river a few times.
We could see that there was VC activity along this river but could
not make contact with any of them. After a few such patrols I decided
to modify our approach to this area were it was obvious that they
were somewhere near by. A few days later I led 2 squads on a miserable
route through elephant grass going up the far side of this mountain
stream area. Of course it was a hot miserable trip up that mountain.
As we neared the top of this overgrown mountain we came across some
well used trails. We had found a route the VC were using regularly.
We followed the trail for a couple hundred yards and soon we were
back into tall elephant grass. We stopped for a break. One of the
corpsmen grabbed me by my flack jacket and said "Look Staff"
as he pointed to an area near that river. There in the distance -
maybe 150 yards away - were some VC and what looked like NVA in uniform
standing near some huge boulders right by the water's edge. One of
my machine gunners reacted and said he could take them out from where
we were. I told everyone to just be on guard and continue with their
break. Then I radioed in a spot report and told the CO of our situation.
I told him I was taking the squads down to the Blue Line, (river).
He said OKAY. So we proceeded down toward the river. We entered the
river a few hundred yards up stream of where the VC / NVA were located.
To tell the truth I wasn't really certain of our location along the
river. The maps we had 'SUCKED'. So we started moving slowly down
the river from small to larger boulders. There were some pools of
water maybe 3 feet deep in the river area.
VC / NVA had selected a nice area to hang out at. We were moving slowly
when the word came from the rear that there were a couple of gooks
on our trail behind us. I passed the word back to kill them. Apparently
these gooks behind us must have turned off. They just disappeared.
A few minutes later the VC / NVA we had spotted were still hanging
out by the huge boulders. That's when our troops started firing. When
they started firing I was waist deep in water and my radio man, PFC
JD Sandlin, was a few yards behind me. I thought- CRAP - of all places
to be - out in waist deep water - just looking for another place to
move to. The rifle fire from my troops was not being returned by the
VC / NVA. We'd surprised them completely and they were on the run.
We surrounded and searched the area of the boulders. One VC was down
in a hole under a huge boulder. He looked to be dead. One of my troopers
got down in the hole and started pulling this guy out. We heard a
'pop' as he was puled out of the hole. Since he was being pulled out
by the head - his neck broke -. For sure he was now dead. All the
other gook troopers had scattered and could not be found. I'm sure
we scared the crap out of all of them. After all they were enjoying
their time by the river on a warn sunny afternoon. Some of my troops
searched down in the hole and brought out bags of rice and other notebooks
and stuff. I did see a revolver come out of that hole - but somehow
it didn't show up in the final inventory of captured stuff. I had
the dead gook placed up on top of a huge boulder. A bright colored
air panel was attached on his chest. It was late in the afternoon
and we had to get back to our platoon base camp.
it was on the verge of getting dark and we were navigating along the
rivers edge back to our base camp. I was thinking, 'It's getting to
dark to see our route back'. The company Commander came up on the
radio and told me had aircraft standing by to drop illumination for
us. That illumination worked perfect. None of my troops twisted an
ankle or broke a leg getting over those boulders. We called the illumination
from the aircraft 'Basket Ball'. They did make out a lot of light.
The next day when we got back to our platoon base camp I had an air
strike standing by. As the jet pilot passed over the target I gave
him a description of the target. MARK-MARK-MARK to the pilot and he
had the target in sight. He made two different 500 pounder drops.
With the first drop there was a secondary explosion about 100 yards
from the main target. So there were some explosives hidden nearby
that we hadn't found. The bomb blast did find them. With the second
500 pounder many of the boulders were rearranged. It was a nice sight.
I hope there were some of the VC / NVA friends hiding near by. Hopefully
some of them were killed also.
A couple days later we went back up that small river just looking
for more of what we could find. On the way up we did find an ammo
box of 30 cal machine gun ammo. The box looked to be in good shape.
I had thought that we might be ambushed. We weren't. Whoever was there
had gone away. We found nothing of the dead guy on the boulder. I'm
not sure it was even the same boulder. All the terrain had been rearranged.
The vegetation was missing and some boulders were shattered. We could
not locate where the hole in the ground was.
31, 1970 In the surrounding area of An Hoa. This is one night time
med-evac I'm certain of
Night activities are squad size patrols sent out to set up ambush
sites along commonly used trails in hopes of catching some VC while
their in route to doing what ever their plans might be. Sometimes
it works but most of the time it doesn't produce anything. What it
amount to is the troops are active all day and then they are sent
out on NIGHT ACTIVITIES. Most troopers can tell you it really sucks.
Fatigue is the biggest enemy. But that was part of the war. When night
activities did work it usually was over in a few minutes. In my platoon
the Navy Corpsmen packed a rifle and stood watch just like the Marines.
I believe the Navy Corpsmen always did more than their share. Good
troopers those Navy Corpsmen.
On 7/31/1970 I planned the night activities for my platoon. Two activities
were sent out. The first group to go out were the ones who had to
travel the furthest. Maybe 800 yards away. After they had departed
the second night activity would leave on their route about 15 minutes
later. They would go on a slightly different route so as not to be
near the first group that went out. The squad leader of each activity
was in charge totally of his men as to where they set their ambush.
Night activities normally depart the platoon perimeter just as dark
is starting to happen. The first Night Activity was led by Cpl. NJ
Gilchrist. He took his squad out to their position. The second activity
moved out and walked into the vicinity of the first activity. Unknown
to either activity, they had crossed paths. There was a burst of rifles
firing for a short time before they realized they were firing at their
own men. PFC Sandlin was shot in the hip. All firing came to a stop.
The situation was evaluated, a spot report went in to the CO. Priority
went to the med-evacuation of PFC Sandlin. It didn't take long and
aircraft were dropping night illumination as a CH 46 Chopper came
in for the med-evac. Sandlin was out of there and on his way to medical
Sandlin, though severely shot by an M-16 rifle, did live through all
this. I did see PFC Sandlin at the Balboa Navy Hospital, San Diego,
Ca several months later. I had contracted hepatitis myself while in
Vietnam and spent a few months in the same hospital as PFC Sandlin.
I was assigned to Marine Liaison at the hospital while I was waiting
for a discharge from the hospital. One of my Liaison duties was to
go to Marine patients in the hospital and see if there was anything
I could do to help them. I was in for a surprise when I found PFC
Sandlin there in bed all bandaged up from the gun shot in his hip.
I talked to him for a bit and then I was on my way. A couple days
later my orders came through to leave the hospital and go to my duty
station. I haven't seen Sandlin since that time. I often wonder how
he came out of it all.
many of us Marines there are stories to tell...Bless those who didn't
come home alive, and may God help those who were severely wounded.
And still there are Marines currently on battlefields. SOS
Semper Fi Marines
First Sergeant DJ Houser
in Dec. 1978
in by Bill Raley, Jan. 15, 2010)
just found these pics of me when I was on LZ Vulture, 1970. The one
below is in Arizona Territory.
GotSome--Want SomeMore~Bill Raley
in by John Lobur, Jan. 1, 2010)
Van Pass, late April/early May 1968
just found this photo of me from just before I got my orders for home.
We visited this very spot during our 2009 trip to Vietnam. I think
JD Murray or Steve Lovejoy have pictures of this old French pillbox/fort
at one of the bends in the road Hwy 1 north of DaNang.~John
in by George Filyaw, Jan. 15, 2010)
Marines Snipers Website
the help of my nephew we are starting the site again.
5th Marine Snipers
Purple Heart Project
Cpl. George R. Filyaw
5th Marine Scout Sniper Wounded May 26, 1967 Union ll
[PICTURE GALLERY 2013]