26th Marines Association
Association "SCUTTLEBUTT" also
Buddy search messages
I recieved this story from an electrobuddie (by email)... "who
found it on the internet, of one of the officers at Khe Sanh and events there, and events much later.
But I think it's a great story that others might like to read. Capt. Dabney passed on to final muster
six years ago, but his example of Marine leadership is timeless."
A bit of Vietnam battle history...
Capt. Dabney of
is unattributed, but much of it is in Bill Dabney's own words...
Capt. Bill Dabney, a fearless leader of men during the siege of Khe Sanh is described by his colleague, Capt. R.
D. Camp in his book, "Lima VI" as "a big, naturally taciturn man, a Naval Academy dropout and Virginia Military
Institute graduate who had served an enlisted tour in which he made sergeant. A superb leader of enormous personal stature,
Bill's standing in the Marine corps was considerably enhanced by his marriage to the elder daughter of the Marine Corps' legendary
beau ideal, Chesty Puller."
Colonel William H. "Bill"
Dabney, USMC (Ret), 70, was presented the Navy Cross on April 15 in Lexington, Va., at Virginia Military Institute, his alma
mater, Class of 1961. It would be the last and most senior medal of many other medals for valor Bill Dabney has received since
enlisting as a buck private in 1954. Yet those who know Dabney say the medal is not about him. For Marine officers, it can
never be about them, but rather about those whom they lead. The veterans came, 37 of them, from across the country to VMI,
to once again honor a man who led them by example and stood by them for 77 harrowing days on a hill called 881 South in Vietnam.
Virginia Military Institute is nestled in the Shenandoah Valley well above the Virginia
fall line. It is a long way and a long time from an off-ramp of the Ho Chi Minh Trail known as Khe Sanh, and Hills 881 North
and South. VMI and Vietnam are pungent memories. The former recalls the pleasant musk of gray uniforms, white belts, polished
buckles and shakos on parade while the latter is of dust-caked helmets and tattered uniforms stinking of one's own filth while
hunkered down in the laterite clay between burlap sandbags.
Hill 881S: The
Marines there burrowed deep on Dabney's orders, which essentially admonished them to dig, dig, dig to make the trenches deeper.
Sleep by day and dig by night. He promised: "I will report the first man I see without his flak jacket and helmet!"
His men later would say, "Thank God he made us do it." It had become accepted as a truism, between shovels of clay,
"There are only two ways to get off this hill: flown off or blown off."
They were strong, tough men of "India" and "Mike" companies, 3/26. Surrounded by the communist
North Vietnamese Army (NVA), they daily risked life and limb for each other. They were so tough they took their R&R at
Khe Sanh Combat Base, and they improvised not only to survive, but also to leave an indelible memory of pain on those enemies
who would be fortunate enough to survive. The Marines took an unrelenting and brutal pounding and with cool efficiency provided
what help they could to other Marines also under siege at Khe Sanh four miles to the east. And in doing so, they inspired
others from all U.S. forces providing support in one form or another to the beleaguered garrison at Khe Sanh.
One reason for their tenacity was their "Skipper," Captain Bill Dabney. At 33,
he was a well-muscled Mustang who mastered small-unit tactics and creatively commanded an assortment of trench-filthy leathernecks
standing up against hordes of NVA infantry and sappers looking to make Khe Sanh another Dien Bien Phu and Hill 881N another
Battle of the Little Bighorn. The Marines, however, were neither the French nor the 7th Cavalry, and they boasted when Dabney
wasn't in voice range, "Ya know, the Skipper's Chesty's son-in-law," referring to Marine Corps legend Lieutenant
General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC (Ret), winner of five Navy Crosses.
They had dug in since 26 Dec. 1967 on Hill 881S and Hill 861 (more than a mile east), regimental outposts that had
been seized from the NVA in bloody battles the previous spring.
Army replacement units had been spotted coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They'd made a left somewhere near Lao Boa, a Laotian
ghost town, and Co Roc Mountain, whose formidable cliffs were shrouded in clouds and mystery. Then the NVA units would simply
disappear and it became exceptionally quiet.
That was until a Marine reconnaissance
team walked into a platoon-size ambush near Hill 881N on 18 Jan. 1968. Dabney sent a platoon from India Co to recover equipment
abandoned by the recon team. The platoon ran into what was estimated to be at least a company of NVA.
His interest piqued and antenna up, Dabney knew he needed to quickly head off whatever
the NVA were planning. He requested to make a company-size reconnaissance-in-force to Hill 881N about a mile away.
Mike Co, less one platoon, was to hold Hill 881S while India left the knoll and fanned
into the jungle below and between the two hills. India Co pushed north and ran headlong into an NVA battalion doggedly marching
south. Dabney had forced the cover and shrouds of mystery to come off the NVA, and the bullets, grenades and mortar rounds
flew. By nightfall regimental commander Colonel David E. Lownds radioed "India Six Actual" (Dabney's radio call
sign) to break contact and get back up 881S. Dabney's men were fighting the battalion that was walking point for two NVA divisions
preparing an attack on Hills 881S, 861 and Khe Sanh.
The area erupted
into firefights, artillery duels and close-in aerial bombing brought on by a Marine regiment under siege.
"During the entire period, Colonel (then Captain) Dabney's force stubbornly defended
Hill 881S, a regimental outpost vital to the defense of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. Following his bold spoiling attack on 20
January 1968, shattering a much larger North Vietnamese Army (NVA) force deploying to attack Hill 881S, Colonel Dabney's force
was surrounded and cut off from all outside ground supply for the entire 77 day Siege of Khe Sanh."
As the senior officer, command of Hill 881S and the Marines on it fell to Dabney. Initially
it made for crowded conditions with approximately 400 Marines and corpsmen. In addition to India and Mike companies, there
were two 81 mm mortars, two 106 mm recoilless rifles and three 105 mm howitzers from Charlie Btry, 1st Bn, 13th Marines. At
times, casualties reduced that number to about 250 Marines and corpsmen. Capt Dabney remained with his men through it all,
always observing and counting ways to kill his enemies.
machine guns, artillery, and 120-millimeter mortars responded to any daylight movement on his position. In spite of deep entrenchments,
his total casualties during the siege were close to 100 percent. Helicopters were his only source of resupply, and each such
mission brought down a cauldron of fire on his landing zones. On numerous occasions Colonel Dabney raced into the landing
zone under heavy hostile fire to direct debarkation of personnel and to carry wounded Marines to evacuation helicopters. The
extreme difficulty of resupply resulted in conditions of hardship and deprivation seldom experienced by American forces."
"Thank God for Marine air," wrote Dabney for the
Web site "The Warriors of Hill 881S." Dabney's call sign was India. He recalled the following transmission with
the CH-46 helicopter pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 "Purple Foxes" (whose call sign was "Swift")."
'Swift, India. You're taking rounds above your blades!'
Swift. Roger.' The pilot maintained his hover, holding the ramp against the hill. Five casualties aboard now, then another
burst from the NVA twin .51s [caliber machine guns].
India. Hits in your right engine!'
" 'India, Swift. Roger.'
"The pilot continued to hold his hover. The engine started smoking. Another burst.
This one hit the deck beside the ramp, catching a stretcher-bearer in the leg. The crew chief jumped off the ramp and pushed
the stretcher in, then dragged the wounded bearer aboard. One more emergency wounded to go. We got him aboard, and my HST
[helicopter support team] man waved the 'bird' away. (Two of the priority medevacs [medical evacuations] had been stretcher-bearers
and had remained aboard. The remaining four and one permanent routine medevac could wait for the next helicopter to arrive
at the hill.)
"Just as the helicopter began to move away from the hillside,
a couple of rounds from another burst of .51s went through the Plexiglas above the pilot's head. I didn't call.
"Figured he knew about that! The bird limped away, down toward Khe Sanh, black smoke
trailing from the right engine.
" 'Swift, India. Thanks.'
" 'India, Swift. Welcome, Anytime.'
"He meant it too! Damnedest feat of pure guts, superb airmanship I'd ever seen! And so it went for 77 days."
As hills around Khe Sanh go, 881S stands out. Any activity, especially that involving helicopters,
was noted by everyone in the area. To make matters worse, landing zones tended to be crowded.
Approximately 20 to 30 Marines were forced to work exposed to fire during helicopter operations. "Given volume
and accuracy of mortars," Dabney wrote, "we often took more casualties, sometimes multiple."
According to Dabney, "As incoming got more frequent and more accurate … helos
picking loads up were at greater risk, and loads themselves were often damaged by shrapnel. We figured out that the NVA tended
to leave mortar tubes registered wherever they'd fired the last round, so we switched zones often."
Dabney says "Super Gaggle," a unique logistical support tactic devised by the
First Marine Aircraft Wing, contributed to the survival of his Marines and the accomplishment of their mission.
"We grunts had a problem, but the zoomies came up with the solution. It was brilliant!
In the first four weeks of battle, six birds were downed on Hill 881S alone, along with a bunch of WIA [wounded in action]
aircrews (I don't know how many, since they reported casualties separately). We lost 100 plus KIA [killed in action] or WIA
getting them in and out. In the seven weeks after Super Gaggle started, zero birds were downed (although a few were hit by
antiaircraft fire), and we had perhaps 20 WIA and zero KIA during resupply. Wow!"
Super Gaggle operations, according to Dabney, required the Marines to register all their mortars on known or suspected
AA sites. "At about 10 minutes prior [to helicopter resupply missions, the Marines on 881S would] fire all mortars with
white phosphorus (WP) rounds on NVA AA sites. Four A-4s [Skyhawk attack jets] would then attack mortar-marked sites with Zuni
rockets. Two more would then drop delay cluster bomb units (CBUs) and high-drag 250-pound bombs in valleys north and south
of the hill. Then they would drop napalm along both sides of the hill about 75 to 100 meters out to discourage NVA who would
lie on their backs and fire up into the bellies of birds with their AK47s." Finally, two more would lay a WP smokescreen
on either side of the hill.
This gave Marines on 881S about two
minutes in which helicopters could "land, deliver, pick up [and] get out. What amazed us was that it always worked, even
the first time.
"My guess, based on knowledge of Hill 881S
casualties both before and after Super Gaggle, is that it saved 150 to 200 casualties and perhaps half a dozen birds."
A special bond developed between the Marines on Hill 881S and the aircrews of HMM-364 and
HMM-262, who were the primary source of resupply and only link with the outside world. Dabney said his Marines "knew
the Purple Foxes and other helo folks also cared."
on one occasion to get in several gallons of ice cream. It took awhile and Marines waited until dark because of enemy fire
to retrieve the supplies from the landing zones. By then most of the ice cream had melted and the containers were punctured
with shrapnel, indicating the aircrews took fire trying to deliver their gift. Although Dabney's Marines didn't get to enjoy
the treat, they appreciated the thought. "More than once we watched a crewman lean out a window to toss a bundle of magazines
into the zone. We loved them, especially Playboy ."
the 77-day siege, we never called for a 'routine' medical evacuation. For us to subject the CH-46 crews to unnecessary exposure
was not an option."
When Dabney recalled the bravery of the helicopter
crewmen, he also remembered the Shore Party Marines serving as HST. "I have always thought of them as my HSTs. They did,
as a matter of routine, what would have, in any other circumstances, been deserving of many heroic awards. I do not recall
any medevac, resupply or external load hook-up where the zone was not 'hot.'
"The antiaircraft rounds were always whipping by and the 120 mm mortar rounds were often 'on the way,' and they
knew it, yet they did their duty till the bird was gone, then ran like hell and dove into the nearest hole. (I often thought
that the way they stood, with their backs to the NVA guns as they guided the helos in, was a superb gesture of disdain.)"
"Nevertheless, Colonel Dabney's indomitable spirit was truly an inspiration to his
troops. He organized his defenses with masterful skill and his preplanned fires shattered every enemy probe on his positions."
Dabney recalled the reality. "Our time spent on the hill always seemed a bit surreal,
as if we were TAD [temporary additional duty] on another planet.
"I had no
rank insignia (not a good idea to wear around NVA), hadn't bathed or shaved in three months. My flak jacket was so worn the
plates were falling off, and my trousers were so rotten they'd split at the crotch. I was indecent."
Dabney needed some way for the troops to identify him from a distance, so he didn't wear
the camouflage cover on his helmet. "Figured that if I needed camouflage on my helmet, we were all in deep kimchi . We
were all a bit scrawny [and] couldn't have passed the PFT if our lives depended on it (PFTs didn't exist then, anyway), but
we could hit the deck and roll faster than any other Marines still alive."
It was a hill that was constantly slammed with ordnance and an always-looming threat that an enemy massed in force
would, with fixed bayonets, come across the wire. In the meantime the Marines kept busy "ducking rounds, running CAS
[close air support], working birds in daytime, pulling in loads, improving defenses and standing 100 percent watch from midnight
till dawn 'cuz that's when NVA was likely to attack. Troops did most of their sleeping in daytime. It not only kept them under
cover, but saved water and thus birds, since they weren't working in the heat of the day.
"It took a full external load per day just to get us enough water to drink, cook and clean wounds. I took some
heat for troops not shaving, not much. No way was I going to ask the Purple Foxes to take those risks so we could look pretty."
Some smart-thinking artilleryman at Dong Ha came up with the idea of filling 155 mm howitzer
canisters with water. The canisters were strong and were not likely to burst if dropped. "If rounds hit nearby, we'd
lose a few, but most would still be full when we went out after dark to clear zones (too dangerous to clear them in daytime)."
One of Dabney's corpsmen suggested using empty canisters for excrement. "Fill 'em
up, screw the top down tight, and pitch them off the hill. That way we didn't have to go through the hassle of getting diesel
fuel up and burning excrement cans every day. Wasn't long before another Marine suggested that the last man to use the 'commode'
before it was completely full be required to place a grenade, spoon down and pin pulled, into the canister on top of the excrement,
screw the top down tight and pitch it off the hill, which was steep. The canister would bounce a good distance down. Every
once in a while, late at night, we'd hear an explosion and screams from down below."
When the morale took a drop, one private first class wrote a letter to his pastor back home. It started "Operation
We Care," which resulted in an abundance of "We Care" packages arriving at 881S.
"We also received gin and vodka in plastic baby bottles. A note from one donor, a Korea veteran, said he remembered
what a little 'joy juice' could mean to front-line troops, and that he'd used plastic baby bottles because they wouldn't break
with rough handling. I recall one load of incoming mail; several days' worth, where letters and packages were riddled with
shrapnel and soaked with whiskey from a broken bottle in one of the 'We Care' packages. (Chocolate chip cookies soaked in
bourbon weren't that bad.)
"There was a deli in Wantaugh,
N.Y., that sent us neat packages including whole salamis, other smoked meat and 'joy juice.' "
Dabney explained the "juice" wasn't a problem because "with 250 to 400 men, even large packages had
only enough for about one sip per man. Morale did improve because troops realized folks back home cared."
Morale-boosting events weren't limited to actions by the people back home. It started in
February and continued every day. "Three Marines would race from the bunker to a 15-foot radio antenna. Two of them would
raise our nation's colors, then stand at attention, while the third sounded a rusty rendition of the 'Call to Colors' with
a battered bugle. We were never without volunteers for this ceremony. They were proud of themselves and our flag and were
willing to get shot at to raise it.
"At night this process was
reversed as we retired the colors. Often the retired flag was folded, packed and shipped to the family of a Marine slain on
the hill. We had a substantial stockpile of flags sent to us by people all over the country."
"He also devised an early warning system whereby NVA artillery and [rockets firing] from the west were immediately
reported by lookouts to the Khe Sanh Combat Base, giving exposed personnel a few life saving seconds to take cover, saving
countless lives, and facilitating the targeting of enemy firing positions."
Riflemen burrowed in on the crest of Hill 881S could, through eyes bloodshot and raw from dirt and fatigue, see and
hear North Vietnamese artillery and rockets coming up from the hills and valleys of Laos and the Demilitarized Zone. The big
artillery rounds going over sounded like squirrels running through dry leaves.
It is an eerie emotion watching large artillery rounds flying overhead. There is awe and much fascination that such
large objects can be hurled so far and so accurately. There is death, not some apocalyptical horseman, but the real knowledge
that death is riding a rocket and that lives may in seconds end for men who are remarkably like you and only want to live
and do their duty.
"For what it is worth, the folks in the Khe
Sanh COC [combat operations center] never realized how the NVA artillery was emplaced and employed," Dabney would later
comment. Hill 881S had been chosen as a regimental outpost for sound tactical reasons. From the hill, Marines could observe
the NVA gunners shoot off their rockets, usually in sheaves of 50 firing simultaneously from several sites toward Khe Sanh.
This permitted Dabney's Marines to give the main base about a 10-second warning to sound the alarm and for the Marines there
to take cover. While unable to suppress the rockets because of their sheer volume, Dabney's Marines could and did take countermeasures.
Dabney had noted the NVA regularly used the same sites over and over, so he employed his mortars and 106 recoilless rifles
against them "at night" while they were setting up, sometimes producing secondary explosions.
"Colonel Dabney repeatedly set an incredible example of calm courage under fire, gallantly
exposing himself at the center of every action without concern for his own safety. Colonel Dabney contributed decisively to
ultimate victory in the Battle of Khe Sanh, [which] ranks among the most heroic stands of any American force in history."
In the end, Khe Sanh and its surrounding outposts were no Dien Bien Phu or even the Alamo.
The North Vietnamese, pummeled by artillery and air power, abandoned their siege. Khe Sanh had earned its own place in American
I think you will enjoy reading the account of Bill's being presented with the Navy Cross at his alma mater...
Thirty-seven years later, Dabney watched VMI's brigade of cadets pass in review before
him. Lieutenant General H. P. "Pete" Osman, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, who as a company
grade officer had served with Dabney when he was a major, presented the Navy Cross, saying, "Well-deserved, if maybe
a couple years late."
LtGen Osman also said that Dabney is
a positive man who "still sees the glass as half full."
to address those who had traveled or been mustered to honor him. He introduced the VMI cadets to 37 fellow Marines who had
served with him on Hill 881S. As they stood up in Jackson Memorial Hall (named for Civil War Confederate LtGen Thomas J. "Stonewall"
Jackson), Dabney said of his men: "These are the citizen-soldiers of the '60s who fought against the same general [Vo
Nguyen Giap] who overwhelmed the French at Dien Bien Phu. And [it is these men] who, by enduring, triumphed. It has been the
greatest honor of my life to have served with these men in battle."
The cadets of
VMI, a school that embodies military discipline and the tradition of the citizen-soldier, and has for more than 173 years
graduated some of the nation's best military officers of whom Dabney is one, listened.
"Many of you will lead the citizen-soldiers of this nation in Iraq and Afghanistan. You will find them, as I
did, awesome in their courage and determination."
Later they all
talked long into the night and heard of other men such as Second Lieutenant Thomas D. Brindley, Corporal Charles W. Bryan,
2dLt Michael H. Thomas, who earned Navy Crosses, and Cpl Terry L. Smith, who earned the Silver Star, all posthumously on Hill
881S, all "awesome in their courage and determination."
may also enjoy Bill's address that day...
Over the years,
I have reflected on the performance of the Marines who defended Hill 881S during the Siege of Khe Sanh. There were many
bad days, a few good ones and an occasional uneventful one, but the chief characteristic of the situation in which the Marines
found themselves was its constancy.
There was never a climactic day
or event. Rather, from 21 January through 17 April 1968, the threat to life and limb remained essentially unchanged.
The dangers were greatest during helicopter operations because those offered the most lucrative targets to the enemy's gunners.
The potential for catastrophe, however, was greatest at night or during the frequent foggy weather when we could not see to
detect the enemy's approach or to bring our massive supporting fires to bear against him. That potential took a psychological
as well as a physical toll. To stand in a trench for eight hours on a given night without relief, in total darkness,
in a fog so thick that even a magnesium flare could not pierce it, all senses focused on detecting any sound, any smell, any
hint of movement to the front, was trying in the extreme to the Marine required to do it. To require all hands do so
nightly for three months was to stretch the limits of resolve. Early on, a Marine approached the company gunnery
sergeant tentatively in the trenchline one ink-dark night. He was nervous and ill at ease, but said he felt a duty to
speak out. The gunny assured him that he could speak freely, to which he replied that he was loathe to admit that he knew
what it smelled like, but that he'd been smelling pot in the wind coming toward the trench line from the north, and that the
smell was getting stronger. Relying on his instincts as to the location of the source, we fired over one thousand rounds
of mortars and mixed-fuse artillery.. We were not assaulted. There was never thereafter any reticence to report
observations or hunches.
We all knew that if the North Vietnamese assaulted
there was no possibility of reinforcement or withdrawal. Aside from the preplanned supporting fires, we were entirely on our
own. The Marines had daily opportunities to take the measure of their enemy. He was brave, he was disciplined,
and he was not suicidal, so they knew that he would assault only when he was reasonably confident of success, and with adequate
strength They were aware that both neighboring positions had been penetrated by assaults. They also knew that if wounded,
they would be evacuated to a medical facility only when and if the weather broke and the helicopters could fly - that there
was little their Corpsmen could provide save comfort and some morphine to ease their pain.
Every man has a psychological limit, and a few broke - a very few. Even those men tended when they broke to
manifest it by aggression rather than by withdrawal; to charge out through the defensive wire armed to the teeth, determined
to destroy the enemy single-handed, or to become fatalistic and take irrational risks. A few were weak in contrast to
their comrades. Command intervention was rarely necessary in those cases, for their fellows Marines seemed to sense
the solution appropriate to the individual; be it persuasion, example, or, in extreme cases, physical correction, and even
the last was only as direct as was required.
The Uniform Code of Military
Justice was useless in the circumstances. A company commander was limited to fining a Marine one week's pay or withholding
two weeks', or to restricting him for two weeks. Since most men had not been paid in several months and all were surrounded
by quintuple concertina wire and a North Vietnamese Army regiment, those penalties bordered on the absurd. Any meaningful
punishment required that the offender be removed from the hill to appear before the battalion commander at Khe Sanh or, for
the most serious offenses, before a court-martial convened at some remote rear area base. All hands knew that both Khe
Sanh and the Da Nang brig were infinitely safer than the hill, and there were even two or three who actively sought courts-martial.
To refer them for such and therefore to send them off the hill was exactly what they wanted so was not an option. It
was also unnecessary. The staff non-commissioned officers were superb at correcting those few quickly and privately
with traditional methods, and the offenses were never repeated. The troops were equally effective at correction, as
when a replacement or returnee from treatment for wounds would bring marijuana or some other drug back with him. He quickly
discovered that his fellows would not tolerate drugs on the hill. Their lives depended utterly on the alertness
and acuity of their comrades, and their response to those who had or used them was immediate, violent and wholly effective.
Although the siege was contemporary to the peak of racial strife in America, there were
no racial tensions on the hill. On the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, a black NCO asked that
the flag be flown at half-mast for a day. He was told that his sentiment was understood and shared, but that the flag
was both critical for morale and a gesture of defiance to the enemy, and its lowering was therefore inappropriate. He
agreed, withdrew his request, and volunteered for the flag raising detail the following morning. It did not take long
on that hill for a man to determine the worth of his trench mate, and once he did, all other considerations became irrelevant.
I have heard it said that no environment involving Americans can exist without racial tensions. I disagree.
Heroism was routine. The helicopter zones were always "hot", and given
that the enemy's weapon of choice to attack them was the 120mm mortar, deadly. Most dangerous were the medical evacuation
missions It took time to carry badly wounded men from cover to the helicopter and then return to cover, and the mortar
rounds were often already announced as being "on the way". Yet there was no occasion when men had to be ordered
to carry stretchers. To the contrary, it was often necessary to restrain too many men from lending a hand and exposing themselves
unnecessarily. A Marine had his foot blown off, and by the time the Corpsman got to him, he had lost considerable blood.
The Doc, exposed and under fire, was determined to save him, but because of weak pulse and low blood pressure, could not find
a vein to start an I.V. The man had given up and was moaning weakly in self-pity. The Corpsman slapped his face
violently and repeatedly, provoking such anger in the man that his adrenaline kicked in, whereupon the Corpsman found a vein
and saved him.
There were moments of humor. A Marine manning an observation
post had a spent rifle round ricochet up from the ground and hit the bottom button of his fly. The button happened to
be resting against the head of his penis. The button absorbed the impact and there was no penetrating wound, but within
an hour of his being hit, his penis had swelled to the size of a salami and his testicles to the size of tennis balls, both
turning a deep purple. A radio conference with a physician down at Khe Sanh established that his wound was not life-threatening
and therefore did not justify an emergency medical evacuation with the consequent risk to the helicopter. The physician
stated that he could do little more than ease the pain, which the corpsmen on the hill could do as well, or amputate, which
the Marine would probably not want, and he said that the swelling would eventually subside. For the next several days
until we landed a helicopter for a more serious casualty and could get him out, the Marine wandered the trenches disconsolately
in helmet, flack jacket and boots, walking like a drunken cowboy to avoid any contact with his injured parts. The jokes
of his comrades - about his future prowess, his potential attractiveness on R & R, the fashion statement he was making
- were hilarious, albeit unprintable.
There was also frustration.
The lack of a secure means of communications between the hill and Khe Sanh meant that we and the base had to be guarded in
what we said, since we had to assume that the enemy was listening. For us on the hill, that meant that although we could
report enemy activity, we could not report our analysis of it, nor could we report the shortcomings of supply, support and
communications that constrained our tactics. In several instances where the needs were critical and immediate we transmitted
in Spanish, and sometimes even in song. The inability of the base to send secure messages to us was even more limiting.
We were, after all, the regimental outpost, and we found ourselves, by the nature of the campaign, in the midst of the enemy.
We rarely got any feedback either to our frequent reports of enemy activity or describing the successes that resulted from
those reports. This was critical to us. The troops observed and reported at considerable risk to themselves, yet
the most frequent question they asked was, "Hey, skipper, are we doing any good?" That lack of positive reinforcement
was both frustrating to the officers and destructive of the troops' morale, irrespective of the tactical justification for
it. One night in mid-February, sensors detected enemy units marshalling to attack the hill in overwhelming force.
The regiment fired a massive and prolonged artillery barrage to break up the attack, but we were never even told the attack
was coming because the very existence of the sensors was so highly classified.
We were probably as ready as we could be to repel it in close, but we also had ample indirect fire weapons and ammunition
to slow it at a distance had we been told it was imminent and from which direction it was coming, and we had a far more intimate
knowledge of the terrain that the enemy had to negotiate than did the regiment. It was as though we had been sent to
detached duty on another planet. We were ignorant of virtually everything that was happening beyond our own little world,
and the troops felt that ignorance keenly.
The troops would occasionally
capture NVA soldiers, either because they surrendered voluntarily or because they blundered into our lines inadvertently in
the night or fog. Initially, we reported those captures immediately to the base, which promptly sent a helicopter up
to get them. We assumed that the value of the POW justified the risk to the helicopter and to ourselves in getting him
out. We also assumed that the captives were from the units surrounding us and therefore had information of immediate
tactical value to us. After two or three instances of sending prisoners down and getting no feedback from their interrogation,
we began delaying our reports of capture a few hours so we could interrogate them ourselves. Most talked willingly,
and our two Marines who had been to Vietnamese language school could, although a long way from fluency, learn enough to help
us with targeting and tactical dispositions.
was a nightmare. Turnover in the trenches approached ninety percent, which meant that many men were virtually unknown to their
fellows, and the restrictions on movement imposed by the enemy's fires meant that the personal interactions normal in a unit
were often impossible. Replacements would be dispatched from the rear, get hit while still on the inbound helicopter,
remain aboard, and be evacuated to a medical facility. Our rear would insist we had them when we had never seen them.
One Marine managed, through bad luck, a total of two day's service in Vietnam. Although we were careful to record every
man who boarded a helicopter so that if it was downed we'd have an accurate manifest, we were sometimes thwarted. In
one instance, a stretcher bearer from a platoon distant from the zone was hit in the helicopter as he put down his stretcher
and was retained aboard by the crew chief. The helo immediately launched and flew directly to the hospital ship offshore.
In the confusion typical of a zone under fire, exacerbated by the fact that the original casualties had resulted from hits
in the same zone and that the chase bird had landed unbidden within a minute to pick them up before we had time to organize
the zone, he had not been missed, and his name did not appear on the manifest. We carried him as missing-in-action for
two weeks until a platoon buddy received a postcard from him, with a return address of St. Alban's Naval Hospital in New York,
describing what had happened and asking him to secure his personal effects.
Thirty-eight Marines or Corpsmen died on or near the hill and nearly two hundred were wounded, not including aviation
casualties whose numbers, being reported separately, were unknown to us. Seven helicopters were shot down, yet we never
called for a medevac that didn't come, weather permitting. None of these losses occurred in a single pitched battle,
but rather in discrete incidents scattered over the course of the siege. Incoming was constant, and although we learned
to cope with it to a point, a lucky round in a trenchline or active medevac zone was just as deadly in April as in January.
Through it all, the troops did their duty. They stood their watches, flew their aircraft or serviced helicopter zones,
manned outposts, engaged the enemy and raised the flag as zealously at the end as at the beginning. They were never
asked to stand back-to-back against the flagpole with fixed bayonets, but rather to endure. By enduring, they triumphed.
They were magnificent!
(Refusing a microphone, Colonel Dabney addressed
those in attendance with a strong voice that reverberated throughout Jackson Memorial Hall as follows:)
Will those who served on Hill 881 South or flew in support of it, and those who are here
to represent the men who died doing so, please stand and face the audience. (39 Marines and one Navy Corpsman sitting
in the front rows of Jackson Memorial Hall stood and faced the capacity crowd of approximately 1,200. Immediately
thereafter, all remaining guest stood and applauded the Warriors until Colonel Dabney had to gesture for silence. The
Warriors remained standing as Colonel Dabney continued) Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen,
these men standing before you, and the Marines and Navy Hospital Corpsmen, living and dead, whom they represent, are the men
who, for 77 days at Khe Sanh, held the hill and poured hot steel on a determined enemy. The same forces under the same
general besieged Khe Sanh as had overwhelmed the French at Dien Bien Phu. At Khe Sanh, they were faced by these men,
and they quit and faded away. These men did their duty and endured - Stonewall Jackson would have called it resolve
- and by enduring, they triumphed.
It is the greatest honor of my
life to have served with these patriots in battle. I wear this decoration only symbolically, as their commanding officer.
It is these men who earned it.
Gentlemen, we salute you! (The Warriors
took their seats to another rousing round of applause.)
Will the VMI
Corps of Cadets please rise. (All seats remaining vacant after invited guests were seated had been occupied by cadets.)
Our generation - these men who just stood before you - came home from war to a nation not
much disposed to honor the nobility of their service. Today, as Pete said a few years late, you gave us our parade.
Thank you! (Audience and Warriors applauded the cadets)
Many of you will
soon shoulder the responsibility of command leading the citizen soldiers of your generation. Eight of your number have
already given their lives in the cause of freedom in Iraq or Afghanistan. Should you be called upon to take America's
patriots in harm's way, you will find awesome, as I did in my time, their courage and determination. The experience
will become the signal moment in your lives. We wish you God speed, and we salute you. (Another round of applause with
the loudest and most robust coming from those 40 men in the front rows of Jackson Memorial Hall.)
The official party departed the stage with Colonel Dabney again in his wheel chair assisted by his wife Virginia.
He stopped in the center isle of the hall next to those first front rows, and once again in a voice heard throughout the hall
said, "Follow me men!" And once again they did.
(Michael F. Cullen,
a Lance Corporal who served in the 1st Platoon of India Company later said, "We would have followed you to Iraq through
the gates of Hell!")
Song - Welcome Home,
Hurricane Harvey's hit on Houston area...
I have many relatives living from Port Lavaca to Port Aransas, which is where Harvey hit Texas first.
They all suffered some damage and are in the process of making insurance claims and getting things back to normal.
Greg Freeman is one of our members who lives/has properties
in the Houston area.
I have been calling Greg daily, if not more, and will continue to do so.
I have confirmed he has insurance for both, his vehicles and home... for at least one of his properties.
I think he owns a couple more places in the Houston area and some of his kids/Gkids, live in one... while the other lot is
empty and he indicates his other places are high and dry.
I talked with Greg again this
morning and he asked me to let every one know he is fine and feels fortunate to have less damage than most in the Houston
area... and his insurance adjuster is there at this time.
Once again, Greg,
having not called some guys who have called him, asked me to email and post that he is OK and again,
considers himself lucky, considering what damage he has incurred... and if he needs help... he will let us know.
Warning... Notice... We are running low
on available rooms at our group rate, for the Las Vegas reunion.
As of 6-29-17 we have the following number of available rooms at our group rate:
August 9, 2017 - 5 available,
August 10, 2017 - 5 available,
August 11, 2017 - 14 available,
August 12, 2017 - 14 available,
August 13, 2017 - 5 available,
August 14, 2017 - 5 available,
August 15, 2017 - 5 available.
Please make your
reservations as soon as possible.
Searching for anyone who knew Amber Clare's Dad, Ed Clare.
Following is her message. .
"Looking for anyone here who might have served with
2/26 and spent time in Charlie, Echo and Fox Co. (67-68 or maybe 68-69) His name is Ed Clare."
response to email@example.com
The website has been updated regarding this years 2017 Reunion
in Las Vegas. We had a few problems with making reservations, but as of this morning, 4-24-17, you should
be able to use the Hotel Registration Phone number 800-750-0980
or the web link below to make reservations.
Book your group rate for 26th Marine Association Annual Reunion August 2017
Also see 2017 Reunion General Information on our website www.26thMarines.com
3 cities selected for the 2018 Reunion are Savanah, Georgia, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and New
York City, NY. Reports will be made on each city and will be posted here and provided at the 2017 Annual Meeting
in Las Vegas. We will select one of these three for our 2018 Reunion. The first report is made
by Board Member Ray Maillet for New York City as follows:|
| || |
|New York City:||By Board Member Ray Maillet|
| || |
|1. Airports: ||a. JFK
John F Kennedy handles mostly international flights.|
| || |
| ||b. LGA
LaGuardia handles mostly domestic flights.|
| || |
| ||c. EWR
Newark handles both domestic and international flights located in New Jersey.|
| || |
| || |
|2. Hotels: ||Most of the hotels that I viewed were priced upwards of $200. Many to choose from, restaurants
and bars within most of the hotels. |
| || |
| || |
|3. Tours: ||1. Most popular, Metropolitan
Museum of art, about $125.|
| || |
| ||2. Ground
zero tour, 911 memorial, about $110.|
| || |
| ||3. Niagara
| || |
| ||4. DC.|
| || |
| ||5. Statue
of Liberty tours, 3 to 5 hrs, About $30.|
| || |
| ||6. Other NYC sights - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g60763-Activities-New_York_City_New_York.html|
| || |
| || |
|4. Food: ||Everything.|
| || |
| || |
|5. Weather: ||As reported by Accu Weather,
average temps for Aug. are 83/68.|
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
|Savannah, Georgia:|| By Board Member Frank Booth|
| || |
| || |
Savannah Offer, Historical Tours, Riverboat
Cruises, Museums, Civil War Walking Tour, Dolphin Magic Tour , City Market, River Street, Tybee Beach , Hearse Ghost
Savannah Military Base- Hunter Army Airfield,
Us Air Force office
Restaurants In Savannah,
Seafood, Chinese, Steakhouse, Mexican restaurant, barbecue, Japanese, Cafe's
The Lady &
Sons Restaurant Home of Paula Deen
Savannah top 5
best hotels with Military Discounts
1. Eliza Thompson
2. Savannah Marriott
3. Double Tree
4. The Thunderbird Inn
5. Hampton Inn
| || |
| || |
| || |
| Milwaukee, Wisconsin:||By Board Member McDonald
| || |
| || |
The airport in Milwaukee
is the General Mitchell International Airport
Link to Mitchell airport: http://www.mitchellairport.com/
of hotel in the downtown area and near airport: Hiltons and Marriotts and others at reasonable prices: http://visitmilwaukee.bookdirect.net/#/lodgings?checkin=20170409&checkout=20170410
Milwaukee borders the 22,300 square miles of Lake Michigan. The lake actually touches 14,200 square miles of Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee RiverWalk spans nearly 3 miles along the Milwaukee River, taking you through downtown Milwaukee.
Getting around the Milwaukee area is just as
easy as getting to it. Many of the city’s most popular attractions and a wide variety of restaurants are within easy
walking distance, with local transportation options abound.
GO Riteway is one of many transportation services in Milwaukee.
Buses run throughout downtown Milwaukee, including shuttles to summertime lakefront events. For
more information on Milwaukee County Transit, please visit ridemcts.com.
Taxi fare from airport to downtown hotels is
approximately $25 each way. Convenient, low-cost airport shuttle services are available 24 hours. Find local transportation services.
Uber and Lyft both operate in Milwaukee. Enjoy your first Uber
ride free (up to $20) with the code VISITMKE.
Milwaukee’s bike share system makes it easy to travel quickly
between the eleven docking stations located at major downtown locations.
MILWAUKEE TROLLEY LOOP
During the summer months, visitors can ride
on an old fashioned trolley with Milwaukee’s “Hop ‘n Shop, Wine ‘n Dine” route featuring stops
at downtown’s major points of interest. View the trolley map (PDF) to find your nearest stop.
For more information on parking in downtown,
please visit parkmilwaukee.com.
Coming soon! The Milwaukee streetcar will start construction in late
2015/early 2016 with full operations expected to begin in 2018. This convenient route will connect some of Milwaukee’s
most popular neighborhoods and attractions and run directly past the Wisconsin Center.
| || |
| || Scroll
down for past Scuttlebutt entries...|
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || Scroll down for past Scuttlebutt entries...|
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || Scroll down for past Scuttlebutt entries...|
| || |
| || |
| || |
| || |
Message from Sonny Hollub
regarding our Bill Hoffman. I just confirmed this morning via Thomas M. Quinn & Sons Long Island City, NY,
Bill passed away 8-22-16.
Many of you knew and may have served with William "Bill" Hoffman in the 26th Marines, in Vietnam. Bill was
on the original ship(s) that transferred the 26th to Nam.
As indicated, I have verified with Thomas M. Quinn & Sons, that it was our
Bill who passed away on August 22, 2016. The 26th Marine Association Annual meeting was August 19, 20 and 21st, 2016...
So Bill was with us until the reunion was over, then passed on.
I personally signed the guestbook as follows:
"Condolences to the
family of William "Bill" Hoffman.
Bill and I served with
the 26th Marines in Vietnam. He was on our board of directors, 26th Marine Association, and served for years as our Public
As a fellow Marine, friend and member, Bill will
be sorely missed. Feel free to contact me.
'til we meet again
Big Brother, Semper Fi!!"
Guest Book has been kept online until 9/23/2017 by Thomas M. Quinn & Sons. You can sign the guestbook at:
According to their website, I was the first to sign
publically (1-24-17). Please go to the site above and send your condolences to his friends and family... let's
make a good showing for our Brother Marine Bill !!
Message from Sonny Hollub -
Doc Charlie Klotz called me today and advised he has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease.
His doctor says he has between 3 months and 30
Knowing Doc Charlie, he will easily make the 30 month time. I asked if I could post it on the site and he said
yes. You can look him up on our Roster on our site. Both numbers are listed there. It is probably easier
to call his cell.
Message from Sonny Hollub... I have eliminated my land line number 512-312-4168. My only
number is my cell number 512-825-4730. I have attempted to make the change to all pages on the site.
Sorry for not changing this earlier.
Great poem from a fellow Marine who served with HQ Comp,
26th Marines Radio Relay Plt. 1967!!
The Marine's E-Tool
let him dig a fighting hole,
To keep him safe and sound,
And when they found a Cong they'd killed,
It put him in the ground.
The sandbags that he filled with it,
Are more than you can count,
bunker that it helped him build
Was perfect for guard
Then came the night they breached the wire
tried to lay him low.
It split three heads in hand-to-hand
Each with a single blow.
And now he keeps it in his trunk
In case a need arose
shovel snow or hide a corpse,
Or should he meet new
--Robert A. Hall--
Major Earle Breeding: Ruidoso says
goodbye to decorated Marine... http://www.ruidosonews.com/ruidoso-news/ci_28622687/major-earle-breeding-ruidoso-says-goodbye-decorated-marine
Major Earle Breeding, Jr., United States Marine Corps, retired, died Friday morning, Aug. 7 in Albuquerque
at the age of 82 in the Veteran's Administration Hospital. Major Breeding, and wife of 62 years, Patricia, have been Ruidoso
residents for more than 17 years.
Born Dec. 17, 1932 in Washington, D.C. to Dr. and Mrs. Earle
Breeding, Sr, Earle attended Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia and joined the Marine Corps at 19 years of
His military years in the '50's and 60's sent him across the world and far away from those
he loved. After serving two tours in Japan and Okinawa, Major (then Captain) Breeding was given the Vietnam command of 200
troops in Company E, Second Battalion, 26th Marines, Third Marine Division. He remembered his first moments in-country before
heading to Khe Sanh. After getting squared away, he was taken to Colonel David Lownds who was finishing a briefing of what
was expected in the days to come. Lownds stated to Breeding, "We will hold Khe Sanh at all costs, won't we, Captain Breeding?"
Breeding replied, "As long as Echo Company is here, Khe Sanh will hold." And for seventy days in the early months
of 1968 hold they did, against horrific conditions and all odds.
David Douglas Duncan, WWII Marine
veteran and a photojournalist at the time, has preserved these moments in several published books. "War Without Heroes"
contains a section devoted to Hill 861 A and Breeding's fighting men.
Breeding's service earned
him two Purple Hearts, a Navy Commendation medal with V for Valor, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and a Silver Star which
states, in part, "By his courage, extraordinary initiative, and unflagging devotion to duty at great personal risk, Major
Breeding contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit's mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine
Corps and the United States Naval Service."
After Breeding arrived home, he spent time in
a military hospital to treat the effects his service in Vietnam had left. Eventually he retired from the military and was
recruited personally by J. Edgar Hoover to give the Federal Bureau of Investigation a try, serving for 20 years as a Special
Agent. During and subsequent to his time with the Bureau, he also worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Major Breeding and Pat moved back to Pat's home of Roswell to retire, where he worked
occasionally as a private investigator and conducted background checks for governmental agencies. Seventeen years ago, they
moved to Ruidoso where the Major volunteered his time at Fort Stanton among other pursuits.
April, 2012, Major Breeding became the focus of Lincoln County, New Mexico Resolution 2011-36 which gave honor to the Major's
service for his country. County Commissioner Tom Battin, now Mayor of the Village of Ruidoso, presented the Resolution to
Major Breeding in the presence of several of the remaining members of Echo Company at a Ruidoso reunion.
The Major met for coffee regularly with a group friends and fellow retired servicemen for more than ten years at
various locations including the Ruidoso Roastery, Zocca Coffee and Sacred Grounds to discuss politics, current events and
to share their insights. Discussions were often lively and each left with broader perspectives than when they arrived.
Major Breeding is survived by his wife Patricia of the home, daughter Cheri Breeding and her husband, Harry "Skeet"
Winthrop of Kauai, Hawaii, and daughter, Martha Breeding of Los Angeles, California In lieu of flowers and a memorial service,
the family asks that interested friends donate to the Humane Society of Lincoln County, a 501(c)(3) at P.O. Box 2832, Ruidoso,
NM 88355 (www.hslcnm.org) or phone 575 808-8424. Checks may be addressed to HSLC
on Major Earle Breeding...
Sent: Saturday, August 08, 2015 12:06
Passing of a Beloved Marine
Just spoke with Pat. She is still in Albuquerque. She is
there with Cherie and her brother. Earle did not suffer. He got to the VA and was his usual self flirting with
the nurses. About 20 minutes after arriving a blood clot took him. It was fast and unexpected by everyone..
She said the VA was great.
He did not want
any funeral or any fuss made over him. The family will take him back to Ruidoso and spread his ashes on the mountain.
I remember him telling me exactly that is what he wanted.
So Sandi and I are not going right now to see Pat. We will wait until we return from Savannah
and check on her at that time. She may know more of what she will need after all this sinks in.
Just in... From a 26th Marine
Association Member, Lawrence McCarthey, regarding one of our long time 26th Marine Association Members, Earle Breeding:
On Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 9:38 AM, Lawrence wrote:
Just got a phone call from Joe
'Cisco' Reyes telling me the Skipper, Major Earle Breeding, passed away last night. Don't have any other information
@ this time. Cisco and his wife Sandi are on there way out there today and will update us as necessary. God Bless
him. He is one (1) extraordinary Marine. May he rest in eternal peace. ~~ Semper Fidelis!!!
. . . Larry McCartney
AS more information develops, it will be posted.
Just got the notice Mike and Mary Delong's Daughter passed away. See note below and site for the obituary below
SERVICE..........for Lara will be Monday morning , Nov 3rd , at the Methodist church , 415 South Hamilton St. in Marissa Illinois.
visitation from 9am -10am and service at 10. The family will then take Lara to Girard Illinois to be laid to rest with family.
Thank you to everyone for being such wonderful friends.
Mike and Mary's contact info is as follows:
618-295-2297 or 618-781-7991
402 S. Bess St.,
Marissa, IL. 62257
Sonny - Trying to find an old buddy. Last saw him in Phu Bai the day before the Bn went to Khe Sahn. He
was the Bn Supply Chief - MSgt Jack Dukas or Doukas - never remembered the spelling. Just wondering if someone
might remember him. Any info would be appreciated.
Ken Frier is writing a second book about combat in Vietnam. His first book was a great story. He is looking
for Vietnam Stories to include within his story of conflict in Nam. The story takes place from 66
to 70 about the Delta 1/26 Marines, credit to be given to each writer of the stories. Anyway
Ken says he can work with you guys via long phone line, emails or textThe story with Delta 1/ 26th.
Regiment forming at Camp Pendleton Calif, to the decommission of the 26th Regiment back to Camp Pendleton California.
If any or all Delta 1/26 Vietnam Company Marines would like to be contacted please
send me a email with all contact information needed for follow up. The Author will be working
directly with each Marine... Looking forward hearing from you Marines. I'm
open to any suggestions. That I can forward to Ken Frier. All stories will be
Top Mallini please forward this to your
George Crawford, 2nd.
Platoon Sergeant delta 1/26 67-68
Not as mean, not as lean, still a Marine
"I Can Do All Things Through
Christ Who Strengthens Me". Phil 4:13
At the last years reunion 2013, those present at the 26th Marines Association Annual
meeting, voted to forgive all dues in arrears. This is a one time event and the rule of 2006 continues to apply.
See dues form footnote on the forms page.
Marie Townes has notified me that Mike Townes, died Thursday January
9, 2014. He will be buried in Middle, Tennessee at the Veterans Cemetery in Nashville. Graveside services will
be held January 14, 2014 at 2 PM.
According to Marie, Mike had gone in for a routine stint (he
had two others) and unexpectedly died on the table during surgery.
Marie's contact information
82 University Cove
Jackson, Tennessee 38305
G. H. "Sonny" Hollub, Jr.
512-312-4168 or 512-825-4730
340 Humphrey Dr., Buda, Texas 78610
Found and submitted by Bill Hoffman
under Mail Call in the Leatherneck... search for anyone knowing a 26'er
* Debbie Muellner,
P. O. Box 14, Wyoming, MN 55092, firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for anyone and would like to communicate with anyone who served with or knew her brother,
PFC Gary L. Kunshier, who was KIA in Quang Tri Province, RVN, on October 4, 1968, while serving as a rifleman with 2nd Plt., Golf Company, 2nd Bn., 26th Marines.
Article about a group of Marines who joined together in 1968... partially narrated by our own Larry
Plager, 2/26, Echo, 2nd. Plt. 1969
Eye On Olympia
The Evergreen State Platoon, 40 years later…
In 1968, 80 young men from Washington state stood in their white shirts and thin black ties in the echoing
state Capitol and listened to then-Gov. Dan Evans praise them, the Marine Corps’ new “Evergreen State Platoon.”
they were on their way to boot camp in California. Many ended up in Vietnam.
On Saturday, 40 years to the day from
that hot summer afternoon, about two dozen of the men returned to the Capitol to rekindle old ties and pay their respects
to those who never came home.
The men, some with their wives, gathered Saturday afternoon at the state’s Vietnam
Veterans Memorial, where the names of Washington’s war dead are carved into a stone wall. Half a dozen of the names
belonged to platoon members.
Here’s a slide show with photos from 1968 and today (some narration completed by our own Larry Palger, 2/26 Echo, 2nd Plt., 1969
Here’s the print story.
from Executive Director Harvey Lang
February 20, 2012
years! Yes this year will mark the tenth anniversary of the 26th Marines Association.
It’s hard to believe that in September of 2001 the
Nashville Cat and I met for the first time in over thirty years and began our quest to find everyone. When
we started, I told the Cat we had slim to none chance of doing this, “A snowballs chance in hell” to be exact.
project started as an attempt to find Echo, Third Platoon, but the further we went the more Marines we found or found us from
different companies and different times of service in Nam. This did not matter to the Cat or I…
our feeling was we are all Marines.
After hours and hours of time on the Cat’s computer
and my buddy Jimmie McCants computer and enormous telephone bills we had succeeded. We began talking about
the first reunion: the when, the where, and the hell how… this is going to happen. We
made the decision for our first reunion in Tunica, Mississippi in May 2002, Operation LZ Memphis was underway… the
rest is history.
At that reunion in Tunica we as a group voted to establish
this Association. We have had our ups and downs, the first few years we were not well organized.
We had our share of financial problems and at times internal turmoil. But through all of these problems
we remained a unit.
In July of 2005 in Chicago, we made some hard core decisions,
became more organized and established some rules of order to become financially stable.
say that I am a bit hard core about dues. But dues and donations are the life blood of any organization.
the reunion in 2006 at Reno, Nevada, the Association has grown into an organized unit.
have a web site that is second to none, our annual meetings are run in a businesslike manner, and we are financially stable.
you still think that hell can’t freeze over? Well then don’t tell it to a Marine, because the
next thing you know “That Marine will be in a snowball fight with the devil himself”.
“Lang Fang” Lang
May 11, 2011
- I am sad to report, Lt. Ken Williams died in November 2010. Ken’s email was bouncing back and his
last number was no longer in service. I did a search and got a new number.
I called it and Margo’s
(Ken’s Wife) voice indicated I had the right place. I left a message and she called me
tonight and provided the sad news. She will send me the date and any details she feels comfortable with
and I will forward it as soon as I get it.
I had been in communication with Ken during
his struggle to keep his leg after his auto accident a few years back. Even talked with him in the hospital
after he had the leg removed. Ken was feeling better not having to constantly fight the infection in his
leg and was excited about coming to this year’s reunion.
Ken always was thankful
to have PBD (Paid by donation) by his name on our dues log, during those tough times. He would always tell
me to pass along thanks to those who donate to help our Brothers when we are down.
Margo is still a bit shook up about the loss. If you care to contact her and give your
condolences, her email is email@example.com and the new phone number is 770-777-0404.
November 21, 2010
Harvey Lang called and advised his and the 26 Marines Association long time friend Jimmie McCants (Jimmie
and his Wife Sandra have made all but two of our reunions) passed away November 18, 2010 from liver cancer.
Jimmie was very useful
with his computer savvy in helping set up our first reunion in Tunica Mississippi, and since has been our “computer”
connection with Harvey.
Although he never served in any of the armed forces
Jimmie served our association very well with his help, loyalty and attendance. He was in good health until about two weeks ago.
and hurt his shoulder and had gone to the doctor. His feet later swelled excessively and they did a cat
scan and found a spot on his liver. They did a biopsy and it revealed it was cancer on November 15, 2010…
he passed away three days later on November 18, 2010. He will be missed by us all. His Wife Sandra can be reached at 575-542-9847 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Jimmies funeral services
will be Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 10:00 at the First Baptist Church in Lordsburg, NM… with graveside services
Services will be held at:
First Baptist Church PO Box 128
E. 3rd Street, Lordsburg, NM 88045
Local Flower shop:
The Cottage House313 Main Street
Lordsburg, NM 88045-1910
Jimmie and Sandra’s
Mailing Address is:
P. O. Box 155 Lorgsburg,