Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation´┐Ż

Marine Corps Tankers Have Made History. Your Foundation is Making it Known.

The History of Marine Tanks in Vietnam 1965-1970
Period Covered - March to September 1965

Third Tank Battalion (-)(Rein)

Commanding Officer:               Lieutenant Colonel States R. Jones, Jr.
                                                          Lieutenant Colonel Milton L. Rapheal (Assumed Command 1 September 1965)

Location:                               Command Post: Camp Hansen Okinawa and Danang, Republic of Vietnam
                                                          at (AT 988711)

Subordinate Commanders:
Headquarters and Service Company: Capt. Horace A. Bertrand
Company "A", 3rd Tanks:                 Captain John B. Donovan, Jr. (8-23 July)
                                                         Capt. Fidelas
Company "B", 3rd Tanks:                 Capt. Arthur E. Lee
Company "C", 3rd Tanks:                 Capt. Joe P. Sanders
Company "B", 1st Tank Bn.:             Capt. Allan W. Lamb
Principal Staff Officers:
Executive Officer:                              Major James G. Doss, Jr.
S-1                                                   1/Lt. Donald J. Robinson II
S-2                                                   1/Lt. Roger E. Davis
S-3                                                   Capt. John B. Donovan, Jr.
S-4                                                   Major Franklin W. Coates

     At the beginning of the Vietnam War the Third Tank Battalion, Third Marine Division was located at Camp Hansen, Okinawa. During the first week of June, 1965, the Tank Battalion (-) was alerted for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam (RVN). At that time Company "A" was already in-country, located in Danang attached to and in support of the Third Marine Regiment (3rd Marines). Company "C" was located at Chu Lai, RVN, attached to and in support of the Fourth Marine Regiment (4th Marines). In addition, Company "B", First Tank Battalion (1st Tanks)(-) was located at Chu Lai attached to and in support of the Seventh Marine Regiment (7th Marines), a First Marine Division (1st MarDiv) Regiment.

     On 25 June 1965, the Third Tank Battalion (3rd Tanks)(-), consisting of Headquarters and Service Company (H&S Co) and Company "B" (-), which was attached to and in support of the Ninth Marine Regiment (9th Marines) mounted out of Camp Hansen to Naha Port, Okinawa to depart on 3 July for Danang Port, Red Beach Two, RVN on 8 July.

     The mission of 3rd Tanks was to provide combat support for the Third Marine Division in current operations utilizing mobility, armor-protection, fire power, and shock action to close with and destroy the enemy forces, fortifications and materials.

     Upon debarkation at Red Beach Two, Danang, RVN H&S Co., 3rd Tanks established the Battalion Command Post (CP) adjacent to Company "A", 3rd Tanks at (AT 985742). On 10 July, the CP was re-located to the southern perimeter of the Third Marine Division (3rd MarDiv) Area of Responsibility (AOR) at (AT 988711). 3rd Tanks shared the work of setting up the CP with the 9th Marines, the First Amphibian Tractor Battalion (1st Amtracs), and the Third Anti-Tank Battalion (3rd ATs).

     While the 3rd Tanks´ flag was being solidly planted in-country in the Danang AOR (AT 991710), Company "A" at Danang (AT 946762) Company "B" at Danang (BT 067719) and Company "C" (BT531094) and Company "B", 1st Tanks (BT548060) at Chu Lai were heavily involved in the support of the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 9th Marines. I addition, the Third Platoon, Company "C" (3/C/1stTks) remained attached to the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines (3/4) at Phu Bai.
Note: From here to the end of the reporting period I will combine 3rd Tanks reporting w/that of each of the supported Regiments and, where applicable, the individual Bns that the Tank Platoons were attached to, pulling out key activities and named operations like Starlite´ covered earlier.

"A" w/3rd Marines
"B" w/9th Marines
"C" w/4th Marines
"B", 1st Tanks w/7th Marines

     Hopefully, the reader who should but may not know that he was in-country during this period will experience a memory jog and give us some feed back. As I get feedback and field their questions, I'll salt it all back into the original at the proper places.

     I realize that this period is greater than the 3 month/1 quarter duration I've discussed but activity was both relatively light and pretty sparsely reported on during the earlier months March to July.

     In March of 1966, 1st Tanks moved its flag in-country. Of course 1st Tank units were there and operating much earlier but being reported on by 3rd Tanks (somewhat) and the supported units.

Semper Fidelis,
Lt. Col. Raymond A. Stewart, USMC (Ret.)
President, Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation