Marine Corps Vietnam
Tankers Historical Foundation's
Board of Directors
Marine Corps Vietnam-era Tankers and Ontos Crewmen Have Made History. Your
Historical Foundation is Making it Known.
LtCol. (USMC Ret.)*
, James (Jim) L.*
||Carey, Richard (Dick)
||Steele, Martin (Marty)
R., LtGen. (USMC Ret.)
||William J. Davis,
Col. USMC (Ret.)
||Dr. Ken Estes, LtCol
USMC (Ret.) PhD.
||Flick, Robert (Mike) M.
||Carey, Richard (Dick)*
||Forsyth, David (Doc) L.
Donald (Don) R., MGySgt. (USMC Ret.)
LtCol Raymond A. Stewart, USMC (Retired)
the Marine Corps as a Private in 1955. He was commissioned in 1964 upon
graduating from University of Idaho (B.S. Geology) under the
Naval Enlisted Scientific Education Program (NESEP). Stewart served two
"and a half" tours in Vietnam.
The first extended tour ('65-'66) was with
the 1st and 3rd Tank Battalions as Platoon Commander 3rd Plt., Bravo
Company in support of 3/7 (Operation Starlite) at Chu Lai and then Asst.
S-4, Da Nang, RVN. Stewart extended his tour 6 months to join the Second
Battalion, Fourth Marines (2/4) as the Platoon Commander, 1st Platoon,
Fox Company and then as the Company Executive Officer, F/2/4 in
operations from Da Nang to the DMZ.
Returning to CONUS in Sep of ’66,
Stewart was posted to 3rd MAW, El Toro, CA, promoted to Captain and
C.O. of MABS. Early 1967 he received orders to the Arabic Language School, DLIEC, Washington, D.C. Upon
completion of the
year-long school, he joined the 2nd Radio
Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and served in Morocco
and “other places”.
Stewart then attended Amphibious Warfare School (AWS), Quantico, VA. before returning
RVN. During his second tour, Stewart was the 1st MPs’
Battalion Operations Officer - the "Da Nang Defense
returned to CONUS via the Bremerton Naval Hospital on the way to I&I
duty, Rome, GA.
Major for his “special assignment” while in Rome and was then
Amphibious Warfare School (AWS) as an Instructor and Seminar
Quantico, he was selected for, and assigned to, the Foreign Area
Officer Studies Program, Beirut Lebanon, to pursue an advanced degree in
World Studies at the AUB. He and his family were emergency
Lebanon in the October of 1975 at the full outbreak of civil war.
completed his FAO tour in Bahrain, followed by a two year tour
Navy's Commander, Middle East Force, Bahrain as the Force Plans
After a short CONUS tour at Camp Lejeune, N.C. as X.O. 2/6, Stewart
returned to the Middle East for 3 years
as the Defense and Naval Attaché and Security Assistance Chief accredited
to the Sultanate of Oman. He retired a
Lt. Col. in 1983 after a tour as the Arabian Peninsula Desk Intelligence
Officer (J-2) with the U.S. Central Command, Tampa, FL.
Stewart has been awarded
the Bonze Star w/Combat "V", Meritorious Service Medal w/Star
and Cluster, Navy Commendation Medal w/Star and "V", Vietnamese
Cross of Gallantry w/Bronze, 2 Silver Stars, and Palm, the
Combat Action Ribbon, and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
retirement from the Marine Corps, Ray joined The Boeing Company as a
Manager in the Education & Training Division of
Defense and Space. He recently retired from Boeing, completing 20 years of
masters’ degrees in Education, Middle East Studies, National Security
Management, and Business Administration. Ray, a published author, is
actively “retired”. He is nationally certified in the field of Chemical
Dependency and Substance Abuse, a public school substitute teacher, is
President of the Marine Corps Vietnam Tanker Historical Foundation, a
nonprofit foundation with the mission of writing the personal histories of
Marine Tankers, a Lejeune Leadership Institute Fellow and a member of the
National Marine Corps Council.
Stewart is married to the
former Julia Lynne Austin of Spokane, WA. and has two adult
children. His daughter is a Secondary School Teacher and mother
of two. Ray's son is married and an Attorney who practices Law
in Tacoma, WA.
was born in Columbus, Ohio November 4, 1946. Upon graduation
from high school in 1964, I enrolled at Mt. Olivet Nazarene
College outside Chicago, Illinois. During my sophomore year I
decided that I wanted to follow a different path in life than
the one I was on in college.
enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in 1965. The events
that were to shape the rest of my life began. I was sent to
basic training at MCRD, San Diego and then Infantry Training
Regiment (IT) Camp Pendleton. From there I went to Tank School,
Camp Del Mar. As my training progressed at Camp Pendleton I was
assigned to the tank ramp as permanent personnel. This training
set the foundation for me to move from tank crew to tank
In 1966 I was deployed to
Vietnam from Long Beach, CA aboard the U.S.S. General LeRoy
Eltinge (AP-154) arriving at Da Nang in December, 1966. Two
months later in February, 1967 I received my first flame tank
command, Foxtrot 13. I was assigned to 3rd
Tank Battalion Charlie Company at Dong Ha Air Base, the
northern-most city in South Vietnam and the location of a
strategically important U.S. Marine combat base. I was 19 years
old, held the rank of PFC and was a tank commander.
In March, 1967 my crew and I were
transferred to Alpha Company at Camp J.J. Carroll and shortly
thereafter to Bravo Company. We did road sweeps and resupply
convoys to “The Rock Pile”, Con Thien, Khe Sanh, Cam Lo, Gio
Linh, and Dong Ha for the next few months. In June the Bravo
Company flame section was assigned to Alpha Company to support
Operation Buffalo conducted during the first two weeks of July,
1967. Operation Buffalo was a major operation that took place in
the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone where 1/9 was badly
outnumbered by North Vietnamese troops. After firing into a
North Vietnam placement as a flank tank, F23 (our tank), hit a
land mine and was destroyed. I was promoted to Lance Corporal.
In the months following this I was
assigned a replacement tank and continued to support Bravo
Company operations. While sweeping an area southwest of Con
Thien, we came under heavy artillery attack. When the 3rd
Battalion of the 26th Marines (3/26) moved into
position near the DMZ in September, 1967 they didn’t know that
an entire North Vietnamese regiment lay waiting for them. On
September 10, we took several RPG rounds which destroyed my tank
F23. I was awarded the Purple Heart as a result of this
replacement tank was assigned in October, 1967. I continued as
tank commander until I left Vietnam in December, 1967. Upon
leaving Vietnam I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC and assigned
to the disbursing office where I served until I was honorably
discharged in November, 1968. During my career in the Corps, I
progressed from PFC in 1966, to Lance Corporal in 1967, to
Corporal Meritorious in 1967, and to rank of Sergeant.
returning to Columbus in 1968 I worked with my father in his
construction business. One year later I struck out on my own and
have been self-employed for nearly 45 years. Although focused on
real estate development and commercial construction over the
years, I also own and manage recycling, trucking, and
warehousing businesses. In between I found time to convert a
personal passion into a successful business as a commercial
fisherman in Florida. I continue to live in Columbus with my
wife Carol and am always looking for the next opportunity to
pursue my entrepreneurial interests.
Co Founder, Technical Advisor.
Richard enlisted in the Marine Corps from his hometown
of Columbus, Ohio during May 1965. He arrived at MCRD
San Diego in October 1965. After I.T.R. he was selected
as in-take processing clerk and troop handler at Schools
Battalion, Camp Delmar, Camp Pendleton. He was later
trained there as a tank mechanic (2141.) Richard
received orders for WestPac in June 1966. Arriving on
Okinawa he was ordered to Camp Hansen and was assigned
to the 3rd Force Service Regiment Maintenance Battalion
as the Battalion Mail Clerk (0161.)
Extending his tour he volunteered for Vietnam service.
He arrived at the 3rd Tank Battalion, H&S Company during
July 1967. Upon reporting for duty he served with
the 3rd Tank Battalion Reactionary Rifle Platoon as an
M60 machine gunner doing convoy duty on the back of
six-bys. He also preformed listening posts, night
patrols and ambushes in the Phu Bai (Gia Le) area.
In early September 1967, he was transferred to Bravo
Co., Camp Carroll. His duties included platoon
maintenance man for 1st Platoon and then 2nd platoon
where he was assigned tank commander and acting platoon
Sergeant for a period of time while serving at the
Rockpile. Richard rotated home the first week of April
1968 and was relieved of active duty October 1968. He
was honorably discharged May 1971.
Dick is a
co-founder of the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical
Foundation and Founder/President Emeritus of the USMC Vietnam
Tankers Association. He has been a veteran’s advocate for over
forty years and was the Founder of the Veterans Crisis &
Outreach Center, Newark, Ohio. He volunteered to manage Veterans
Crisis & Outreach Center and for many years assisted veterans
with serviced connected claims and issues involving the
Department of Veterans Affairs. He was the coordinator of
funding with United Way; Richard was the founder/national
coordinator of the National Vietnam War Era Museum, served on
the Armed Forces Community Council, Columbus, Ohio. He
represented Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc., testifying before
a Congressional Committee, investigating tobacco addiction and
the role of the military. Created and Developed the
Sponson Box newsletter in 1998 for what was to become
the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association. He also created and is the
editor of the Foundation’s enewsletter the Breech
Block. He currently is serving on the Veterans
Advisory Committee created by Congressman Bill Keating of the
10th Congressional District in Massachusetts and is a member of
the Massachusetts 10th
Congressional District’s Military Academics Selection Board. He
is also the Founder and President Cape and Island Veterans
Member: Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation, USMC
Vietnam Tankers Association, Third Marine Division Association,
Veterans of Foreign Wars Children's Home, Veterans of the
Vietnam War, Inc.
Decorations include Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal,
Presidential Unit Citation w/Star, Navy Unit Commendation,
Meritorious Unit Commendation w/Star, Vietnamese Cross of
Gallantry w/Palm, Vietnam Service Medal w/three Stars, Vietnam
in 1976, Dick and his wife Dona owned Carey Publishing, selling
the business in 1985. Dick was also a registered lobbyist in the
State of Ohio for nearly 20 years. In 1979 they established The
Carey Group that specialized in marketing and public relations.
They continued in that business until he retired in 1990, due to
his service-connected disabilities.
and Dona (nee: Ramey) have been married for 43 years and are the
parents of four adult children and five grandchildren.
Lloyd "Pappy" Reynolds, email@example.com
Web Master, IT Manager.
Born; June 13, 1942,
Montreal, Canada, moved to Pasadena Ca. 1952
Enlisted USMC; Sept.
1959, MCRD San Diego, I.T.R., Camp Pendleton, Infantry
0311/0331. 1st Marine Brigade, Hawaii. 1960-1962 with C-1-4 and
F-2-4. Attended 1st Tank Bn. Tank School at Las Flories, MCB
Camp Pendleton Apr. 1962, "B" Co. 1st Tk. Bn. until discharged
in Sept. 1963. Inactive Reserve 1963 to
Rienlisted USMC Oct.
1966, Vietnam Dec. 1966 to Jan. 1968. MCB Camp Pendleton, 5th MP
Bn., 5th Tk. Bn., Track Vehicle School. Discharged Oct. 1970.
Rienlisted USMCR, Discharged USMCR 1973.
Peace time major
operations, Greenlight 1961, Silver Sword 1961 and the Laotian
Crisis in 1962.
operations, Prairie III & IV, Hickory, Cimarron, Buffalo, Beaver
Track, Ardmore, Kingfisher, Scotland and Lancaster. Had my tank
blown out from under me three times and never got wounded.
The memorable event I
like to remember was when I made myself an instant M/Sgt. got a
truck and driver from a friend, a working party from another
source. Went to the Navy Sea Bee compound and liberated a
truckload of plywood to rebuild our bunkers at the Rockpile. We
were probably the only tank platoon with knotty pine lined
Awards; Combat Action
Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Award (2),
National Defense, Vietnam Service w/3*, Vietnamese Cross of
Gallantry w/Palm and Frame, Vietnamese Civic Action Award w/Palm
and Frame, Vietnam Campaign, expert rifle and pistol badges.
Final rank upon discharge
in October 1973, Sergeant.
Member of the USMC
Tankers Assoc. (I designed the Logo), USMC Vietnam Tankers
Assoc. the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation (I
designed thier Logo also) and the VFW. I served four terms as Commandant of my
local Detachment of the Marine Corps League and have been a
member since 1978. Have worked with the Young Marines of the
Marine Corps League since 1979 and had the positions of Unit
C.O. (18 years), California Regimental X. O. since 1989 and was
on the National Board of Directors for 3 years. I left the
program in 2005.
Happily married for the
third time, and this one is a keeper. One Daughter, one
granddaughter, one great grandaughter and four step children.
I am currently
I am also the webmaster
of three web sites.
One for my Vietnam unit
And the USMC Vietnam
Tankers Association at http://www.mcvthf.org/MCVTHF.htm
LtGen Martin R. Steele, USMC (Retired)
Born in Philadelphia, PA and raised
in Fayetteville, AR, Lieutenant General Martin R. Steele enlisted
in the United States Marine Corps in January 1965. During his
initial tour at Camp Pendleton he was deployed to the Republic of
Vietnam where he served in First Tank Battalion, First Marine
Division. Subsequently assigned as a Corporal to the Officer
Candidates School, General Steele was commissioned a Second
Lieutenant in January 1967. He rose steadily in the ranks,
holding positions as Platoon Commander, Executive Officer and Tank
Company Commander. This was followed by a second tour of duty in
Southeast Asia and an assignment as Office-in-Charge of Sea School
in Portsmouth, VA.
In 1973, General Steele returned to
Camp Pendleton and served as a Tank Company Commander, Battalion
Operations Officer and Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General of
the 1st Marine Division. An assignment as an Assault Amphibian
Vehicle Company Commander was followed by duty as the Marine Corps
Liaison Officer to the Project Manager, M60/M1A1 Tank Program at
the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command in Warren, MI. He then
served at Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) in Washington, DC as
the Tank Acquisition Project Officer.
From August 1985 through 1988,
General Steele was the Commanding Officer of both 1st
Light Armored Vehicle Battalion and 1st Tank Battalion.
In July 1988, he transferred overseas where he was assigned as
Operations Officer, Combined Forces Command, Republic of Korea.
Upon his return in August 1990, he assumed the duties as the
Deputy Director, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Center,
Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, VA.
After serving in Operation Desert
Shield/Desert Storm, General Steele took over as Director of the
Warfighting Development Integration Division at Quantico. In
1993, he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned duty as
Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Quantico in June of that
year and was selected in November 1994 for promotion to Major
General. He served as the Director of Strategic Planning and
Policy, U.S. Forces Pacific, from 1995 to 1997. He was then
promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned as Deputy Chief of
Staff for Plans, Policies and Operations at HQMC.
Upon retirement in 1999, General
Steele became President and CEO of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space
Museum in New York City, the largest naval museum in the world
where they adopted the mission to “Honor our heroes, educate the
public and inspire our youth about the price of freedom.”
Currently, he is President and CEO of Uncommon Leadership, LLC, a
leadership consulting company whose mission is to develop uncommon
leaders of character across a wide audience range from
transitioning Marines, to college students and administrators, as
well as corporate level executives.
His personal decorations include:
The Defense Distinguished Service Medal; The Distinguished Service
Medal; The Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit;
Meritorious Service Medal; Navy Commendation Medal with gold star;
and The Combat Action Ribbon. Equally notable are his academic
achievements: a BA degree from the University of Arkansas, MA
degrees from Central Michigan University, Salve Regina College and
the Naval War College. He is a distinguished graduate of the
Armor Officer Advanced Course, an honor graduate of the Marine
Corps Command and Staff College and graduate of the Naval War
Married to the former Cynthia
Bayliss of Little Rock, AR, and father of three grown children,
General Steele serves proudly on many boards. General Steele acts
as Vice Chairman of the American Life Insurance Congress Board of
Governors, is on the Board of Trustees of the Fisher House
Foundation, and serves as Trustee Emeritus on the Intrepid
Foundation. He is also an active member on the University of
Arkansas Alumni Association and an Advisor Member for the Veterans
Advantage Board. In acknowledgement of his achievements, he is the
subject of the recently published Boys of ’67, an award
winning book about three highly successful Marine officers whose
lives reflect personal heroism, dedication and their impact and
devotion to the Marine Corps and our country.
Col William J. Davis, USMC
Dr. Ken Estes, LtCol USMC (Ret.) PhD. Member
Mike Flick, Member
I was born in Long Beach, California
on the 18th of September, 1947. My father was a Marine fighter
pilot who retired from the Corps in 1961 as a Lieutenant
Col. and my mother a Navy nurse who, had she remained in the
Navy, would have outranked my father.
‘military’ family we moved around the country quite a bit and to
this day I harbor fond memories of sharing a jury-rigged bunk
bed with my brother, built into the back of the family
was composed of a fold out cot that was a little wider than the
car laid sideways through the rear windows above the back seat.
Air conditioning for cars hadn’t been invented yet so, open
windows were the coolest way to go and we were “styling” with
our bunk arrangement.
We criss-crossed the Mohave desert
several times using this technique and were happy to have such
luxury and in order to avoid the “I have to go to the bathroom,”
cry from the back seat, my dad just drilled a hole in the floor
board, cut a length of garden hose, attached a funnel to one end
and we were “good to go!”
After my father
retired from his beloved Corps after twenty two years of
service, we moved to Florida where I rose to the heights of
scholastic . . .underachievement.
was not a good student. However, I did manage to graduate from
high school in 1966 and start college the following September.
The war in Vietnam was heating up and I was becoming disgruntled
with the anti - military protests on campuses throughout the
country. So, with a year and a half of college under my belt and
after having giving it all of about two minutes contemplation, I
decided to get out, see the world, do my duty and enlist. But
this decision presented me with a dilemma. I needed a way to
honor my parent’s military service. Which would I choose Navy or
Marine Corps? (There were no other considerations) When the
solution came to me, I realized there was a way to honor both
and in April, 1967 I was off to Navy boot camp in San Diego.
Upon graduation I requested and was accepted to Class-A Corps
School, after which I spent a year at USNH Yokosuka, Japan. In
three months became senior Corpsman of ward 3-A where, among
other duties, I was charged with the responsibility of setting
up a minor surgery clinic where I performed surgical debridement
of wounds. Our hospital was a 512 bed facility in which we
housed up to 1200 patients at any given time. 1967 forward into
1968 we had patients in bunk beds. Needless to say we were very
busy and 18 to 20 hour days were common.
It was in Yokosuka that I put into
action the second phase of my plan to honor my parents. I began
submitting requests for transfer to FMF. Request after request
were denied but persistence paid off and after seven requests, I
received orders to Camp Pendleton, CA for Field Med School. When
I completed training at Pendleton, I was assigned to 9th MAB,
1st Mar Div, RVN. But first I would attend counter-guerilla
warfare school, Okinawa.
I loved the training! We ran all the
time, everywhere. We learned about evasive tactics, booby-traps,
all kinds of explosives and best of all, we got to blow shit up!
After training I was to be shipped out but there was a problem,
it seems that no one knew exactly where 9th MAB was. So I had to
wait in Okinawa until things could be sorted out. But rather
than just sit and wait all day I requested to be assigned
additional training. The OIC it seems had a sense of humor as he
assigned me TAD to 3rd Force recon. Yahoooo! They kicked my butt
and I loved every minute of it. More running, more danger, great
attitude and best of all . . . more stuff to blow up. The
training was tough, top notch and, although way to short a time
for me, I think it saved my ass more than once while in country.
Not wishing me to waste any more time
training in Okinawa, I was sent to Da Nang (Camp Love) to hook
up with 9th MAB but they were still nowhere to be found and
having little taste for being in the rear with the gear I
wrangled a poncho liner and a spot at the BAS near Marble
Mountain. While there I treated all kinds of people, including
Vietnamese civilians, most of whom, unfortunately, were
children. Then one afternoon, into the BAS walked two
lieutenants, one silver bar and one gold. The silver bar shouts,
“I need a Corpsman. Any of you want to get into the field with
Tanks?” No one stepped forward. In fact, to my surprise, they
shied away from the request. This I saw as an opportunity. “I’ll
go sir.” The Lt turned to me and said, “Well get your shit Doc,
let’s get a move on!” I liked this no nonsense guy already. The
three of us piled into a jeep, the gold bar, Lt Dobbins, my new
X.O. , the silver bar, Lt Roberts, my new C.O. and me. As we
headed out toward a desolate landscape, Lt Roberts, who was
driving, said, “Do you know how to use that weapon of yours
Doc?” When I assured him that I did he replied, “Well then, lock
and load, we’re going into “Indian Territory.”
I spent the rest of my tour with
Charlie Company and even spent time with the ROK Marines at Hoi
An. Most of my time in Nam has oddly become a blur; names have
faded away for the most part as have the specifics of every day
events. But in the end, I was able to do my part, patch up
Marines and keep them alive. Credit be to skill, circumstance or
the grace of God, I never lost a Marine, at least not while they
were under my care.
When I left Nam I submitted my ‘Dream
Sheet’ and requested England, Scotland, Sweden or fourth choice,
anywhere Europe. Subsequently I spent the last eighteen months
of my four year enlistment in Panama, Canal Zone where I ran a
dispensary, played football and drank beer.
After leaving the Service in 1971, I
returned to Florida and school as a pre-med major. To my
surprise, I did very well and actually enjoyed it but there was
something lacking. I’d become addicted to adrenalin and needed a
fix. So I took the test and was hired on the Boca Raton Fire
department where I also helped set up their Paramedic program
and where too, I taught Paramedics. I loved the work but found
that a system that provided ‘Tenure’ also extracted incentive
from its employees. The apathy in the department after tenure
was achieved was too much and I left the department after four
years and returned once again to school, this time as a Theater
major. But I couldn’t divorce myself from the medical field
completely so I took more training and became licensed as an
O.R. technician. I worked for the next few years in an operating
room to supplement the G.I. bill and pay for college while I
studied acting and directing. It turned out I had a knack for
“The Boards.” I quickly acquired my first couple of union cards
and got busy doing theater and lots of commercials. One thing
led to another and in a very short time I found myself in New
York with a contract role on a TV show. Imagine that! Oh yes,
just prior to starting the fire department job, I got married
and almost ten years later, divorced.
I was very fortunate to have remained
consistently employed as a television actor. This provided more
opportunity for stage work, some film roles and for training at
the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. In
2001 I moved to Los Angeles where I was hired to direct a
television show, which I did for almost four years before
running away as if my head was on fire. Suffice it to say that
L.A. and I were not a match.
I returned to the east coast and settled into the
country life of Pennsylvania where I reside to this day. Life is
simpler today. Occasionally I still snag a role in a play or on
an east coast tv show. (Sex in the City, Law and Order, 30 Rock)
But these days are primarily reserved for fun and giving back.
I’m into motorcycles and travel, rode my BMW R1200RT down to the
reunion in Charleston last summer and in January of 09′ returned
to Vietnam for a little sightseeing and healing. Good trips
both. I am an active member of the Marine Corps League in N.E.
PA and spend a great deal of time helping with people with
addictions. Finally the world is spinning in greased grooves.
"Rick" Walters, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was born in Yonkers, New York, 10 miles north of New York City, within 2
years my Father, moved the family to the burbs in northern
New Jersey. Good move.
The new home was Apple country in a one horse, borough
called Upper Saddle River.
10 years, the
horses were gone as well as the Apple orchards. It became an
exclusive town, I was Grandfathered-in.
Typical small town doings for me: fishing, Cub Scouts,
Little League and a Dairy Queen. By 12 years old, a paper
route bicycling 2-3
miles a day delivering papers, plus pocket money
which I liked. At
14, I graduated to a car wash, miles away, more money. By
16, I was working at an Esso station and hit the big time,
$150.00 per week. I was repairing cars, easy and fun;
similar to a duck taking to water.
At 17 years old, I bought a 1965 Dodge Coronet
Convertible, a factory engineer's car, and my horizons
Unfortunately, I was paying attention to the wrong things:
male friends and traveling to NY State line for the bars,
girls and drag racing. The Dodge had a 426 engine
and a long handle Hurst shifter from the factory.
New York allowed 18 years old to drink, then.
By 18, college would have been a one year affair with
plenty of F's at the University of Miami. I had a friend in
Bravo Company, 9th Engineers
- Marines. This
sounded like a new adventure.
With his LP ahead
of the lines in Hue City, this was another challenge. I also
like rifles. I
shot squirrels for food back in the 50's, 60 feet up a tall
Oak tree and moving.
It seemed like a natural fit.
In June 1968, I enlisted on the same day that I graduated
from Northern Highlands High School in Allendale, NJ.
Rocco Jerry De Mercurio and William O'Neil
enlisted with me. Jerry is on the Wall, I believe a POW for
a while. It is a mystery? Ironically, the Army Rangers
rejected me for a ticket with the Dodge.
Next day, Parris Island, and the DI's were "God's".
Discipline: mosquito's with wide bodies on the
chow line, holding the M-14 by the front site with two index
fingers and the final review on the Parade grounds were my
highlights + a Sharpshooter Badge. I like the look better
than the Expert.
ITR training at Camp Geiger, leave, Staging
at Pendleton.. then the 14 hour plane ride to
Hawaii, Guam, Oakie and landing at Da Nang jet strip. Seeing
50,000 ARVN's hiding and sliding.
In some fashion, 10 of us from a weapons platoon, 0351's,
instantly became tankers with 1st Anti-Tank Battalion.
Most started as a loader, I became the driver of
A-35, The Good, Bad & Ugly,
pigs were operating mostly in light and heavy sections, 3rd
Platoon was always in the field. A-34 was named Six Reasons
Why, and had a very good OC, out of Hue City, George
Spaulding. We ran without loaders, thus Larry Hedden, A-34,
driver and my OC, Henry Kennedy, were close. The entire
Alpha Company called Corporal Kennedy: "Pappy".
He was 24 to 26 years old. We fired many 106 mm
Hep-T and Fleshette rounds in 1969.
Fast forward, 2011:
Mike Scudder has a very nice Ontos in Texas, Gunny
Dave McGillivray has one in Jacksonville, NC
and I have one relatively complete Ontos and four
de-milled Ontos from NC Forest Service in the Catskills, NY.
This is private ownership, one rule: you bring the beer and
chips, we have the dogs, burgers and running vehicles.
MGySgt. Don Gagnon, USMC (Retired), Director, Emeritus