Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation©

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

Marine Tank Unit Statistics

Tank Crew Deaths by MOS
1965 – 1970 Republic of Vietnam

108 - Tank Crewman = .72%
19 - Tank Officer = .11%
11 - Tank Repairman = .13%
2 - Turret Technicians = .13%
16 - Support Personnel*
*Includes: Admin, Motor-T, Supply, Radio Repair, Radio Technician, Optical Repairman, Machinist & Field Radio Operators.
When wounded are taken into account for all MOS’s in a Tank Unit, overall casualties were at 85%*.

*Not confirmed, information from Dick Carey, President of USMCVTA.


Number of USMC Tanks in RVN 1965 – 1970

During March of 1968 Marine tanks reached a peak of only 152 vehicles in country.

1st Tank Battalion 62 = Tanks
3rd Tank Battalion 62 = Tanks
5th Tank Battalion 38 = Tanks

Between 1965 and 1968 there were never more than 124 tanks in country.

Combat Record

In no war, past or present, were Marine tanks ever in the field as long as Marine tanks were in Vietnam.
Tank units were involved in the sieges of Khe Sanh, Con Thien, the battle for Hue City and almost every major Marine ground operation of the war.
Marine Tank Battalions never operated as Battalions or even Companies. Some times as Platoon’s (five tanks) but usually as sections of two to three tanks supporting or attached to infantry units.



Two Presidential Unit Citations (P.U.C.) were awarded to each of the 1st, 3rd, & 5th Tank Battalions.
(The P.U.C. is the country’s highest award for bravery and valor for a combat unit)

Numerous Marine Corps-Navy Unit Citations were given to all three Tank Battalions.

Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation

Navy Unit Commendation

Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation

Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross)

Vietnam Civic Action Citation


3 Tankers received the Navy Cross and 1 Ontos crewman.

David J. Danner
MOS 2141 = Tank Repairman
Harold A. Riensche
MOS 2141 = Tank Repairman
Charles D. Thatcher
MOS 1811 = Tank Crewman
Randal A. Browning
MOS 0331 = AntiTank Crewman
See Awards Page


US ARMY Statistics

US Army Tankers KIA in Vietnam = 725 (equals 27% of all tankers ever assigned to Vietnam)

The highest loss-rate for any MOS was 11E (Armor Crewman) 27% KIA


Source: Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, National Archives