~ Dedicated to All Vietnam-Era Marine Corps Tankers, Ontos Crewmen & Support ~



OntosMCVTHF LogoOntos



We are the voice of  history  


CARPUCNat. Def. Ribbon




August 2012   



Dear Marine, 


While the Foundation's daily routine has not ground to a summer halt, it seems to have come really close! Incoming personal Ontos and Tank stories have become fewer the past few weeks and our financial goal seems somewhat elusive. I must continue to remind myself that writing our history is a "work in progress" - a labor of love - undertaken seriously and with measurable goals and tangibles but a few years ago after 40 years of neglect.


Also, that we are all unpaid volunteers in this endeavor is important to keep in focus. Money is hard (and getting harder, it seems) to get and not to be spent without assurance of value in return. Memories fade over time and become difficult - often painful - to call back into focus. Enthusiasm for long-term projects often decreases. The importance of things immeasurable, flags. Priorities change. Families evolve as some loved ones move on, some die, and new members join.


As the designated hitter for this history writing project "Marine Tanks and Ontos in The Vietnam War", I feel driven to keep my (and hopefully your) "eye on the prize". The Foundation's "Macro Project's", printed below, are all designed with that one final goal in mind. The other work we do - assisting members to find old friends, contacts with the Marine Corps to seek personal awards for past heroics, conducting interviews, supporting other authors to write about Vietnam War tanks and Ontos, research, providing VA information, maintenance of web and blog sites, posting to the Map History Project, publishing this monthly E-Ltr - are just some of the activities to support the writing of our history.

Our day-to-day "reward" is hearing from you. Drop us a line from time-to-time and tell us what you're up to - your family, your thoughts, ideas, opinions. And, throw in a bit of personal recollections about your "Vietnam War Days" while you're at it. The Breech Block reaches more than 600 computers every month. If but 10-15% responded with a story or two, we'd be ready to go to press. Give it a try.


I cannot thank enough those who have submitted their stories and pictures, donated money, and shed their sweat equity for this project.


Semper Fidelis,



Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation

2010 - 2014 Macro Projects & Programs

  • Write the history of "Marine Tanks & Ontos in Vietnam" in by-monthly segments.
  • Collect and archive oral histories of Vietnam War-era Tankers & Ontos Crewmen.
  • Write summaries of Marine Corps History Division's Vietnam War oral histories.
  • Create a "Map History of Marine Tanks & Ontos in Vietnam" on our website.
  • Write and support the publication of others' on-subject articles and books.
  • Create a lasting tribute to the Vietnam War-era Tankers & Ontos Crewmen.
  • Publish a monthly E-Ltr the Breech Block.
  • Create and maintain a web and blog site.
  • Create and maintain a Foundation Library.
  • Write and publish "Book One".
  • In combination of the above projects, write a "Comprehensive History of Marine Tanks & Ontos during the Vietnam War".


Note: Each of these eleven bulleted macro programs is expanded upon with a Project Plan (PP), Work Breakdown Structures (WBS), and other supporting documentation. The entire Historical Foundation effort is incorporated in the State of Washington under the umbrella of a 501(c)(19)non-profit set of Bylaws and a comprehensive Business Plan with a definitive mission statement, goals, and objectives. The Foundation maintains a small library of military-related books, photographs, maps, documents, CDs, oral histories w/written summaries, and electronic-based data to support the program.

Letter to the Foundation

I was not with Tanks.  I had been assigned to 1st ATs,  but then went to CAC/CAP units.  I just wanted to thank all the Tankers who came out to our CAP unit and stood watch with us.  That clacking of the tracks coming down Hwy 7 from Hill 3/7  late in the afternoon heading for our compound was like hearing an angel sing.  It was a relief for the seven to ten of us to know that we would have that tank with us!!!!


Mark Brady  CAP Charlie 3


Mark - So good to hear from you. Your story sounds great! Now, let's expand on it a bit and get it ready to publish in our E-Ltr and our book.


First of all - Tankers love to hear stories from the Marines we supported. Can you recall the dates of your CAP tour? Even approx. will help. Also your approx. location(s) - grid coordinates are great but even the name of the village and what other villages were in your area of responsibility. Your daily life and your mission w/CAP is of great interest. Do you recall the names of other CAP members and any of the Tankers? What did you do in working w/the village defense team? Actually, any thing you can recall about you CAP tour and specifically in the context of tanks and/or Ontos connections.


I look forward to hearing more from you and we will help you in any way we can to write up your Vietnam War recollections - pictures w/captions are very much valued.


Semper Fidelis,





While I enjoy reading the tankers newsletter, and not sure how I got on the list, I thought you should know that all my time in the Corps has been in aviation.


Semper Fi,

Jim Casey

CWO-4, Ret.


James R. Casey

Deputy Executive Director

Marine Corps Aviation Association  




Jim - I got your name and address from our NMCC roster. I'm happy that you enjoy reading our monthly E-Ltr Breech Block. You will remain on our distro addee list unless you desire not to and then to opt out, there's place at the bottom of the E-Ltr to check. I hope you'd decide to stay with us.


Semper Fidelis,





 I am just a few miles south (Olympia) of you in Federal Way and would like to bring you a check for the association so I can contribute, meet you if I have not already (and just don't recall) and chat a little.  I don't know your email address but would be happy to have someone send it to me so I can make contact.  I will participate in the oral history program, but frankly remember little about my VN tour except some of the men with whom I served for the 7-8 months I had Charlie Co, 1st Tks.  There are many things about that year in RVN of which I am proud and would not mind relating them to you.  My wife of 52 years reminds me often that I have been retired half again as long as the 20 years I served.


If you contact me, I will call you and make arrangements to drive north a few miles and take you to lunch and give you a donation for the Ass'n. 


Phil Weigand




Phil - So good to hear from you. And, please, accept my apologies for not getting back to you sooner. 


I want to get together with you as soon as possible. I know you have a lot to add to our history writing effort and am eager to capture it for further publication. I also am very aware of faded and fading memories - both personally and with my day-to-day work with our Vietnam War Vets.


I've founded useful in jogging memories to establish some places, name, and times - the "when we were where" scenario. For example, if you can provide me a bit of info on who you served with and when, I will pull up the command chronologies that cover it, print them out, and have them in-hand when we meet.


If this works for you, I'll contact you as soon as I get back to my computer and we can set a date/time/place to meet and get caught up on your recollections of Vietnam.


I most appreciate your getting in contact with us and you'll hear from me soon.


Semper Fidelis,




Hi Dick, could you get me any info on Sgt. Douglas Miller? He was with B co. and was KIA Nov. 10 1967 on Liberty Rd. a family phone number or address would be great. I think of him daily as he was a very close friend. 



 Jeffrey Griffith


Jeff -  Attached is DD130 Casualty Report for Douglas Miller. There are three different next of kin listed. You might be able to do a web search to find family.

Good Luck

DD1300 Doug Miller
DD1300 - Douglas Miller

Oral History: Cpl Harry Christensen, Jr., USMC Retired
MC Flag Big Wave
Christensen Vietnam War veteran Natick Veterans Oral History Project
Harry Christensen
Bravo Co, 3d Tank Bn.
Veterans Oral History Project

2012 Donors: Thank you for your support!

Platinum PlusPlat. Plus Award

Chuck Garrison

LtCol Bill Lochridge, USMC (Ret)**

Joe Martinez



Peter Brush*
Dick Carey* 

Darrell and Jeni Cox   

Kyle Decicco-Carey*
Sid Ferguson 
Wes 'Tiny' Kilgore
Glen Hutchins
Jim Raasch**
Pappy Reynolds*
LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (Ret)**
LtCol Ev Tunget, USMC (Ret)
Michael ("Belmo") Belmessieri
Dan Farrell
David 'Doc' Forsyth
Rick Oswood  
LtCol Frank & Ruth Slovik, USMC (Ret)
Maj Ed Stith, USMC (Ret)
Chris Vargo
Gene 'Doc' Hackemack
Jerry Wahl
Walter Wells
Bill Bohlen  
The Foundation is proud to announce that there has been quite a positive response to our e-mail asking for your help; financial  assistance, submission of your personal stories, and recollections of your "Vietnam Days," adding   to the Foundation Library, and volunteering to carry some of the day-to-day work load. The level of financial contributions are recognized with an Award Certificate as follows:



Platinum Plus ~ $1,000 +

Platinum ~ $250 - $999
Gold ~ $100 - $249
Silver ~ $50 - $99
Bronze $1 - $49


There  is a parallel process for rewarding your in kind,  non-monetary (books, documents, articles for the Breech Block, etc.), and volunteer effort (assisting  with Command Chronology research, Oral History  summary report writing, etc) as well. Just contact  me and we'll agree on where your work would be most meaningful for you in the context of our day-to-day goals attainment effort, the type of  non-monetary donation you would like to make,  and/or your planned article. Each Breech Block will cite donors and the VTHF web site will periodically post the up-to-date cumulatives. 
If you desire to make your gift specific to our Book Project, please so indicate. Unless you specify otherwise, we will apply your donation where most appropriate. Of course, should you desire to remain anonymous, we'll honor that wish as well.


Thank you for your assistance.

+Additional Donation 

*In-Kind Services

**In-Kind & Monetary

Your continued support is appreciated.
Please send your Tax Deductible Donation to:

MCVTHF, 707 S.W. 350th Ct., Ste. #1 

Federal Way, WA 98023

                                                                                 Thank you!


IRS Tax EIN 91-2111544 

A 501(c)(19) Non-profit Historical Foundation
L/Cpl Manuel P. Babbitt 
Bronze Star Medal

Manny BabbittLance Corporal Manny Babbitt served as an Ontos crewman during the 77 Day Siege at Khe Sanh.  He received his Purple Heart and Bronze Star while serving on death row in San Quentin Prison.


The day after his 50th birthday, Manny died from a lethal injection on May 4, 1999. 

Here is Manny's story. 


Note: Beginning in 1995, I volunteered at the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 55 in Newark, Ohio assisting veterans with their VA claims. During that time I discovered that two of Chapter's members had served with the Army in tanks. As a result, I had an idea to form a Vietnam Armour Association that would be inclusive of all who served in tanks, ontos, amtraks, dusters, etc. during the Vietnam War.  I ran a notice in the national VVA magazine asking for others to contact me. Soon thereafter, I received a letter from an inmate at San Quentin wanting to join the organization. I never wrote back to Babbitt as the idea soon fizzled as his was the only response I received. 


The first reunion of Marine Corps Vietnam tankers took place just 60 days after Babbitt's execution. We met in Washington, DC and formed our association. It had been four years since I had received Babbitt's letter.  


I have his letter somewhere buried in the many boxes stored in my attic.


Semper Fidelis,

Dick Carey

Vietnam Flashbacks

Marine Corps' Vietnam War

Major Operations & Events - August

Macon 4 Jul-27 Oct 66

116 days
3 Bns, 1 MarDiv operation for the An Hoa industrial complex

Quang Nam Province


Hastings/Deckhouse II 7 Jul-3 Aug 66

28 days
8 Bns, 1 MarDiv operation in Quang Tri Province against

NVA 324B Division in area of DMZ

US KIA 126

Prairie I/Deckhouse IV 3 Aug 66-31 Jan 67

182 days

13 Bns, 1 MarDiv operation in the Con Thien/Gio Linh areas of the DMZ


VC/NVA KIA 1,397
US KIA 215


Colorado/Lien Ket 5 26-21 Aug 66
16 days1 MarDiv operation in Quang Nam/Quang Tin Provinces



Kingfisher 16 Jul-31 Oct 67
108 days
9 Bns, 3 MarDiv operations in the DMZ

VC/NVA KIA 1,117
US KIA 340


Houston 26 Feb-12 Sep 68
200 days
9 Bns, 1 MarDiv operation in border region of Thua Thien 
and Quang Nam Provinces

US KIA 117


Napoleon/Saline 29 Feb-12 Sep 68
285 days
16 Bns1 MarDiv operation along Cua Viet River in Quang Tri Province

VC/NVA KIA 3,495
US KIA 353


Scotland II1 5 Apr 68-28 Feb 69
320 days
17 Bns, 1 MarDiv operation centered on the Khe Sanh area of

Quang Tri Province

VC/NVA KIA 3,311
US KIA 435


Allen Brook 4 May-24 Aug 68
113 days
6 Bns, 1 MarDiv operation in southern Quang Nam Province

VC/NVA KIA 1,017
US KIA 172


Mameluke Thrust 18 May-23 Oct 68
159 days
7 Bns1 MarDiv operation in central Quang Nam Province

VC/NVA KIA 2,728
US KIA 270


Idaho Canyon 21 Jul-25 Sep 69
77 days
5 Bns,1 MarDiv/101st Airborne operation west of Tam Ky 
in Quang Tin Province



Pipestone Canyon 26 May - 7 Nov 69
166 days
6 Bns,1 MarDiv operation in Quang Nam Province centered 
approx 13 kms west of Hoi An VC/NVA KIA 488



Imperial Lake 31 Aug 70 - 12 May 71
255 days
4 Bns,1st MarDiv operation in Quang Nam Province



Aug 1, 1965 - The Joint Action Company was officially formed at Phu Bai consisting of four South Vietnamese Popular Force platoons, each reinforced by a U.S. Marine infantry squad, which platoons eventually became known as Combined Action Platoons. 


Significance: This event initiated what eventually became the Combined Action Program which assigned these combined South Vietnamese and American platoons into various villages in the III MAF area of operations. This was a unique Marine and largely successful contribution to the U.S. /South Vietnamese pacification program in the countryside.


Aug 3, 1965 - Company D, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines conducted a one day operation in the vicinity of Cam Ne, south of Da Nang. A CBS television crew, accompanying the company, filmed a Marine setting fire to a Vietnamese thatched house. This film, which was shown on the evening news, led to a debate in the press about U.S. tactics in Vietnamese Villages. 


Significance: The relationship of the media, especially the TV media, and the military was to be an acrimonious one during much of the Vietnam War. The so-called "Cam Ne incident" set much of the tone of this relationship.


August 18-24 1965 - The 7th Marines conducted an amphibious and helicopter assault and defeated a large Communist force, the 1st VC Regiment, in Operation Starlite, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy in heavy fighting on the Van Toung Peninsula south of Chu Lai.   


Significance: This was the first battle of American troops against a large Main Force VC unit.


June - October 1968 - The 3rd Marine Division, now under MajGen Raymond G. Davis, undertook an aggressive counteroffensive against North Vietnamese forces in the northern border section below the DMZ.   


Significance: Employing new helicopter mobile and firebase tactics, and no longer confined to securing defensive outposts, the 3rd Marine Division swept the 320th NVA Division out of its forward positions in South Vietnam.


July 4 - November 7, 1969 - In accordance with Presidential order in the reduction of U.S. troop strength in Vietnam, the 3rd Marine Division redeployed from Vietnam to Okinawa.   


Significance: The 3rd Marine Division was the first U.S. division to depart Vietnam in accordance with U.S. plans for the eventual withdrawal of American combat units from Vietnam.

Book Review


The Steel Wedge: U. S. Marine Corps Armor in Pacific Island Combat; A Pictorial Record by Eric Hammel.

Eric Hammel has given us yet another magnificent book! A "pictorial record" indeed, but so much more. "The Steel Wedge" speaks not just to the legendary bravery of Marines in general and the Marine Tanker in particular in the WWII Pacific War campaign, but develops for the reader the moment-by-moment, face-to-face brutality of an often-fanatical enemy. At one end of the battle environment spectrum there's the Marine and his enemy, at the other end is the larger strategic picture of the development of Marine Tank/Infantry tactics and Navy/Marine Corps Amphibious Doctrine. And, almost as an aside, Hammel helps the reader understand how our Navy/Marine Corps Team developed amphibious capability - equipment, training, tactics, doctrine - required to defeat a fight-to-the-death enemy dug into the rocks strewn across the Pacific. He details not just how Marine "boots" negotiated the beaches and jungle to carry the battle to the entrenched enemy in fortified positions but how tanks were used to facilitate the success of these bloody assaults.

Hammel's liberal use and placement of official photographs (i.e., the title "A Pictorial Record"!) complements his narrative, expanding the story of Marine Tankers' action without a lot of wasted words. In fact, many of the pictures are their own study and tell a significant part of the story of day-to-day living (and dying) of Marine Tankers in their fight against both the enemy and the environment, and with the "system".

With the opening 10 pages of the first chapter - "Marine Corps Tanks: A Beginning" - Eric takes the reader briefly from 1775 to the late 1930s and the preparation for the coming amphibious offensive. Commencing with the chapter on Guadalcanal, one joins the Marine Tankers in their fight through the WWII Pacific Campaign, island after island, from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. The pictures and narratives are enhanced by the 17 detailed maps, a glossary, and some of the abbreviations in common use at the time of the 13 the assaulted enemy bastions.

The introduction of Marine tanks in the WWII Pacific was with M3A1 Gun Tanks and their assault across the beaches of Guadalcanal. There was no written tank/infantry or Navy/Marine coordination doctrine at the time. Only the imagination and resourcefulness carried the fight. Tankers couldn't see where they were going and the Grunts couldn't communicate with the Tank crew to provide direction. "Operator error" and equipment malfunctions accounted for the majority of the tank losses on Guadalcanal. However, by mid-1943, while both doctrine and equipment modifications proved helpful in New Georgia, the deep mud and impassable terrain limited the successful deployment of tanks on Bougainville. Tarawa was a different story. Newly developed tactics, the new M4A2 tank with better communications - but mostly the bravery of Tankers and Grunts - overcame the enemy and terrain with assault after assault of a dug in, fight-to-the-death enemy to a nail-biting - and never assured - victory. And so it went - the new M5A1 tank and supporting equipment and training, with constantly upgraded tank/infantry tactics, battled across New Britain, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and, finally - Okinawa.

Signature Eric Hammel brings these "dots in the Pacific", where thousands of brave Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines fought - to this day and to most, still not much more than dots - to life and death as no other author and scholar could.

From the day-to-day grit and blood of amphibious assaults across the Pacific Island beaches from the sea to final victory - with all the pieces between - Eric Hammel holds his readers. While doing so he focuses on the fledgling Marine Corps Tanker Community for special recognition. 


Comment on the growing use - and acceptance of e-books


For me, there are few joys in life greater than picking up (and curling up with) a good book. It's one of life's few luxuries which seems more and more challenged with the advent of "the electronic form" of books. In fact, increasingly, new "books" are hitting the shelves that are not in a page-turning format at all but, rather, offered only (or at least. primarily) in electronic form. And such is the case with Eric Hammel's newest "The Steel Wedge: U.S. Marine Corps Armor in Pacific Island Combat; A Pictorial Record" with an emphasis on "pictorial". So here's a brief run at the rationale for Hammel - and an increasing number of authors - choosing the electronic format to present their work.

Books are much less expensive in an "E" format. In the case of Hammel's "The Steel Wedge" - physical book form $50, electronic less than $10. Though he could add as many photos as he would have wanted at no additional cost, Eric's book has 246 mostly full-page photos that have the clarity and vividness making them really pop off the electronic page. Many of the photos tell their own story. The ability to enlarge the pictures and view even the smallest details is an invaluable feature. And, of course, there's the convenience of having your book literally at your finger-tips to be read at a time and place of your convenience and choosing.

I've read "The Steel Wedge" from e -cover to e-cover. It is, with little discussion, Eric Hammel's best yet!

2013 Veteran COLA Passes House

The House of Representatives passed the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012 (H.R. 4114). Although this is seen by many as a formality, passing the COLA is often pushed to the end of the year. According to House Committee on Veterans' Affairs press release, taking care of this now ensures that Vets will be given the benefits they were promised without any last minute "political tug-of-war." If signed into law, H.R. 4114 would increase the annual cost-of-living rate for veterans, which goes into effect on December 1, 2012. It is estimated that this year's COLA will be approximately 1.9 percent. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

VA News

PTSD is Treatable


Dr. Matthew Friedman, executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), is working to get the word out that it's "very treatable." PTSD is more prevalent among servicemembers today, with 17 percent to 20 percent of the troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from it, he says. But studies have shown that 80 percent of those, given proper treatment, are without symptoms after five years. 

VA News

PTSD Programs Need Improvement


The first comprehensive report on veterans' and servicemembers' access to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) care has found that improvements are needed in programs that prevent, identify and treat the condition. The recently released Institute of Medicine report, 'Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Initial Assessment,' is the first of two mandated by Congress in 2010 to examine the efficacy of PTSD programs under the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The report is available on the Institute of Medicine website.

Changes for a Broken VA?

Within five to seven years, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than one million new veterans will enter their system in need of disability claims processing, health care, and more.

The influx is both enormous (the VA reports it served 1.3 million veterans in total during 2011) and inevitable: with combat ending and the ranks narrowing after a decade and a half of war, many troops will begin the natural process of transitioning out of the military and returning to civilian life.

The VA that will receive them is already overburdened, battling a veterans' claims backlog of over a decade that swept past 600,000 overdue claims just last week and shows no clear signs of improvement.


Read more

Beware of VA Drug Scam  

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is warning veterans about a scheme targeting veterans. The VA says the scam artists call veterans and say the process of dispensing their prescription medicines have changed. The scam artists then ask for credit card information. Never give out financial information over the phone to someone who calls you unexpectedly. 


VTA Logo  

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association ~ Biennial 2013 Reunion, San Antonio, TX. Dates to be announced.



OntosUSMC ONTOS Reunion ~ May 8 - 11, 2013, Quantico




It is time for another Ontos reunion. Anyone, in any way, affiliated with the Ontos is invited. It will take place again at Quantico. I'm contemplating the following agenda (at this time nothing has been confirmed):

May 8th Wednesday - Arrive at CrossRoads Inn
May 9th Thursday - Visit a host of track vehicle training sites, MC Museum, dinner at the Museum
May 10th Friday - Trip to White House, Pentagon, 8th & I Parade
May 11th Saturday - Depart


Contact: Louis Nafjus, or call


 2012 Mustang Reunion ~  September 13 - 16, 2012  Fossil Creek, Fort Worth, Texas 


Contact: Phil Ray or Jimmy Perry, 5953 Feather Wind Way, Fort Worth, TX 76135    


Sleger, Jr, Joseph, Col USMC Retired ~  Covington, LA

Joe Sleeger


Survived by:   His wife Bette Klein; sons Michael Sleger and his wife Yvonne and William R. Sleger and his wife Nancy, daughters Constance Zachary and her husband LeRoy, Patrice Rohr and her husband Dave, Rachelle Christenson and her husband Jeff, Renee Baumy and her husband David; 22, Grandchildren and 28 Great-grandchildren; brother Paul Sleger and his wife Doris.


Preceded in death by: Joseph Sleger, Sr, Father; Rose Herrick Sleger, Mother and Earl F. Sleger, Brother


Col Sleger was the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Tank Battalion in South Vietnam from February to July 1969.


Esslinger, Dean, Col USMC Retired ~ Chesterfield, VA

Dean EssingHe was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Jane Atkinson Esslinger; his parents, Emanuel E. Esslinger and Lou Fansler Esslinger; and three brothers, Gale, Roland and Marshall. He is survived by his son, Gary Esslinger; and daughter, Dee Ann Esslinger Lum; four grandchildren, Nichole Esslinger Deal (Bryan), Haylie Lum Kokoski (Brad), Kevin Esslinger and Kelly Esslinger; two great-grandchildren, Logan and Ansley Deal; sisters-in-law, Margaret Esslinger and Maxine Atkinson; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. Colonel Esslinger was a veteran of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. He enlisted in the Marine Corps eight days after Pearl Harbor was attacked and participated in the Guadalcanal and Tarawa operations. Prior to returning to active duty for Korea, he attended Iowa State University and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to Vietnam he was Commanding Officer of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division. In Viet Nam, he served as the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines. Subsequent to Viet Nam, he served as the Fleet Marine Force Pacific Inspector and as the G-4 at Marine Recruit Depot, Parris Island. During his career, he was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Combat V and Gold Star in lieu of second award, two Purple Hearts, Navy Commendation Medal, Combat Action Medal, four Presidential Unit Citations, USMC Good Conduct and numerous other medals. After he retired from the Marine Corps in June 1972, he enjoyed his great loves of family, golf and woodworking.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, 825 College Blvd., Suite 102 PMB 609, Oceanside, Calif. 92057,
We Need Your Assistance

One of the toughest job in any organization is keeping membership information up-to-date.  


You might believe we have all your information since you are already receiving the Breech Block newsletter but, the simple facts are we do not. Even though your membership in the Historical Foundation is free when you join the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association that information is not automatically shared with the Foundation.


From time to time we send out pertinent information to those that served in the various Tank Battalions, i.e. 1st Tanks, 3rd Anti-Tanks, etc. 


Please take the time to go to the bottom of this newsletter and click on "Update Profile/Email Address."


You guys are great; we appreciate your support.


Semper Fidelis,

MC Flag Big Wave 

Dick Carey,

Vice President

Director Public Relations

Can't Access Links
We have had a few emails stating that it was not possible to click on a link or the wording, photos, etc. were not as they should be on the page.  

With each issue of the Breech Block and other important emails sent to you there is a wording at the top of each email that states: "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here." If you are having an issue such as this be sure to click on the aforementioned link. This should resolve any problem,  if not let us know.
In This Issue
Letters to the Foundation
Oral History: Cpl Harry Christensen, Jr., USMC Retired
Donors 2012
Donate Address
L/Cpl Manny Babbitt
Vietnam Flashbacks
Book Review
2013 Veteran COLA Passes House
VA Information
Law Now Allows Retirees and Vets to Salute Flag
We Need Your Assistance
Can't Access Links




Marine Corps
Vietnam Tankers
Historical Foundation



President & Editor

LtCol Raymond A. Stewart USMC (Ret.)



Archivist in Residence

Kyle Decicco-Carey

Harvard University

BA in History, MLIS


Author in Residence

Dr. Oscar "Ed" Gilbert


Historian in Residence

Peter Brush

Vanderbilt University

BA and MA in History


Marketing & Production

Richard 'Dick' Carey



Web Master

Lloyd 'Pappy' Reynolds




Board of Directors


LtCol Raymond A. Stewart,

USMC (Ret.)


Charter Director, 

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association 


Richard 'Dick' Carey
Vice President 

Public Relations 

Founder, USMC Vietnam Tankers Association

President Emeritus


James Raasch


Oral Historian  


Charles 'Chuck' Garrison


Charter Director, 

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association


Richard Tilden



LtGen Martin R. Steele,

USMC (Ret.)


Charter Director,

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association  


Col William  'Bill' Davis,




Robert 'Mike' Flick



David 'Doc' Forsyth



Dr. Ken Estes,

LtCol, USMC (Ret)



Rick Walters



Guy Wolfenberger



MGySgt Donald Gagnon,

USMC (Ret)

Director Emeritus 

Quick Links

Ontos Web Site 


Khe Sanh Veterans


Mustang Officers Assn.


Marine Corps Hertiage Foundation


The Marine Shop


Defense Department 


Our Members' Books:


Beyond My Horizon

By Claude Vargo


Con Thein: Hill of Angels

By Jim Coan


Praying for Slack

By Bob Peavey 



By Clyde Hoch



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    Official USMC Flag

In Memory
Lance Corporal
Robert Hugh Gage
1st Marine Division
1st Tank Battalion
1st Anti-Tank
Alpha Company
03 July 1966
PP/ Staff Sergeant
 30 September 1974


 "Marines" and the Eagle, Globe and Anchor are trademarks of the U.S. Marine Corps, used with permission. Neither the U.S. Marine Corps nor any other component of the Department of Defense has approved, endorsed or authorized this newsletter.