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


Happy 4th of July 


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We are the voice of  history  


CARPUCNat. Def. Ribbon




July 2012   



Dear Marine, 


The process of getting our book to the public pretty much continues to consume our time and talent and the pace in reaching the Foundation's goals we must meet before going to press - the amount of money in the bank and the number of personal Vietnam War in the files - is picking up. We're at about 20% in each of these two arenas. In this month's Breech Block are abstracts of the Command Chronologies of all of the July's that Tanks were in Vietnam. These abstracts are time burners to create. And, because I've not received any encouragement from the Ontos Community to pursue the same effort for the Ontos organizations, they are not yet covered. If/when I get the word from the Ontos guys, I'll provide the same service for them.


Please take a look at the "Blast from the Past" article, recall what you were doing during that period - where you were, what fights you and your tanks got into, the weather, living conditions, perimeters or bridges you guarded, watches you stood, R & R you were on, stories told, pictures taken, what you ate, Rough Riders or other convoy duty, named operations, Grunt units you supported, tank/infantry sweeps, your thoughts about "Hearts & Minds", your dealings with the civilian community, your trip to/from 'Nam/CONUS and back. And, if your tour included July's at its start and finish - what was the difference?


We've been asked by a number of USMC Vietnam Tankers Association (VTA) members about the money they pay for dues and then subsequently donate to the VTA in the context of the Foundation's book-writing project. To be clear, there is no financial connection between this Foundation (VTHF) and the Association (VTA) of any type. When you join the Association you automatically become a member of the Foundation at no additional charge. However, the Foundation does not receive any part of your dues or subsequent financial contributions made to the Association. The Foundation stays afloat - publishes the Breech Block, conducts interviews, writes and researches, and will write our book(s) - solely on the money sent directly to the Foundation. The same applies to the personal stories submitted to the VTA's Sponson Box versus those sent to the VTHF's Breech Block. While the VTHF has provided - in writing - permission to use our material in the Sponson Box, there is no such reciprocity from the VTA.


While some of the stories sent to us are printed in the Breech Block as received (sometimes w/a bit of editing), others, due to their length or inclusion of pictures (after all we're a monthly E-Ltr not a 50 page quarterly magazine), are connected by a link one must click on to follow to read the full story. All stories and captioned pictures sent in will appear in our book. As many stories as we can fit will first appear in the monthly Breech Block. In next month's Breech Block we will include the names of our authors/historians who have sent us their personal stories and captioned pictures.


I cannot thank enough those of you who have taken the time and incurred the expense to bring to the Foundation your Vietnam War recollections.


Ray Stewart, President

An Oral History

Letter to the Foundation
VNSM Hello Sir,

I read the request for updates and did so.  I was surprised to find out that the name you had connected to my email address was "Jim Mcknight".  That is not me of course.  No problem tho, you have my name correct and information now.  I fully understand that this sort of thing happens.

You folks are doing a #1 job in my opinion.  There is always new and interesting information in each issue.   I do read it from top to bottom for sure.  The assigned interests really doesn't cover all of what I personally prefer to read about.  I will read whatever you care to cover.  

Some time last year I requested some information on how to find out what particular operations that my company was involved in during my tour and you sent be site links that was very helpful.  I thank you for that.

Practicing serving man, to serve an Almighty God

Semper Fi,   
Bill (Wertz)

Bill, From time to time a glitch occurs without explanation. This is one of those times.  Thanks for updating your information.
Semper Fidelis, Dick Carey
Keeper of the list


Just a minor (or maybe I should say common) mistake.  On the Gold contribution list, you show me as Ed Stitch.  It should be Ed Stith

Been fighting that for 70+ years.  Others try to spell it as Smith.  I even had it misspelled on the old pay rosters in the 50's as Smith.  I just signed them anyway.

Thanks and Semper Fi!!!!   
Ed (Stith)

Maj Stith, My apology for the typo.  The eyes sees one thing and the brain another.  I have made the change. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Semper Fidelis, Dick Carey
Keeper of the donor roster
USMC Birthday Notice
MC Flag Big Wave

Semper Fidelis,

Click here to:


2012 Donors: Thank you for your support!

Platinum PlusPlat. Plus Award

Chuck Garrison

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
From the  OWOSSO (MICH>) ARGUS PRESS, Sept. 7, 1967
Bronze Star Medal

News clip 

Fund Raiser Auction Results (Die Cast Model M48A3)
Model M48A3Congratulations and thank you to Bill Lochridge for his winning bid of $500.

Other bidders listed in alphabetical order are: Andy Anderson, Bobby Joe Blythe, John Clark, Tom Colson, Sr, Chuck Garrison, Jeffrey Griffith, Doc Hackemack, Tiny Kilgore, Rick Lent, Skip Moore, Joe Oaster, Larry Parshall, Fred Remkiewizc and Jerry Wahl.

Thanks to all of you for your support and participation. 
Vietnam Flashbacks
We received but few comments on this feature from its debut last month. This month's run is a bit more in-depth. Please read these abstracts and, if you were in Vietnam - or going to/coming from - during any July 1965 - 1970, let us know what you were doing at that time. Write your recollections, send us captioned pictures and the Foundation will run them in subsequent Breech Block's and put them in our book soon to go to press. 

And, please be reminded that these abstracts are distilled from the Marine Corps' official command chronologies. This is pretty much the extent of our tank history of the Vietnam War in the archives. We need your personal recollections to tell our story - how it really was to fight the NVA/VC in the Vietnam War.

We have received a number of stories and will salt these personal recollections into the abstracts and begin the task of bringing life to the official Marine Corps records. We are seeking volunteers to assist the Foundation.

July 1966
1st Tanks:
CO Maj's L.R. Burnette, Jr. and R.E.B. Palmer
XO Maj's R.E.B. Palmer and J.W. Clayborne
S-1 1stLt J.E. Lancaster
S-2 2ndLt A.A. Hubbard
S-3 Maj's J.C. Collier and R.D. McKee
S-4 Maj H.J.L, Reid

Company CO's:

H&S Capt E.J. Hoynes and Maj J.P. McGill

"A" Capt J.C. Greene, Jr.

"B" Capt E.E. Smith

"C" Capt F.U. Salas


1st Tanks CP was located on Hill 43 (BT 571041) within the Chu Lai Combat Base.

Companies "A" and "B" were in direct support (DS) of the 5th and 7th Marines respectively. Company "C", with two gun platoons, was in DS of 3rd MarDiv in the Danang TAOR and the 2nd Platoon with the Special Landing Force (SLF).

Company "A" reconned to open road to Phuoc Khach (BT 375055). Road became too narrow for tanks but infantry and Ontos proceeded to the high ground.

Company "B" conducted sweeps w/7th Marines. 2 tanks hit mines. Extensive damage occurred but no WIAs.
H&S Co. provided personnel for the Provisional Rifle Company for the Chu Lai Defense Command.  
July 1967
1st Tanks:
CO LtCol R.M. Taylor
XO Maj's E.P. Trader, Jr., and R.M. Croll
S-1 WO-1's C.C. Carl, Jr., and W.A. Akahashi
S-2 Capt D. Howe
S-3 Maj C.R. Brabec
S-4 Maj D.B. Crudup
CAO1stLt J.M. Ray

Company CO's:

H&S Capt R.E. Roemer

"A" Capt W.J. Britton

"B" Capt J.C. Winther

"C" Capt P.S. Weigand and 1stLt C.E. Obrien


From July of 1966 to this reporting period, 1st Tanks saw a significant increase in activity -  a few more casualties but a dramatic increase in incidents meriting responses of returned fire and repair of tanks due to mine damage. While enemy mines were not credited with the destruction of tanks, the repairs required were more than just an annoyance.

Company "A," 3d Plt killed a VC while on a tank/infantry patrol in early July. A 1st Plt tank received light mine damage while escorting a supply convoy and later was credited with one VC KIA... A Hq tank destroyed a bunker and later was credited with a VC KIA. The 2nd Plt killed one and captured another VC. 3rd Plt encountered approx. 20 VC and after heavy exchange of fire was credited with one VC KIA.

Company "B" sustained a WIA from a sniper and another from a mining incident. Later, a section was hit by small arms and rockets. With returned fire they were credited with 2 VC KIA and 10 probables.

Company "C", 3d Plt sustained moderate damage from a mine while en route to 1/1 CP. Later tanks from H&S and "C" were credited with 2 VC KIA. 1st Plt hit a mine with no friendly casualties. Later a 1stPlt tank hit a mine. When the tank commander of the following tank dismounted and, while walking in the lead tank's track, detonated a second mine killing him and wounding 2 others. On the 18th 3rd Plt was credited with 2 VC KIA. On the 27th a 2nd Plt tank received moderate damage from a mine. On the 31st 1st Plt hit a mine with moderate damage.

July 1968
1st Tanks:
CO LtCol H.W. Hite
XO Maj D.R. Dickey
S-1 1st Lt C.S Schuring
S-2Capt R.D. Gunselman
S-3Maj J.T. Garcia
S-4 Maj D.B. D.R. Sparks
CAO1stLt J.M. Ray

Company CO's:

H&S Capt G.P. Brodeur

"A" Capt C.R. Casey

"B" Capt G.J. Murdock

"C" Capt R.T. Hopkins

"A", 1st ATs1stLt G.B. Search

"B", 5th ATs1stLt's R.M. Johnstone and M.L. Gilman


July in 1968 was like most of the other July's 98/77F averages for the highs and lows and 3" of rain. There was an increase in enemy sightings and other activity but a continued avoidance of large unit contact. A large-scale offensive was predicted directed at Danang.     
1st Tanks participated in three major operations - Operation Mamaluke Thrust (Co. "B" (Rein) - 2 tanks in DS 7th Marines),Operation Allen Brook (Co "B" (Rein), 5th Tanks DS 27th Marines w/3 tanks), and Operation Houston. (Co "A"(-)(Rein), 1st Tanks and Co "A" (Rein) 1st ATs w/1 Plt each). With same support all 3 Operations continue with 5th Marines taking over Operations Mamaluke Thrust and Allen Brook and 26th Marines assuming control of Operation Houston.     
Company "A" (-)(Rein) at Phu Bai/Gia Le in DS Task Force X-Ray with one Plt DS Phu Bai Defense Command.     
Company "B" (Rein) co-located with and DS 7th Marines on Hill 55 with 4 platoons. On 28 July "B" was split w/2 platoons each DS 5thand 7th Marines.     
Company "C" (Rein) remains in the 1st Tanks CP in general Support (GS) providing security for the bridges and perimeter defenses of divions elements and counter-rocket fire south of the Saong Cau Do.     
Company "B", 5th Tanks is DS of 27thj Marines and 2/7 on Operation Allen \Brook.     
Company "A", 1st ATs DS Task Force X-Ray (Phu Bai)

Note: If you are an Ontos Marine or Tanker, please review your service record - or your memory. If you participated in Operation Mamaluke, Operation Allen Brook, Operation Panther, Operation Lion, or Operation Houston contribute to the "History of Marine Ontos and Tanks in the Vietnam War" by writing down your recollections and/or gather up and send us your captioned pictures.

July 1969
1st Tanks:
CO LtCol's D.E. Young and R.B. March
XO Maj's D.R. Sparks and R.D. Becker
S-1 Capt T.F. Waldvogel
S-21stLt E.D. Willis, Jr.
S-3Maj J.B. Terpak
S-4 Maj G.E. Beerbaum
S-51stLt L.L. Trujillo

Company CO's:

H&S Capt T.H. Merrell

"A" 1stLt W.B. Blackshear

"B" Capt K.W. Zitz

"C" Capt J.K. Marlatt

"A", 1st ATs1stLt B.J. Bethel


This July saw a significant decrease in mining incidents as was there enemy activity in the Southern Sector Defense Command.
Company "A" was in cadre status located within the 1st Tanks CP.
Company "B" (Rein) DS of 5th and 7th Marines where its CP was co-located provided perimeters security with direct fire.
Company "C" (Rein) DS of 1st Marines and 2nd Brigade, ROKMC.
Company "A", 1st ATs was in cadre status.
The war was winding down for 1st Tanks and1st ATs.

Note: We would really enjoy hearing from - and sharing with the rest of our community - those who served with Capt Marlatt's Company "C" with its support of the Korean Marines. Should be some great tales of this assignment. 

July 1965
3d Tanks:
CO LtCol S.R. Jones, Jr.
S-2(Note: Command Chronology provides no staff officer information)

Company CO's:

H&S Capt H.A. Bertrand

"A" Capt's J.B. Donovan, Jr. and F.W. Jarnot

"B" Capt A.E. Lee

"C" Capt J.P. Sanders


3d Tanks(-), H&S Company(-) and Company "B"(-) attached to RLT-9, packed up from Camp Hansen, Okinawa for Danang, RVN during the month.
Company "A" was located at Danang, RVN attached to 3rd Marines
Company "C" was located at Chu Lai, RVN attached to 4th Marines

3d Tanks set up its CP on Hill 47 (AT 975706). As the CP was being established and all 3d Tanks' elements were ashore in Vietnam the command, support, attachment, and reporting SOPs were re-arranged.

3rd Tanks(-) was in GS of 3rd MarDiv.
Company "A"(-)(Rein) DS and OPCon 3rd Marines
Company "B"(-)(Rein) DS and OPCon 9th Marines
Company "C"(-)(Rein) attached 4th Marines w/one platoon at Phu Bai w/3/4

July 1966
3d Tanks:
CO LtCol M.L. Raphael.
XO Maj J.G. Doss
S-1 2nd Lt J. McGann 
S-22nd Lt W.E. McGee
S-3Capt A.W. Facklam, Jr
S-4 Maj W.J. Decota
CAO2nd Lt R.E. Mattingly

Company CO's:

H&S Capt's J.B. Terpak and P.F. Lessard

"A" 1stLt H.L. Steigleman and Capt L.A. Brandt

"B" Capt E.L. Tunget

"C" Capt J.B. Gary, III


By this July 3d Tanks realized an increase in VC anti-tank activity - mining incidents (10), ambushes (3), small arms frequency (several hundreds of rounds), and RPGs (4) - resulting in tank damage and Tanker WIAs. In the past year tanks sustained 40 anti-tank mine hits, discovered several undetonated, and exploded anti-personnel mines with no tank damage. A continued increase is predicted.
Company "A" DS 3d Marines saw plenty of activity with F/2/3 (AT 859567), B/1/3 ((AT 891772), K/3/3 (AT 904717), D/1/9 (AT 923554), C/1/3 (AT 877574), G/2/9 (AT 839567), G/2/3 (AT 886574).

Company "B" DS 9th Marines matched the activity of "A" supporting G/2/9 at (BT 024576), (AT 982552), (BT 030560), (BT 025557), A/1/9 at (AT 929557), E/2/9 at (AT 981551), (AT 981551), H/2/9 at (AT 085544). Several contacts were made by both incoming - RPGs, small arms, mines (AT and AP) - and outgoing - HE, canister, WP, .50 and .30 cal. Against personnel, sampans, bunkers, and suspected mortar positions.

Company "C" DS 1st Marines conducted numerous cordon/sweep ops w/elements of 1/1 receiving/delivering small arms and detonating their fair share of AP and AT mines. 

Operation Macon: Company "B" tanks participated in this operation from 9 - 17 July in support of I,K & M/3/9 and B & D/1/9 and elements of 2/9. It is credited w/a number of VC KIAs, bunkers destroyed, buildings burned, VC and their arms and equipment captured. 212 rounds of 90mm, 150 rounds of 50cal, 8,330 rounds of .30cal.

See an article written by then-2nd Lt Bill Lochridge.

July 1967
3d Tanks:
CO LtCol F.D. Chapman
XO Maj's V.L. Sylvester, P.F. Lessard, and K.J. Fontenot, Jr
S-1 2nd Lt J.W. McCue, III 
S-21st Lt D.W. Kent
S-3Maj P.F. Lessard, Capt D.B. Garner, Maj B.M. MacLaren
S-4 Capt E.L. Fox

Company CO's:

H&S 2nd Lt A.W. Hauser and Capt J.M. Magot (Phu Bai)

"A" Capt P.E. Byrne (Dong Ha)

"B" Capt E.J. Kline (Camp J.J. Carroll)

"C" Capt R.L. Ruhlman (Phong Dien)


This July has been a particularly dry one which has caused the rivers to drop and increase tank's cross country mobility. The battalion participated in 7 major operations and incurred 75 major incidents, 46 of which were NVA/VC initiated. 3rd Tanks is credited w/30 KIA confirmed and another 78 KIAs probable.
Companies "A" and "B" supported Operations Hickory III, Cumberland, and Fremont among others.

(Please note that the Command Chronology for this July was a short one and lacking in detailed operations)

July 1968
3d Tanks:
CO LtCol K.J. Fontenot & Maj C.J. Samuelsen
XO Maj's C.J. Samuelsen & J.W. Lowe, Jr.
S-1 1st Lt T. McCour
S-2/51st Lt T.C. Barry
S-3Capt C.L. Sale
S-4 Maj J.W. Lowe & Capt C.W. Reinke

Company CO's:

H&S 1st Lt's J.L. Glorgaklis & G.D. Platt (Quang Tri)

"A" Capt E.V. Sullivan & 1st Lt J.A. Spalsbury (Dong Ha)

"B" Capt C.W. Reinke & 1st Lt J.T. Miller (Camp Carroll)

"C" Capt J.L. Lindsey (Cam Lo)

"A", 3rd AT's  1st Lt's A.A. Owens & J.T. Gulley (Khe Sanh & Quang Tri)


Company "A" participated in Operations Napoleon/Saline and Kentucky supporting 2/1, 1 & 3/3, 2/26, 9thMarines and 1st Air Cavalry Division. Between 1-8 July 2nd Platoon in support of 1/3 was credited with 55 KIAs.

Company "B" 3d Platoon was still at Khe Sanh until 5 July. Supported Task Force Hotel; 3rd and 4th Marines; 1/4; 1 & 2/9 on Operation Lancaster and Scotland II.

Company "C" 3d Platoon provide security along Rt, 9 until Khe Sanh closed down. From 1-8 July 1st Platoon supported � and 2/3 in the Cua Viet with sweeps. Other elements supported 1st Amtracs.

Company "A," 3d AT's supported Task Force Hotel in Operation Scotland II. On 6 July was one of the last units out of Khe Sanh. Ontos were then scattered individually and in pairs throughout the operating area.

July 1969
3d Tanks:
CO LtCol J. Sleger, Jr., Maj R.G. Kennedy
XO Maj H.L. Bauknight
S-1 2nd Lt J.W. Condrey
S-2/51st Lt's J.W. Kerrigan & J.A. Jackson
S-31st Lt B.J. Tisa
S-4 Capt W.N. Crafton

Company CO's:

H&S Capt R.J. Paterson (Quang Tri)

"A" Capt M.C. Wunsch & 1st Lt D.J. Ralston (Dong Ha & Quang Tri)

"B" 1st Lt W.J. Davis (Vinh Dai)

"C" 1st Lt R.M. Flick

"A", 3rd AT's  1st Lt J.W. Jackson


The battalion GS 3d MarDiv(-)(Rein) primarily 3d and 4th Marines. There was a marked decrease in enemy activity during this period.
Company "A" (Rein) DS 3d Marines at C-2 and A-4. On 28 July a major enemy attack inflicted moderate to heavy damage on 3 tanks with direct mortar hits and 3 Tankers KIA, 6 WIA.
Company "B" (Rein) DS Task Force Hotel
Company "C" embarked mid-month with RLT 9
Company "A",  3d AT's deployed with RLT 9

Here is a list of major Marine Corps Operations conducted during themonth of July in the Republic of South Vietnam. Please check your DD 214 and other documents to see if you participated in these operations. Let us know and we'll put your story in our book.

4 Jul-27 Oct 66
116 days
3 Bns

1 MarDiv operation for the An Hoa industrial complex in 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 the DMZ
US KIA 126
Buffalo/Beaver Track/Bear Claw
2-14 Jul 67
13 days
7 Bns

3 MarDiv operation with SLF vicinity DMZ and Con Thien and Cam Lo
VC/NVA KIA 1,281
US KIA 159
16 Jul-31 Oct 67
108 days
9 Bns

3 MarDiv operation in the DMZ
VC/NVA KIA 1,117
US KIA 340
Idaho Canyon
21 Jul-25 Sep 69
77 days
5 Bns

1 MarDiv/101st Airborne operation west of Tam Ky in Quang Tin Province
Bear Claw
2 - 14 Jul 67
13 days
1 Bns

3d MarDiv operation in Quang Tri Province vicinity of Con Thien, SLF part of operation Buffalo
Book Review

By LtCol Raymond A. Stewart, USMC (Ret) 


Baritz, Loren. Backfire: A History of How American Culture Led Us into Vietnam and Made Us Fight the Way We Did. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985.


This is a remarkable book that I found very hard to put down. If you are interested in discovering why some believe we went to war in a place (not really a sovereign country, some argue) called "South Vietnam", and how we ended up losing it, Backfire is a good read and fairly objective While Baritz avoids the usual mantra of the Right, he gives us what may be the most comprehensive analysis of this unfortunate and misunderstood war written to date. Although I will take issue with some of the author's assumptions and it should be read with a grain of salt, it is still important for the politicians and military who wage war, and for parents who send their children to fight wars, to understand the authors' bias.


In a probing look at American culture that led us into the Vietnam quagmire, Loren Baritz exposes what he believes was - and is - our national illusions: the conviction of our moral supremacy, our assumption that we Americans are more idealistic than other people, and our blind faith in technology that supposedly makes us invincible. He also reveals how the Vietnam War resulted from this culture and then contributed to a changed American culture. And, as important, how the Vietnam War led to the virtual destruction of the traditional Military Code of Honor of the American Army.


It is difficult to find fault with the author's contentions that we fought the wrong war. Our enemy fought a political and psychological war, a war against American culture; whereas we fought a conventional war and were trapped by our own cultural assumptions of American invincibility. It is the author's premise that American foreign policy was, and is, driven by our cultural myth of "America as the City on a Hill". We believe that the people of the world really want to be like us, regardless of what their political leaders say. It was inconceivable to us that the Vietnamese would not share our values, applaud our intentions, or embrace our presence. It led us to trust in our guns and to our failure to state our national objectives for this war.


Several insights emerge as a result of the author's examination and scrutiny. There was a tendency for American war planners and policy makers to think the job was done when their plans and policies were approved, leaving no one to monitor whether or not what they decided was effective He points out that we supported a regime that had little popular support and our conventional military tactics made the problem worse because bombing, artillery, napalm and Agent Orange would wound and kill the very people whose support we needed. After TET, the Viet Cong insurgency had been defeated and the Phoenix Program of the assassination of Viet Cong leaders had decimated the leadership of the Viet Cong. By 1970 General Giap had concluded the only way the North could win the war was through regular war, the very kind of big-unit engagement American Generals had hoped for. But by this time, the political war at home was lost. Yes, the press was partially to blame for our defeat. The constant stream of defeatism by the press, especially during and after the TET Offensive cannot be underestimated in helping turn American opinion against the war.


While these may be true statements - as Baritz sees "truth" - they are not presented without bias. Bias and opinion wind their way through much of the book but not so much as in the last section. Baritz extols the "virtue" of emotion vis-�-vis discussing war. He certainly displays such in his first 53 and last 30 pages. His attention to detail - his scholarship, as it were - takes a dive with his brief description of Gen Colin Powell's career in the context of the Vietnam War. There are a number of other quotes that are in fact either misquotes or falsely attributed. While Baritz is biased and presents his thoughts from the Left, I found it well worth the time to read the book and reflect on how many of his conclusions are based on Army examples and only tangentially apply to the Marine Corps or the other services.

Hanoi Opens 3 New Areas in Search for MIAs


HANOI, Vietnam -- The Vietnamese government on Monday agreed to open three new sites in the country for excavation by the United States to search for troop remains from the war, the minister of defense told U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during a meeting here.


The announcement came as Panetta and Vietnam Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh exchanged long-held artifacts collected during the war -- including letters written by a U.S. soldier who was killed that had been kept and used as propaganda, and a small maroon diary belonging to a Vietnamese soldier. A U.S. service member took the journal back to the U.S.


During a press briefing, where the two defense chiefs formally handed over the papers, both said their countries want to work together, whether or not the expanded relationship bothers China.

Beijing has expressed concern over America's new defense strategy that puts more focus on the Asia-Pacific region, including plans to increase the number of troops, ships and other military assets in the region.


Speaking through an interpreter, Thanh said Vietnam wants to continue defense cooperation with all countries, including stable and longstanding relationships with China and the United States. Hanoi, he said, would not sacrifice relations with one country for another.

Panetta said the U.S. goal is to help strengthen the capabilities of countries across the region.


"Frankly, the most destabilizing situation would be if we had a group of weak nations and only the United States and China were major powers in this region," said Panetta.


Defense officials reviewing the packet of papers given to Panetta said it appears there are three sets of letters, including a set from the soldier, U.S. Army Sgt. Steve Flaherty, who was from Columbia, S.C. It was not clear how many other service members' letters were there, but officials were going through them Monday.


Officials said this is the first time such a joint exchange of war artifacts has occurred. The two defense leaders agreed to return the papers to the families of the deceased soldiers.


During the meeting with Panetta, Vietnamese officials said they would open the three previously restricted sites that the Pentagon believes are critical to locating troops missing in action.


Ron Ward, U.S. casualty resolution specialist at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hanoi, said there are at least four U.S. troops believed to be lost in the three areas that were opened by the Vietnamese Monday. With those three areas now open, Ward said there are now just eight sites left that are still restricted by the Vietnamese.


Military officers briefing Panetta at the command's office said they had five to seven years to complete their excavation work. The acidic soil in Vietnam erodes bones quickly, leaving in many cases only teeth for the military teams to use to try and identify service member, one of the team members said.


In addition, many of the potential witnesses with information about remains are getting older and their memories are fading.

There are about nearly 1,300 cases that are still unaccounted for, and officers briefing Panetta said about 600 of those remains could be recoverable.


Ward said that opening the three new sites will enable the U.S. to try to find:

  • Two Air Force members who were lost when their plane was shot down in Quang Binh Province in central Vietnam in 1967.
  • An Army private first class who went missing when he was out with his unit on a search-and-destroy mission in 1968 in the tri-border area of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • A Marine who was on a surface-to-air combat mission and was lost when his plane went down in Quang Tri Province. Another Marine on the plane ejected and was rescued.


Flaherty, who was with the 101st Airborne, was killed in the northern section of South Vietnam in March 1969. According to defense officials, Vietnamese forces took his letters and used them in broadcasts during the war.


Vietnamese Col. Nguyen Phu Dat kept the letters, but it was not until last August, when he mentioned them in an online publication, that they started to come to light.


Early this year, Robert Destatte, a retired Defense Department employee who had worked for the POW/MIA office, noticed the online publication, and the Pentagon began to work to get the letters back to Flaherty's family.


The small diary belonged to Vu Dinh Doan, a Vietnamese soldier who was found killed in a machine gun fight, according to defense officials. Officials said that a Marine, Robert "Ira" Frazure of Walla Walla, Wash, saw the diary -- with a photo and some money inside -- on the chest of the dead soldier and took it back to the U.S.


The diary came to light earlier this year when the sister of a friend of Frazure's was doing research for a book and Frazure asked her help in returning the diary. The sister, Marge Scooter, brought the diary to the PBS television program History Detectives.


The show then asked the Defense and State departments to help return the diary.

VA News


Patients with Parkinson's disease who undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS)-a treatment in which a pacemaker-like device sends pulses to electrodes implanted in the brain-can expect stable improvement in muscle symptoms for at least three years, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs study appearing in the most recent issue of the journal Neurology.


"VA was proud to partner with the National Institutes of Health in this research," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  "Our research on Parkinson's helps ensure we continue to provide the best care possible for Veterans with this debilitating disease."  VA cares for some 40,000 Veterans with the condition.


In DBS, surgeons implant electrodes in the brain and run thin wires under the skin to a pacemaker-like device placed at one of two locations in the brain. Electrical pulses from the battery-operated device jam the brain signals that cause muscle-related symptoms. Thousands of Americans have seen successful results from the procedure since it was first introduced in the late 1990s. But questions have remained about which stimulation site in the brain yields better outcomes, and over how many years the gains persist.

Initial results from the study appeared in 2009 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Based on the six-month outcomes of 255 patients, the researchers concluded that DBS is riskier than carefully managed drug therapy-because of the possibility of surgery complications-but may hold significant benefits for those with Parkinson's who no longer respond well to medication alone.

A follow-up report in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, using data from 24 months of follow-up, showed that similar results could be obtained from either of the two brain sites targeted in DBS.

The new report is based on 36 months of follow-up on 159 patients from the original group. It extends the previous findings: DBS produced marked improvements in motor (movement-related) function. The gains lasted over three years and did not differ by brain site.


Patients, on average, gained four to five hours a day free of troubling motor symptoms such as shaking, slowed movement, or stiffness. The effects were greatest at six months and leveled off slightly by three years.  


According to VA Chief Research and Development Officer Joel Kupersmith, MD, "This rigorously conducted clinical trial offers valuable guidance for doctors and patients in VA and throughout the world. As our Veteran population and the general U.S. population grow older, this research and future studies on Parkinson's will play an important role in helping us optimize care."


The research took place at several VA and university medical centers and was supported by VA's Cooperative Studies Program and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health. The maker of the devices used in DBS, Medtronic Neurological, helped fund the research but did not play a role in designing the study or analyzing the results.


VA, which has the largest integrated health care system in the country, also has one of the largest medical research programs. This year, approximately 3,400 researchers will work on more than 2,300 projects with nearly $1.9 billion in funding.

Law Now Allows Retirees and Vets to Salute Flag

Traditionally, members of the nation's veterans service organizations have rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag only while wearing their organization's official head-gear.


The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 contained an amendment to allow un-uniformed service members, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag.


A later amendment further authorized hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel. This was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14, 2008.


Here is the actual text from the law:


                        BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES NOT IN 
                        UNIFORM AND BY VETERANS.

    Section 301(b)(1) of title 36, United States Code, is amended by 
striking subparagraphs (A) through (C) and inserting the following new 
                    ``(A) individuals in uniform should give the 
                military salute at the first note of the anthem and 
                maintain that position until the last note;
                    ``(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who 
                are present but not in uniform may render the military
                salute in the manner provided for individuals in 
                uniform; and
                    ``(C) all other persons present should face the flag 
                and stand at attention with their right hand over the 
                heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should 
                remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it 
                at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart;


Note: Part (C) applies to those not in the military and non-veterans. The phrase "men not in uniform" refers to civil service uniforms like police, fire fighters, and letter carriers -  non-veteran civil servants who might normally render a salute while in uniform.



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 Battalions, i.e. 1st Tanks, 3rd Anti-Tanks, etc. By doing so you are not receiving information that is not of interest to you.


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


VTA Logo  

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



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

Contact: Louis Nafjus, or call  678-546-1444


Obituary:  Foundation Member 
Wayne CornellLudington, MI

Wayne Cornell, 61, of Ludington passed away on June 1. He was born September 5, 1950, to Earl and Marilyn Cornell. He grew up in Newaygo, and graduated from Newaygo High School in 1968.

Wayne was an attendee of the first reunion of  USMC Vietnam Tankers in 1999, was a Charter Member of the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association and the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation.

He enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in 1968 and served one year in Vietnam with H & C Company Tank Platoon. 1st tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division from 1969-1970 when the battalion was sent home aboard ship to Camp Pendleton. Wayne was a sergeant with the Marine Corps.  Wayne started at the United States Postal Service in 1973 as a mail handler. He rose through the ranks and retired as the postmaster of Ludington, Michigan in 2005.


He is preceded in death by his beloved son Ryan,in 1988; and his father Earl in 1990.


Wayne is survived by his wife Sheryl; they have been married for 22 years. His daughter Tracy Cornell-Hager; two grandchildren, Ava and Roman; mother, Marilyn Dawson; brothers, and sister-in-laws, E.J. (Jan) Cornell, Don (Sue) Cornell, Kevin (Paula) Cornell; and many nieces, nephews and wonderful friends.


A Celebration of Wayne's life was held on June 29, 2012 at the American Legion Post No. 76, located at 318 N. James Street. In lieu of flowers, family memorial contributions may be directed to the "Wounded Warrior Project" 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville FL 32256, Semper Fi.


Steve McGuffeySteve McGuffey - Williamson, GA


Steve was born November 13, 1945 in Spalding County, Georgia to the late Linwood & Sara Stephens-McGuffey. He was a veteran of the USMC having served in Vietnam as a Tank Commander.


Survivors include his long time companion, Sue Burnam of Williamson; sister, Angie Cash; nephew Scott smith & his wife Vickie; niece, Rachel Smith, nephews, Logan & Kyle Smith all of White, GA; aunt, Grace Head of Griffin and special little friend, Ashley Russell.


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
Donors 2012
Donate Address
Hero's Corner
Vietnam Flashbacks
Book Review
Important Veterans' Internet Links
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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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


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