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



OntosMCVTHF LogoOntos



We are the voice of  history  


CARPUCNat. Def. Ribbon




May 2012   



 Dear Marine,


The call for first-hand stories from our constituents for material to launch "Book One" has been answered by far too few to move out smartly. We would like the world to know what Marine Ontos Crewman and Tankers did - and how we did it - in the Vietnam War. Simply enough - there's barely one person who reads this Breech Block (and please drop us a line if this is you) who has not "been there/done that" or knows personally (or "of") a Marine who has.

Pappy, who has contributed many of his personal recollections, pictures, and other material, wrote to a group of his contacts recently:

OK guys, when we get together at the reunions, we always play "Remember when?".  Well the Historical Foundation is collecting stuff for a book about us in Vietnam.  Stories, photos, maps, After Action Reports and such.  One of the most important items will be personal stories.  This is where you come in play "Remember when" in writing.  How/when did you get to Vietnam?  What unit did you serve with?  Who were some of the guys/characters you served with?  Who did something stupid?  How were you wounded (if you were)?  Your most remembered time?  The time you had the shit scared out of you?  Your inter action with critters, animals, civilians, the enemy?  Throwing a track, tank breaking down, any war story that you have been wowing the VFW members with.  Anything and everything is fair fodder.  The only stipulation is that it should be true.  Editors will proof it.  Hell it doesn't even have to be spelled right.  You officers, didn't you keep copies of some of your After Action Reports, or of writing some one up (the good, the bad and the ugly (funny)).  How about something crazy or stupid that happened to you or someone else?  When/how did you get home?  These are just some of the ideas to write about.  Pick one, or one of your own.  Write out something you told your kids.

What ever you do send it to;

LtCol Raymond A. Stewart, USMC (Ret.)
707 SW 350th Court, Ste. 101
Federal Way, WA 98023-8104

P.S. That Pappy sure has a way with words!

Ray Stewart

Heroes Corner

Sergeant C. Tim Matye, USMC (Ret)

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Sergeant [then Corporal] Clemence T. Matye (MCSN: 2297648), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with operations against Viet Cong forces while a tank crewman with 3d Platoon, Company B, First Tank Battalion, supporting Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), in the DaNang area of the Republic of Vietnam on 12 November 1968. After completing a road minesweep operation, Sergeant Matye's tank embarked seven infantrymen before returning to their base camp. Shortly after, the Viet Cong command detonated a forty pound fragmentation mine beside the moving tank. This explosion killed four Marines outright and wounded six others. Sergeant Matye found that his leg was severed at the knee and bleeding profusely. He also had shrapnel protruding from his eye. Displaying cool deliberation, Sergeant Matye removed his belt and applied it to his let as a tourniquet on his severed leg. Small arms fire then broke out, but Sergeant Matye refused evacuation from his exposed position and remained at the tank's fifty caliber machine gun while his wounded tank commander went inside the tank to summon help on the radio. During the time remaining before help arrived, Sergeant Matye's calm reassuring manner and continuing smoothing monologue to those present was a source of great strength to the other wounded Marines, especially considering the very apparent devastating wounds that he had suffered. When the medical evacuation helicopter arrived, Sergeant Matye only agreed to evacuation after all other wounded Marines were loaded aboard the aircraft. By his courageous actions, personal initiative, and complete deduction to duty, Sergeant Matye reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.


Action Date: November 12, 1968

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Corporal

Company: Company B

Battalion: 1st Tank Battalion

Regiment: 7th Marines

Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF

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
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)
Chris Vargo
Gene 'Doc' Hackemack
Jerry Wahl

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

Vietnam Flashbacks




VIETNAM WAR, MAY 1962 - 1975 ... Click Here

The Move North

By Ric Langley

3rd MarDiv, 3rd Tank Bn. Charlie Co., 1st Plt.


By the middle of July 1966 I had been with 1st Plt. "C" Co. for a couple of weeks and things were pretty good. I had a roof over my head, good food, a hot shower and the maintenance guys had just finished brewing a new batch of applejack. What more could a Marine ask for. Being the fifth crewman on C12 until someone rotated back to the world I was odd man out. We were not doing much anyway. I had spent most of my time helping my crewmates getting the new tank checked out and squared away. Like myself the tank had just arrived from the states. It still had that new tank smell. We cleaned guns, checked suspension, tested radios, and all the other things that had to be done to make sure we were ready when and if we were called on.

Ric Langley & Alvin Hamby


Book Review

By LtCol Raymond A. Stewart, USMC (Ret) 


January of 1964 opened probably the most defining year of my life. I was to leave the NCO ranks as Sergeant of Marines; join those of a Commissioned Officer; be awarded a college degree (paid for by the Marine Corps); get married; enter; and graduate from The Basic School at MCB Quantico; and meet a 1st Lt Pierpan, USMC who was wearing a Purple Heart ribbon for wounds he'd received in a place I'd never heard of - "Viet Nam." Within 7 months of talking with Lt Pierpan, I was "there."


If I had only known then what I know (or think I know!) now. And few books - of the many I've read and reported on since - would have better prepared me for what was to be the dominant factor in my life for many years (and maybe still!) than "Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965" (2006) by Mark Moyar.


Mr. Moyar is considered a "Revisionist" aligned opposite the "Orthodox" in the context of the historians of the Vietnam War. The two camps argue the cause, conduct, and outcome of the American involvement in the Vietnam War from diametrically opposed theories and philosophies. At one end of the spectrum there are those who believe we should have never entered the war and those who believe the war was the "right" war in the "right" place. There are those who claim the war could have never been won the way it was fought and those who believe we could have won it if we'd have just fought it differently - "hearts and minds vs. body count," "bomb Hanoi/Haiphong vs the Ho Chi Minh Trail".


In rather general terms the conservative philosophy is found in the "Revisionist" camp, the liberal thinkers in the "Orthodox". Moyar's heavily researched and documented book with many primary sources cited has been both praised (lightly and mostly by the Revisionists) and criticized (heavily and mostly by the academic, liberal, and "Orthodox" writers.)


If one doesn't, or didn't, know the difference between those who have placed themselves on one side or the other of the debate and reads Moyar's book with an open mind - starting with Chapter 13 - he will probably find that he's in agreement with the Revisionists' point of view. So be it. But in any case, "Triumph Forsaken" is a good read. I wish it would have been written (and read) in 1965 before I set foot - or tank track - on that sandy South China Sea beach.  

Important Veterans' Internet Links
These links have been floating around the Internet from various veterans' web sites.We thought you might like to take a look.

History of the VA Loan

The history of the Veterans Affairs Loan program dates back to World War II. However, to really understand how the VA Loan came into being, you have to know where it came from.  In 1930, the Veterans Administration was established, and the first administrator, Brigadier General Frank T. Hines, was appointed. The Veterans Administration (now called the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) was created with the mission to care for America's veterans. Initially, the main role of the Veterans Administration was to provide medical and hospital treatment along with disability and rehabilitation assistance and insurance for service members. However, the need for more assistance to our country's veterans came just after the end of World War II when more than 16 million veterans returned home. President Roosevelt wanted an assistance program to help transition the soldiers from the battleground to the home-ground. So, the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (aka the G.I. Bill) passed through Congress, opening up more benefit options to veterans and their families. In addition to providing education and financial assistance, one of the largest and most important provisions of the bill was the guarantee that veterans would receive access to a low interest, zero-down-payment home loan.


The VA Loan benefit would help these veterans, many of whom left for war straight out of school without the opportunity to build credit or pursue higher education, with the means to become homeowners after the war. In other words, it was one way for the government to ensure that the veterans were put on equal terms with their civilian peers when it came to home ownership.


While veterans today can get a home loan for zero down and no primary mortgage insurance, or refinance a home up to 100% of its value, the original VA Loan program had a maximum guaranty amount of 50% of the loan, not to exceed $2,000.


The first significant change to the program came in 1950 where the guaranty was raised to 60%, not to exceed $7,500, and the benefits were now extended to widowed spouses of soldiers who had died in service or as a result of a service-related injury. The funding fee was introduced at this time as well.


The next major milestone of the VA Loan program was the creation of the Veteran's Housing Act of 1970. The law made seven major changes to the program:


1.      Authorized a manufactured home loan program
2.      Authorized loans for condos
3.      Authorized refinancing on condos
4.      Authorized direct loans for veterans qualified for Specially            Adapted Housing Grants
5.      Eliminated the terminal date of the direct loan program
6.      Eliminated the funding fee for post-Korean War veterans
7.      Eliminated the delimited dates on veterans' entitlements


The delimitation of dates meant that the entitlement of every eligible veteran remained available until they were used.


The program continued to thrive, and with the enactment of the Veterans Home Loan Program Amendments of 1992, the VA Loan program became available to Reservists and National Guard service members.


Today, the VA Loan program remains one of the most used benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. To get a loan from the VA, a veteran or eligible service member must apply to an approved lender, like Quicken Loans. Our team works hard to provide high-level service along with an easy-to-follow mortgage process. If you're interested in learning more about your VA Loan options, call one of our Home Loan Experts - VA Unit - today at (800) 624-4039.

Video Link: Vietnam War
This video presentation from current day Vietnam should be of interest to those of you who are into the history of the Vietnam War.

North Vietnamese Army (NVA) 320th Division: Click here
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


B Co., 3d Tanks

Bravo Company, 3rd Tanks, 1965/1970 ~ Cape Cod, MA

Tentitive dates September or October 2012.


The Village of Sandwich Massachusetts
The Village of Sandwich host
Bravo Co,
3d Tanks Reunion

You won't want to miss this!

Heritage Museum & Gardens
Heritage Museum & Gardens

or this...


For more information.




USMC ONTOS REUNION ~ May 2013, Details to Follow.

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
Heroes Corner: Sgt C. Tim Matye, USMC (Ret)
Donors 2012
Donate Address
The Move North...By Ric Langley
Book Review
Important Veterans' Internet Links
History of the VA Loan
Video Link: Vietnam War
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.