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



OntosMCVTHF LogoOntos



We are the voice of  history  


CARPUCNat. Def. Ribbon



 December 2013    



Vietnam Ontos crewman, Tankers and support  have made history and we are making it known. 


From the Board of Directors & Staff
Dear Marine 

    My comments this month will be mercifully short.  The holiday season is upon us and I hope this issue of the Breech Block finds you in good health.

    Your foundation, its volunteers and staff  have been working hard since 2001 to preserve as much of your history as you will provide to us.  No one including the Marine Corps has bothered or cared to harvest this information.  Our job is not an easy one, but it is a necessary one.   We are not doing this for money, fortune or fame; we are doing this for you. 

     Once the last Vietnam tanker passes the real legacy of your service will be preserved for future historians because of the work of your Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation.  


Semper Fidelis,

Richard 'Dick' Carey, V.P./Editor

Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation 

Founder/President Emeritus (1999-2005)

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association

The Book SitRep


     The Vietnam Tankers reunion in San Antonio netted the Foundation a number of interviews during the reunion and even more requests for follow-on, phonecon interviews. Also, a lot of pictures and sea stories were shared around to be incorporated in The Book. We are now folding these stories, pictures, and interviews into the 1965-1970 Vietnam War Chronology we've built. At some point we must decide where we'll drive a stake in the ground and set the date beyond which we cannot include more material. If we don't set a "drop dead" date we'll never get The Book on the wire.

     Getting "The Book on the wire" is a whole different step in this lengthy process. It's the step that calls for actual cash. No amount of Book Committee 24/7 "sweat equity" will cover final edit and launch expenses. We have built up a fairly substantial bank reserve thanks to the continued generosity of our constituents but, by all accounts, it is not going to be enough to cover anticipated costs expected for the final stretch.

     There is no way that we can adequately thank our contributors - more than 100 authors and at least as many $ donors - for your support for The Book writing effort. As Col Frank C. Caldwell, USMC (Ret.) wrote in his article "Every Marine an Historian" in the March 1966 Marine Corps Gazette: "Chances are, the opportunity to improve official history will come your way during your career; make the most of it!" That "chance" is here and now, and we're making the most of it with The Book.


Semper Fi,


Ray Stewart 

Mail Call!

Likes Issue 




    Great Breech Block  (November) issue....


Pete Ritch 



Praises Shutdown Protest


    Way-to-go Ray !!!!

    It only takes one gutsy Marine to change the course of apathy. Thank you for opening the blockade to the Iwo Jima memorial.

Semper Fidelis,

Jim Renforth
Appreciates Foundation Work
    Ray, just received the package and stuff you sent me. Thank you very much for the certificate and kind words. That means a lot to me! What ya'll are doing is great, thank you Sir for Standing Tall For Us All, before it's to late !! So Thanks again Col. , continue to march and Happy Birthday, Marine !!!!=
Wally Young


    Thanks for all you do for our Historical Foundation. I appreciate all your hard word and commitment. Thanks also for putting my citation in the Heroes Corner section.



Virgil (Melton, Jr) 

Belated Birthday Wish


    A Happy belated Birthday to all your Gyrenes!  My Dad served with Eco 2/29th Marines, 6th Marine Division.  He was a flamethrower operator and was wounded twice on Sugar Loaf Hill, Okinawa.  My son is a Sergeant Major of Marines.  He is stationed at your Infantry School at Camp Pendleton, CA and  is a "Tanker" like me and a Marine like my Father.  So, I have a lot of Marine Corps in my family History.  Also, no wise cracks about "so what happened to you, going into he Army."  I have been in Infantry, Armor and Cavalry assignments in the Army and loved every minute of it, commanded a Mech Infantry Rifle Company, best job I had in the Army.

  I have not forgotten about our article, yes our article, because you guys will help me put this thing together.  I contacted the Chief Editor of Vietnam magazine to try to get a feel for what has already been written about the ONTOS, and since the Breech Block is coming out with a book on the subject, I want to write the article that does not repeat what someone else has already said.  If any of you guys get Vietnam magazine, the most recent one has my old outfit, the 11th ACR (Armored Cavalry Regiment) featured in it, neat article.
   Anyway, that is where I am current with our article, I have about one paragraph done. 


Again, Happy Birthday Marines


Best Regards,


Brent C. Bankus, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)
Cavalry (3-11th ACR)
Army of the United States
Assistance Appreciated
    Dear Colonel Stewart-Back in 2010 I asked you to review my article on the Patton Tank in Vietnam. You sent me a note with your business card saying the article looked good. Well, it was published in Armor Magazine in the Sep-Oct 2011 issue. I just came across my file folder with notes on that article and saw your business card and was wondering, did I ever send you a copy of the published article?  If I did not, please let me know and I will get one in the mail for you. I appreciate your help in making sure the material was accurate. Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.
Mike Kelley 
By all accounts the gathering of our Brother Tanker and Ontos crewmen in San Antonio at a reunion sponsored by the "USMC Vietnam Tankers Association," including several members of the "Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation" Board of Directors, was a huge success. Thank you Association for bringing our Brothers together so we can build on the Foundation effort to write our book - Marine Corps Tankers and Ontos Crewmen in Vietnam.
    "During the reunion the Foundation Board of Directors gathered numerous interviews - both 1:1 and informal group video taped, dozens of informal "sea stories", and 10-12 written requests from Marines to conduct follow-on phone interviews from our members.
    Below are a few of the pictures taken during the reunion.
Wally Young, Jackie Hunter & Jeff Griffith (Pappy Reynolds Photo)

Garry Hall, Len Young,Wally Young (Not Related), Jeff Griffith
(Pappy Reynolds Photo)
Silver Star recipient Barnett Person seated far right with two of his  
crew members (Pappy Reynolds Photo) 
Sal Soto, Chris Vargo, John Harper, Bill Davis & Andy Anderson.
Soto was a real recluse, very seldom left his house (in San Antonio) Chris & Andy pretty much kidnapped him & got him to the "Slop Chute".  He said he had a good time and would come back the next day.  He didn't.
                                                                                                                 (Pappy Reynolds Photo)
Wally Young (with his best tie), Donna & Garry Hall at the Banquet.
(Pappy Reynolds Photo)
Guy Wolfenberger and Terry Hunter at the Banquet. (Pappy Reynolds Photo)
John Harper, Chris Vargo, Bill Davis, Navy Cross Recipient Harold Riensche & and some guy (Pappy Reynolds) who just had to get in the way at Fort Sam Houston. (Pappy Reynolds Photo)

We Old Tankers are "hard of reading." (Doc Hackemack Photo)

Happiness is feeling a tank under us. (Doc Hackemack Photo)
VTHF Administrator Jackie Hunter and "Doc" Hackemack. (Doc Haxkemack Photo)
Doc Hack and the Ever-present Wally Young (Doc Hackemack Photo)
Who is the FNG? (Dock Hackemack Photo)

Heroes Corner 
Silver Star
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Dean T. Lund (1572519), Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on February 6, 1968. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Staff Sergeant Lund upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Home Town: Syracuse, New York
Command Chronologies


Marine Tanks & Ontos Action in the Vietnam War

During December 1965 to 1970


    This is the ninth of what is intended to be a monthly feature of abstracted Tank and Antitank Command Chronologies. This Breech Block - December 2013 - will give you an overview of the actions in which the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Tanks and Antitanks were engaged during each December that they operated in-country. For the more complete command chronologies, (often missing the S-1 Personnel Annexes) please visit our Foundation website where Pappy Reynolds has posted the Tank and Antitank CCs. You will find that most of the CCs are 100-300 pages (occasionally 500+!) in length with material that is of interest most often only to the research historian. Featured in the abstracts presented in the monthly Breech Block are the operations which are of prime interest. If we've omitted areas that you would like to see included in these monthly abstracts, please let us know. And note that personnel information - names of KIAs, promotions, Purple Hearts and other medals - was purged from the original command chronologies to protect the Marines' privacy at the time the CC's were prepared.

     We've encouraged our Brothers to weigh in with their suggestions on what to add - or delete - from these command chronology abstracts. The 2 additions will present a rather different picture of what the Marines back at battalion headquarters were doing. In the case of 1st Tanks its C.O. was double hatted to command the Southern Sector's activates centered on Chu Lai initially. This Abstract will present the scope of that activity.

     The other suggested feature is to present the size/shape/commitment/results of both the 1st and 3rd Tanks and Anti-tanks in the context of the Civic Action Program. We will not include the monthly reports in this series of abstracts but will create a dedicated composite in a single separate volume.

     If you served in, or supported, or were supported by a Tank or Ontos unit during any month of December and can recall some experiences - especially Christmas - that you would like to see become part of our history, jot them down and send them to the Foundation. Pictures with captions are of particular interest. Nearly all of the material you send us will find its way into one of our publications - our web site, the Breech Block, and/or The Book. And, if writing is not your forte, and/or you would like to sit for an interview, contact me or a member of our Foundation Interview Team, give us about an hour of your time, and talk about your service to your country during in the Vietnam War.

     Also, you are encouraged to access the Foundation's Map Chronology that Pappy has created There you may find out exactly where your unit - battalion, company, often platoon, and occasionally section - was located at any given time. If you do not find your unit on one of Pappy's several maps, let us know. Also is plotted the exact location and statistics of every Tanker and Ontos crewman who was killed in action.


Semper Fidelis,


Ray Stewart


Part 1 ~ Part 2 ~ Part 3 ~ Part 4 ~ Part 5


Beep, Beep you're (Censored)
         During a period of time with  Alpha Co. 5th ATs in 1969, afloat with BLT 2/26 someone with too much time on his hands painted a roadrunner graphic on the rear hatch of the vehicle along with the caption "Beep Beep Your A**".  Once the artwork was revealed via disembarkation upon return to Da Nang all hell broke loose.  Commanders threatened significant brig time for the offending artist who was never identified.  The rear hatch artwork was soon painted over but not before a number of photos of the artwork were taken.  The name Roadrunner survived.

James Estock
Official Marine Corps Playbook
Secure Credit Card Donations       
IRS Tax EIN 91-2111544 ] 
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 Approved Tax EIN 91-2111544 

A 501(c)(19) Non-profit Historical Foundation
Established 2001
 FYI: Donations and Donors


Each year we wipe the slate clean as to who has donated for that calendar year. All donations received after October 1, 2013 will appear in the Breech Block beginning with the January 2014 issue. Donations received before October 1, 2013 will not appear in the eNewletters beginning the first of the year.

    Thank you for your support without you the foundation cannot achieve its goals of researching, recording, archiving and publishing your individual stories.

 Semper Fidelis

2013 Donors: Thank you for your support!
    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:

Certificate Donations

Platinum Plus ~ $1,000 Plus

Platinum ~ $250 - $999
Gold ~ $100 - $249
Silver ~ $50 - $99
Bronze $1 - $49
Platinum Plus
Dick Carey*
Jeni and Darrell Clock  
Kevin Flynn
Jackie Hunter*
Lloyd 'Pappy' Reynolds*
LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (Ret)+**
LtCol Phil Weigand, USMC (Ret)
Guy Wolfenbarger
Bobby Joe Blythe
Peter Brush*
Brian Carroll
Kyle Decicco-Carey*
Sid Ferguson, DVM
Glen Hutchins
GySgt Wes 'Tiny' Kilgore, USMC (Ret)
LtCol William Lochridge, USMC (Ret)+
Dr John D  Price
Jim Raasch
Adolph Sgambelluri
LtCol Ev Tunget, USMC (Ret)
Jerry Wahl
Wally Young   
Stephen Arnone
Maj Frank Box, USMC (Ret)
Charley Corace
David 'Doc' Forsyth
William Franker
Michael Giovinazzo
John E. Harper
Alonzo Jacobs 
Thomas Kelly
Carl Lemon
Frederick (Fred) Mills
David Ralston

Robert F. (Bob) Singer 
LtCol Frank Slovik, UISMC (Ret)
Maj Ed Stith, USMC (Ret)
Jerry White
Bill Bohlen
Meyrat Francis-Michael
"Doc" Hackemack
Thomas Kelly  
Brian JefferiesJohn Lange
Garry Mefford
Robert PeaveyBronze
Bobby Joe Blythe
Chris DeSpain
Robert Fornwalt
Ed Emanuel  
+Additional Donation 

*In-Kind Services

**In-Kind & Monetary


    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.
VA Offers Dental Insurance Program

    WASHINGTON - The VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance beginning Nov. 15, VA officials announced today.  

     "VA continues to explore innovative ways to help Veterans get access to the care and services they have earned and deserve," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "This new dental program is another example of VA creating partnerships with the private sector to deliver a range of high-quality care at an affordable cost, for our Nation's Veterans."

    More than 8 million Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can choose to purchase one of the offered dental plans.  This three-year pilot has been designed for Veterans with no dental coverage, or those eligible for VA dental care who would like to purchase additional coverage.  Participation will not affect entitlement to VA dental services and treatment.

     There are no eligibility limitations based on service-connected disability rating or enrollment priority assignment.  People interested in participating may complete an application online through either Delta Dental,, or MetLife,  beginning Nov. 15.  Coverage for this new dental insurance will begin Jan. 1, 2014, and will be available throughout the United States and its territories.

     Also eligible for the new benefits are nearly 400,000 spouses and dependent children who are reimbursed for most medical expenses under VA's CHAMPVA program.  Generally, CHAMPVA participants are spouses, survivors or dependent children of Veterans officially rated as "permanently and totally" disabled by a service-connected condition.

     Dental services under the new program vary by plan and include diagnostic, preventive, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment.  Enrollment in the VA Dental Insurance Plan (VADIP) is voluntary.  Participants are responsible for all premiums, which range from $8.65 to $52.90 per month for individual plans.  Copayments and other charges may apply.

    Historically VA's free dental services have gone to Veterans with dental problems connected to a medical condition that's officially certified as "service connected."  Free dental services will continue for those Veterans. 

    For more information on VADIP, visit , or contact Delta Dental at 1-855-370-3303 or MetLife at 1-888-310-1681.

    Veterans who are not enrolled in the VA health care system can apply at any time by visiting, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.

 Veterans and the New Health Care Law

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sent out a letter a few weeks ago to veterans explaining their options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new law will not change VA benefits. If a veteran is enrolled in VA healthcare, that coverage meets the standards for the ACA's insurance requirement. Most uninsured veterans are eligible for VA health care. However, not everyone who has served in uniform qualifies for VA health care such as Reserve or National Guard vets who served on active duty for training purposes only. Veterans who are not eligible for VA, and their families, could go to the Health Insurance Exchange. Another option, gaining Medicaid coverage, is limited in states that are not expanding the program. Here are some ways to enroll in VA care or determine your eligibility: (1) visit; (2) call 1-877-222-VETS (8387); and (3) visit your local VA health care facility. For more information, visit VA, the Affordable Care Act and You webpage at

VA Card I.D. Theft
     Anyone with a smart phone or an iphone with a free bar code app can scan any VA identification card issued since 2004 and the cardholders' social security number immediately pops up on the screen. 

    Some barcode readers, including those available as applications on cell phones, can scan the bar code on the front of the card, and reveal the veteran's social security number.

    I scanned my card with the my free RedLaser scan app and sure enough my social security number appeared.  Leave to the VA, duh!

    Don't lose your VA I.D. Card!
Semper Fi, 

David Eldon Fields - Paragould, AR  


David Fields, 64, passed away recently from complications of Agent Orange.  He was born December 30, 1948 in Paragould, AR to Boyce and Grace Fields. David served in Vietnam with the 3rd Anti-Tank Battalion during 1968 and 1969 as an Ontos crewman. David was a member of the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation.  He enjoyed life, loved his family and adored his grandchildren.

    Preceding him in death was his father and two sisters, Sharon and Geneva.


Information provided by Rick Leblanc



Charles R. "Chuck" Popadak - Marengo, OH


     On November 19, 2013, following a courageous 3 year battle with cancer Chuck passed away.   He just celebrated his 66th birthday with his family and friends.
     On November 16, 1947, Chuck was born in Cambridge, Ohio, the oldest of five children of the late Michael and Betty (Cowgill) Popadak.  He was raised in West Lafayette, Ohio, where he graduated from Ridgewood High School in the Class of 1966.
     Shortly following graduation, Chuck enlisted to serve in the U.S. Marine Corp, during the Vietnam War.  He served as tank commander, and was stationed in both Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. He earned a Purple Heart for his sacrifices for his beloved country.
     Proud of his service to his country, Chuck was a life member of the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation and the V.F.W. Post 8054, where served as post commander for over 15 years, and was a life member of the AmVets Post 87. He also served on the Color Guard with the veterans of Morrow County, and helped transport veterans for over three years with Morrow County Veterans Services.
     A kind and thoughtful man, Chuck will forever be dearly missed by his wife, Linda Popadak of Marengo; five children: Cheri Van Dyke of Marengo, Shannon (Melissa) Thompson of Pickerington, Christopher Popadak of Dayton, Shawn Wilson-Murdock of Sunbury, and Melissa (Ken) Dendinger of Marengo; 13 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren; four siblings: Pamela "Sue" (Bob) Courtwright of New Philadelphia, Linda (Ray) Myers, Andy (Rhonda) Popadak, and Richard (Joanna) Popadak, all three of Newcomerstown; and numerous nieces and nephews

We Really 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 Tanks, Ontos, etc. 

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

     You guys are terrific; we appreciate your support.


Semper Fidelis,

MC Flag Big Wave 

Dick Carey, V.P.


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
The Book SitRep
Mail Call
Reunion Photos
Heroes Corner
Command Chronologies: September 1965 to 1970
Beep, Beep you're (Censored)ok...Playbook...
Official Marine Corps Playbook...Playbook...
Credit Card Donations
Donate Address
FYI: Donations and Donors
Donors 2013
VA Offers Dental Insurance Program
Veterans and the New Health Care Law
VA Card I.D. Theft




Marine Corps
Vietnam Tankers
Historical Foundation



Vice Pres., Editor,

Marketing & Production 

Richard "Dick" Carey

Contact: Email 


LtCol Raymond A. Stewart USMC (Ret)



Jackie Hunter



Archivist in Residence

Kyle Decicco-Carey

Harvard University

BA in History, MLIS


Author in Residence

Dr. Oscar "Ed" Gilbert


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, Treasurer 

Charter Director, 

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association

Richard Tilden


LtGen Martin R. 

Steele, USMC (Ret)


Charter Director,

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association  

Col William  'Bill' Davis, USMC(Ret)


Robert 'Mike' Flick


David 'Doc' Forsyth


Dr. Ken Estes,

LtCol, USMC (Ret)


Rick WSalters


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 196PP/ Staff Sergeant
 30ptember 1



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