A months' long team effort, ramrodded by our V.P. Dick Carey, has produced a database that includes nearly 300 Tankers and Ontos crewmen who have provided the Foundation the biographical information to assure their posting in our book "Marine Tankers and Ontos Crewmen in the Vietnam War". Many have also included their stories of in-country personal experiences which will assure their story is cited in the book and their name will appear in the "Authors Index". There is no word limit - minimum or maximum - being placed on an author. Some stories may be quite long. We can handle that by writing a "Readers' Digest" version of the story for inclusion in the body of the book with a link to the full story. The same applies to pictures i.e., some have sent in dozens of photos. Some may be placed in the body of the book and the balance accessible by a link to our archives. In all cases the names of the contributor will be included.
While we would prefer stories be sent to us electronically, those who have mailed hand-written or type-written stories, rather than using a computer, have already had their story re-typed by our Administrative Assistant, Jackie Hunter. Please be comfortable that this service will continue for those who don't do computer.
The full court press to have our E-Book available by Thanksgiving has called for a re-ordering of our time commitment and talent pool resources. You will note that the "History of Major Marine Corps Operations" piece has been dropped. The focus will now be on producing each month the abstracted Command Chronologies for the Tank and Ontos Battalions for that month. For example, this issue of the Breech Block features the 65-70 March months. Next month we'll cover Aprils' actions as found in the CCs. In time we will start with the CCs but feature the personal stories of our Tankers and Ontos crewmen during that month. There will be links to both the full command chronologies and the reader is encouraged to visit our Web Master Pappy Reynolds', award winning "Map Chronology" on the Foundation web site.
Also, the "Book Review" piece will not make a regular appearance. Having said that, he who is interested in taking on the "Book Review" job is welcome to apply. I've received some very welcome "attaboys" on our reviews. "Tanks a lot" for your response.
Dick is going to assume full responsibility of and for the Breech Block publication - including the introduction. This E-Letter - like the Sponson Box that preceded it - has been Dick's creation. The Breech Block in its E-delivery format simply brings us into the 21st Century - following the precedent set by nearly every major publication. The Breech Block is timely, cost effective, reaches a maximum number of readers, and keeps us a close-knit community on a near-real-time basis.
My responsibility to Dick in the context of the Breech Block is to produce a wrap-up every month - "The State of the Book Report". My responsibility to the Foundation and its constituents - and only with the continued dedication, talent, loyalty, and hard work of Dick, Pappy, and Jackie - is to get "The Book" into your hands before Thanksgiving.
We received many positive comments for the work we are doing with book. There are too many to post.
I thank each and every one of you for the effort you put forth in assisting us in this endeavor.
The comment below struck a cord with me and speaks to the heart of why we are doing this project. ~ Dick
Thank You, Dick, for all your hard work. (Haven't been able to say that for awhile.) Time to go back on "R & R" in Taipai. Thanks for honoring me by including my name, with such honored warriors, I truly feel connected and humbled.
|Clyde Hoch Video |
|Tracks Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran|
| Heroes' Corner |
WAHLSTEN, BRUCE R.
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Bruce R. Wahlsten (2313619), Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on February 21, 1969. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Corporal Wahlsten upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Home Town: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Book Staffer Extraordinaire
Picture at left is Jackie Hunter. She joined our historical Foundation team as our Administrative Assistant to the president more than a year ago. Since Jackie has been with us she has developed a number of data bases and introduced a number of management tools.
Ms. Hunter has codified the Foundation Library of over 400 books, professional publications, and manuals. She has researched the "Marine Corps in Vietnam" library to develop a data base of Vietnam Marine operations. She has researched and developed a data base of Marine Corps medal recipients. Jackie's knowledge of grant application and administration has helped our Board of Directors better understand how best to acquire additional funds and, better yet, how to meet the requirements of an existing grant.
Though unfamiliar with military vocabulary, protocols, and documentation procedures, Ms. Hunter has quickly mastered these and other military-unique administrative requirements. She writes summaries of the oral histories of Vietnam War-serving Veterans, directly transcribing audio CDs to the word processor program.
She was awarded, by unanimous recommendation of the Foundation's Board of Directors, our highest annual award for her contribution to our success for 2012
Jackie has been married for 29 years and have three grown children.
|Bio Information Suspended|
We will not be sending out any further requests for your Bio. We will send out the list of those who have responded so you can see if we have your information correct and have not made any data entry errors. If your name is not on the list you will have one last opportunity to send in your information at that time.
The publishing software program we are using for the book is not compatible with this program in which you have already submitted your information. Thus, the reason you had been getting additional requests for Bio information.
Some of you stated that you were unable to successfully open the link with the Bio questions. I have added a printable pdf document with the questions needed to complete your Bio. You can print off the questionnaire to read as you type your email with the needed information.
Hundreds of Vietnam Tankers, Ontos Crewmen and support personnel have already sent in their Bios. Please, don't be left out of this important historical publication.
During mid-March once again we will be sending out the updated list of Bios that we have received. Those that have submitted Bios since we last sent out the Bio list will have the opportunity to verify that their information is correct. It would be a good time for those that previously looked over the first list to recheck their information.
|Sample of Book Material|
Tom Ciryak served with the 1st AT Bn, Alpha & Bravo Co. He submitted a story for the book. We have taken his information7 and matched it up with the operation. This is how it will appear as part of his Bio:
Operation Desoto (/Deckhouse VI)
Dates: 27 Jan 1967 to 7 Apr 1967 (16 Feb 1967 to 3 Mar 1967)
Place(s): Quang Ngai Province, Duc Pho, southernmost District
Units: 1st MarDiv - I,L,M, 3/7; L,M, 3/5; 1/5; Battery I/12; (SLF, BLT 1/4 - Operation Deckhouse VI.) Overland, heliborne, and amphibious operations.
Brief scenario: To clean out the area long occupied and dominated by the VC. Multiple small unit contacts. VC did not stand to fight. Huge caches of food, weapons, and supplies found and destroyed. Large networks of tunnels, caves, and defensive positions with bunkers - many of which were hardened with reinforced concrete and even fortified paddy dikes.
Comments: There is no mention of either tanks or Ontos participating in Operation Desoto or Deckhouse VI in any of the several accounts found in books and articles including the GB series. To quote the GB, "Desoto was a landmark in that it was an initial step toward restoration of Government control; in southernmost I Corps". Also landmark was that all logistic support was provided by helicopter - including the air lift of Ontos by the newly-arrived CH-53s.
Ciryak describes how they had to strip all 5 Ontos of extra gear, the 106 RRs, and even the track. After reaching Duc Pho it took 15 crewmen 2-days and nights to put the 5 Ontos all back together and ready to fight.
Marines - 76 KIAs 573 WIAs.
|New Member Information|
George F. Kassick
3rd Tank Bn, B Co; 1967/1968
566 Echo Rd
Mineral Point, PA 15942
Karl G. Buttstadt*
1st Tank Bn, B/C Co, 1969/1970
125 Serenity Dr
Boerne, TX 78006
Phone: (830) 331-9119
*Note: Karl was listed as a new member last month, but because we could not make contact with him to obtain his email address before the deadline we have listed him again.
|The War Follows Bob Peavey Home|
|A Small World|
By Bob Peavey
...A few minutes after taking my seat, I realized there was someone moving slowly and difficultly by me on the aisle. I turned and immediately noticed the olive drab field jacket whose armpits had crutches jammed into them. Their owner was trying to get into the row in front of me. He was precariously perched on the steep stairs while struggling to flip the theater seat down. I got up and leaned over to hold the seat down for him as he laid the crutches against the empty seat next to him. His bad leg was stuck out into the aisle, it seemed he was unable to bend it at the knee. Once he got settled, I noticed the black corporal chevrons with crossed rifles on the jacket's collar.
I bent forward and asked over his shoulder, "Hey Jarhead, what was your MOS?"
"Oh three hundred," he said turning his head to look at me.
"Who were you with?" I asked, wondering if the bad leg was somehow tied to the Corps.
He replied, "Two-Seven"...
|May 19, 1968|
by Fred R. Kellogg 2274495
3rd MarDiv, 3rd Tank Bn, Bravo Co
In the early morning hours of May 19, 1968 my tank was to assist Marines conducting a road sweep just outside the Khe Sanh combat base. A second tank was commanded by Buzz Conklin. Within a short period of time my radio headset came to life with the words, "Charles is in the area." Moments later the dug in NVA triggered their ambush and all hell broke loose. We started firing the .30 caliber coaxial machine gun at likely NVA positions concealed in a hedge row several meters to our front. For some unknown reason during the fight I felt the overwhelming urge to get the turret pointed toward a tree line that lay almost 90 degrees to the right. I grabbed the TC Override to spin the turret as fast as it would go and just as I completed the spin there was an explosion that violently rocked the tank. At first I thought my gunner had fired the main gun and I was going to yell at him because there were other Marines around our tank. But a split second later I realized we had just taken a hit in the gun shield from a RPG. The RPG team reloaded another rocket and stood up to get a second shot. My gunner yelled over the intercom that he could see them preparing to fire another anti-tank rocket from point blank range. Realizing taking the time to reset the firing switches to machine gun could lead to our death, we immediately fired the main gun. The gun tube contained a high explosive round (HE) and I was worried that the NVA were too close for the round to arm itself. A micro second later the rocket team vaporized as the 90MM round detonated.
The fight continued to rage and we continued to fire everything we had (.50 cal, .30 coax, 90MM main gun) wherever the NVA were seen or likely to be in no particular order: I was firing the .50 caliber machine gun and directing the driver where to go when I saw a grenade thrown from a spider hole. The spider hole was concealed by a small bush and I had seen the smoke from the burning fuse as the grenade arched through the air. It landed a couple of yards in front of our tank so I directed the driver on how to maneuver until the grenade was under our vehicle. There were several Marines nearby and I was afraid they may be killed if we didn't do something to prevent it. Several seconds later the grenade detonated harmlessly, the shrapnel being contained by the road wheels and the armored underbelly. We then did a neutral steer on top of the bush.
The NVA were too close at times for us to engage them because we couldn't depress the tank's weapons low enough. Therefore I grabbed the M3A1 sub-machine gun (commonly called a grease gun) and fired it from an exposed position out of the TC's hatch. This was made even more difficult because the magazines had weak springs forcing me to fire the weapon upside down to make it work.
Marines were pinned down by enemy soldiers firing from numerous bomb craters. The Marines were unable to get close enough to engage them and because tanks are a direct fire weapon system we couldn't engage them either. Therefore, I directed my driver on which way to turn etc. until I was close enough to throw hand grenades into the bomb craters. We did this until I had exhausted my supply of 19 hand grenades.
Looking for the other tank I noticed its blast deflector canted approximately 45 degrees. I radioed that information to Conklin's crew -telling them that their gun tube may be out of trunnion. If it was then firing the main gun could have catastrophic consequences. Conklin radioed back that he had been wounded and he wasn't going to stick his head out again to take a look. Realizing that they were all but defenseless, I ordered our crew to put ourselves between Conklin's tank and the attacking NVA. We were still in the fight and we would protect them as long as possible.
When we were in position we were hit by a barrage of small arms fire so we began delivering machine gun and cannon fire into the attacking NVA. The fight continued to rage and we continued fighting until we were hit by another RPG. This anti-tank rocket struck the right side of the turret just behind the blister for the range finder. This area is approximately two inches thick and the jet of plasma generated in the explosion cut through the armor. Unfortunately for me I was standing on the other side directly in the path of the explosion. I remember seeing a blinding yellow flash and then it felt like I had been hit in the chest by a baseball bat swung by the mightiest of major leaguers. The impact was so severe that I couldn't control my body as I fell head first to the turret. I knew I was hurt, but I didn't know how badly. I was later to learn that I had been hit 73 times in my face, neck, chest, both arms and both hands.
Our tank was on fire after the explosion and as soon as possible we disengaged by backing to a safer location. Sometime afterward I was lifted out of the turret, placed on a truck and taken to the aid station at the Khe Sanh Combat Base. There, I was treated and prepared for helicopter evacuation. However, the incoming was too intense for helicopters to land so my stretcher was placed on the floor (I thought to die). Within a very short period of time it was as if God had raised His hand causing the incoming to stop. Helicopters began to land and the wounded were rushed on board. However, I was hurt too badly to travel alone so I had my very own corpsman assigned to go with me. The helicopter had only been airborne a few seconds when the door gunners opened up with their machine guns. I remember saying a prayer asking for safe passage because I would not have survived if we were shot down.
During the flight to the hospital ship waiting off shore, I looked up to see a frantic look in the eyes of my corpsman. I had lost so much blood the doctors had inserted four simultaneous IV bottles and all were now empty. I tried to yell for the corpsman to look at my legs, but he couldn't hear me over the noise of the helicopter. After three or four more futile attempts to yell at him, he put his ear next to my face and he heard, "My legs! My legs!" He felt the outside of the blanket covering my body before telling me my legs were fine. Again I tried to yell for him to check my legs. This time he threw back the blanket - the doctors at Khe Sanh had put four more IV bottles between my legs for the flight to the hospital ship. He gave me the most wonderful grin as he immediately changed out the bottles. When we landed on the hospital ship I was transferred to a gurney and I remember people running as they pushed me along the deck. A few yards from the flight deck I was stopped by the triage doctors and one immediately said, "You're going to feel a stick." He then pushed a large bore needle into my femoral artery. While this was taking place someone else leaned over and asked, "Do you want a priest?" To this day I remember my exact words, "Do I need one?" I was taken below for surgery and stayed on board for six days (I think) until I was strong enough to be moved. I was eventually transferred to a US hospital in Yokosuka, Japan. After two weeks in the hospital I was put on a plane (C-141 Starlifter) for the flight to the United States - eventually reaching Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Oakland, California
|Command Chronologies |
March 1965 to 1970 - Marine Tanks & Ontos Action
This is first of what is intended to be a monthly feature of abstracted Tank and Ant-Tank Command Chronologies. This Breech Block - March 2013 - will give you a brief overview of what the 1st , 3rd Tanks and some AT's were involved in during each March they were in-country. For the full meal deal, please visit our Foundation website where Pappy has posted the Tank and Anti-Tank CCs. Most of the CCs are 100-300 pages in length with lots of stuff that is not of great interest to many. I will attempt to feature that which is of most interest. If we've omitted areas that you would like to see included, please let me know. If you served in any of these units and have a story to tell to help flesh-out the history, please send it to us.
Please note that, the Command Chronologies list all the battalions' principle staff officers, which may be of little note nor long remembered, I will routinely list just the Bn. C.O.s, Operations and Logistics Officers of the battalions and the Company Commanders. I will depend on readers who knew their Platoon Leaders and Platoon Sergeants to let me know and I'll fill in those names as a part of our history which needs to be made known.
Also, you are encouraged to access the Foundation's Map Chronology that Pappy Reynolds has created. There you may find out exactly where your unit - battalion, company, often platoon, and occasionally section-size - was located at any given time.
The next issue of the Breech Block will cover both Tanks and Ontos April's action.
Entire March chronologies
|Causalities (All Battalions)|
Wednesday, March 30, 1966
MC ARTHUR COLEMAN, LCpl. Age 22, Masury, OH
HENRY L WHALEY, Cpl, Age 23, New Haven, CT
Saturday, March 4, 1967
WALTER V HULINGS, Cpl, Age 21, Baltimore, MD
Sunday, March 5, 1967
JOSEPH M DONOVAN, LCpl, Age 19, Auburn, NY
JOSEPH L MILOS, PFC, Age 23, Troy, NY
Tuesday, March 21, 1967
JERRY R LONG, LCpl, Age 20, Sicily Island, LA
TERRY P MORROW, Cpl, Age 21, Hamilton, OH
Wednesday, March 6, 1968
SAMUEL J FRIESON, PFC, Age 19, Chicago, IL
Monday, March 11, 1968
ROBERT P PAYNE, Cpl, Age 24, Hampshire, IL
Saturday, March 16, 1968
DAVID L SIMMONS, Sgt, Age 23, Grand Rapids, MI
Monday, March 24, 1969
JOHN M FOSTER, Cpl, Age 23, Garden Grove, CA
ROBERT M WALKLEY, LCpl, Age 21, Ionia, MI
Sunday, March 1, 1970
EVERETT C PUGH, Cpl , Age 20, Washington, DC
Khe Sanh - Before, During & After the Seige Photo: April 3, 1968 Rick Oswood Photo ...�
Please post your personal/sea story:...�
Leave a personal story if you served with: ...�
Post here for this 1968 operation...�
Post here for this 1967 combat operation...�
Post here your comments for this 1967 combat operation...�
Post here for Opertaion Hastings 1966....�
Before there was the Siege of Khe Sanh there was Con Thien....�
Post comments for Operation Starlight, 1965....�
Battle for Dong Ha, late April, early May 1969.By Permission of the Ohio State University: Battle of Dong Ha...�
This post is dedicated to the Battle of Hue City during the 1968 Tet Truce Offensive....�
Secure Credit Card Donations [ IRS Tax EIN 91-2111544 ]
2013 Donors: Thank you for your support!
Lloyd 'Pappy' Reynolds*
LtCol Phil Weigand, USMC (Ret)
LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (Ret)**+
LtCol Ev Tunget, USMC (Ret)
Maj Frank Box, USMC (Ret)
David 'Doc' Forsyth
Robert F. (Bob) Singer
LtCol Frank Slovik, UISMC (Ret)
Maj Ed Stith, UISMC (Ret)
Stephen C. Arnone
Bobby Joe Blythe
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 Plus
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.
**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
IRS Approved Tax EIN 91-2111544
A 501(c)(19) Non-profit Historical Foundation
Charles T. Riehl
3rd Tank Bn, C Co; 1967/1968
3201 Fox Hollow Dr
Pepper Pike, OH 44124
Phone: (216) 360-0967
|Official USMC Playbook |
Attached is the most current edition of the HQMC Current News Playbook. It provides the latest policy and talking points on breaking issues in the news.
NEW Briefing Cards:
- Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division Transformation Initiative
- Unit Personal and Family Readiness Program (UPFRP) and Family Readiness Officers (FROs)
UPDATED Briefing Cards:
- Marine Corps 101
- Afghanistan (RC-Southwest)
- Afghanistan Insider Threat
- Afghanistan Urination Video Investigation
- Alcohol Screening Program
- Assignment of Women in Service
- Budget Uncertainty
- DSTRESS Line
- MEU Tracker
- Sexual Assault Prevention and Response
- Suicide Prevention and Response
- Twentynine Palms Land Expansion
Please share this information with Marines in your agency or command.
USMC Vietnam Tankers Association
October 31 to November 5, 2013
San Antonio, Texas
We have contracted with the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the River Walk for a $99 per night room rate.
Free daily self-parking.
We will also get a 20% discount on food and drinks (not alcoholic drinks) in the hotel restaurants and bars.
We will be allowed this same room rate for three days prior and three days after the reunion if you want to spend more time in the city.
Call the hotel at 1-888-623-2800 after 10/1/12 but before 10/1/13 to make room reservations.
Our hospitality room (that we call "The Slop Shute") will be the same size as the one that we had in San Diego in 2011.
There will be lots to do while we are visiting this San Antonio. We are formulating activity plans that will be announce as they are completed.
Please mark your calendars and start saving your money to meet and greet with your brothers in arms.
We encourage you to bring your wives or your girl friends and as many of your family members as you want to attend.
USMC ONTOS Reunion
May 8 - 11, 2013, Quantico
Details: Final agenda
Contact: Louis Nafjus,
September 4 - 8, 2013
Clarion Branson Hotel
2820 W 76 Country Blvd, Branson, MO 65616
Call for room reservations: (800) 725-2236
Mention you are w/the Marine Corps Mustang Reunion
Marine Corps Mustang web site if you have any questions or concerns please contact Joe Mouton, Roger Speeg, or Dwayne Dupeire.
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.
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.
THE BREECH BLOCK
Vice President & Editor
Marketing & Production
Richard "Dick" Carey
LtCol Raymond A. Stewart USMC (Ret.)
Archivist in Residence
BA in History, MLIS
Author in Residence
Dr. Oscar "Ed" Gilbert
Historian in Residence
BA and MA in History
Lloyd 'Pappy' Reynolds
Board of Directors
LtCol Raymond A. Stewart,
USMC Vietnam Tankers Association
Richard 'Dick' Carey
Founder, USMC Vietnam Tankers Association
Charles 'Chuck' Garrison
USMC Vietnam Tankers Association
LtGen Martin R. Steele,
USMC Vietnam Tankers Association
Col William 'Bill' Davis,
Robert 'Mike' Flick
David 'Doc' Forsyth
Dr. Ken Estes,
LtCol, USMC (Ret)
MGySgt Donald Gagnon,
Robert Hugh Gage
1st Marine Division
1st Tank Battalion
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.