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



OntosMCVTHF LogoOntos



We are the voice of  history  


CARPUCNat. Def. Ribbon



 October 2013    



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


Dear Marine 

   We have a new brochure to hand out at the reunion next month. You may  pick one up from the following board members; Col Bill Davis, Jim Raasch, Pappy Reynolds, Richard Tilden, Rick Walters, Guy Wolfenberger and staff administrator Jackie Hunter.  If you have not made your hotel reservations for the USMC Vietnam Tankers reunion I highly suggest that you do so today.  Time is running out.  If you have any question contact John Wear by email;

     On a other note.  I had a phone call a while back asking if we might have been exposed to asbestos.  The answer is yes.  The gun shield on the 90mm and the coax .30 Cal. was made of asbestos.

    There were times when the gun shield would get hot, glow red from the heat of the .30 Caliber barrel and in many cases catch fire as it would bellow out smoke; thus, the fire extinguisher on the bulkhead next to the gun shield.
   The caller wanted to know if there was a possible link to service-connection for mesothelioma, a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos. The answer is a strong  maybe.
    If you have mesothelioma and your civilian occupation did not expose you to asbestos you might be able to service connect your
lung condition.  Support letters from those you served with will be needed to support your claim.  Unfortunately, the VA is still playing the Officer versus Enlisted game.  Other words, a single support letter from an Officer carries more weight than one from a fellow enlistee.  Any tank officer can attest to this exposure regardless whether you served with him or not.
     Just so you know, we have two separate lists of readers for the Breech Block. The first list consist of those who qualify for membership in the foundation and the second list are non-members who have an interest in Marine Corps Tanks and Ontos during the Vietnam War Era.
    I have a request.   Do you have the email address of someone who served in Tanks and/or Ontos during the Vietnam War Era?  We would love to add them to the monthly readers' list.

Semper Fidelis,

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

Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation 

Founder/President Emeritus (1999-2005)

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association

 1st Tank Bn, Platoon Leader Interview
Interview with John W. Bates, VIetnam War veteran.  CCSU Veterans History Project
Interview with John W. Bates
John Bates does not appear on the VTA roster nor is he a member the Historical Foundation.  He is a resident of Central Connecticut. Do you know how to contact him? 
If you do please let me know. 
Mail Call!

Looking For:


    I am looking for Ed Pesik or John Lane that were in my tech shop in Chu Lai or DaNang in 66-67. We were part of 1st Tank Battalion, H & S Co.

Thanks for your help.
John Lange
The Book SitRep


    A couple of months ago the idea of a tank and equipment "Names/Logo Annex" for The Book was floated around the Book Committee. It was agreed that, while the building of the Annex would require the cooperation of the Tank/Ontos Community, based on the previous responses to our request for assistance, we could do it. And the response has been as anticipated - tremendous. We will publish, as an annex to The Book, something we've not seen before: pictures of tanks, with the names they've been given and the crews that manned them identified. We have "Crispy Critters" for a flame tank. "Ho's Birthday Present", "Your Worst Nightmare", and more. The Ontos guys have been a bit shy about sending us the names of their "pigs" but we're betting that they will get on the band wagon as well.

   I recently sent an e-mail to Dr. Fred Allison (Retired Marine Major) of the Marine Corps History Division, Quantico, VA. Fred has supported our effort to publish the Foundation's book since the beginning of the project. Here is the essence of that correspondence:


Hi Fred - Here's a preview on our web site of one of The Book's Annex's. ( This part of The Book is growing and will be unique.

     Besides the 100's of personal stories from our Foundation's members (every one to be cited as an author) and the take-away from the nearly 100 Vietnam War MarCorHistDiv oral histories CD's that you sent me, we'll have every KIA Marine Tanker and Ontos Crewman IDd - where he died (located on a map), the circumstances, his unit, the operation, then a link to his bio, and the number on The Wall. Medal holders will be also IDd with time, place (linked to a map), copy of award, etc. Along with an expanded story from the recipient himself - if possible.

     Published Marine Tanker authors (Peavey, Coan, Vargo) will be cited and, with attribution, will contribute some of what they have written.

     Links to dozens of other web sites, Glossary of terms, bibliography, TO/Es, Org. Charts. Every operations section - and more - from unit the Command Chronology from Tanks and Antitanks presented in abstract form.

     Every Marine named operation that we can find with those in which tanks and Ontos played a role IDd with, where possible, the stories from the guys who "were there and done that". This is our contribution to the Corps' history.

     There's more and, that ours is to be an E-Book (Hammel, Ford, Camp, et al are helping), we'll be able to add material periodically as it is acquired with less time/money/effort expended. And, when the last of our breed goes toes up, our families can continue The Book with what they find in Grampa's foot locker.

      And, Fred, I cannot begin to tell you how much your support means to the Foundation, The Book Project, and to me personally.


    We are on track and moving forward. Until now the project has been fueled by daily infusions of sweat equity. The day is fast approaching, however, that we'll need more than hard work to reach our goal by getting our E-book professionally edited, prepared for publication, and finally launched. Your financial assistance is most sincerely appreciated. Be reminded that your donation to the non-profit Foundation is eligible for a tax deduction.


Semper Fi,



New Members
Robert Kernodle
Bravo Company, 1st Tank Battalion
Greenville, South Carolina
Blog Site/Guestbook
    The good news we are getting a lot of hits on the new blog site.  The not so good news you aren't leaving any messages.   The same is happening with the guestbook.  If you are looking for someone and have not signed on maybe that person you are looking for is doing the same thing?  When you visit the blog and/or the guestbook leave a message or add a comment.  Communication is the key and the Internet is the only way to go these days.   

Note: When leaving a message post it under Name/Url. You do not need a "Url" only your name.

Semper Fidelis,
Heroes Corner 
Bronze Star Medal  
Corporal Reynaldo Salinas Fernandez (KIA)   
Cpl Fernadez was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alegario Fernandez. He was drafted into the U. S. Marine Corp from Odessa, Texas in 1966. He did his boot camp training at the Marine Corp Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, California and ITR at Camp Pendleton, California in infantry and then did further training as tank crewman at 29 Palms, California. His unit mobilized to Okinawa and he further trained in the Ontos. In August 1966, his unit went to Vietnam. In Vietnam, he was assigned to C Company, 3rd Antitank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. He was assigned as a "Ontos" tank crewman. The Ontos was a tracked vehicle with six 106mm Recoilless Rifles mounted and had a three man crew. On May 19, 1967, he was the gunner/commander of a tank. His company was participating in "Operation Hickory." His unit was operating with an infantry company when his tank hit an anti-tank mine. He was killed and there were seven marines wounded in the event. He was awarded a posthumous bronze star and purple heart. He was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, San Mateo County, California with full military honors.
Command Chronologies


October's 1965 to 1970 - Marine Tanks & Ontos Action


This is the seventh of what is intended to be a monthly feature of abstracted Tank and Antitank Command Chronologies. This Breech Block - October 2013 - will give you a brief overview of the action in which the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Tanks and Antitanks were involved in during each October that they were in-country. For the complete command chronologies, please visit our Foundation website; where Pappy Reynolds has posted the Tank and Antitank CCs. Most of the CCs are 100-300 pages in length with material that is of only marginal interest to most. I will attempt to feature that data which is of prime interest. If we've omitted areas that you would like to see included in these monthly abstracts, please let us know. If you served in Tank or Ontos units during a month of October and can recall some experiences that you would like others to read jot them down and send them to us. Pictures with captions are of particular interest. Nearly all of the material you send us will find its way into one of our publications and The Book.

     Please note that, the Battalion Command Chronologies routinely list all the principle staff officers. However, we will provide only the C.O.'s, X.O.'s, Operations, and Logistics Officers. Also, you will see the names of the C.O.s of H&S and the letter companies. It is our hope that our readers (and would-be authors) who can recall the names of their Officer, Staff NCO, and NCO Leaders as well as others with whom they served, will send us their names. Those Marines are a part of our history which needs to be made known. We serve our Brothers well by recording their names in history.

     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.

     And finally, you will note that the abstracts may looks a bit "ragged" with the cut and paste of the original Command Chronologies into the abstract format. Aside from the fact that we do not have the time and available person power to re-type the CC's reports, with the original CCs posted as written we have obviated typing errors. The cut/paste gives you exactly how the CC was typed at the company and battalion headquarters some 44-48 years ago.

Read abstracts


 Recent Auction Results


A sincere Thank You goes to  Ed Emanuel for his winning bid of $50 for the Trench Art Candle Sticks that we recently auctioned. 


There were only two bidders for the Candle Sticks. The other bidder was Richard Brown.


We wish to thank both of the participants for their enthusiastic support of the Historical Foundation.


 Semper Fidelis

It's Never Too Late

    "It's never too late to apply for a medal that you thought you earned, or possibly put in for, that you never received". The Foundation is here to assist."


    null  Retired S/Sgt David Nugent was presented with his award Aug. 26 aboard Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. The former section leader with Mortar Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, was surrounded by more than 100 family members and friends. 

     "I am grateful that I was able to receive this now so my children, grandchildren, brothers and their children can see this ceremony," Nugent said during the ceremony. "By seeing it, I hope they have a sense of patriotism so that if called to serve themselves, they answer honorably." 

    Nugent's unit came under attack by a North Vietnamese Army Regiment on Sept. 6, 1967. He was applying a tourniquet to a wounded Marine when an enemy grenade landed near him in his fighting position, the release states. 

    According to the citation, Nugent disregarded multiple shrapnel wounds, including the loss of two fingers on one hand. He still called for covering fire from an adjacent fighting position, and then heroically braved withering enemy fire to go and get reinforcements. 

    "I got about 10 to 15 feet out of my fighting position and started running and was shot in the leg ... I ran a little bit further, then was shot in the hip," Nugent said. 

    He is credited with helping to prevent the post from being overrun.

    Col. Russell Smith, 25th Marine Regiment commander, presented Nugent with the award. Smith was selected as the presiding officer of the ceremony since Nugent's unit - the 26th Marine Regiment - had been deactivated. 

    "There are only three other valor awards that are higher than this - and only the president awards two of them," Smith said. "So for me to be able to present this to Staff Sergeant Nugent is an absolute privilege." (Photo Credit: Rick Berry/Air Force)

Camp Lejeune Water Report
Suicide in the Military
Official Marine Corps Playbook
Edward null Stanley Wojciechowski
Port Angeles,WA 
    Edward was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on April 6, 1944, passed away September 13, 2013 at the Seattle VA Hospital in Seattle, WA.
    He served his country with the United States Marine Corp.  He was a member of the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation, the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association, a member of the National Rifle Association, Moose Lodge and Fraternal Order of Eagles. He loved to fish and hunt.
    Survived by son Edward J.(Cynthia) Wojciechowski of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; daughter Crista Marie ; sister Louise Burnstad of Florida;brother Steve Wojciechowski of Arizona grandsons Michael and Mark Wojciechowski of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 
Tribute to Ski 
by Tom Snyder                           
Flag Drape                       null           

We lost a good friend, brother, and Marine.
     Some of Cpl. Ski's duties and accomplishments while in Vietnam included "owning" and operating B Co. 1st. Tanks' Tank Retriever, Nadine; he really loved that piece of iron!
Ski was also the B Co. welder/electrician and constructed the communications tower, built our 55 gallon drum showers from salvaged bomb crates among many other things, and set-up and maintained our diesel electric generators that supplied our company area with electric power. Cpl. Ski, as we all knew him by that name, was a hard working, had a can-do attitude, and dedicated Marine, that loved anything mechanical or technical and went above and beyond his duties to try and improve our living conditions while in Vietnam.
     In one of our many e-mail communications of months ago, Cpl. Ski informed me that he was coughing/spitting, and passing blood in his urine. As far as I know, he was hospitalized, and received treatment from the VA and/or, Port Angeles, WA area hospital for these conditions.  As to what he was diagnosed with, I do not know at this time.
     He will surely be missed, and I think this little bit of info about him, fits him quite well, as you may agree......
Semper Fi, Cpl. Ski.....


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)+**
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
LtCol Phil Weigand, USMC (Ret)   
Stephen Arnone
Maj Frank Box, USMC (Ret)
David 'Doc' Forsyth
William Franker
Michael Giovinazzo
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
+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.

VTA Logo   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.

   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.

  You are encouraged you to bring your wives or your girl friends and as many of your family members as you want to attend.


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
1st Tank Bn, Platoon Leader Interview
Mail Call
The Book SitRep
New Members
Blog Site/Guestbook
Heroes Corner
Command Chronologies: September 1965 to 1970
FYI: Donations and Donors
It's Never Too Late
Camp Lejeune Water Report
Suicide in the Military
Official Marine Corps Playbook...Playbook...
Tribute to Ski
Credit Card Donations
Donate Address
FYI: Donations and Donors
Donors 2013






Marine Corps
Vietnam Tankers
Historical Foundation



Vice Pres., Editor,

Marketing & Production 

Richard "Dick" Carey

Contact: Email Me    


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


Historian in Residence

Peter Brush

Vanderbilt University

BA and MA in History


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 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



      Follow us on Twitter 

  Join Our Mailing List
    Official USMC Flag

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



 "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.


Email Stamp  

 Contact Us 



Like us on Facebook  Visit our blog