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 January 2014      

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

From the Board of Directors & Staff
Commandant of the Marine Corps                          
Happy Holidays Marines!
Happy Holidays Marines!

Dear Marine,  

    In November I served on the Massachusetts'  9th Congressional District's Military Academies Selection Board.  I had the honor and privilege of  interviewing some of the best and brightest high school seniors and college freshmen from our Congressional District who are vying for the opportunity to serve this great nation through military service. My representation on behalf of the My Congressional District, your Historical Foundation and you is yet another example how the Marine Corps Brotherhood can get things done through a positive mental attitude. 

  On another note; this month I have changed the format of the Breech Block by going to black and white articles sections.  Let me know if you like this or you prefer the older version?

   In closing I need to comment on the effort at this year's reunion of the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association to undermine our 13 years of hard volunteer work, sweat equity and the investment of thousands of dollars this organization can hardly afford to to waste to research, record and archive your participation in the Vietnam War.  The leadership of the VTA has set out to form a redundant effort to collect your personal stories. It is our hope that the leadership of the VTA work with and not against us.


Semper Fidelis,


Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation 

Founder/President Emeritus (1999-2005)

USMC Vietnam Tankers Association 

The Book SitRep


    We feel confident enough in the launching of "Marine Tanks and Ontos in Vietnam" that we can declare 2014 as the Foundation's "Year of the Book". The size and shape of the book's structure and content has evolved "on the fly" primarily at the suggestions of our Track Community and now it's just about where we want it. We are woefully short of personal stories from our Ontos Crewmen but we refuse to drop them for the paucity of input. Lou Najfus has worked tirelessly to bring in his guys and we will go with what we have for them. It would not be fair to those Ontos guys who've so solidly supported our efforts not to feature them.

     As I noted in a personal note to each of our nearly 100 contributors, the sweat equity of our four-person Book Committee has taken the book development a long way but, as we move towards final editing and the launch/publication of our E-book, the organizations comprise folks who want real money. From what I can divine from "E Authors" - Dick Camp, Eric Hammel, Doug Thiel, et al, we are still a bit short of funds required to make it to the goal line - though we are "close".

     In the February's Breech Block I will lay out the structure and a preview of the content of "The Book".

     Thank you for your continued support - monetary, stories, ideas, suggestions, interviews, pictures, documents, letters, maps, publications - the list goes on.


Semper Fidelis, Merry Christmas, and all the very best in the New Year,




PS: W have not yet published a date after which we will not be able to accept more stories but it s coming up very soon. Please contact us if you would like to do an over-the-phone interview.


Mail Call!
Personal Citation

Hey Ray,

    I did receive this medal (Navy Achievement Medal with Combat V)and have the citation. Am considering having copies of several photo's made to send in of logos, signs, and some combat action photos. Thanks for all your efforts, along with everyone of your assistants. I personally saw this project in your view back in '99. Thanks again Ray!!!!   
S/F, Wally (Young)  



    This is Frank "Tree" Remkiewicz.  I was surprised to see my video from the DaNang area during my return visit to Vietnam. I thank you for publicizing that video.  I am deeply grateful and I especially enjoy the Breech Block and the book reviews.  I am glad to see that the word is getting out.  Tankers played a major role in a new and ever-changing strategy and we (in my opinion) excelled in accomplishing those tasks.
Heroes Corner 
Silver Star *McKEE, THOMAS E. (KIA) 

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Thomas E. McKee (2066048), Lance Corporal, 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 July 6, 1967. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Lance Corporal McKee upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Home Town: Palm Springs, California
Command Chronologies


Marine Tanks & Ontos Action in the Vietnam War

Januaries' 1965 to 1970 - Marine Tanks & Ontos Action


    This is the tenth of what is intended to be a monthly feature of abstracted Tank and Antitank Marine Corps archived-Command Chronologies (CC's). This issue of Breech Block - January 2014 - will give you an overview of the actions in which the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Tanks and Antitanks were engaged during each January 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 here 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 possibly 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 CC abstracts. In upcoming Breech Blocks we 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 activities centered on Chu Lai initially and then moved to Da Nang with the relocation of the First Tanks north as Third Tanks moved to Dong Ha.

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

     If you served in, or supported, or were supported by Tanks or Ontos during any month of January and can recall some experiences that you would like to see become part of Marine Corps 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. We will record your experience, convert the recording to a written document, and send you a copy of both your interview on a CD and a copy of the written document. And, both will also be entered into the Marine Corps Archives at Quantico, VA for future generations.

     Also, you are encouraged to access the Foundation's Map Chronology that Pappy has created at 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, plotted is the exact location and statistics of every Marine Tanker and Ontos crewman who was killed in action.


Semper Fidelis,


Ray Stewart

 Part 1 ~ Part 2 ~ Part 3 ~ Part 4


Official Marine Corps Playbook
2014 VA Compensation Rates
VA Logo

   The following tables show the 2014 VA compensation rates for veterans with  a disability rating 10 percent or higher. (Effective Dec. 1, 2013)

Click to view rates
     Compliments of

Secure Credit Card Donations       
IRS Tax EIN 91-2111544 ] 
Your continued support is appreciated.
Please send your Tax Deductible Donation to:


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 Est. 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

2014 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
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
Brian Jefferies
John Lange 
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 Jefferies
John Lange
Garry Mefford
Robert Peavey
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.
Camp Lejeune Water Update
Birth Defects and Childhood Cancers Journal Article
Study Design and Outcomes
Exposure to Contaminated Drinking Water and Specific Birth Defects and Childhood Cancers at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
VA to Expand Benefits for Traumatic Brain Injury Adds Five Illnesses Related to Service-Connected TBI

    Some Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who are diagnosed with any of five other ailments will have an easier path to receive additional disability pay under new regulations developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new regulation, which takes effect 30 days from today, impacts some Veterans living with TBI who also have Parkinson's disease, certain types of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures or certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

"We decide Veterans' disability claims based on the best science available," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "As scientific knowledge advances, VA will expand its programs to ensure Veterans receive the care and benefits they've earned and deserve."

    This regulation stems from a report of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM) regarding the association between TBI and the five diagnosable illnesses. The IOM report, Gulf War and Health, Volume 7: Long-Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury, found "sufficient evidence" to link moderate or severe levels of TBI with the five ailments.

    The new regulations, printed in the Federal Register, say that if certain Veterans with service-connected TBI also have one of the five illnesses, then the second illness will also be considered as service connected for the calculation of VA disability compensation.

    Eligibility for expanded benefits will depend upon the severity of the TBI and the time between the injury causing the TBI and the onset of the second illness. However, Veterans can still file a claim to establish direct service-connection for these ailments even if they do not meet the time and severity standards in the new regulation.

    Veterans who have questions or who wish to file new disability claims may use the eBenefits website, available at

Servicemembers who are within 180 days of discharge may also file a pre-discharge claim for     TBI online through the VA-DoD eBenefits portal at

The published final rule will be available Dec. 17 at

Information about VA and DoD programs for brain injury and related research is available at


    My guess would be that most of us have heard about MRAPs. With no prior knowledge of, or exposure to, the military and given that this is the Christmas Season the uninitiated might think it has to do with what is done with gifts. To make it bit clearer, MRAP stands for "Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected" and is associated with the vehicles used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan though they date back to the first development in armored vehicles designed specifically to counter the land mine threat initiated during the Rhodesian Bush War; existing technology was subsequently inherited (and matured) by the South African Defence Force after 1980. The revival of the MRAP program was prompted by U.S. deaths in Iraq and thousands have been produced with hundreds of them having been destroyed by IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in those two campaigns.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD - A team of test operators and mechanics here gave members of the media and other visitors a firsthand look today at the mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP, which is currently being tested on its automotive quality and ability to protect service members' lives. This monster tripled in size by the end of Iraqi Freedom.

     A 2 1/2 ton 6x6 truck of the type used in Gen Walt's   description of mine clearing for a Rough Rider columns in Vietnam.


    When looking at the cost (start at $100,000 and ratchet up) and the sophistication of today's MRAP's, I could hardly keep from harkening back to an earlier war - Vietnam. That's the Senior Cruise where we ate up all the left-over canned "C"-rats from WWII and Korea. The ones that provided us with spotted brown Lucky Strike cigarettes - 4 to a pack. And where wore the same "782 gear" that my Dad wore on Iwo Jima. I swear it was the same! It's also the place we invented our own "MRAPs".

     This from Gen Lou Walt's "Strange War, Strange Strategy": "The first truck bounced heavily over the abandodned railroad track that crossed the road just outside the village of My Chanh. Behind it was a long column of vehicles that stretched south until it disappeared in the distance. There was only one driver in the first truck, Pfc. Robert L. Franklin of Bellview, West Virginia, United States Marine Corps. Franklin was sitting over two filled sandbags; there were three more at his feet and eight in the empty space beside him. Four sandbags hung from each fender, two were lashed to each running board and the gas tank was shielded by several more. Instead of cargo, Franklin's truck held a hundred and sixty (filled) sandbags covering the floor and sides. Beneath his vehicle mechanics had bolted a sheet or quarter-inch steel the length and breadth of the cab and body. Franklin was the "mine finder" for the (Rough Rider) convoy of trucks that followed him - trained to detect suspicious marks or objects on the road, alert to snipers and ambush, protected to the fullest extent possible from the blast and fragments of a mine." (My italics). Gen Walt observes that Franklin's ".... was a dangerous, lonely, nerve-wracking task." Speak of understatements!

     One can only speculate what then LtGen Lou Walt, writing this description of mine clearing for a Rough Rider column of 100 vehicles, would think of the protection afforded our Marine today and how ill prepared we were to protect them for the five years of the Vietnam War.

     Tankers and Ontos crewmen also knew how to jury-rig to stay alive. The troopers invented simple but effective "armor protected" fire power. Witness track blocks hanging all over the tanks' turrets, sandbags on the front slope plates and stacked on the fenders - when we still had fenders!


Ray Stewart





John "Jack" T. Bedoar, 70, of Syracuse, NY and formerly of Warners, NY at the V.A. Medical Center. Born in Lackawanna, NY, Jack served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1964 to 1968; 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Tank Battalion (Semper Fi). He was a Life Member of the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation.   He worked for the Teamsters Local 317 as a truck driver for 26 years before retiring to go to work as a ticket writer for Syracuse University for 12 years.

    Jack is survived by his wife of 37 years, Margaret "Peg" Bedoar; two sons, Steven Bedoar of Syracuse and David Bedoar of Baldwinsville; one daughter, Leah Bedoar of Syracuse; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


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. Click here.
In This Issue
The Book SitRep
Mail Call
Heroes Corner
Command Chronologies: Januaries 1965 to 1970
Official Marine Corps Playbook
VA Compensation Rates, 2014
Credit Card Donations
Donate Address
FYI: Donations and Donors
Donors 2014
Camp Lejeune Water Update
VA to Expand Benefits for TBI


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



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



 "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.


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