The Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation is looking for bloggers to write about Marine Corps Vietnam War era Tankers and Ontos Crewmen. While the Foundation may not actively support or agree with the opinions expressed by the bloggers, we do support the free sharing of observations, ideas, sea stories, and opinions. You do not need to be a member of the Foundation to participate. The Foundation created a blog site in order to provide a forum to discuss USMC Tanks, Ontos, and related subjects, closely adhering to our mission "To Write the History of Marine Tanks and Ontos in the Vietnam War." Although Bloggers might initiate these discussions with their blog, the continued interaction between bloggers, is vital. It is the Foundation's intention to attract people knowledgeable about, and interested in, the Marine Corps Tanks and Ontos action in Vietnam, to share their thoughts here. Click here to visit the Foundation's blog site http://mcvthf.blogspot.com
You will note there is a number of a category already selected. You need not limit your participation to those categories.
Richard 'Rick' Walters Joins Board
Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation President Ray Stewart has announced the addition of Richard 'Rick' Walters to the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation's Board of Directors.
Rick served with the 1st Anti-Tank Battalion in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970. Rick is the first Ontos crewman to serve on the MCVTHF board.
Dr. Ken Estes Joins Board
Dr. Ken Estes
LtCol, USMC (Ret).
LtCol Kenneth W. Estes, USMC (Ret), a 1969 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served in a variety of USMC command and staff assignments until his retirement in 1993. The author of several books, he holds a PhD in history and has taught at Duke University, the Naval Academy, and other institutions.
1st Tanks Stories
As I was researching stories to post for this month's issue of the Breech Block I discovered that there is a scarcity of stories from those of you who served with the First Tank Battalion. The Historical Foundation needs your stories. Without your participation your individual histories will be lost forever.
If you need help let us know. We are able to take a rough draft and write your story for you. Some of the things we do is; check spelling, punctuation and continuity for your article.
Send your story to; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks & Semper Fidelis,
Historical Foundation New Members
Do you know someone who recently joined the Vietnam Tankers Association? Send us their email address and we will be sure to add them to our members list and send them the monthly Breech Block.
Charles Chambers, 2nd Anti-Tanks, 2nd MarDiv
LtCol Edward J. Lamontagne
3rd Marine Division (Reinf)
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel Edward J. Lamontagne (MCSN: 0-54688), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Embarkation Officer of the THIRD Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 31 January 1968, Lieutenant Colonel Lamontagne was the Escort Officer for a convoy of four tanks and heavy engineer equipment en route from Phu Bai to an embarkation point at Hue City. Upon arriving at the southern edge of the city, he encountered a Marine company heavily engaged with a numerically superior enemy force which had infiltrated into the city. Quickly assessing the critical situation, Lieutenant Colonel Lamontagne deployed the tank convoy into an attack formation to support the beleaguered Marines. With complete disregard for his own safety, he moved throughout the fire-swept area, locating enemy emplacements and directing the tanks into advantageous firing positions. As additional Marine units were committed to the battle he skillfully coordinated the employment of the tanks with the battalion commander, adjusting their fires to ensure maximum support. On numerous occasions during the day-long fire fight, Lieutenant Colonel Lamontagne fearlessly exposed himself to intense enemy small arms fire to aid wounded Marines and assist in moving them to protected areas. His superb leadership and steadfast determination inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in the seizure of numerous critical positions within the city, including the besieged compound of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Headquarters. By his courage, indomitable fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty, Lieutenant Colonel Lamontagne upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Donors: Thank you for your support.
Mike 'Boris' Bolenbaugh, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011)
Peter Brush* ~ (2011)
Dick Carey, 3rd Tanks* ~ (2011)
Kyle Decicco-Carey* ~ (2011)
David 'Doc' Forsyth, 1st Tanks* ~ (2011)
Chuck Garrison, 1st Tanks ~ (2011)
LtCol Will Lochridge, USMC (ret.), 1st Tanks ~ (2011)
Jim Raasch, 5th Tanks** ~ (2011)
Pappy Reynolds, 3rd Tanks* ~ (2011)
LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (ret.), 1st Tanks** ~ (2011)
Guy Wolfenberger, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011+)
Martha Zaragoza~ (2011)
GoldSid Ferguson, 1st Tanks ~ (2011)
Gene 'Doc' Hackemack, 1st Tanks ~ (2011)
Garry Hall, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011)
Danny Farrell, 1st Tanks ~ (2011)
Louis Najfus, 3rd Anti-Tanks ~ (2011)
Larry Parshall*, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011)
Michael 'Doc' Pipkin*, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011)
Rick Oswood, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011)
Jerry Wahl, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011)
**In-Kind & Monetary
~ Donations received after 28 March will appear in the May issue.
|Your continued support is appreciated. Please send your Donation to:
MCVTHF, 707 S.W. 350th Ct., Ste. #1
Federal Way, WA 98023 Thank you!
Vietnam War Flashbacks
One Tank. One Round Trip on Hwy 9 and a Thank You.
By Dick Carey
L to R; Wally Young, Dick Carey, Danny Wadsworth, Roger Luli
Photo taken @ 2003 Reunion in Seattle
A recent email from Peter Brush stirred a memory as to a special road trip made during the siege of Khe Sanh in late March 1968 by 3rd Tanks, Bravo Co., B21 and its crew; 1stLt Roger Luli, Cpl Dick Carey, PFC Danny Wadsworth and L/Cpl Wally Young. We took 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines Battalion Commander, Col LaMontagne from the Rockpile to Ca Lu to deliver a message to the Commanding Officer there. The Colonel approached Lt Luli about the volunteer run and in-turn Luli asked for volunteers. I said OK. Wadsworth and Young were my gunner and driver on B23 and they followed with "let's go!" I served as loader; the Colonel sat on the ready box to my left just below the .30 Cal.. We took just one tank, no infantry support, nothing, nada, nil. We made the trip just before dark and returned as it was getting really dark.
We received no medals but, we did get a thank you from the Colonel.
This unusual use of a tank to deliver a top secret message occurred a couple of days before the B52's dropped an Arc Light beginning a 1,000 meters outside the wire on Highway 9 at the Rockpile
After the bombing run our two tanks and India Company(?), 3/9 opened the road to Ca Lu with Lt Luli's B21 in the lead and my B23 directly behind. Lt Luli devised a plan in which he would take one side of the road firing his 90 and I would take the other side doing the same. The plan was to fire half our rounds shooting at targets of opportunity going to Ca Lu and the other half returning to the Rockpile. I was ordered not to fire the 50 or the .30 in the event the manure hit the fan. The only shots fired that day were ours.
With tens of thousands of NVA between us and Khe Sanh we either lucked out or we were able to keep them from sitting up a killing ambush. Either way, when we got back to the Rockpile we were told to stand by on the road outside the gate as 300 plus Grunts walked pass us. As we drove pass the Marines near the gate they gave us an ovation of clapping and cheering. It was a proud day to be a Tanker.
Battle for Dong Ha
by Major Frank Breth
Maj Breth has since passed away.
On 30 April 1968, I was Major Frank Breth, the S-3 Ops/0 of 3/9, who coordinated and ran the ops for 3/9 ( Bill La Montagne) from March 1968-September 1968. In August 1967 I joined 3/9 after they had come out of Operation Buffalo in the DMZ, and was assigned as CO of Mike Company.. went through Cam Lo, C-2 and the Con Thien adventure in Sept- Oct, until we were relieved by 1/9. I then was assigned to Hue as the Liaison officer from 3rd Mar Div to Ist ARVN Div. I went through the Battle for Hue and then returned to 3/9 as the S-3, replacing Ben Gardner and working for LaMontagne at the Rockpile, building LZ Stud.
This is a well-known picture of Operation Starlite. It's found in the official "U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Landing and Buildup - 1965" (The "Green Book") page 80 and on the dust cover of Otto Lehrack's "The First Battle: Operation Starlite and the Beginning of the Blood Bath in Vietnam."
Otto and I have gone round and round over the years. He uses the picture of a tank but fails to say much about tanks in his book. I wrote an article for the Sponson Box a few years ago detailing the tank action on "Starlite" that had not been written previously. Please visit our web site at www.mcvthf.org
In the Foundation's quest to "put butts in seats" i.e., to ID Tankers (rather than just referring to "a tank" as if there were no Marines crewing it!) we've scored a success after more than 45+ years of digging.
Ken Zebal IDd the Tank (USMC Vehicle Serial # 201901) as A32 3rd Tanks (later C32) and the crew in the photo was: Cpl Bill Laidlaw/TC (KIA), Cpl Milo Plank, Jr/Driver, L/Cpl Tony Pinnetti/Gunner (WIA), Sgt Dan McQueary/Loader (WIA).
Thank you Ken!
MarCor Ops July
4 Jul-27 Oct 66
1 MarDiv operation for the An Hoa industrial complex in Quang Nam Province
VC/NVA KIA 507
US KIA 23
7 Jul-3 Aug 66
1 MarDiv operation in Quang Tri Province against NVA 324B Division in area of the DMZ
VC/NVA KIA 882
US KIA 126
Buffalo/Beaver Track/Bear Claw
2-14 Jul 67
3 MarDiv operation with SLF vicinity DMZ and Con Thien and Cam Lo
VC/NVA KIA 1,281
US KIA 159
16 Jul-31 Oct 67
3 MarDiv operation in the DMZ
VC/NVA KIA 1,117
US KIA 340
21 Jul-25 Sep 69
1 MarDiv/101st Airborne operation west of Tam Ky in Quang Tin Province
VC/NVA KIA 565
US KIA 78
2 - 14 Jul 67
3 MarDiv operation in Quang Tri Province vicinity of Con Thien, SLF part of operation Buffalo
VC/NVA KIA 424
US KIA 8
|New Armor and Cavalry Museum|
In a ribbon cutting ceremony, Fort Benning was recently designated the site of the future National Armor and Cavalry Museum. The location sits near Access Control Point 2. The project is in the fundraising stage right now, and an opening date for the new museum has not been announced. The Armor museum has had six homes in its history. This will mark a second time at Fort Benning, where the Army Tank School operated from 1932 to 1938. For more information, visit the National Armor and Cavalry Museum Foundation website.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
(Information obtained from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs from a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Brain injury often occurs during some type of trauma, such as an accident, blast, or a fall. Often when people refer to TBI, they are mistakenly talking about the symptoms that occur following a TBI. Actually, a TBI is the injury, not the symptoms.
A TBI is basically the same thing as a concussion. A TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. These terms tell you the nature of the injury itself. They do not tell youwhat symptoms you may have or how severe the symptoms will be.
Symptoms that result from TBI are known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS). In the days, weeks, and months following a TBI the most common symptoms are:
feeling bothered by noise and light
trouble staying focused
poor judgment and acting without thinking
being slowed down
trouble putting thoughts into words
anger outbursts and quick to anger
anxiety (fear, worry, or feeling nervous)
Audit: Disability Claims Wrongly Denied
In a recent audit of the VA Disability Compensation System at 16 Regional Offices, the VA Office of the Inspector General estimates that the rating staff incorrectly processed 23 percent of the 45,000 claims inspected.Of the16 Regional Offices, Baltimore, MD and Anchorage, AK scored the lowest in compliance with VA standards. Both failed to meet 14 of the 15 process requirements. Extended management vacancies were cited as one of the linking factors between all poorly performing Regional Offices. Because of the vacancies, these offices lacked continuity and proper oversight. As a result, procedures were not developed or implemented to correct previously identified problems.
VA Information and News
|Veteran & Spouse Aid & Attendence
Source: The Japan Times
- An additional benefit paid to veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. This allowance is paid in all Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Pension Programs. It is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person or by specific disability. Special Monthly Compensation (L) can at times be designated an aid & attendance benefit.
Source: Dept. Veterans Affairs
Agent Orange on Okinawa
In the late 1960s, James Spencer was a United States Navy longshoreman on Okinawa's military docks. "During this time, we handled all kinds of cargo, including these barrels with orange stripes on them. When we unloaded them, they'd leak and the Agent Orange would get all over us. It was as if it were raining."
Between 1965 and 1967, Lamar Threet was a medic at the island's Camp Kue. "Agent Orange was stored at Kadena (Air Force Base) and it was used on Okinawa for vegetation control. I personally observed the spray crews around the hospital grounds, and was present when they brought a guy into the ER that had his clothes soaked in herbicide."
By LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (Ret)
Many of those who served in Vietnam during the war - and as many, or more who were not so "blessed"- have heard about the inter-service rivalries that played out in Vietnam. Obviously we Marines were especially aware of the dust-ups between the Marines and the Army. We Tankers got along well with
some parts of the Army - particularly those parts of the Army that had M48A3 tank spare parts and/or extra food (ice cream!). The rest of the Army? Not so good. That's how it was at the "little end" where I was. Well, things were not much better at the "big end" either (they probably had plenty of ice cream and wouldn't have known a tank from a water buffalo). Army General Westmoreland and his staff (COMUSMACV) ran the war from Saigon using a philosophy, strategy, and tactics learned at West Point and applied throughout an Army career. Marine General Officers and staffs - all were subordinate to "Westy" - attended a different school. The results on the ground - and in the air - in Vietnam were more than some sophomoric school rivalry. The difference proved costly and deadly.
Peter Brush, with a concisely written, well documented, frill-free article, places in context the fundamentally and doctrinally different approaches the Army and the Marine Corps attempted in winning the war. Moreover, the Vietnamese Army was trained, organized, and equipped along U.S. Army lines by the U.S. Army advisors to withstand a land army offensive from the north. As the war began to unfold in 1966-67, the Army and the Marine Corps didn't even agree on the target! The Army maintained that the target was the Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) - "search and destroy" - while the Marine Corps believed that the real "target" was the Vietnamese people - "hearts and minds". We who fought that war were helplessly caught in the middle. Peter's not-to-be-missed article is found at Uncommon Ground: Interservice Rivalry in I Corps.
Looking For Marines
This Marine is looking for Ontos Crew to help him with his VA claim.
|1968 Phu Bai Vietnam Ontos Exploding |
LOOKING FOR MARINE FRIENDS OF:
Edward Lee "Harry" Harrison
From: Norfolk, VA
Enlisted from: 7 July 1965 to 23 June 1969
Sadly he went to be with his Lord on: (Died) 29 December 2005
His surviving family (including Harry's only son, a NC State Trooper) is looking for anyone who may have known him during his USMC enlistment, most especially Marine tankers from his deployment to Vietnam. According to his DD-214, Harry's last duty station was with Bravo Co, 2nd Tanks at Camp LeJeune. His skipper was, 1st Lt T.E. Hefner.
124 E Maple Street
Gatesville NC 27938
Khe Sanh Veterans Inc. Rochester, MN, Kahler Grand Hotel,
July 17 - 24, 2011. More Information
Mustang Officers Association Tampa, FL. Sheraton Sand Key Resort. September 29 - October 2, 2011. More Information
USMC Vietnam Tankers Association. San Diego, CA, Town and Country Resort Hotel and Convention Center.
August 14 - August 24, 2011. More Information.
Lutherville, MD -- HENNEGAN , Lt. Col. Joseph E. Buried at Arlington National Cenetary on May 19 2011, Lt. Col. Joseph E. HENNEGAN, Lutherville, MD, Age 83. He was born and educated in Baltimore, MD and resided for many years in Cherry Hill, NJ, following 33 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. Joe is survived by his children, Susan McGinley, Michael and Patrick; 5 grandchildren; sister Ann Moore, with her 2 children. He is predeceased by his first wife Betty Hennegan and survived by his wife, Pauline Nybeck-Hennegan of Elmira, NY, with her children Eric, Michael, Matthew, Ellen, and Amy; along with their children. A career military man, serving his country proudly, Joe was a decorated war hero, receiving the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Unit Citation; the only one ever awarded any unit in the history of the Marine Corps for a single day's action, along with numerous other decorations. Joe's military career started in 1945, serving in the South Pacific, Korea, Tank Company Executive Officer, and VietNam, Commanding Officer 3rd AMTRAC Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He was instrumental in the Korean peace talks, serving as Deputy Senior member under United Nations command. He completed his stellar military career in charge of the Marine detachment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, April 1978. In June 1952, Joe received his BS in Business Administration from Loyola College in Baltimore Upon his retirement Joe worked as a security consultant and also worked as a liaison between American LaFrance and the government in the development of a military vehicle. "Joe was the character, guidance, and moral leadership representative, above reproach and beyond suspicion, the absolute epitome of integrity." SEMPER FI.
Full military honors was accorded Joe at Arlington National Cemetery on May 19, 2011, at 8:45 AM, starting at the Post Chapel, Washington D.C.
N. Oxford, MA -- Phillip L. Ciccone passed away peacefully Wednesday, May 25th 2011 with family by his side, after a long illness.
Phil is survived by a son, Phillip L. Ciccone and his wife Kara of Euless, Texas; five sisters, Cecelia Kelley of North Oxford, Gerri Dupre and her husband Richard of North Brookfield, Lucia Ciccone in Maine, Penny Kulakusky and her husband Anthony, Nikki Gangai and her husband Joseph all of Oxford; a brother, Mario Martellotta and his wife Diane of Worcester; many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. A sister, MaryAnn Morrissey pre deceased him.
Phillip was born in Worcester, a son of Felix and Antoinette (DiPadua) Ciccone. He graduated from Worcester Boys Trade, joined the U.S. Marine Corp to serve his country during Vietnam. In 1965, as a member of the Marine Tank Repair Battalion, He received the Marine commendation medal for his work in constructing play grounds for Children in Vietnam.
BRANDON,MS --- Col Giles Wood Bond, Jr, USMC (Ret)
passed away after finally winning his 11-year battle with cancer.
Born in Hattiesburg, MS, Woody was a graduate of Hattiesburg High School. He received B.S. degrees in history and political science from Mississippi Southern, now known as USM. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
After serving in Vietnam with the 3rd Tank Bn., 3rd Marine Division (Rein) and earning several personal awards for valor, Captain Bond left active duty but continued service in the Marine Corps Reserve. He taught history at Hattiesburg High for one year while earning a graduate degree in history at Southern He thereafter entered law school at the University of Mississippi.
Upon earning his J.D., Woody accepted a regular commission in the Marine Corps, serving as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and staff judge advocate with tours at Camp LeJeune, NC; Okinawa, Japan; Camp Pendleton, CA; Cherry Point, NC; and Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. In his last active duty assignment, Col. Bond was Deputy Counsel for the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He retired in 1990.
Command Chronologies CDs
During the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association
San Diego, CA 17-21 August 2011
For sale in the Foundation's "Oral Interview and Map Chronology Room" at the reunion will be CDs of the Command Chronologies (CCs) of the 1st and 3rd Tank Bns and the 1st and 3rd AT Bns. In the case of the Ontos Battalions, their later actions were recorded by the respective Tank Battalions into which they were folded. These too are included with the CDs of the ATs. The price is set at:
$7 for one CD (any Bn - AT or Tank Bn)
$12 for two CDs (any 2 Bns - AT or Tank Bns)
$18 for three CDs (any 3 Bns - AT or Tank Bns)
$22 for four CDs (any 4 Bns - AT or Tank Bns) Or the complete "set" of both AT Bns and both Tank Bn CDs
This is the "Reunion Special" and will save you $3, $5, $7, and $8 respectively under the order-by-mail price.
We've kept the cost down as much as possible. All transactions are to be in cash or personal check. All proceeds will go to the "Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation" where we are writing "The History of Marine Tanks and Ontos in the Vietnam War".
If you are not coming to the reunion and want to purchase CDs send me an email for prices and your choice of CDs.
This is a follow up to the Statin medication warning I sent out earlier this month:
Amen to the deleterious effects of statins...the % of individuals suffering muscle pain is significantly higher than 5%. I have heard some anecdotal stories that put the figure at 50%. If you do take statins, you must take an equivalent dose of Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10). CcQ10 is extremely valuable in preventing heart disease. CoQ10 levels tend to be lower in people with elevated cholesterol compared with healthy individuals of the same age. What's more, certain cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins such as cerivastatin, atorvastatin, pravastatin simvastatin and lovastatin) seem to reduce the natural levels of CoQ10 in the body. Taking CoQ10 supplements can correct the deficiency caused by statins, without changing the medication's positive effects on cholesterol levels. Some researchers think that taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement may reduce the risk of serious muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis). And some small reports suggest that troubling side effects - muscle and joint aches - from statins might be reduced if you take coenzyme Q10 along with a statin.
Richard K. Peksens
Richard, thanks for the adiitional information. ~ Dick
THE BREECH BLOCK
Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation
President & Editor
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
Marketing & Production
Richard 'Dick' Carey
Lloyd 'Pappy' Reynolds
Board of Directors
LtCol Raymond A. Stewart
Richard 'Dick' Carey
LtGen Martin R. Steele
Robert 'Mike' Flick
David 'Doc' Forsyth Director
MGySgt Donald R. Gagnon
Robert Hugh Gage
1st Marine Division
1st Tank Battalion
03 July 1966
PP/ Staff Sergeant
30 September 1974
Disclaimer: "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.