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


OntosMCVTHF LogoOntos



We are the voice of  history  


CARPUCNat. Def. Ribbon




October 2011   




Dear Marine, 


     The mission of the "Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation" is to write the definitive, comprehensive documentary "The History of Marine Corps Tanks and Ontos in the Vietnam War - 1965 to 1970". To support our mission the Foundation conducts interviews of Marine Tankers, Ontos Crewmen, and supporting and supported units' personnel. We gather personal stories and other material for archiving in the Marine Corps History Division's Archives as source material for other writers and historians. In addition, to working with the Marine Corps History Division in the context of oral interviews, we have developed and implemented a number of "Macro Programs" that are designed to facilitate the accomplishment of the Foundation's stated mission:


Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation


2000 - 2012 Macro Programs


  • Write the history of "Marine Tanks & Ontos in Vietnam" in by-quarter segments.
  • Collect and archive oral histories of Vietnam-era Tankers & Ontos Crewmen.
  • Write summaries of Marine Corps History Division's Vietnam oral histories.
  • Create a "Map History of Marine Tanks & Ontos in Vietnam" on the website.
  • Write and support the publication of others' on-subject articles and books.
  • Create a lasting tribute to the Vietnam War-era Tankers & Ontos Crewmen.
  • Combining all of the above programs, write a "Comprehensive History of Marine Tanks & Ontos during the Vietnam War".


     The Foundation maintains active and close relationships with the Library of Congress, Marine Corps History Division, Marine Corps Archives, National Marine Corps Council, several noted authors, and the National Museum of the Marine Corps - to name a few. Also, we have a web site (managed by "Pappy" Reynolds) and a blog site. Dick Carey publishes our monthly E-News Letter, The Breech Block.

     We actively work "all of the above" with a quite small (but mighty!) "staff" at minimal cost and with no dues from our members. Most importantly, we could not produce what we do and support the many members who ask us for research information if we did not have the financial and moral support of our loyal constituents, for which we are so very grateful.

     Should you desire to volunteer to work on any of our programs, please let me know. We can always use more help. If you're too busy to contribute your "sweat equity" to the continued operations of the Foundation, a monetary donation - which is to a 501(c)(19) tax exempt Foundation - is always most appreciated.

     Thank you for your most welcome support.



 Semper Fidelis,

 Ray Stewart

Silver Star


Silver Star 



The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Donald R. Gibbons (1377206), Gunnery Sergeant, 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 December 9, 1967. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Gunnery Sergeant Gibbons upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Home Town: Detroit, Michigan

Donors: Thank you for your support.


Mike 'Boris' Bolenbaugh, 3d Tanks ~ (2011)

Peter Brush* ~ (2011)
Dick Carey, 3d 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, 3d Tanks* ~ (2011)
LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (ret), 1st Tanks** ~ (2011)
Guy Wolfenberger, 3d Tanks ~ (2011+)
Martha Zaragoza~ (2011)

Sid Ferguson, 1st Tanks ~ (2011) 
Gene 'Doc' Hackemack, 1st Tanks (2011)
Garry Hall, 3d Tanks ~ (2011)
LtCol Frank Slovik USMC (ret), 3dTanks ~ (2011)
Danny Farrell, 1st Tanks ~ (2011)
Garry Hall, 3d Tanks ~ (2011)
Louis Najfus, 3d Anti-Tanks ~ (2011) 
Larry Parshall*, 3d Tanks ~ (2011)
Michael 'Doc' Pipkin*, 3rd Tanks ~ (2011)
Rick Oswood, 3d Tanks ~ (2011)
Jerry Wahl, 3d Tanks ~ (2011)
Note: A special "Thank you" to Michael "Boris" Bolenbaugh for his most generous donation of M48A3 Tank manuals and otherpublications that he sent to the Foundation Library. Should any member wish to know specifics on the M48A3, or its components, please write.

Ontos Crewmen in possession of Ontos manuals who wish to donate them to the Foundation Library, we would be most proud to archive them.

+Additional Donation 

*In-Kind Services

**In-Kind & Monetary

~ Donations received after 28 March will appear in the May issue.

MC Flag Big WaveYour continued support is appreciated.
Please send your Donation to:

MCVTHF, 707 S.W. 350th Ct., Ste. #1 

Federal Way, WA 98023

                                                                                 Thank you!


October Significant Events


  June - October 1968 - The 3rd Marine Division, now under MajGen Raymond G. Davis, undertook an aggressive counteroffensive against North Vietnamese forces in the northern border section below the DMZ.
  Significance: Employing new helicopter mobile and firebase tactics, and no longer confined to securing defensive outposts, the 3rd Marine Division swept the 320th NVA Division out of its forward positions in South Vietnam.


  July 4 - November 7, 1969 - In accordance with Presidential order in the reduction of U.S. troop strength in Vietnam, the 3rd Marine Division redeployed from Vietnam to Okinawa.  

  Significance: The 3rd Marine Division was the first U.S. division to depart Vietnam in accordance with U.S. plans for the eventual withdrawal of American combat units from Vietnam.


  October 1, 1970 - The 7th Marines departed Vietnam.  

  Significance: The continuing redeployment of Marine units from Vietnam in accordance with the keystone Robin plans. 


Operations - October



4 Jul-27 Oct 66
116 days
3 Bns

1 MarDiv operation for the An Hoa industrial complex in Quang Nam Province


Prairie I/Deckhouse IV

3 Aug 66-31 Jan 67
182 days
13 Bns

1 MarDiv operation in the Con Thien/Gio Linh areas of the DMZ

VC/NVA KIA 1,397
US KIA 215


16 Jul-31 Oct 67
108 days
9 Bns

3 MarDiv operation in the DMZ

VC/NVA KIA 1,117
US KIA 340

Lancaster II

21 Jan-23 Nov 68
308 days
12 Bns

3 MarDiv search-and-clear operation

VC/NVA KIA 1,801
US KIA 352

Mameluke Thrust

18 May-23 Oct 68
159 days
7 Bns

1 MarDiv operation in central Quang Nam Province

VC/NVA KIA 2,728
US KIA 270

Henderson Hill

24 Oct-6 Dec 68
44 days
3 Bns

3 MarDiv search and clear operation in north-central Quang Nam Province


Pipestone Canyon

26 May - 7 Nov 69
166 days
6 Bns

1 MarDiv operation in Quang Nam Province centered approximately 13 kms west of Hoi An



VA's Telephone Service 

VA's Telephone Service Helps Family Members Encourage Veterans to Seek Medical Care 


WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched a telephone service, Coaching into Care, to provide assistance to family members and friends trying to encourage their Veteran to seek health care for possible readjustment and mental health issues.


"Those closest to Veterans are often the first to recognize when Veterans are having difficulties," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  "Family members and friends may not know what to say to encourage their Veterans to seek much needed readjustment and health care. The Coaching into Care line will help them find the right words."


To help Veterans address problems and support Veterans in making decisions about getting care, the Coaching into Care program offers unlimited, free coaching with family members or friends over a series of telephone calls.  The priority is connecting Veterans with VA care in their community through the family member's help and encouragement.  Callers receive professional coaching on solving specific logistical obstacles and encouraging sometimes reluctant Veterans to seek care while still respecting the Veteran's right to make personal decisions.  


Coaching into Care, launched in March 2011, has had more than 650 calls with family members or friends of greater than 175 Veterans to encourage them to seek care.   This phone line is connected to VA's Veterans Crisis Line, Caregiver Support Line, and the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans. This way, if the caller or Veteran is in an immediate crisis, or has concerns regarding caregiving for a disabled Veteran, or seeking assistance regarding homelessness, there is no wrong number for families to call.


Callers can reach VA's Coaching into Care program at the toll-free number 1-888-823-7458, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and online at  As always, Veterans can reach immediate help at the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, press 1 for Veterans. 

Toxins Linked to Gulf War Illnesses

Gulf War veterans suffering illnesses linked to their deployments were exposed to different toxins depending on where they served, a U.S. report says.


Forward-deployed troops show illnesses related to anti-nerve-agents pills they were given while pesticides were toxins most encountered by support personnel in the rear, the report by the Midwest Research Institute showed.


About a quarter of the veterans serving in the 1990 Gulf War have experienced symptoms including headaches, memory and concentration problems, persistent fatigue and mood disturbances, USA Today reported Sunday.


Veterans who served in combat zones took pyridostigmine bromide pills, small doses of a nerve agent intended to allow troops to build up resistance in case of a chemical attack.

Among support troops, symptoms of illness were most common in personnel who used pesticides on their uniforms or skin, the researchers found.


Nerve agents, anti-nerve agents and insecticides are in the same chemical family and affect the body in similar ways, lead study author Lea Steele of Baylor University said.

"Already, the evidence was mounting for these two exposures," she said. "When you pull all the research together, you start to see patterns that are very consistent."


 Tri-Care Copays Increase

Copayment for TRICARE Meds Changing Oct. 1

As reported here last month, TRICARE will soon change their phar­macy copay­ments to encour­age TRICARE ben­e­fi­cia­ries to use the Home Deliv­ery option.


As of Oct. 1, 2011, copay­ments for generic pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions will be free of charge for 90 day sup­plies through TRICARE Home Deliv­ery; while the copay­ment for the same med­ica­tion will increase from $3 to $5 at retail phar­ma­cies.

The fol­low­ing changes to the TRICARE phar­macy copay­ments are sched­uled to go into effect Oct. 1:

  • Generic for­mu­lary drugs pur­chased at retail phar­ma­cies will go from $3 to $5. 
  • Generic for­mu­lary drugs pur­chased through the Home Deliv­ery option will go from $3 to $5 for a 90 day sup­ply.
  • Brand name for­mu­lary drugs from retail phar­ma­cies will go from $9 to $12. 
  • Non-formulary med­ica­tions will go from $22 to $25 in both retail and Home Deliv­ery.
  • Brand name for­mu­lary drugs pur­chased through Home Deliv­ery will have the same $9 copay­ment.
Book Review

By LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (Ret) 


"Lost Victory" The Other War


     There is no shortage of books, articles, or opinions covering the Vietnam War. Those of us who have taken on the task of writing the history of the war often find it a nearly impossible task - fraught with insurmountable conflicts of "facts". It's been said that victory has any number of fathers while defeat is an orphan. The defeat of the Republic of South Vietnam has been claimed by ------- "everyone else but me!" Never has a war been lost by so many.


William Colby, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in his book "Lost Victory," goes a long ways in explaining the Vietnam War from the perspective of the civilian agencies - CIA, CORDS, USAID, and others. His analysis of how we got into the war, fought it, and lost it, without explicitly saying so, endorses the philosophy of the Marine Corps and questions the strategy of General Westmorland.


There are those who have said, and maintain the view today, that "we never lost a battle but we lost the war". And, while that may be true, the battles that we fought and died in were, according to Colby, for the wrong war. The enemy was fighting - and won - the war that counted. That's not to say Colby minimizes the importance of the military in fighting the Communist North Vietnamese. However, he maintains that we were employed incorrectly and that many more of our nation's finest men and women died than needed to. It's a unique experience to read a nearly 500 page book about the Vietnam War and find barely a mention of the U.S. Military. The meaning of "the other war" becomes clear.


Besides the difficulties Marine Generals Walt, Krulak, and CMC Greene had with COMUSACV, General Westmorland over the control of Marine tactical air and the "McNamara/Westmorland Line" the overall prosecution of the war the Marines fought in I Corps was at the philosophical base of their disagreements. And, as the war evolved, the Marines fought 2 wars. "By the end of 1966, the two Marine divisions of III MAF were fighting two separate wars. In the north, the 3d Marine Division fought a more or less conventional campaign while the 1st Marine Division took over the counter-guerrilla operations in the populous south." It's the example of "the counter-guerrilla operations in the populous south" that Colby maintains we should have been conducting throughout Vietnam, supported by CORDS, Phoenix, and other civilian in-country organizations that would have assured some form of "victory" or at least avoided the catastrophic defeat of the ARVN by the NVA.


Mr. Colby makes his point crystal clear i.e., that the U.S. (incorrectly) fought an essentially military war, paying little to no attention to the war being fought by our enemy by citing the case of John Paul Vann (as detailed in the book "A Bright Shining Lie"). Vann first fought in Vietnam as an Army LtCol. Helicopter driver He saw a better way to fight the war and when his words fell on deaf ears, he resigned his commission. Later, he returned to Vietnam and - as a civilian - worked his way up the chain of command to ultimately become the civilian and military commander of all the forces in the Central Highlands. Commanding military forces in a desperate last battle, his helicopter was shot down and he was killed. His name does not appear on "The Wall."





Mustang Logo

Mustang Officers Association. Tampa, FL. Sheraton Sand Key Resort. September 29 - October 2, 2011. More Information



USMC ONTOS REUNION ~ May 2013, Details to Follow.

Marine KIA




LINCOLN, NE --GySgt Marvin A. Russell, USMC (ret) 


Marvin A. Russell, 75, of Lincoln, died July 8, 2011, at his home.

He and his twin brother were the sixth and seventh children born to Loyd and Vadah (Ellis) Russell in Geneva. 

In 1955, he joined the Marine Corps. In 1960, he married Marilyn Johnson of York. During the next 15 years, the family moved numerous times. Sherrill and Christopher were born at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Andrew was born in Lincoln, and David in Philadelphia, Penn. 

Marvin retired in 1975 to Lincoln. He worked for Brewer Remodeling, United Way and Eastridge Church.   

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; children and their spouses, Sherrill and George Miller, Andrew and Shari (Rivett) Russell and David Russell; five grandchildren, Kim (Derek), Caelen, Brennen, Noah and Ben; and siblings, Betty Dieterle and Patty Buckingham of California, Dick (Marie Rhoades) Russell of Arizona, and all their children.

In This Issue
Heros' Corner
Donors (2011)
Donate Address
Vietnam Flashbacks
VA's Telephone Service
Toxins Linked to Gulf War Illnesses
Tri-Care Copays Increase
Book Review




Marine Corps
Vietnam Tankers
Historical Foundation



President & Editor

LtCol Raymond A. Stewart USMC (ret.)



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


Marketing & Production

Richard 'Dick' Carey



Web Master

Lloyd 'Pappy' Reynolds




Board of Directors


LtCol Raymond A. Stewart

USMC (ret.)




Vice President


James Raasch


Oral Historian 


Richard 'Dick' Carey


Public Relations/Marketing


Richard Tilden


LtGen Martin R. Steele

USMC (ret.)



Robert 'Mike' Flick



David 'Doc' Forsyth Director


Dr. Ken Estes, LtCol

USMC (ret.)



Rick Walters


MGySgt  Donald R. Gagnon

USMC (ret.)

Director Emeritus 


Quick Links

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Our Members' Books:


Beyond My Horizon

Con Thein: Hill of Angels




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In Memory
Lance Corporal
Robert Hugh Gage
1st Marine Division
1st Tank Battalion
1st Anti-Tank
Alpha Company

03 July 1966
PP/ Staff Sergeant
 30 September 1974

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