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Hill 174


greensquid68-69

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greensquid68-69

I arrived in Vietnam & was immediately assigned to a rifle company with the 9th Marines in mid-July 1968. Within days I was in my first fight on a hill near the DMZ. That day changed my life forever. 40 yrs later, about 2 yrs ago, I made contact with Richard Yaco, who at the time was a young official Marine Combat Artist. He had chosen to go along on that particular operation with my unit. I had met him briefly just before the event I am posting. Richard had carried a personal camera to make reference photos for his artwork. Upon our recent contact I soon discovered, to my astonishment, that he had taken pictures of that eventful day, including the beginning of the Op & the aftermath of that day's fight. He put his camera aside to risk his life under intense hostile fire to help me & others render aid to the fallen during the thick of it. I don't know how often visual validation of a living Nightmare is recorded - but this was one of mine.

 

I dedicate this posting to the brave souls that were wounded, maimed for life & killed that day and to Richard for his unflagging courage.

 

Doc JM

 

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Photo taken from the book Vietnam Combat Art published 1968

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Doc,

Thanks for the reminder. My uncle was in the Army in Vietnam, but he was spared combat. This year, for my "one man parade" on Memorial Day I will be wearing a Vietnam era Marine uniform (I was in the USMCR during the 1980s when I was in college). It's my humble attempt to remind folks of what y'all did, and gave, for us in Vietnam.

Many thanks sir!

Capa

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greensquid68-69

Beginning the Operation 'Lancaster II' Vandegrift Combat Base (LZ Stud) Northern "I" Corps RVN around July 18, 1968

 

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Some of these guys would not be alive in a couple of days.

 

I'm trying to get the hang of this posting stuff - I'm not sure if I'm doing it right I have quite a few photos to post!

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greensquid68-69

Doc,

Thanks for the reminder. My uncle was in the Army in Vietnam, but he was spared combat. This year, for my "one man parade" on Memorial Day I will be wearing a Vietnam era Marine uniform (I was in the USMCR during the 1980s when I was in college). It's my humble attempt to remind folks of what y'all did, and gave, for us in Vietnam.

Many thanks sir!

Capa

 

Thank you Capa - I actually have a series of about 18 photos of this action to post. But I realize I may be doing it wrong. So I'm going to have to wait & see if I get some help. The only way I can figure it out is to keep hitting reply to my own post - but that doesn't make sense!

 

If anyone is reading this & knows how to post numerous photos on the same subject. Please let me know ASAP.

 

Doc

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shrapneldude

I think you can just do one photo per post reply after another.

 

It's really neat to have photos like this. Sometimes it's better to remember these guys as they were BEFORE something bad happened to them.

 

Can't say enough good things about you, and the other Corpsmen who risked their lives to help wounded Marines. Semper Fi, Doc.

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greensquid68-69

I think you can just do one photo per post reply after another.

 

It's really neat to have photos like this. Sometimes it's better to remember these guys as they were BEFORE something bad happened to them.

 

Can't say enough good things about you, and the other Corpsmen who risked their lives to help wounded Marines. Semper Fi, Doc.

 

__

 

Thanks Dan - I guess I'll just fumble thru this - unfortunately there is not a good ending on this photo string.

 

Such is War.

 

Doc

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greensquid68-69

Closing in on Hill 174. Someone called it "where the Devil lived". The 4th Marines had fought on this same hill the year before & took severe casualties. That was the way it was - fight for it, leave it & then the enemy returned!

 

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greensquid68-69

Made it to the top - all seems quiet. The jets had bombed & prepped it well the day before. Checking out the distant terrain.

 

 

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greensquid68-69

Bombing nearby - I'm not sure if there were NVA spotted at this time by the FO or just more prepping.

 

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greensquid68-69

Hitting the deck. Turns out some members of a forward group of the 27th NVA Reg't had actually quietly slipped in with our ranks as we ascended the hill hoping to get back to their main unit just over the hill. One of the NVA was spotted by our skipper, Capt Dave Buckner (2nd from left with the cigarette) & another Marine opened fire - Then all Hell broke out. In came mortars & a rain of fire.

 

 

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greensquid68-69

Radioman pulling out his .45 - others jockeying for a firing position.

 

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greensquid68-69

As I mentioned, the fight got very intense & Richard stopped taking photos until the fight ended. Meanwhile, Huey gunships & Jets were called in for assistance, dropping 500 lb bombs & Napalm. The bombs exploded so close the ground shook like a horrific earthquake, rattling our brains & raining dirt clods & thick dust. I can only imagine what the NVA were going thru. The Napalm was very close to us and looked like a huge wall of fire from Hell itself & took the oxygen out of the air & made it hard for some to breathe.

It turns out the NVA unit we were fighting had a battalion sized reinforcement coming in from not far away. By a fluke two jets that were going up to bomb North Vietnam were diverted to help us - they unloaded on the NVA who were out in the open at the time & decimated them. I'll never know how close it came to being a 'Custer' event for my company!

 

Here are some of the stunned when the smoke cleared.

 

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greensquid68-69

Richard told me he believes this to be George Gipson, a 19 yr old Marine, who had come to my assistance when he heard my cries for help. He selflessly left his covered position to assist me. I was trying to drag another wounded Marine, Bobby Murdock, who had been paralyzed by a grenade, out of the Killing Zone. When he got to me & we were beginning to pull Bobby, he was shot by an automatic burst and killed on the spot. The ULTIMATE sacrifice.

 

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Staff Sgt 'Tom' Thomas - Our superior Platoon Sgt is in the center directing the movement.

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greensquid68-69

At the bottom of this photo is another KIA. You can see his arm out-stretched from his flak jacket. He was shot thru the head in one of the opening salvos of the fight. His nick name was 'Limey'. He was British & joined the US Marines, only to die here where 'the Devil lived'.

 

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greensquid68-69

Ready to leave the hill...only to go fight somewhere else another day. The NVA were probably back to this place in no time.

 

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very somber and thought-provoking remembrances and photos. Thanks so much for sharing!

Terry

to all who have served!

 

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