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                        Vietnam 1968








                                                                     REFLECTIONS ON THE WALL

The wall was raised to honor those

                  Who died in Vietnam.

It's shape suggest arms open wide,

            to welcome all who come.

It honors those who came back home

            To a hostile world of strife,

                        Who built a wall--


                         of stone

               That's robbing them of life.



The wall was built for all of us

Who have ever been in pain.

It opens wide, its arms and cries,

"Let's hope this was not in vain."

For those of us who stayed behind,

                  We had another fear,

And as we watched you go away,

     We knew our loss was dear.



So as you stand before this wall,

         Don't hold back anymore.

Let tears wash all the pain away,

         Strength won't let you fall.

The wall was built to give us hope

      That in future years to come,

Peace, goodwill and happiness

      Will finally find a home

                     Within us all,

                     To fell the wall

That keeps out love and sharing.

         To help us all to find a way

               To live a life of caring.


                                  Pat Jones

                        January 13, 1992  _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


December 2009

SOULS FROM THE PAST....Whispers of Silence


Joe Salinas, author of "ALL WERE VALIANT", has published a new book about our battalion that begins with 3/27's involvement during October 1968 and continues to a thrilling conclusion. Initially set in a Veterans' hospital in current day Los Angeles, former warriors of 3/27 are somehow transported back to Cau Ha Base Camp to reunite some six weeks after the unit had gone home 'the first time'. 

A cross between the usual war stories we've all read and "The Twilight Zone", this book is well written and well edited, and a credit to our unit's memory. Joe amazed even this reviewer with his details, his character development, and his attention to the actual individuals who would have lived this drama had it truly unfolded as he has written it.  I recommend that everyone take a look at this book, and perhaps play a quick game of "What If?" in his own mind.


Published by "AuthorHouse", Bloomington, Indiana,  ISBN # 978-1-4490-4160-1

Sadly, we have lost Joe. He was in the process of completing his third book.





MARINES DODGING DEATH:  62 Accounts of Close Calls in

      World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.


By Robert Simonsen  -  Published by McFarland & Company, Inc.

                 (A Scholarly and Reference Book Publisher)


NOW AVAILABLE by calling 1-800 253-2187 or on line at  (maps, notes, bibliography and index, softcover-$35).  Also now available from, and


DESCRIPTION:  Most Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have seen active combat have, at one time or another experienced a close call when they were seconds or perhaps inches from death yet survived because of personal diligence, divine intervention or just plain luck.  From Pearl Harbor to Baghdad, this volume contains the stories of 62 Marines who had near-death experiences while fighting in America’s wars.  The book, inspired by the author’s own close call in May 1968 details individual experiences, including personal background from before and after the close calls which provides a more human facet.  Additional

research adds historically accurate information to these fascinating stories.


Also, still available through Heritage Books is Bob’s first book, the history of  Third Bn., 27th Marines in Vietnam,  EVERY MARINE!

Contact Heritage Books by calling 1-800 876-6103, or it is available online at .  Heritage ordering book number is S-3351.  The book may also be purchased on line at

  (492 pages with maps, graphics, index and an extensive appendix-$40


McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Box 611, Jefferson, North Carolina 28640

336-246-4460. Orders 800-253-2187. FAX 336-246-4403 •


Veteran remembers war buddies in books

10:00 PM PST on Friday, February 20, 2009

Special to The Press-Enterprise

What Robert Simonsen started on a graveyard shift in a guard shack during the furor of the Vietnam War, he continues in the tranquility of his Riverside home.

In May 1968, Simonsen, 20 and a second-year Marine, came under fire from North Vietnamese soldiers about 30 miles south of Da Nang. Three bullets missed. His buddies on either side of him were killed.

A fourth bullet pierced Simonsen's helmet. The fragments inflicted several wounds to his head and he was knocked unconscious. He was dragged to safety and evacuated to a hospital where doctors removed as many fragments as they could.

He rejoined the Marines on the front lines after being hospitalized for a week. Later he learned that 22 men in his company were killed in one day.

Simonsen, a former body surfer, became a writer on sentry duty four weeks after he was hurt. He wrote seven or eight pages describing the action in which he was wounded and his feelings about his lost friends.

"I didn't want to forget what I experienced," Simonsen said. "I wrote down as much as I could remember. ... It was the single most important, most unusual experience in my life. I didn't want to forget the friends that were killed."

Story continues below
Jerry Soifer / Special to The Press-Enterprise
Riverside resident Robert Simonsen shows off the two books he's written about military action in the room where his medals and military awards hang.

Simonsen, now 61, is a retired businessman who has become devoted to writing about the wartime exploits of Marines and soldiers. In 2005, Heritage Books, Inc., of Westminster, Md., published his first book, "Every Marine." It's an account of Simonsen's experience and those of his fellow Marines in the battle for Go Noi Island in 1968.

Of his personal brush with death, Simonsen wrote:

"Suddenly, a dead quiet and blackness overtook me as if someone had placed the final nail in my coffin ... As the battle died down a fellow Marine came by with my helmet, showed me the small entry and large exit holes, and stated, 'You're the luckiest guy I ever knew.' "

Simonsen was discharged in 1969 and soon married. He worked, attended college and tried to stuff the painful memories of the war deep in his psyche, but couldn't.

"He was definitely traumatized. He woke up regularly with bad dreams. He's still haunted by the war. It took years for him to work it through," said Nan Simonsen, his wife.

Simonsen's difficulties didn't stop him from success. He worked for the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, rising to superintendent. By attending night classes, he earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cal State Los Angeles in 1972. He completed his master's degree in public administration in 1984.

Simonsen's difficulties caused by the war continued but a turning point came in 1993 when he started attending reunions with fellow Marines and learned they endured many of the same problems. He went into individual and group therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"When he started doing that, he was able to bring up the bad stuff," Nan Simonsen said.

The Simonsens acquired a Tupperware franchise and moved to Riverside in 1985. At one time, they had 1,000 people selling for them. Their best year before selling the franchise was 2000 when they had gross sales of $3.75 million. They sold the business in 2005.

Simonsen wrote a second book about the close calls in combat of 62 men in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. "Marines Dodging Death" was published this year by McFarland & Company, Inc., of Jefferson, N.C., and London.

His books are sold on He is working on a third book, "Backbone of the Corps," about non-commissioned officers.

Reach Jerry Soifer at


Age: 61

Married: 38 years to Nan. One adult son.

Residence: Riverside

Career: Retired businessman

Avocation: Author of two published military books related to his service in the Marines and Vietnam

Again sadly, we have lost Bob, who was in the process of writing his third book when he passed in July 2010.




A book recounting the Vietnam experiences of individuals of our battalion has recently gone to press.

"ALL WERE VALIANT"  is now available through the following website.  Please click below for details.



                                                                                 IN SPITE OF IT ALL

Beginning with his insertion onto Go Noi Island as a replacement for a wounded Company L machine gunner, and culminating with the healing Vietnam Veterans' Parade in downtown Chicago 18 years later, Chuck Lofrano has written intimately of his experiences, feelings and his new - found awareness of life around him.  Published by  Book Surge Publishing, the book is available for purchase at

A "must read" for all 3/27 Marines, this literary work goes beyond Chuck's short stay with Lima Co. and his further service with the 7th Marines. It  delves deeply into the author's psyche and his all important "attitude" about his personal life, his Corps, and his country.                                            



We have also lost Chuck since the publication of his book. I am so sorry to have to bring such sad news about our 3/27 Brothers.





Andrew Boyko
936 Everett Road
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

You may phone him at (828) 884-9056 to order.

  BOOK IS $10.95 + SHIPPING.     

LOGO: The Transylvania Times
The Transylvania Times • 37 North Broad St. • Brevard NC 28712
Veteran Relives War In Poetry
Boyko joined the Marines when he was 17 years old and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. (Courtesy photo)
Boyko joined the Marines when he was 17 years old and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. (Courtesy photo)

While sitting in a foxhole in Vietnam, Andrew Boyko poured the loneliness of his heart onto scraps of paper.

“I never knew I could write anything,” said the 62-year-old Transylvania County resident and the author of “Before the Wall,” a book of poems he wrote while in Vietnam.

When he was 17 years old, Boyko, who was born in Gainsburgh, Germany, and then immigrated to Buffalo, N.Y. with his parents in 1949, enlisted in the Marines. His father signed to allow for his enlistment.

“I always wanted to be a Marine,” said Boyko.

Once in boot camp, Boyko said his life immediately changed and he learned to eat, breathe and live as a Marine.

“We were told we would probably be fighting for our lives in Vietnam soon,” said Boyko. “We thought, ‘Is that a mineral or a vegetable?’ We had never heard of Vietnam before that time.”

The war had not started when Boyko enlisted, but there were newspaper articles and talk everywhere about possible future combat. After he was finished with boot camp, Boyko was asked where he wanted to be sent. Instead of choosing a camp or somewhere safe, Boyko chose to go to Vietnam.

“I am a Marine. A Marine’s goal is to be a warrior,” said Boyko.

In August 1965, shortly after the war began, Boyko stepped onto Vietnam soil and into a life filled with war and survival.

“I was one of the first guys out there,” said Boyko.

He said he was placed into a world where no one was sure about what would happen or what to do.

“We didn’t know what was out there,” said Boyko. “We just had to learn by feel.”

Boyko said they were given books, similar to a comic book, with instructions on how to look for field mines, booby-traps, mantraps and a variety of other things.

Boyko said he quickly learned three tied blades of grass, three mounds of dirt or three of anything meant a booby-trap.

Despite the training and observation, one day he fell victim to a 6-foot-wide and 6-foot-deep mantrap.

Inside the deep pit, he began looking around to make sure there were no snakes.

A fellow Marine got him out of the pit.

“Every day I thank God for where I am and what I am doing now,” said Boyko.
While in Vietnam, Boyko said untold feelings and emotions began to rise in him.

One day, while sitting in a foxhole taking turns with another soldier watching out for the enemy, Boyko began writing poetry.

He had not written a poem since the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Boyko said it was the overtaking of pure emotions then that gave him the words to put on paper.

“I was so embarrassed to let anyone know I could write poetry. It would have been considered a sissy thing,” said Boyko.

But once again, he found himself writing words on scraps of brown paper toilet tissue wrapper and torn off pieces of ration boxes.

“It was just during that timeframe when these words started to form in my mind,” said Boyko.

It was pure loneliness and thinking about home, girls, movies and life in the states that brought the formation of rhyme and rhythm from pen to paper.

“During that tour, you just thought there was no other life than the one you were living,” said Boyko.“I was just so lonely sitting in that foxhole. Then later in my tour, I didn’t expect to come home. I expected to die in Vietnam.”

Boyko would stuff every piece of brown paper or torn-off piece of box with his poems of life, death, war and home in his shirt pocket and copy them on paper back at the barracks.

His favorite poem was one called “The Night Before Christmas.”
In the poem, Boyko tells about the night he thought the enemy had come to attack him in his foxhole.

He said he raised his rifle and squeezed the trigger, only to wonder how many he killed.

The next morning, his sergeant laughed when he saw there was no enemy on the ground but a water buffalo.

“I like the poem because it was taking a scary situation and making it funny,” said Boyko.

Afraid To Share

No one knew of Boyko’s poems, and once he returned home in September 1966, he was afraid to share them.

“When I got back to the United States it was not a good idea to let anyone know you were a military individual, let alone a combat warrior,” said Boyko.
Some people were against the Vietnam War, said Boyko, and anyone who fought in it.

Boyko began rebuilding his life in the states until Feb. 17, 1968 when he was sent back to Vietnam.

“After I found out what the war was about, I wanted nothing more to do with it,” said Boyko.

But the Tet Offensive, a major campaign by the Viet Cong, broke out Jan. 31, 1968, and Boyko, along with the 27th Marines, was sent to aid the overrun troops.

“It was a national emergency. We had to go back,” said Boyko.

The Viet Cong struck the whole country at one time, and the 27th Marines were deployed at the command of President Johnson.

Boyko survived the Tet Offensive and was later honorably discharged. He then moved to California. After receiving an education in computer programming and repair from the military, he went on to hold careers in computer operations, field service engineering, truck driving, sales, handyman and as a mechanical/rail inspector.

In 1975, he returned to the military in a Marine Corps reserve. He helped form a reconnaissance-unit for the S-2 section and then transferred to El Toro in California for armory training.

It was in El Toro, Boyko said, that he “picked up his ranks” until he left the service in 1982 as a gunnery sergeant.

A few years later, Boyko retired to Pisgah Forest.

Boyko discovered Pisgah Forest when a Marine friend, Bruce King, invited him to live in his house in Hendersonville free of charge.

Boyko resided there until he found the home where he now resides with his wife, Trudy. During his military career, Boyko said, at 20 years old he saw more and did more than many people through their 70s.

“If I had to do it again, I’d gladly go,” said Boyko.

Once A Marine

Even though Boyko is no longer an active member of military, he keeps the memory of his brothers of the 27th Marines alive by holding reunions, helping record history in books like “Every Marine” or assisting with things like the Veteran’s Day ceremony.

Boyko assisted Joe Parker, a former military man, who helped start Transylvania County’s Memorial Day parade and service and the Veteran’s Day service, by speaking at the Veterans Day ceremony and handing out hats to veterans in nursing homes.

Boyko is also an active member of the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Volunteers.

“It’s the closest thing I have to the Marines now,” said Boyko. “And once a Marine, always a Marine. You cannot erase it from your blood. It will last until the day you die.”

It is his love and the pain he shared with his fellow “Marine brothers” and other soldiers that brought Boyko’s last poem and the title of his book,

“Before the Wall,” into being.

When Boyko went to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial he said all those old feelings began to arise in him again – the same feelings he felt in that foxhole.

“I started getting choked up,” said Boyko. “If you have not been in combat or a war, you would not understand this.”

He said he began to swallow his tears and you could have held a gun to his head and he wouldn’t have cared.

“I turned to stone, just like the stone that was in front of me,” said Boyko.

“You know what they went through. You know the youth that was wasted.”

He said nothing could say it better than the last line of his poem Before the Wall: “To buy back their lives I would give it all. To be with my brothers before the wall.”

To purchase Boyko’s poetry book Before the Wall, call (828) 884-9056. The book is $10.95 with an additional $2 for mailing.








A book by another of our 3/27 Brothers...William Murphy, Kilo Company (1968 Vietnam)

Details follow below

You may order this book through, or the publisher



the shadow of death

Doug Holzhauer | Contact Me



65 pages


The Shadow of Death Living With Vietnam



Golf Co. 2nd Bn. 5th Marine Regiment
Lima Co. 3rd Bn. 27th Marine Regiment



The Shadow of Death is a collection of Poetry written by Douglas Holzhauer


Cover Photo
Marine Sergeant Doug Holzhauer
Republic of Vietnam 1966-67-68
All rights reserved
Copyright 1997, 2003


For purchasing information contact Doug Holzhauer



Phone 870-405-6886
Fax 870-447-3053



P.O. Box 463
Leslie, AR 72645


Email me:







Operation Anaconda and Beyond
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Operation Anaconda and Beyond provides a controversial look at events that have affected the United States and many other countries throughout the world since the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the United States Pentagon.


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About the Author
Ray Fisher is a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps who now resides in Southwest Ohio with his wife and enjoys writing as a hobby. Operation Anaconda and Beyond is his first book to be published.




Kevin has also recently (Autumn 2012) published his book, FOR WHOM THE BUGLE SOUNDS, MEMOIRS OF A STONE TALKER, Also in memory of Corporal Paul Theriault.

It is currently available through  The ISBN number to request is "ISBN 978-1-62141-286-1"


                   THE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
                THE ELEPHANT GRASS,
                    THE RICE PADDIES,
                 THE TOWER DUTIES
                     THE LEPER COLONY
                   A SHAME I CAN'T REMEMBER
                                  HOMER( BUTCH )WYATT



            Honorary Angel:

        Lt. Joseph Renaghan


I am older now, with a few gray hairs

I've put on some weight, it's been 35 years

And I have to confess, that when I was small

I'd tell my mom, you were alive after all

As time passed by, I thought of that day

They said you were killed on the 18th of May

And I had to wonder, did you die alone

Out there in the war, so far from your home


So I prayed, that God had been kind

That maybe an angel had kept you in mind

It helped me to think that a Heavenly friend

Had chosen to be with you at the end

So many years passed, and I still didn't know

Until a letter arrived about six years ago

There were tears in my eyes as I read of the man

That God had borrowed to be part of his plan


He was an honorary angel

Kneeling by your side

He was an honorary angel

Shielding the sun from your eyes

And now I can rest and I can be free

Because your honorary angel also came to me


We sat down him and I, and talked of the past

He brought me your picture and told me at last

I couldn't believe what a friend this must be

To have spent so much time just looking for me

And I know you're smiling to see how I've grown

Your little girl has two girls of her own

I won't be sad, because one thing I've found

Love never dies we just pass it around


There are honorary angels

Standing by my side

There are honorary angels

I can see them with my ryes

And now I can rest and I can be free

Because there are honorary angels there with you and me


With my undying love and gratitude

Cynthia Muncy



                                I Remember You

I remember HIM ... That man I fought beside,

When I was just a scared young kid with no place left to hide.

They thought they taught me how to fight before I went to war

But I knew then I could never be like that hero of the Corp.

Oh, I tried to do the things he did, but I just was not that good

And, I always did what I was told to do; but HE did all he should.

He's the one who saved my life, time and time again

And I knew then I could never be a warrior just like him.

I saw him charge a bunker once when he was hurt real bad

So, I followed him and I gave some; But he gave all he had.

And when I thought the end had come and this was where I'd die

He stepped up and saved my life, and spit in the devils eye.

Oh, yes! I saw him pick off snipers, standing up to get the shot!

While men fell all around him in a battle burning hot.

And I saw him carry wounded while he bled from wounds himself

And I wondered how he carried on, yet never asked for help.

Hell! How could I forget him? I can still see him today!

When no one else knew what to do, HE could find a way!

When all was lost, and BRAVE men cried, for their brothers fallen dead

He racked a round, and stood his ground, and always moved ahead.


Where do men like him find the strength to carry on?

And who will take this heroes place when he is finally gone?

Will anyone remember the sacrifices that he made?

To save his fallen brothers so they could fight another day!

Oh! I do remember him! I still see him in my mind.

He was fighting everywhere! Right, left, front and behind!

HE was not just one man! He was ALL the men ... like you!

Who stood their ground, and racked a round, that's why we're called



Mike Swagerty, 7 April 2009

(Dedicated to our heroes who fell)


                     Thank You For My Family

There's a special wall in my house that I look at every day

Full of pictures of young men that I once knew

And I try to stay in touch now, with as many as I can,

(But, now, 'as many as I can' is just a few.)

I'm afraid that I've forgotten almost everybody's name,

But, their faces are still burned into my mind.

And, forgetting is not all my fault; the years should take some blame

(And the years to me have not really been that kind.)

So, I've got to find a way to make it to The Wall,

So I can see and talk with my old friends.

And, I want to touch their names, and say thank you to them all;

I just want to be with heroes once again.

I've lived long enough to remember; but not enough to forget,

So it's wise to make my peace the best I can.

And, if I can make it up there, I'll fight back all the tears,

And pray I've made them proud of who I am.

Some times at night I walk upstairs while my wife is sound asleep

And, have a coffee with them while I sit there all alone,

And in the silence of that lonely room, I sometimes softly weep

And pray that God has welcomed them to his everlasting home.

                  Mike Swagerty copyright 2010 Unpublished Work. 


A Warriors Way

  The round hit hard and I saw him fall; his body dropped in place,
No movement then, and I knew for sure, there was death upon his face.
  I moved to targets I could see, where life of movement shown,
And, picked one more, and squeased it off; another enemy sent to home. 
  And, warriors all around me fought, while my mind railed against the fear,
That I might be the next to fall, and breathe my last breath here.
  But, fear of death can't stop me now, for friends I must fight on,
And, kill and maim as best I can, 'till the enemy be gone.
  Oh! How did I come to be this man, a savage one, at best!
One who once held empathy, now sends men to final rest!
 And, yes, I know it is my job, to dispatch all their lives,
And cannot think of children, (theirs,) and of worried lonesome wives.
 No, it is my friends I must fight to save, (the same as they do I,)
And, let another grieve their loss, and be left to wonder why.
 And, while I know this is mine to do, (and do it right, I will,)
My mind makes room for sympathy for warriors I will kill..
 For, 'tis not a warriors choice to fight, but a duty given him,
From others who would send him out; time and time again.
  So, we fight on! For, Brothers, we! The men who hold the line,
And let others choose where we will go, and we pay it no more mind.
  But, think of us there in the dark, in the comfort of your bed,
And, pray NOT for us, who still make the fight,
But, for brave men, now be dead. 
                                                                Mike Swagerty


Below you will find the writings of a participant at the Quantico PFC Robert Burke Barracks Dedication. His insight is phenomenal and I'm sure that you will agree that it parallels the thoughts of all who attended.  Eloquently stated, this work must be given 'star' status within the realm of 3/27 lore.

The Dedication

16 May 2008

by Robert Simonsen

     Nearly 40 years exactly had passed for these former warriors as they traveled to the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia to honor one of their fallen brothers.  They came by planes, cars and even motorcycles from a cross section of cities throughout the United States including places such as:  Aztec, NM; Pisgah Forest, NC; Placerville, CA; Wildwood, NJ; Hixton, WI; Galena, KS; Yakima, WA; Newton, PA; Georgetown, TX; Salem, OR;  Macomb, MI; Bartow, FL; Englewood, OH; Long Island, NY; New Orleans, LA and Virginia Beach, VA.

     Most of them had been married (some more than once) and had raised families.  Although many are now retired, they had held previous jobs representing a vast diversity of work: businessmen, construction workers, salesmen, police officers, teachers, firemen, engineers and even career Marines.  Many had graduated with high college degrees while others had not even finished high school.  The bottom line is that they represented the heart and soul of America.

     These 60 plus year-olds included former ranks from Privates to Colonels.  They had all been Marines or Navy Corpsmen.  They represented all five companies (H & S, India, Kilo, Lima and Mike) from the 3rd Battalion, 27th Marines (3/27).   Most of them now had gray hair or were balding.  Although some could still fit into their old uniforms, most had added a ‘few’ pounds to their waistlines and no longer looked like the ‘lean and mean green machine’ of their youthful years.  Some limped and showed the physical effects of their old war wounds; others who suffered from deep emotional wounds were not as obvious.  If you talked to them you would learn of their many troubled years of suffering in silence before the demons finally erupted later on in life.  Post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) is the name for it.  “All gave some, some gave all.”

     Advanced age has left many with various pains, illnesses and the limitations that might come with it.  The big joke is to compare how many pills one is now taking to help alleviate the various symptoms and perhaps provide a better life.  Several of their Marine ‘brothers’ have passed away in recent years due to poor health or unfortunate accidents.  Although many will probably live another twenty years or so, mortality is once again facing them in their daily lives, as it did some 40 years ago in Vietnam.

     Some came alone; others with wives, girlfriends, children, grandchildren and friends.  Many who came had never seen or even knew the Marine being recognized, while others knew him intimately and were there in the Vietnam jungle when he was killed and earned the Nations highest award for valor: The Medal of Honor.  He was the youngest recipient of this Medal during the Vietnam War.  He was barely 18 years old and his name was Robert C. Burke.  He was raised in Illinois and represented the best that America had to offer in 1968.  He was a Marine and damn proud of it.  He lived life to the fullest and left this earth well before his time.  He was a ‘Gung Ho’ Marine hero who saved many lives on a fateful May 17, 1968 day in a place only a few still remember: Go Noi Island.

     Dale Camp was appropriately selected to give a speech at the dedication, telling the brief story of Robert Burke.  Dale had been there that day and credits Robert with saving his life as he, Al Ciezki, and ‘Doc’ Mike Lutz crossed a dry river bed under a tremendous volume of fire.  Twenty-one Marines died that day and scores more were wounded.  The unbearable heat also took its toll on the pinned down Marines.  Robert had aggressively provided cover fire with his machine gun and eliminated several enemy positions before falling to automatic rifle fire.  Miraculously, both Dale and Al were not even wounded, while Doc Lutz was hit severely in the wrist.  Dale had to take over for Corpsman Lutz and provided medical care to others as best he could.

     There were also several relatives of Robert who made the journey: sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins.  His younger sister, Marilyn, was the glue that had kept Robert’s memory alive and held the family together. She had attended two previous building dedications honoring her brother and was also in Washington D.C. in 1969 when Vice President Agnew presented the Medal of Honor to the family. She brought with her an album with pictures and other items concerning Robert’s life, which she graciously shared with everyone.  Dangling around her neck was a new necklace with a medallion that she just had made and centered on the medallion was Robert’s ‘Eagle, Globe and Anchor,’ taken from his dress blue uniform cover prior to his burial.

     Marilyn, former 3/27 Marines Terry Rigney, Andy Boyko and Johnny Johnson, along with the Marine Corps representative, Madelon Farr, and several active duty Marines had all played important parts at one time or the other in putting the dedication together and reaching out to 3/27 Marines and family so that there would be a successful ceremony.  Hats off to them all!  Your efforts are all greatly appreciated.

     Robert wasn’t the only hero that came from this group of Marines.  Others who attended the dedication had earned the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and other commendation medals.  Many had also received the Purple Heart for their ‘red badge of courage.’  It seems appropriate to quote from Shakespeare’s King Henry V play, “He, who shed his blood with me, shall be my brother forever.” All were heroes in their own right, whether it was recognized by a medal or not.  To be in harms way, thousands of miles from home on a daily basis, is one of the most heroic tasks that any person can undertake.  ‘Every Marine is a basic rifleman’ is the motto that many will take to their grave.

     The former Marines had gathered together, not just to honor Robert and to see the new building which was being dedicated and was now adorned with his name on a brass plaque, along with another honoree,  James Anderson Jr., but also to honor the memory of the dozens of others who never came back home.  If you observed these men over the weekend, you would see strong handshakes, hugs, tears, laughter and every other possible emotion.  They talked of old times and new.  They tried to remember events which had slipped from their memory over the previous 40 years.  Although nothing formal had been planned, many joined each other in both large and small groups for meals, camaraderie and late night drinking, cigar smoking and the telling of ‘old war stories’ (many embellished over the years). 

     Most found time to visit the nearby Marine Corps National Museum where their USMC heritage is proudly displayed.  There were important stops in the gift shop where they purchased Marine Corps memorabilia: mugs, shirts, hats, books, challenge coins and you name it.  After all:  “Once a Marine, Always a Marine!”  Another must, was a visit to the second level to the inside replica of the birth of the Marine Corps on November 10, 1775: Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A cold brew or two were quaffed down by the thirsty veteran Marines.

     A few, who stayed on an extra day or two, went to Washington D. C. to view the Vietnam Memorial Wall.  Some stood in silence in deep remembrance and others quietly wept over the name(s) of a remembered friend that had been etched into the granite wall.  One name may seem insignificant in the sea of 58,000 names but to the fellow Marine brother who had survived the war, the specific name(s) held an everlasting bond that could never be broken.  Marilyn, visiting the ‘Wall’ for the first time in her life, wept at the sight of her big brother’s name.  She proudly kept saying to anyone around, “That was my brother.” Penciled etchings of special names were taken for keepsakes.  Marines don’t leave their dead on the battlefield nor do they ever forget those that made the ultimate sacrifice.  The names really do not need to be placed on a wall because they will remain etched in their minds forever. “Semper Fidelis – Always Faithful.”




I think of bygone days, wondering why I'm here and not in a grave.


In the beginning we thought WAR was a glorious game to play,

                  Look out, John Wayne, we're on our way!


We were full of vim & vigor, ready to spit in your eye,

                  We had no idea what it meant to die.


We found out that death could be found in two locations,

                     The physical sense and the emotion.


We were taught that MARINES were tough, we knew no fear,

                        That meant there could be no tears.


                           Soon, alot of death we did see,

               Feeling guilty for thinking "better him than me".


                           What's that rolling down your cheek?

                           Everyone knows your a tough MARINE,

                                       So keep those tears unseen.


                           Look into their eyes and hold them tight,

            LIE to them because you know they won't last the night.


                                 What's that rolling down your cheek?

                                 Everyone knows your a tough MARINE,

                                             So keep those tears unseen.


    Go Noi, Booby Trap Alley, Desert, Riviera, the Leper Vil,

                                 Areas we did walk.


  Seeing and doing death and destruction of such magnitude,

                        That in the WORLD we couldn't talk.


                                 What's that rolling down your cheek?

                                 Everyone knows your a tough MARINE,

                                          So keep those tears unseen.


  In August we separated and went our own ways,

 Talking of how all of us will get together one day.


            What's that rolling down your cheek?

               Everyone knows your a tough MARINE,

                        So keep those tears unseen.


  The years have come and gone, but those days are always near,

                            What's that rolling down your cheek?



                                                                  Chuck Spencer

                                          Lima Co., 3rd Plt., 3rd Bn., 27th Marines


                                                                                    THE TWO HOUR WATCH

The two hour watch began at different hours of the night, every night.  In the bush you never knew which two hours. It didn't matter, because in my mind, I was always on watch.

As I surveyed the treeline for movement and took a mental photograph of every rise and shadow, estimating the exact time to awaken, I would prepare for sleep by checking the M-60 for moisture from the air and cover the gun if need be.  Are there enough rounds?  Clacker boxes in place leading to the claymores, with safety off?  Is my man awakened enough so I can get some shuteye?  Everything okay?  Time to rest.

As sleep approached I thought of the world home, wishing I was there.  I drifted off to sleep, exhausted from the day, still knowing there would be my turn to go on patrol.  Yet, what lay in store in the walk in the boonies?  The PPB was safe.  Everyone on 50-50 watch.  God!  Tonight, maybe sleep would come.  Easy man!  Steady!  Let's sleep.

Just as I feel sleep coming on the mosquitoes start their harassment, even through the repellant.  I'm so tired that I ignore them.  I dream of things that seemed a lifetime ago.  Would they still be there for me?  I wish so.  I think of men who returned home and came back telling us of hippies, protesters and the hate the U.S.A had for them.  Was this to be my case too?

In the front of my mind, sounds become different.  Is it my turn to watch?  Yes getting close.  I sit up in the hole and awaken myself as a prisoner on death row, with time meaning nothing for the moment.  I walk to the center to check in with the LT.  Everything's okay for now.  Suspected VC movement two clicks out.  It doesn't look like they'll hit tonight, but stay ready---pass the word.

But wait------that was 21 years ago.  Why do I still take the two hour watch?

                                                                     Mike Little

                                                                      Lima Co., 3/27