Items of Interest


50th
Major General & Mrs. James Livingston - 50th Wedding Anniversary Photo

2/4 FORMATION IN VIETNAM - 1967
MemoriesDaiDo

MemoriesDaiDo



MEMORIES OF DAI DO FROM ROGER DARDEN TO BG BILL WEISE

“Hi Bill,

“The Battle of Dai Do ended for me the evening of May 2, 1968.

“There were only about 75 of us left that evening, so we set up a perimeter near Dai Do just before dark and waited. About 9 p.m., Ernie Pace and I (along with a young private whose name I cannot remember) were facing west in a dried-up paddy right along a small stream. Ernie and the private tried to catch a nap while I stayed awake on watch. Fritz Warren and a young naval FO were the only commissioned officers left that night, I think, and Ernie and I may have been the only remaining E-5s.

“In retrospect, we should have moved our position after dark so the NVA didn't know exactly where we were. I think that after three days and nights, however, we were too tired to think that clearly.

“The NVA started throwing mortar rounds onto us about a half-hour later. The first one hit the water just in front of me, sending up a tall column of water. The next one landed right behind us, hitting all three of us with shrapnel and heat from the blast. My helmet was blown off, as was the wooden stock on my M-14 (nothing but a few splinters left). There was an old cement pagoda about a half-kilometer to the west that I had seen in the light of earlier flares dropped from a Puff. I suspected the NVA mortars were set up inside that roofless building. One of our Marines climbed up on top of an Amtrak and shot up the east wall of that pagoda with a .50. A minute or so later, what appeared to be an entire battery worth of shells from Dong Ha obliterated it, leaving only a cloud of dust.

“As I recall, 30 Marines were wounded in the mortar attack. In a half hour or so, three UH-34 medivacs flew in, the first one turning on its landing lights only for a moment to see where the deck was. We loaded 10 wounded onto each of the first two choppers and they took off. I was the last one and waved the third one off, thinking another was coming. But the crew chief waved me over. When I got to the open door, he grabbed the front of my flak jacket and yanked me aboard. He yelled in my ear "There aren't anymore. This is the last one." So I literally sat in the open door as we lifted off and flew out to the USS Repose a few miles off shore. As far as I know, that was the last of the firing between 2/4 and the NVA.

“Ernie Pace and I spent a month in Ward C on the hospital ship, then we went back in country and spent one night in a field hospital along the airstrip at Danang. The next morning, we flew out on a Air Force medical plane to Tokyo (with a brief stopover in Okinawa to off-load a Marine in critical condition). We spent two weeks at some Army hospital north of Tokyo, then flew from Japan to Anchorage, Alaska for refueling, then on to an Air Force base near St. Louis. The next day, I was flown up to Midway near Chicago, and put on a Navy bus up to the Great Lakes Naval Hospital where I spent the final three months of my three-year enlistment. I got out on Sept. 6, 1968, got married the next day to a woman I'd met only three weeks earlier near Chicago, and we're still together 48 years later with three grown sons and six awesome grandchildren.

“Somewhere along the way, I lost track of Ernie Pace as he was sent elsewhere. I've tried to find him over the years, but never succeeded. I just recently learned on the internet that passed away about 15 years ago. Both of us were in S-2 where he was the interpreter. Ernie was a good buddy.

“For 30 years or so, I thought you hadn't made it. You were seriously wounded around midday (I thought on May 1, but I guess it was May 2). I was right next to Tom Williams' amtrak when you were carried to it and loaded inside.
In 1998 or 1999, I was browsing in a bookstore and found a book titled "After Tet." While skimming a chapter about Dai Do, I read that you had survived and eventually rose in rank to general. A couple of years later, I met Tom Williams and his wife Kelly through the 2/4 Association. Thanks to Tom and Kelly, you and I re-met in Mason, Michigan, when you gave a Memorial Day speech (I think). Somebody kindly invited my wife Marcia and I to have dinner with you at a private home nearby, we got to talk some more, and Marcia and I got to drive you back to your motel near Lansing after I told you that I was assigned to be your driver when the entire battalion spent a week or two at Subic Bay in March or April of '68.

“I'm glad you made it, and hope you're doing well.

“Roger Darden”

Easter Service

Easter Service - Fr Ray Stubbe - Khe Sanh, RVN 1967
[Picture provided by Ben Cascio]

Boston Luncheon 2014

Chris Macintosh with MGen Jim Livingston at a Boston luncheon in 2014. Both served in E/2/4, but at different times.

Ben Cascio

This photo was taken on Thanksgiving Day 1967 sitting on the marston matting next to the fuel pits at Quang Tri RVN. We had been flying resupply and medivacs all day, and took a break to refuel. Since we already had missed Thanksgiving Dinner at the mess hall at Phu Bai, I gave our crews the first pick of a case of C's we had on board, and you guessed it, I got stuck with the last pick, the infamous "Ham & Mothers." Ham & Lima Beans, the most vile, vilified can in the case. That was my Thanksgiving dinner in 1967, although probably better than most of the grunts experienced that day. So much for "swing with the wing."

I keep a copy of this photo on my desk to remind me of that day and how lucky I am to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving every year since with my family and friends. I remember making a vow to myself as that photo was taken, that if I ever survived, I would always CELEBRATE Thanksgiving and would share it with family, friends and those less fortunate, which I have continued to do, and look forward to doing so again this Thursday. I call it my "Keep me Humble Picture." Whenever I get a little too full of myself, it brings me back to reality and reminds me that things could be worse, and how much I have to be truly thankful for, especially the friends whom I have made & continue to cherish over the years.
So, I am wishing you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving, and only ask that you take the time to reflect and thank God for everything we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

Semper Fidelis,

Ben Cascio
Capt. USMC Retired

The One Eyed Ugly Bastard
Saepe nefas, quod numquam pro dubio
"Seldom wrong, but never in doubt"

* WWII EXPERIENCES OF CPL ARTHUR SCHOBERT *

The following is a copy of an original letter received from Cpl. Arthur Schobert by Becky Valdez. Arthur currently lives in San Diego, California and, at the age of 87 years old (birthday 11 August 2014), with a request for a life membership in the 2/4 Association. Arthur also requested that I share his story with other Marines.

Editor's Note: The story below was edited for clarity without intent of changing the meaning of the story.

"My experience in becoming a Marine required a surrender of the civilian life I had been accustomed to. Amongst the many thousands of young men at the San Diego Marine Base most of us [were] in the prime age of our lives [of] 20 to 25 years old and coming from many walks of life. The most [prominent] of places were from the Midwest, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin. As the weeks of training passed, I could see and feel a big change amongst us all. You feel yourself maturing due to the "Serious Training, " and you learn that Respect and Discipline need to be shown to your superiors.

"At its best Marine Training is tough and it's only made worse for yourself if you show defiance.

"Upon our graduation we felt relieved, but deep inside we knew that dangerous days and sacrifice lay ahead for the [second] world war still raging in the South Pacific. Interesting locations of our training: first at the San Diego Marine Base; next a number of weeks at Camp Pendleton at Oceanside; and, the third place was at LaJolla where today the U.C.S.D campus is [located]. At La Jolla we received the final phase of our training before being sent to the South Pacific. The Marine Base at La Jolla was called Camp Matthews.

"Upon finishing training, I had a brief visit with family in Minnesota. When this ended I reported back to San Diego at Camp Pendleton to get ready to "Ship Out"!

"One night under the cover of darkness we boarded ships at the foot of Broadway. There were many thousands of us Marines leaving San Diego at this time, so many never returned. Our course was set for Guadalcanal in the South Pacific which is in the group of the Solomon Islands, about 13 degrees below the equator and near New Zealand and Australia. This was to become a very risky journey for we left without any destroyer escort because our Navy was depleted, not having any available.

"About 5 days out of San Diego half of our steam shower ceased to function and it took the same number of days to complete the repair. During this [interruption] in the water we picked up signals of Japanese submarines, but were not fired upon. Upon resuming our journey for the next 22 days we followed a zigzag course to shake off any subs following us. The day of arrival at Guadalcanal greeted us with high heat of 122 degrees and shortly we all had severe headaches.

"Amongst a small clearing in the jungle surrounded by coconut trees we began to set up large tents each holding eight Marines. It took many hours to complete this task, and with the heat taking our strength and stomachs all upset, we couldn't work very fast. Darkness came with still much to do. The next day with the hot sun rising we were surprised to see thousands of native pygmies all around us. They averaged under five feet and very little of their bodies [were] covered, and that [applied to] both sexes. All families seemed to have many children and were friendly. The men did lots of fishing and what a sight to see them climb up the tall coconut trees and with large sharp hatchets cut the coconuts and tumble down onto the ground. The trees were 30 to 40 feet tall. These coconuts were chopped up and spread out to dry which in turn were picked up by ships from England and in [exchange] the natives received dried beef, spices and other needs including cotton cloth material to make their wearing apparel.

"We continued to train in the jungle which harbored many wild boars, monkeys and many species of birds. We realized that remaining sharp would be tested in the near future and we also made mock landings on nearby islands. Finally, our orders came to load ships, [the destination of which] was secret, so we were many days at sea. The tip off was when we entered the China Sea and we [then] realized our strike would be close to Japan. A typhoon developed at this time and the waters were very rough. Many days of travel [had been] consumed from the time we had left Guadalcanal [until] reaching our destination of Okinawa. Okinawa had to be taken to give us a close by operating air base [to allow] bombing missions to pound and pound Japan, and weaken them as much as possible before we invaded. [The landing] was scheduled for November 1st 1945.

"On our last night aboard the ship no one slept. We were all nervous and excited. Steak and eggs were served and for many it was to be their last meal before meeting death on Okinawa. All of us felt the danger we were about to experience. The ships [stopped five] miles out at sea. [Rope] ladders and nets [were] lowered over the side of the ships, and Higgins landing craft boats numbering [in the] hundreds [bobbed] up and down on the surface of the ocean waters as six Marines abreast climbed down [to board them]. [We had to keep in mind the timing of] the movement of the Higgins boats accurately so [when they bobbed] up, [we let go to] land in the boat as softly as possible to cushion the fall! Remember, each Marine [was] loaded with belts of ammo across the front and back, plus many hand grenades fastened on the jacket [and possibly a] heavy machine gun. [All this] weight [addrd] to the impact of the landing into the Higgins boat.

"Hours went by during the darkness to [board the boats] for there were thousands of us Marines. The time we used to accomplish the [boarding] was far greater than planned. All of the areas designated for us to come ashore had massive submerged coral reefs. In order to safely travel over the reefs this had to be done at high tide. We missed this window of opportunity, however, and so we tried to get ashore on a low tide. You can probably guess what happened. Our Higgins boat with 24 Marines got hung up and stuck tight on the coral reef, plus many others had the same experience. The waters were very choppy and cold. We were leaning way over, [but] luckily didn't tip over. [We were] able to free ourselves and resume our way to shore. I was in the 13th wave of Marines to get ashore.

"This invasion of Okinawa was on April 1, 1945 and the date [was] not only April Fool's but Easter Sunday.

"We had lots of Marine fighter planes covering our landing and also there was much combat between our pilots and the Japanese Zero fighter pilots. Many of our ships were hit by Japanese suicide pilots in [their] Zero fighters. Upon advancing inland we could see many Marines had paid the supreme price and their bodies were lifeless.

"The feeling [about] all of this can't really express [the sight of] death all around and just a few hours back we [had] all [been] talking and kidding with each other. I was close by on April 15, 1945 when Ernie Pyle, the world famous news correspondent, lost his life. A bullet went through his head entering on the side of the right temple. Mercifully, he didn't suffer and it was a quick death. I must say with the arrival of each day you [prayed] that, should death come, it be instant. I also thought about family very much and wondered if I [would] ever see them again.

"In advancing, we were on schedule had captured two airfields which our own planes could then use, but there was still much fighting ahead before all of Okinawa could be taken. Much rain fell and this [made] survival more difficult. It cut down on your vision and sounds of enemy foot movements around you. We had terrible night of hand to hand combat, killing with bayonets. All we ever learned while training came into play at this time in order to survive.

"I will dwell now on the [population] of Okinawa consisting of the women with children, [youngsters] and old men too old to serve in the Japanese military. As each night of darkness came wherever we were, we set up our lines of defense guarded with all of our machine guns. We had planes fly low overhead dropping leaflets printed in several languages explaining to the civilian population not to cross our lines of defense at night for we [would] shoot at any moving [object]. The warning wasn't heeded, however, and hundreds of young mothers with babies strapped on their backs plus enemy soldiers also in the mix were shot. As daylight came each morning the sad sight [greeted us] of all of these mothers and older men having been shot to death, and it was avoidable. Many of the infants were still alive, but not the mothers. We could hear the crying and moaning of all who were dying during the night and helpless to do anything about it. We saved as many as humanly possible.

"Time kept passing and I was approaching my 50th day on Okinawa. During this period of time, I and the rest had not been in a bed, [had] no bath nor any hot meals. I was really losing weight, and my belt hardly kept my pants up anymore. [This] 50th day was the day I was shot. It was in my right shoulder. I had many close calls before this and I can tell you as a bullet comes closer to you, especially your ears, the sound is picked up and the louder the sound the closer it is. I was hit [by] a Japanese machine gun and I was a machine gunner, too. The force spun me around and down. Almost immediately there is a feeling of a hot sting and then warmness comes. This is the blood flowing inside your fatigue jacket. This happened on the morning of May 20, 1945 at Naha, the capitol of Okinawa. I had two surgeries to remove the bullet. The first attempt was of no success. So, the first incision had to heal before the next attempt was made. This didn't happen until I got to Honolulu. First, I was placed on a large hospital ship, the U.S.S. Repose, which took many of us to Guam. When we arrived at Guam, after many days at sea, the hospital was so overcrowded with Marines who had been wounded on Iwo Jima, the battle before ours, that other plans had to be made. So, many squadrons of large, four engine DC4's were flown into Guam, to take us to Honolulu. In the meantime, we were given lots of morphine and other drugs to lessen the chance of any infection and also for pain. Upon arriving in Honolulu, which was a 15 hour flight from Guam, we were all placed at the large Navy Hospital right by Hickham Field in Honolulu. After being in combat for 50 days and nights, I have no words to describe being in a bed with fresh sheets, covers and a hot shower. It was like having arrived in Heaven!

"Once all of us had healed up from surgery we were sent to a rural area at the outer city limits of Honolulu. It consisted of many large buildings more like a campus setting. There was a church recreation building, horseshoe courts, tennis and soft ball. It covered 50 acres and was surrounded by banana plantations. It was a sight to see so many bananas. During peace time the city of Honolulu would rent this out to large social clubs, conventions and meetings. Our government took over [with] a lease and we were all moved there. A large kitchen and dining area seating 300 [working] nicely to feed us all on staggered hours. Three hours were allowed for each meal and the time allowed for each individual to eat was 30 minutes. So, this is the place where we all were when the two atomic bombs were dropped. Most of us were very thin and I was down to 135 lbs. This was a good place to regain some weight and also to relax and calm our nerves. Previously we had been told of our upcoming plans to invade Japan at the large navy base of Sasebo. Also, since the numbers of the 6th Marine Division had been depleted, it was being done away with and what was left of us were being transferred to the 5th Marine Division [which] had heavy losses at Iwo Jima.

"[Upon being healed from my wounds], I was transferred into the 5th Marine Division, which was scheduled to invade the mainland of Japan on Nov. 1, 1945 at Sasebo [on] the southern most part of Japan. Sasebo [was] a large Japanese Navy port. [Predicted] killed and wounded would number over a hundred thousand, we were told. Having just experienced what we did on Okinawa, naturally we all were very worried. Fortunately, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945 and the second on Nagasaki August 9th, 1945. Japan surrendered on August 14th, 1945.

"The feeling of relief by all of us [was] beyond words. During the fall of 1945, we did make our landing at Sasebo and the Japanese offered no resistance. It took several hours to make the journey. First, the speed of the ship is reduced to a crawl. Next the channel waters were the most narrow ever seen by us and the shallow depth left much to be desired. At times there were areas barely deep enough, so that the screws of the ship (twin propellers) [could have been] damaged. Upon docking the ships, thousands of Japanese of every age fell prostate on the ground to express their humility in accepting defeat. We were the very first foreigners in the history of their country to ever set foot on their ground. Also we came ashore fully equipped, just in case we would encounter trouble. Luckily for all concerned it was peaceful. Immeasurable credit is [due] President Truman for the guts [he showed] to order the two atomic bombs to be dropped. Even to this day, many still criticize him, but there are people who don't understand the horrors of war. On his desk, he had a plaque which read, "The Buck Stops Here."

"Our next probe was to check the city of Hiroshima and it was unbelievable to see the destruction the atomic bomb had [caused]. The city was crushed to rubble and I'll never forget the strange sight amongst the ruins. A large church with a tall bell tower stood all alone like a ghost and had survived.

"We were there nearly a year and gathered up hundreds of thousands of tons of Japanese war equipment. We collected brand new airplane engines and props still in wooden crates, thousands of bombs and guns, lots of dried food rations, uniforms and much more. It took us a year to locate everything hidden in very long caves, 300 feet long by 20 [feet wide by] 25 feet in height. We drove trucks inside to load everything and we used Japanese trucks burning charcoal for fuel and the fumes from the charcoal piped in to the carburetors made them workable. We hauled [everything] out to a clearing where we made a high stack of war material and on the very top, we would place two brand new airplane engines and props. First we wired together a large explosive charge of dynamite with a two minute fuse, lit the fuse and got out of there as quick as possible, for we had only two minutes to reach a hill for protection. We constantly had to change our site, since each location in a weeks time would get so deep and large that a house could be set down in the hole.

"Had we been forced to invade Japan, it would have been a very long and costly operation with lives lost and wounded. We could see the Japanese had prepared themselves very well to fight us and how fortunate [we were] that we had the atomic bomb and used it. It saved tens of thousands of lives on both sides.

"I need to say that the "Era of Time" when I was in the Marines, we were all so dedicated [with] much patriotism and love of country, and I'll always cherish this in my memories!

"Our battle losses [were] two thousand Marines killed and six thousand Marines wounded.

** I received another letter from Arthur [Editor's note: I do not know the year this was written] on September 20th that reads as follows:

"No doubt you never heard about the first beginning of the 2nd Battalion, Fourth Marines. The following will take you to the South Pacific World War II.

"The 2nd Battalion was the old Raider Battalion and was in combat on many different islands in the South Pacific. It had many casualties of killed and wounded and many because of battle fatigue there minds [having been] destroyed.

"The complete name of the raiders [was] the Carlson Raiders. Some of these combat hardened raiders became our instructor's when I was in training at the San Diego Marine Base. The Carlson Raiders we had here at our base had been overseas for three years which caused them to be uncontrollable and they took it out on us young Marines, and it was not good for us. They had clubs which they used to hit us on our heads and the top of our shoulders and the most painful was when they would slam the club into our mid section, right where your navel is. This is a very tender part of the body and we would wince and just double up.

"During the Second World War, all through the early 1940's up to 1945, when the war ended, these instructors got away with this. Now an instructor isn't allowed to lay a hand on any Marine going through training and, if they do, they are court marshaled."

By Corporal Arthur H. Schobert of the 6th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division

"ONE MAGNIFICENT BASTARD" - AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF B/GEN. WILLIAM WEISE

This narrative will be an addition to your library of Marine Leadership that is top shelf, cover to cover. Aside from this magnificent story of a superlative leader of men, all proceeds are donated toward the purchase of bricks for each 2/4 Marine and Sailor KIA throughout our magnificent history.

AGENT ORANGE SPRAY MAP

The corresponding link, when selected, will show you where heavy spraying of Agent Orange was conducted during the Vietnam War. It does not tell you when the spraying was done, but gives you an idea of where it occurred.


VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL FUND CALL FOR PHOTOS PROJECT

Lisa Lark, author of All They Left Behind: Legacies of the Men and Women on The Wall, will be attending our reunion and has extended an opportunity for Magnificent Bastards to participate in her next book. On Thursday and Friday, June 27 and 28, Lisa will conduct interviews and scan photographs at our reunion hotel headquarters, The Valley Forge Sheraton.

Contact Lisa directly, if you wish to participate. Her e-mail address is lisaalark@googlemail.com if you desire to submit any of your photos and stories. (Note: she says there's no guarantee she'll use them). You will need to find out the specifications she needs before sending her anything.

Here's the message Lisa sent to member Dan Waggoner:

"Hello everyone, I hope that all of you are well. For those of you who don't know me, I have been working to honor and remember Vietnam veterans for the last 3 years. I have volunteered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund on their Call for Photos project, and have located more than 1,500 photographs of men and women who lost their lives in Vietnam. I am also the author of All They Left Behind: Legacies of the Men and Women on The Wall.

"I am honored to be able to say that I have begun work on my 2nd book project. This project, scheduled for release in late 2014, will be a photographic history of the Vietnam War as told through the words and photographs of the men and women who served there. I want to make sure that all branches of service, all service responsibilities, and all moments of a tour are covered, from training to the flight home.

"This project will require nearly 500 photographs and thousands of words. That's where you come in.

"I would like this project to be veteran driven, and to do that I will need volunteers. If you have photographs from your time in the military, whether in training, on leave, or in Vietnam and would be willing to donate them for use in this project, please let me know and I will send you specifications for photos. If you would be willing to fill out a survey about your time in the military let me know and I will send the survey to you.

"I will consider every photograph sent in, and will use as many as I can in this project. There are certain visual specifications that must be met, and certain guidelines that we have to follow. Sending in a photo does not guarantee that it will be used in the project.

"Please contact me if you have any questions, or if you would like information on how to participate in the project. Please feel free to forward this information along to others who may be interested in contributing.

"Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Lisa A. Lark"

Sgt Julian Clement ChaseSGT JULIAN CLEMENT CHASE

"My son, Sgt Julian Clement Chase (KIA, 05-28-12, Helmand Provence) took this photo. I wanted to pass this on to you all. Julian worked with and spoke highly of Fox Company, Second Battalion, 4th Marines.

Julian is now in Section 60, Arlington National Cemetery.

I want to thank you, Sir, and all the Marines you represent, for your Service and Sacrifices.

Semper Fidelis, Tom Chase, Edgewater, MD"

POSTHUMOUS BRONZE STAR CEREMONY FOR SGT. WILLIAM STACEY

The family of Sergeant William Stacey received his posthumous Bronze Star and a 2/4 Association certificate certifying that a brick in his honor would be placed at the 2/4 Memorial on the grounds of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Please see the link above to view the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines ceremony.

STEVE WILSON, VIETNAM 1968

Steve Wilson

RECORDS OF WAR - VIETNAM

This link gives you lots of information concerning command chronologies of military units [all services] having operated in Vietnam.

Not all of the information is accurate in the sense of how it was originally scanned. For example, if one looks up the 1-31 May 1968 Command Chronology for the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, the day to day information presented is that of 1-30 June 1968. All in all, however, this is an interesting look into the Vietnam War.

MSgt Raymond Backstrom, the author of this endeavor, replied with the following to me upon my request to him for permission to put the link on our web site.

"Feel free to add it where appropriate and pass it on as far and wide as you can. Unfortunately, it is as accurate as it will probably be. All the scanning was done at Quantico years ago, and the original documents have been passed on to National Archives. I would think it is only a scanning error, and the missing pages would be at NARA. They scanned over a million pages of documents, and while they are good for the technology at the time, there is still a lot of information not readable in some of the documents."

MSgt Backstrom will also put our web site at the top of the 2/4 page. This may garner us some of our lost Marines and corpsmen.

A REMEMBRANCE OF CHRISTMAS 1967 IN VIETNAM

Contact UsSecond Battalion, 4th Marines Association

Incorporated Address:
925 Oyster Cove Drive
Grasonville, Maryland 21638

 


Mailing Address:
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