A follow up on Operation Medina of 1967.
Soon after moving to Altoona, Pennsylvania.
From Hammond Indiana.
My son got a job with a McDonald's here in Altoona.
He met a man there, that told my son.
That he had been in the Marine Corps.
His name is Ollie Kunks.
Later I was to meet him at our house.
While we were talking, Operation Medina came up.
I was to find that Ollie.
Was with Charlie Company 1st Battalion 1st Marines.
There's a book about Charlie 1/1 titled; The Lions of Medina.
And I was with Golf Company 2nd Battalion 1st Marines.
Which is the first part of this discussion.
They were at the start of Operation Medina.
And one Marine that was attached to Charlie 1/1.
Became a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
When he jumped on a hand grenade.
Saving the lives of many Marines.
Charlie 1/1 was also ambushed by the NVA.
There's one part, when they were almost out of ammo.
Somebody started singing 'The Marine's Hymn'.
Soon everybody close-by started joining in the singing.
I think that must have effect on those attacking.
Ollie survived the hell named Operation Medina.
To be wound fighting in Hue city during Tet of 1968.
Now both of us have fought the battle against cancer.
Like a jacket another dear friend and fellow Marine.
Named Dan Gil had on the back;
'I took a licking,
But I'm still Ticking'.
Both Ollie and I did all that.
Sometime back, I was send an E-Mail by a Mr. Willard Gass seeking any information on his brother Charles Lee Gass.
He wasn't sure if his brother had been a member of either Golf Company 2nd Battalion 1st Marines (2/1) or Hotel 2/1.
I did some searching on the web and I found a few web pages that stated he had been in Golf 2/1 and a few that stated he had been in Hotel 2/1.
There a web sites for 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, so I decided to contact the web master for that site.
Asking for any information, he might have or some of the Corpsmen s in the battalion in 1967.
He than E-Mail me that he would put a request in the next newsletter.
Just the other day, I got a reply from a gentleman named Jimmy (Jimmie) Jeter.
"Charles Lee Gass was with Hotel 2/1 and died in the ambush on Operation Medina.
He was in the column next to David Alan Oberle who was also killed.
I was just in front of the two with my M60."
"I remember the day like it was yesterday."
Remember the name Jimmy Jeter because of what's below;
From L/Cpl Holly web page on Operation Medina...
Lt. McKnight - RIP
Doc. Gallagher - RIP
Doc. Danny Michael Moyer - RIP
Richard “Hombre” Allen - RIP
David Zywicke - RIP
Jim Burns - RIP
Francis “Rocco” Muraco - RIP
JJ Martinez - RIP
Paul MacKay - RIP
Anthony Perez - RIP
Jim Felecia - RIP
Jimmy Jeter - RIP -
Mistake as you can see from the author of the E-Mail I recieved today.
Charles Ingels - RIP
Henry M. Decker - RIP
Courtsey of Thomas A. Holloran aka L/Cpl. Holly
L/Cpl. Holly also does not list L/Cpl David Alan Oberle USMC.
5/30/1947 - 10/18/1967 from Walnut Creek, CA
I think L/Cpl Holly should make these additions;
Charles Lee Gass - RIP
David Alan Oberle - RIP
And remove Jimmy (Jimmie) Jeter off his KIAs list.
In a E-Mail I send Jimmie after his "I remember the day like it was yesterday."
Every year in the month of October, I think back to that day.
Besides a night in either June or July of 1967.
When Golf 2/1 lost a young L/Cpl to a booby-trapped hand grenade.
I will take his screams to my grave.
For a long time, I drank ed to try and drown those events.
Finally one day, when I was filling out a form at an outreach clinic.
It dawned on me, what happened I had no control.
I was not God, finally I could put my demons away.
I feel your pain.
On a side note, I think you might contact L/Cpl 'Holly'.
On his web page about Operation Medina.
He has you listed as being a KIA.
It reads Jimmy Jeter - RIP
Seeing your E-Mail, I know you're very much alive.
Richard (Ricardo) Jacques
Former Staff Sergeant
Its almost that time again...
Some notes from MARINE CORPS BATTLES IN VIETNAM
"It was a war in which you could only depend on your enemy.
He would be professional, brave, tenacious, resourceful and merciless.
You could not depend on your ally, in one day and place.
He might loyal and courageous.
In another time and place he might be feckless, and corrupt.
Cowardly, inept or even murderous.
If it suited his purpose of the day."
"Depending upon where you were in the complex landscape.
It was a war fought amid shifting sand dunes.
The stinking mud of rice paddies and steaming jungles..
Of steep and stony mountains, where the cold night.
Chilled you to the bone or all of the above."
"The only clear division between how the war.
Was experienced was geographic.
With a conventional war with the NVA.
North of the Hai Van Pass.
And a guerrilla war against the VC.
South of the Hai Van Pass.
Even that distinction eventually fell away."
"Under pinning everything was the question.
Of why America was fighting the war.
It is true there was a flawed contemporary vision.
Of a monolithic communism.
Marching toward world domination.
Flawed because we could not see.
The nationalistic cracks.
In global communism movement."
"We seemed to have no overarching political counter-plan.
At least not one with a clear strategy for victory.
Our only definition of success.
Was to keep the enemy from winning.
It was a recipe for failure."
"The Vietnam War was unlike almost all of America's wars.
In thirty-five years after it ended the story.
Of how, or even why, we fought it baffles historians.
However, the war was very much like other wars.
On more primal level, at one time the men.
And a few women, who fought in Vietnam.
Had one crystal clear vision.
Of why they were there.
It was because fate had cast them.
All together, eye deep in hell.
They needed each other.
As they never would again in this world."
"To add to its other ambiguities, the Vietnam War.
Is quite poorly documented at the operational level.
The common perception of the military.
Is that they are obsessive compilers.
Of documentation and paperwork.
That much is true, and there is a form.
And a process for everything.
Often, though, the executors of the process.
Are nineteen-year old clerks.
Who don't want to be there.
Supervised by harried staff officers.
With too much to do.
This alliance records everything.
Then at various intervals.
They burn the records."
"For Vietnam, the greatest complication.
Is the loss of any sense of time.
For the combat troops.
Vietnam was a mentally paralyzing series.
Of the same battles fought over the same ground.
Against the same enemy units."
If we were to change a few words; were its Vietnam to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Might it also be true?
In the words of another veteran of Vietnam; I apologize to the veterans of WW II and Korea because they could not fix our war in Vietnam.
No more than we can fix this one (Iraq).
Leaving those veterans of Iraq thinking why did we allow it to happen to them.
Many a day; I would think, was it worth all we suffered in Vietnam?
Will there be a why, other that we were opposing world communism?
Than to have our hands tied with silly rules of engagement.
Made our war the supreme folly of all time.
Well, it just three days till 18 October, time to think back to a time, not a place.
Maybe, we were lucky in a way, some of the NVA units that were based in the area of Operation Medina.
May have been moving to a location for Tet of 1968.
Operation Medina, being so close to Tet of 1968, it's hardly noticed.
The deaths of this operation, are very few measured against the battles of World War II.
And the side of mercy by Marines of Golf 2/1 is only known to those of us that were part of Operation Medina.
It's not even part of the history of the Vietnam War.
Lately, I was watching a PBS program; The Most Dangerous Man In America; Daniel Ellsberg USMC.
Yes, he was a Marine officer, and the one that made available the 'Pentagon Papers.
He stated that in 1965, over 1000 officers or enlisted knew about all the lies.
That got us into Vietnam, starting with Truman to LBJ.
But none had the courage to speak up.
Are all those names on the Vietnam Memorial, including all those of Operation Medina because some lacked in courage?
A Marine friend R.M 'Cook' Barela; once wrote;
"We fought for democracy and for a dream.
That was obtainable by the people of Vietnam.
We felt honored to have served our country,
To have been given the opportunity in life.
To be more than a witness to history.
If we failed,
It was not because we did not do our duty,
It was because others entrusted,
With higher responsibilities,
Failed to do theirs."
Some failed in their duty by not speaking up about what they knew.
If Daniel Ellsberg is telling us the truth, he also outspoken on our war in Iraq.
Much like a Marine buddy of mine, Bill Ojala USMC, google that name.
And you will see he was against our war in Vietnam.
You would think, that I would not want to do anything with Bill.
He was well past his time for serving, he was trying to fix our war, not trying to dodge serving.
A good number of us veterans of Vietnam, are looking out to serve these new veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan just like Bill Ojala.