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2nd Battalion 9th Marines    3rd Marine Division

Vietnam 1963 to 1969




This site is dedicated to the Marines and Corpsman of Fox Co. who fought and died in the Vietnam War 1963---1969. This is our story, this is our legacy.  History has a way of fading and the events and memories of a generation fade with it.  When our Country wanted to forget we remembered, when our Country wants to put it in the past, it is but our yesterday.  We were your fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles and sons, we were soldiers, and we were Marines.  Some died and some survived but as with all wars Vietnam will just be another event in history to future generations but our legacy will continue, for we are FOREVER BROTHERS.


History of the 2/9 Logo

The 2nd Battalion 9th Marine "Hell In A Helmet" logo was designed by Sgt. Bobby Hubbard and later refined by Sgt. John Halpin, who served with HQ 2/9 1966 -- 1967. In 1965 Marines from 2/9, who were stationed around Dong Ha, were calling the unit the "Bucket of Blood" and "Blood Bucket" because they had so many casualties from booby-traps. An office page thought the nickname was cool and so he wrote his mother and told her of the nickname for 2/9. The mother thought the nickname was inappropriate, so she contacted her congressman letting her feelings be known about the nickname "Bucket of Blood". The complaint worked its way up the chain of command and orders came back down to change the nickname. A contest was held among the Marines  and the Marine who submitted the winning nickname would receive a cash prize and 14 days liberty in Bangkok. At  this time the Battalion Commander made it mandatory for everyone to wear a helmet at all times, even when in the rear areas. Sgt. Hubbard came up with the "Hell In A Helmet" nickname and worked to design the first logo. The last image added was that of the lightening bold denoting that 2/9 was a strike force. In 1967 Sgt. Halpin refined the design. The shield was redesigned and colored white with the "Hell In A Helmet" banner colored gold, the 2/9 was colored red and a green map of Viet Nam added. "Viet-Nam" with the proper spelling and punctuation was also added in red. The yellow lightening bolt remained the same but the image was changed slightly. Over the years the original coloring of the  logo has been changed. In 1967 the HQ Lt. borrowed the design and took it on R&R with him. Sgt. Halpin was still working on the design at the time.  When the Lt. returned from R&R he informed Sgt. Halpin that he had plaques made up with the logo on them and that each Marine being rotated back to the U.S. would be given a plaque. The XO received the first plaque in Oct. or Nov. of 1967. This occurred at Camp Carroll. The enlisted men received a plaque with a flat logo and the officers received a plaque with a raised helmet in a 3D effect. The pictured 2/9 plaque was sent home by Steve Poundstone 3/3 in 1969, it was provided to Fox Co. Marines while at LZ "Stud" Vandegrift. The 1965 logo was submitted by Jim LookingGlass 3/2 and the 1967 logo was submitted by Tom Fenerty 2/3. Before enlisting in the Marine Corps Sgt. Halpin was working in the graphic design field.











Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation

SILVER STAR Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal




COMBAT ACTION RIBBON Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation






The nite was cold, I was ten years old
When the Chaplain made his call.
The news was bad, my mother was sad
When she heard of my fathers fall.

An ambush he said, they all were dead
The words were shocking and cold.
Eight other men died, eight other wives cried
For young men who would never grow old.

The years quickly passed, they seemed so fast
With no father to show me the way.
Yet I knew from the start, deep down in my heart
We'd be together, forever, one day.

Through the laughter and tears, the months and the years
I kept hearing "it's" far-away call.
The day was cold I was thirty years old
When my eyes first set sight on the WALL.

It seemed ancient yet knew, as if somehow on cue
When I saw it the Earth became still
And my memory once gray, became focused that day
Of a man who now suddenly seemed real.

No more tears filled my eyes, no more lifetime of "whys"
All the answers I'd found in this place.
With the touch of his name gone was sorrow and pain
And bad memories were quickly erased.

As I stared into the black, my father stared back
And he smiled and my heart filled with joy
I said: "welcome home, dad, what a journey you've had."
He said: "It's sure great to be home, my boy!"

Copyright 1995 by Kelly Strong






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"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
      There's none better in the business than a Navy Corpsman ..."
Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller 





On March 8, 1965, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) landed at Da Nang. The MEB included two Marine Battalion LandingTeams (BLTs), 3rd Bn, 9th Marines, and 1st Bn, 3rd Marines. In addition, the landing included Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB) Headquarters, and the Regimental Landing Team (RLT). All units moved into positions around the Da Nang airfield in support of Marine units arriving prior to the landing. These units included Battery "A" of the 1st  LAAM BN, Company "C" of the 7th Engineer Bn, and HMM-365 after relieving HMM-163.

 Marine Aircraft Group-16 became operational on March 9th along with the arrival of HMM-162. On March 10th the 3rd  Bn, 9th  Marines established defensive positions on Hills 327 and 268 overlooking the Da Nang airfield. March 11th saw the Brigade Artillery Group (BAG) including Batteries "A" and "F" of the 12th  Marines. The Brigade Engineer Group (BEG) and Brigade Logistic Support Group (LBSG) were activated on March 12th. The 9th MEB was now fully operational and in place.

 On March 14th Sub-Unit #2 was designated Marine Air Base Squadron-17 (MABS-16) and Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron-16 (H&MS-16) under the operational control of MAG-16 at Da Nang airfield.  By March 31st the 9th MEB total strength was 5,140 Marines.

 On April 10th the 2nd Bn, 3rd  Marines landed over Red Beach 2 and the fighter/attack F-4 Phantoms of VMFA-531 arrived at Da Nang.

The landing of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Da Nang in 1965 marked the beginning of large-scale Marine involvement in Vietnam. By summer 1968, after the enemy's Tet Offensive, Marine Corps strength in Vietnam rose to a peak of approximately 85,000. The Marine withdrawal began in 1969 as the South Vietnamese began to assume a larger role in the fighting; the last ground forces were out of Vietnam by June 1971. The Vietnam War, longest in the history of the Marine Corps, exacted a high cost as well with over 13,000 Marines killed and more than 88,000 wounded. In the spring of 1975, Marines evacuated embassy staffs, American citizens, and refugees in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Saigon, Republic of Vietnam. Later, in May 1975, Marines played an integral role in the rescue of the crew of the SS Mayaguez captured off the coast of Cambodia

Today's Marine Corps stands ready to continue in the proud tradition of those who so valiantly fought and died at Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, the Chosin Reservoir, and Khe Sanh. Combining a long and proud heritage of faithful service to the nation, with the resolve to face tomorrow's challenges will continue to keep the Marine Corps the "best of the best."


 Dong Ma Mt.-FSB Fuller-LZ Russell-Leatherneck Square-Cua Viet-Gio Linh Outpost-KheSanh-Hill 881N-Hill 881S-Hill 950-Hill 1015-Hill 792-I Corps†††††††



While the 3rd Marine Division was in New Zealand during WWII preparing for operations against the Japanese strongholds in the Pacific, the division commander, Major General Charles D. Barrett, directed a contest be held within the Division to pick the best design for a shoulder patch to be worn on the uniform. An unknown Marine came up with a design based on the CALTRAP and this was selected as the best. The design was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps as the official insignia of the 3rd Marine Division and he authorized that a shoulder patch embodying this insignia could be worn on the left shoulder of the uniform by all members of the Division. The official insignia is a scarlet triangle shield with a narrow gold line near the outer edge. In the center of the shield is a gold and black  CALTRAP, an ancient instrument of war with four metal points so disposed that any three of them being on the ground the fourth projects upward thereby impeding the advance of infantry or cavalry. As adopted for the insignia it means literally: "DON'T TREAD ON  ME" or 'ALWAYS READY." The three foundation points of the CALTRAP represent the division number. This ancient device was used by the Germans during WWII when they manufactured it of metal tubing and deposited hundreds of them in traffic ways and it impeded the movement of even those enemy vehicles equipped with self-seal tires, since, being of hollow tubing the punctures could not self-seal. Shortly after WWII the Marine Corps abolished the wearing of division patches on the uniform and the 3rd Marine Division was inactivated. During the Korean War the 3rd Marine Division was again activated and for practical and sentimental reasons the old CALTRAP insignia was painted on all combat vehicles and used generally for marking other items of organizational equipment and it again became the recognized insignia of the "Fighting Third" In 1952 the words: "FIDELITY-HONOR-VALOR" were added to the insignia and the CALTRAP has remained the insignia of this famous combat division ever since.



LZ "Stud" Vandegrift-Ca Lu- Quang Tri- Dong Ha-Rt 9-Cam Lo Bridge-Camp Carroll-Cam Lo Village-The Washout-Con Thien-DMZ-Dong Ha Mt.-Hill 126


This may be your finest hour, for you are about to meet a "grunt." Doff your cap, if you will, wave a flag, choke back a sob in your throat, wipe away a tear from your eye, for this is the man who is fighting your war. He is the Marine up front, the one who is sticking his nose in the mud each day, every day. He is the one who sees the enemy at 25 yards or less. He is the one who knows what it feels like to be shot at by small arms at close range. He is the one who dies a thousand times when the night is dark and the moon is gone. And he is the one who dies once and forever when an enemy rifle belches flame. If you have ever slogged through a sticky rice paddy or waded a stream carrying 200 rounds of ammunition, a rifle, several canteens and a pack with enough field rations, extra gear and spare clothing to last a week or more, you know why they call him a grunt. It's fairly obvious. But look at him well and know him, for he is really something. He wears, in dirty dignity, a helmet and a flak jacket and a faded and torn uniform. His hands are ripped and infected from contact with barbed wire and elephant grass. His wrists are swollen from mosquito bites. His pockets are full and his boots are mud-caked and his eyes never stand still, they move and squint and twitch. He is nervous, aware of every sound. For he operates in a never - never world where the difference between death and one more tomorrow often depends upon what he sees or does not see, what he hears or does not hear. The grunt is the man who lives as close to war as it is possible to get. His rank varies, but mostly he is a private first class, a lance corporal, a corporal, a sergeant or a lieutenant. He likes the Air Forces because planes give him a measure of protection. He likes artillery outfits because they can knock the bejabbers out of an enemy platoon. He cares about supply outfits only to the extent that they can provide him with something to eat and more ammunition to shoot. He lives first for the day when his tour will be up and he can get out of this country. He lives next for R and R. He'd like to get his hands on a can of cold beer because it could drive the heat form his throat and ease the corroding pain in his gut. He'd like to feel the softness of a woman. But he is a grunt and if he can live through today then there will be tomorrow. And if he can live through enough tomorrows there will be the R and R, the cold beer, the feel of a woman and the end of his tour. The grunt as he stands in dirty, muddy majesty is as fine a fighting man as the United States has ever produced. He is young, tough, intelligent and he knows how to kill. But he is a lot more than that. There is something of the builder in these young men. They speak sometimes of what must be done to South Vietnam to make it right and workable. They speak, sometimes, of government and how it must work. And if you are lucky, you may get a grunt to speak his mind about the war. He may tell you many things in a language largely unprintable. But it may or may not be surprising to learn that , for the most part, he understands why he is here and he believes in the purposes that put him here. And that is something, because if you take a grunt out of his muddy, water filled bunker, remove his helmet, his flak jacket, his field uniform, take away his rifle, clean him up and dress him in a sport shirt, slacks and loafers, you've got the kid who was playing on last year's high school football team. He is a national asset to be cherished. 

Written by: Jay Reed from the Milwaukee Journal, a former Marine sergeant, sent to Con Thien to find human interest stories of war.







Da Krong Bridge-LZ Sheppard-LZ Cates-FSB Cunningham-FSB Erskin-LZ Razor-Ashau Valley-Laos-The Rockpile-The Razorback-Mutter Ridge-Helicopter Valley


Ask a Marine what's so special about the Marines and the answer would be "esprit de corps", an unhelpful French phrase that means exactly what it look like - the spirit of the Corps, but what is that spirit and where does it come from?
The Marine Corps is the only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces that recruits people specifically to Fight. The Army emphasizes personal development (an Army of One), the Navy promises fun (let the journey begin), the Air Force offers security (itís a great way of life). Missing from all the advertisements is the hard fact that a soldier's life is to suffer and perhaps to die for his people and take lives at the risk of his/her own.
Even the thematic music of the services reflects this evasion. The Army's Caisson Song describes a pleasant country outing. Over hill and dale, lacking only a picnic basket. Anchors Aweigh, the Navy's celebration of the joys of sailing, could have been penned by Jimmy Buffet. The Air Force song is a lyric poem of blue skies and engine thrust. All is joyful and invigorating and safe. There are no land mines in the dales nor snipers behind the hills, no submarines or cruise missiles threaten the ocean jaunt, no bandits are lurking in the wild blue yonder.  The Marines Hymn, by contrast, is all combat. We fight our Country's battles, First to fight for right and freedom, We have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun, in many a strife we have fought for life and never lost our nerve.
The choice is made clear. You may join the Army to go to adventure training, or join the Navy to go to Bangkok, or join the Air Force to go to computer school. You join the Marine Corps to go to War!  But the mere act of signing the enlistment contract confers no status in the Corps. The Army recruit is told from his first minute in uniform that "you're in the Army now, soldier". The Navy and Air Force enlistees are sailors or airmen as soon as they get off bus at the training center. The new arrival at Marine Corps boot camp is called a recruit, or worse, (a lot worse), but never a MARINE. Not yet, maybe never. He or she must earn the right to claim the title of UNITED STATES MARINE and failure returns you to civilian life without hesitation or ceremony.
Recruit Platoon 2210 at San Diego, California trained from October through December of 1968. In Viet Nam the Marines were taking two hundred casualties a week and the major rainy season operation Meade River, had not even begun, yet Drill Instructors had no qualms about winnowing out almost a quarter of their 112 recruits, graduating eighty-one.  Note that this was post - enlistment attrition; every one of those who were dropped had been passed by the recruiters as fit for service. But they failed the test of Boot Camp, not necessarily  for physical reasons, at least two were outstanding high school athletes for whom the calisthenics and running were child's play. The cause of their failure was not in the biceps nor the legs, but-in the spirit. They had lacked the will to endure the mental and emotional strain, so they would not be Marines. Heavy commitments and high casualties not withstanding, the Corps reserves the right to pick and choose.
History classes in boot camp? Stop a soldier on the street and ask him to name a battle of World War One. Pick a sailor at random to describe the epic fight of the Bon Homme Richard. Everyone has heard of McGuire Air Force Base. So ask any airman who Major Thomas McGuire was and why he is so commemorated. I am not carping and there is no sheer in this criticism. All of the services have glorious traditions, but no one teaches the young soldier, sailor or  airman what his uniform means and why he should be proud of it. But, ask a Marine  about World War One, and you will hear of the wheat field at Belleau Wood and  the courage of the Fourth Marine Brigade, Fifth and Sixth Regiments. Faced  with an enemy of superior numbers entrenched in tangled forest undergrowth, the Marines received an order to attack that even the charitable cannot call ill - advised. It was insane. Artillery support was absent and air support hadn't been invented yet, so the Brigade charged German machine guns with only  bayonets, grenades and indomitable fighting spirit. A bandy legged little barrel of a gunnery sergeant, Daniel J. Daly, rallied his company with a shout, "Come on you sons a bitches, do you want to live forever"? He took out three machine guns himself and they would give him the Medal of Honor except for a technicality, he already had two of them. French liaison - officers, hardened though they were by four years of trench bound slaughter, were shocked as the Marines charged across the open wheat field under a blazing sun directly into the teeth of enemy fire. Their action was so anachronistic on the twentieth - century battlefield that they might as well have been swinging cutlasses, but the enemy was only human, they could not stand up to this. So the Marines took Belleau Wood. The Germans called them "DOGS FROM THE DEVIL"
Every Marine knows this story and dozens more. We are taught them in boot camp as a regular part of the curriculum. Every Marine will always be taught them. You can learn to don a gas mask anytime, even on the plane in route to the  war zone, but before you can wear the E.G.& A. and claim the title you must know about the Marines who made that emblem and title meaningful. So long as you can march and shoot and revere the legacy of the Corps you can take your place in line. And that line is as unified in spirit as in purpose. A soldier wears branch of service insignia on his collar, metal shoulder pins and cloth sleeve patches to identify his unit. Sailors wear a rating badge that identifies what they do for the Navy. Marines wear only the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, together with personal ribbons and their "CHERISHED" marksmanship badges. They know why the uniforms are the colors they are and what each color means. There is nothing on a Marine's uniform to indicate what he or she does, nor what unit the Marine belongs to. You cannot tell by looking at a Marine whether you are seeing a truck driver, a computer programmer or a machine gunner. The Corps explains this as a security measure to conceal the identity and location of units, but the Marines penchant for publicity makes that the least likely of explanations. No, the Marine is amorphous, even anonymous, by conscious design.
Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost, a Marine first, last and Always! You may serve a four-year enlistment or even a twenty plus year career without seeing action, but if the word is given you'll charge across that Wheatfield!  Whether a Marine has been schooled in automated supply, or automotive mechanics, or aviation electronics, is immaterial. Those things are secondary - the Corps does them because it must. The modern battle requires the  technical appliances and since the enemy has them, so do we, but no Marine boasts mastery of them. Our pride is in our marksmanship, our discipline and our membership in a fraternity of courage and sacrifice.  "For the honor of the fallen, for the glory of the dead", Edgar Guest wrote of Belleau Wood, "the living line of courage kept the faith and moved ahead".  They are all gone now, those Marines who made a French farmer's little Wheatfield into one of the most enduring of Marine Corps legends.  Many of them did not survive the day and eight long decades have claimed the rest.  But their actions are immortal. The Corps remembers them and honors what they did and so they live forever. Dan Daly's shouted challenge takes on its true meaning  "If you lie in the trenches you may survive for now, but someday you may die and no one will care. If you charge the guns you may die in the next two minutes, but you will be one of the immortals."  All Marines die in the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age all will eventually die, but the Marine Corps lives on. Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today. It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive our own mortality, which gives people a light to live by and a flame to mark their passing.

Submitted by Dave "Big Lew" Lewis, Fox Co. 3/3 1968--1969

Author unknown








Flag of United States


Flag of Vietnam





In God We Still Trust by Diamond RIO

Submitted By Eddie "EJ" Hinson Fox Company Weapons Platoon 1965--1966


















 Steve Poundstone " 3rd squad 3rd platoon 1968--1969"

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