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3rd PLATOON

 

RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE by CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL

 

This is an overview of 3rd platoon presented by Col. (Lt.) Walt Wood covering roughly an eight-month period and ending in mid-June 1969. During this period the 3rd platoon operated in what was western South Vietnam along the Laotian border in a locale commonly referred to as the "salient." This was a portion of the Laotian territory that jutted into northern South Vietnam. Later the platoon was helolifted to general outpost 950 overlooking the Khe Sanh Combat Base. The platoon was reinforced by an 81 mm mortar section, manned the position and provided security for a radio relay station for approximately three weeks. The platoon returned to Vandegrift Combat Base immediately prior to Christmas 1968. The platoon operated around Vandegrift for a brief period of time before deploying to the vicinity of Khe Sanh for an operation that lasted some two weeks. In mid-January the platoon was helolifted to LZ Razor for an operation that came to be known as Dewey Canyon in the Ashau Valley. Upon the conclusion of the operation in early March the platoon was helolifted into Upper Cates, a position that overlooked the actual fire support base that bore the name FSB Cates and was defended by the remainder of Fox Company. In late March the company was helolifted to FSB Fuller located on Dong Ha Mt. In the course of the next few days 2nd and 3rd platoons from Fox Company swept the area around FSB Fuller.  The 1st platoon was left at FSB Fuller to provide enhanced security. After three days of sweeping the area around Dong Ha Mt.and Dong Ma Mt.the platoon ended up engaging a large NVA force on Hill 126. During the period from 26-29 March 1969 the platoon sustained seven Marines killed in action and approximately four times that number wounded in action. A number of the wounded never rejoined the platoon. After this the platoon retuned to Vandegrift to manned the perimeter all the while receiving an influx of replacements. Subsequently, the battalion participated in operations in the Ba Long Valley. Upon completion of the operations the battalion returned to Vandegrift. After some must deserved rest the 9th Marines returned to the Ashau Valley and participated in Operation Apache Snow until 29 May 1969 and lastly the platoon took part in Operation Cameron Falls. In sum, during this eight plus month period the Marines of 3rd platoon participated in operations: Scotland II Mountain, Quang Tri Province 20-25 October 1968, Scotland ll Afton, Quang Tri Province 25 October to 28 November 1968, Dawson River Afton, Quang Tri Province, 28 November to 28 December 1968, Dawson River West 2-20 January 1969, Dewey Canyon 22 January to 18 March 1969, Apache Snow 7-29 May 1969 and Cameron Falls 31 May to 19 June 1969. As to the make up of the 3rd platoon during this period, it is best described as an "All American Platoon." Its members came from both coasts with a solid representation of Southerners, Northerners, Midwesterners and the American Southwest. Racially diverse, the platoon included Hispanics and one American Indian. These Marines and Sailors (Docs) came from our nation's largest cities, the great north woods and of course included a number who had been "volunteers." The 3rd platoon included at least one draftee, who was indistinguishable from the rest of the lot. During this time period due to normal rotation and causalities some 80 to 90 Marines passed through the platoon. As to the character or temperament of the men, it can perhaps best be captured in the stereotype one associates with Marines in combat. When the going got tough they shared their rations and water with one another and on occasion cigarettes as well. And as the situation arose, they risked all for their fellow Marines and at times gave all for those they served along side. Full of swagger and bravado and ever ready to grumble about some real or imagined slight or injustice, they could always be counted upon to get the job done, no matter the risk, no matter what was required. If nothing else, the two traits that the men of the platoon exhibited were an unbelievable loyalty one to the other as well as what can only be described as an ability to endure. This is my best recollection of the vivid, yet almost unbelievable distant past of some 35 years ago, where in I had the privilege of leading and serving along side some of the Corps' finest.

Col. Walt Wood

 

VIETNAM  1968

BY PFC. PAT (DEADEND) STREET

2nd Squad 3rd Platoon

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We're the battling Marines of Vietnam,
The place where no one gives a damn
Not even our own Uncle Sam.
We're fighting a war that's useless and dumb,
Still more and more men seem to come.
With thirteen months of sweat and combat,
We all hope we'll make it back.
Back to safety, beer and fun,
But only to wait for the next battle to come.
Then "Incoming!" is called,
And we jump in our holes,
And where the next round falls nobody knows,
We stay in our holes, some shallow, some deep,
Some trying to pray and some trying to sleep.
The rounds keep coming through the day and night,
Falling around us left and right.
The morning sun begins to shine,
We all know it's again that time.
To go on patrols all day long,
Searching and destroying the Viet Cong.
Now this little country's full of hell and hate,
It's called VIETNAM 1968.
 

       

 SOLDIERS LAST LETTER by MERLE HAGGARD

           

Drawing of Cartoon Submitted by : Pat "Deadend" Street

 

Stevie Poundstone at age 9 composed this drawing as a tribute to the Marines of 3rd platoon who fought in Vietnam in 1968-1969.  He is the son of Steve Poundstone, 3rd squad.

 

 

PICTURES SUBMITTED BY PAT "DEADEND" STREET

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3rd platoon waiting to board the choppers at LZ Vandegrift for Operation Dewey Canyon

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Fox Co. HQ Quang Tri

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FNG's reporting to Fox Co. HQ Quang Tri

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Mail Call LZ Vandegrift

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Mail Call LZ Vandegrift

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The most important gear to a Grunt

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Huey on approach to Hill 950 landing zone

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Huey on Hill 950 landing zone

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LZ Cates

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Church service on Hill 950

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CH-46 Sea Knight

 

PICTURES SUBMITTED BY TOM FENERTY

Fox Co. patch and logo

Hill 950

Hill 950 today

 

 Grunt gear

Jungle boots

 

 

UH-34D

UH-34D

Duster emplacement

View of the DMZ

 

 

 

Tank position looking into the DMZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Fenerty leaving for the west coast and then to Vietnam

Tom boarding the plane

Tom with family while home on leave before shipping out to Vietnam

Tom and family

Tom home on leave

 

PICTURES SUBMITTED BY STEVE POUNDSTONE

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Hospital ship Sanctuary

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Hospital ship Sanctuary

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Elements of the 9th Marines leaving Vietnam on Rt.9 through Cam Lo Village

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9th Marines convoy

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Phu Bai airfield

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Wreckage on the airfield at Phu Bai

CH 46 Sea Knight

2/9 Bunker

C-Rations

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Steve in Australia for R&R

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Steve in Australia for R&R

 

PICTURES SUBMITTED BY DAVE "BIG LEW" LEWIS

CH-46 Sea Knight
 

PICTURES SUBMITTED BY ED SCOTT

Viet Cong prisoner

 

Radioman

UH-34D chopper

 

 

 

PICTURES SUBMITTED BY RYAN FAIRFIELD

CASUALTY RECORD

Dennis Fairfield

Killed by friendly fire Quang Tri Province May 19, 1967

PICTURES SUBMITTED BY JOHN SACKO

Lock and load

John Sacko

Sacko and Grigsby

Sacko and Grigsby