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The Artist’ Statement Since 1983 creating memorials is what I have concentrated on. About year later, I founded the Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project (WVVMP) (http: //www. thehighground. org/history). It was to be a tribute to Vietnam veterans but soon grew to include all veterans of the 20 th Century (and soon the High Ground will be incorporating the 21 st Century). The High Ground is “the most beautiful” of all memorial parks dedicated to these veterans anywhere. In the various series I’ve created I try to show my subjects’ experiences. The Holocaust Series reveals life’s struggles while showing the love of man and his compassion. This series allowed me mentally release and begin my series about Vietnam and the memories I experienced. In the Operation Harvest Moon Series I show the hardships of the fighting man and the tragedies of war. This series was not finished when 9/11 happened. Because of this horrific and heroic event, I was compelled to switched to it in my art. The 9/11 Series brings the exceptional destruction, the personal loss, sense of helplessness and the heroic, but futile, attempts of the rescuers. In this series I strive to bring across the sadness, shock and chaotic happenings as they unfolded. Afghanistan/Iraqis now happening so I have to split my time between the war and 9/11 and the butterflies. This computer graphic was created in 1993.
The Artist’ I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from high school in 1959 with a “general elective” degree. I worked as an assistant manager for the largest television store in the state at that time. I was working at a large furniture store when I received my draft notice. It was the middle of August of 1963, so I went to the local Marine recruiter and enlisted. After being wounded and returning from the war, I attended the U of Wisconsin satellite campus at Whitewater where I graduated with a B. S. E. degree in 1971. From there I moved to Moscow, Idaho and attended the U of Idaho gaining a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1974. I moved back to Wisconsin and bought a farm and raised Doberman Pinchers and Arabian horses. In 1987, I moved to New Jersey to run a business I owned. I became a freelance graphic artist and eventually an art director at a large international financial institution. Bio After 7 years there I left and went back to school at Fairleigh Dickinson University. . I’m happily married and still attend F. D. U. ; I volunteer with the American Red Cross, my church and the Marine Corps League; work on my series and show in national as well as individual shows. My work is included in the collections of The National Museum of the Marine Corps, Morgan Stanley, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, many local, state and federal organizations, non-profit groups, plus, veteran and private holdings. This computer graphic was created in 1993. The piece is a combination of 7 or 8 separate images.
The Military History of PFC T. Miller George Mc. Donald and I spend some quiet time at our Phu. Tai (4) 2/7 battalion command post (CP) landing strip control tower. Behind us is the old French artillery pit which we used for suspected VC prisoners and interrogation tent. VIETNAM – 1965
The Military History of PFC T. Miller VIETNAM – 1965 07 Jul 65 BLT 2/7, 3 rd. Mar. Div – Arrived RVN at Green Beach, south of Qui Nhon City. Redesignated as 2/7 3 rd. Mar. Div. Stayed on beach for 3 days in 100 degree heat. Sep 65 Operation Highland – Junction of Routes 1 and 19, security for 1 st Cav. 5 Sep 65 – 7 Sep 65 Operation Stomp – Small operation for "Fox" and "Hotel" used just north of Qui Nhon. Some Viet Cong killed some captured the bru-ha-ha occurred when Utter order the use of CS gas and Westmoreland went nuts after the media did a sensational story in CONUS. 2/7 became known as “Utter’s Gassers. ” 25 Sep 65 Operation Goodfriend II/Spread Out – West and southwest of Qui Nhon TAOR. Nov 65 – 05 Dec 65 Operation Dagger Thrust – Reserve force only. No execution. 04 Nov 65 – 12 Nov 65 Operation Blue Marlin – Northeast of Tam Key (participated as BLT 2/7). 2/7 landed on 10 nov 65 and trudged through the surf. 23 Nov 65 Operation Trach Tru – Went to 3/7 to assist on operation but weren’t needed. 08 Dec 65 – 19 Dec 65 Operation Harvest Moon – In early December, three Marine battalions - 2 nd Battalion/ 1 st Marines, 3 rd Battalion/3 rd Marines, and the 2 nd Battalion/7 th Marines were deployed to an area midway between Chu Lai and Da Nang to relieve the pressure on South Vietnamese forces that had been hit hard by the 70 th Viet Cong Regiment.
The Military History of PFC T. Miller “Mr. Happy” at the Phu. Tai(4) CP control tower in Sept. 1965. The 2/7 Battalion logo I was a PFC (E-2) for 23 months and I’m damn proud of it. The reasons for this was that promotions, while in Vietnam, were few and far between and that those in charge of me knew what I was doing but could not prove it. And, I wasn’t a “lifer” and they knew it. My Marine Corps time was, looking back at it, a very enjoyable time in my life. The E-2 chevron
The Military History of PFC T. Miller The medals and ribbons I rate for the military service with the 2/7 th Marines while in Vietnam. The ribbons as displayed above Purple Heart • Combat Action Ribbon Presidential Unit Citation • Navy Unit Commendation • National Defense Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal • Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry • Vietnam Campaign Medal Sharp Shooters Rifle Badge
The Military History of 1 st Marine and 3 rd Marine Division insignias PFC T. Miller My military service was totally with the United States Marine Corps. I enlisted in August of 1963. I trained at MCRD San Diego with the 3 rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) from November 14 1963 to January 31, 1964 in Platoon 385. After boot camp I was assigned D Company, 1 st Battalion 2 nd Infantry Training Regiment, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendelton for infantry training. I left this training at the end of March of 1964. In April of 1964, I joined the Communications Electronic School Battalion, MCRD, San Diego (Electronics School) and went to school there for the next 5 months leaving MCRD and heading north to Camp Pendleton. I joined the 2 nd Battalion/7 th Marine Regiment (2/7) 1 st Marine Division on Sept. 25, 1964. There, I trained to become a field radio operator (2531) with the battalion communications section (Comm Section). I was assigned to a 12 man Tactical Air Control Party (TACP). The remainder of my military service I would be a “ 2571 – Special Radio Operator. ” We left for Vietnam on May 24, 1965 and soon were attached to the 3 rd Marine Division. In Vietnam we were under the control of the US Army while in the Qui Nhon area. We left their control in October and were reassigned to the 1 st Mar Div. I was medically discharged in April of 1966 and placed on retirement status.
Job in Vietnam as the 2/7 Our TACParty Tactical Air Control Party (TAC Party) Our job while in Vietnam was to be the connection between the air support, in our case mainly HMM 161, and the 2 nd Battalion/7 th Marines. Our group consisted of 12 enlisted men and 2 officers. We generally went out as three man teams with two enlisted radio operators and an officer and the remaining 8 enlisted men, if needed, would be assigned to the battalion commanding officer (C. O. ) or battalion grunt company C. O. s in two-man radio teams. We controlled the resupply, troop movement, “fixed wing” attack runs, mail delivery and the all important beer runs. From left to right are PFC George Mc. Donald, PFC Wm. “Billie” Morgan, L/Cpl. Jack Swender (KIA - Operation Harvest Moon 18 dec 65), seated is myself - (WIA - Harvest Moon 18 dec 65), PFC Warren Pinter, PFC Larry Greer (WIA - Harvest Moon 18 dec 65), L/Cpl. James Carter, L/Cpl. Thomas Kiergaard, PFC Thomas Wardrop III (KIA - Operation Utah 4 mar 66). Not shown are PFC Stan Petriw, PFC Frank Lopez (KIA - Utah 4 mar 66), PFC Cook, PFC Bilyeu 1 st Lt. Peter Amish (WIA - Utah 4 mar 66) and 1 st Lt, Robert Davis. Picture by: PFC Stan Petriw near Phu Tai(4) at the battalion CP.
Job in Vietnam as the 2/7 Our TACParty Phu Tai (4) About 12 miles west of Qui Nhon was where 2/7 set up it’s command post. The reason for this was two-fold. First it gave us access to the area we were to control and clean out before the First Cavalry Division - Airmobile entered Vietnam in September. 2/7 did this and controlled 72 square miles of area. Second, it was in the middle of our TAOR (temporary area of responsibility). We were located near Phu Tai (4) next to an old French military base that was last used in the 1950 s. The area was on a small dirty stream with low hills all around. Here, TACP built an airfield and control tower and began it’s stay in Vietnam. The air control tower at the Phu Tai (4) battalion command post in September 1965.
Job in Vietnam as the 2/7 Our TACParty Vietnam is a beautiful country in its own unique way. From the highlands to the jungles; the delta to the beaches and the small villages to the large cities, Vietnam was beautifully different. The Phu Tai (4) area and the graphite drawing of our 2/7 Tactical Air Control Party members. We controlled aircraft traffic as well as just sat on our butts. The helicopters and the fixed wings running attack runs and Lt. Amish on the “horn” doing some of the controlling. Also shown are our three members who were KIA, Lopez, Swender and Wardrop. “TAC Party, 1965/66” 22” x 28” © 2001
1965 Operations that 2/7 TACP were involved in. The first operations: Operation Highland (Aug. /Sept. ) Security for Army’s 1 st Cavalry Division - Airmobile Stomp (Sept. 3 – 7) A clearing operation took place north of Qui Nhon. Goodfriend II/Spread Out (Sept. 25) West and southwest of Qui Nhon TAOR. Dagger Thrust (Sept. 26 – 28) Reserve force only. No execution. Blue Marlin (Nov. 8 - 12) The largest amphibian landing since the Korean War but nothing more than a publicity ploy. Operation Thach Tru (Nov. 23, 1965) Sent to assist 3/7 battling NVAs. Not needed. For Operation Harvest Moon see next page! Troop movement and beer runs - two of our jobs we took seriously. The H-34 was our workhorse. I occasionally saw a H-34 after leaving Vietnam but it wasn’t until 2004 that I was up close to one actually climbing into it in Cutqgue, Long Island, New York.
1965 Operations that 2/7 TACP were involved in. The This operation will be discussed in a different file on this site at a later date when time permits. Harvest Moon (Dec. 08 – 19) An operation to deprive the VC some of their food supply. The last major United States operation and the biggest up until then for 2/7. It would be the operation that my partner would be killed on and several TAC Party members wounded on. Also on this site in a different file will be the early days of my military service from pre-boot camp up to the first operation in Vietnam. Also a bit of post-Vietnam. These sections will come as time permits. Our main vehicle for troop movement and beer runs the H-34 – our workhorse.
1 st Cavalry Airmobile Information 1 st Cavalry Division - Airmobile In these photographs I took as the 1 st Cavalry initially landed in our CP you can see the destruction they did to one of our grunt companies brought in to give them security. The Marines weren’t too happy about loosing their gear. The advance party from the 1 st Cavalry arrived in Vietnam between August 19 and August 27. They had no place to park some of their helicopters so they brought them to us for an evening. One of the Ch-47 Chinook helicopters landing among the bivwac area of one of our grunt companies. The helicopter reeked havoc for a few minutes and did some personal damage but no injuries.
Operation Highland Information Operation Highland We provided security for the 1 st Cavalry as they were entering Vietnam. They came in during the last part of August and used our CP as a stop over. It was almost their last stop over as the “parked” their damn helicopters any place they felt like on the first few landings. We then “told” them to land on our airstrip and quit harassing the troops. I believe it was Hotel Company. This was the only action that the TAC Party saw during this operation. Grunt companies did however see some work. Nothing much to report. Where the Army Ch-47 Chinook finally landed in August of 1965 for the evening. That’s Jim Carter looking over his shoulder at one of them.
Operation Goodfriend II Information Operation Goodfriend II/ Spread Out It was held to the west and southwest of the Qui Nhon TAOR on September 25 th. A small operation that didn’t prove much. I wasn’t involved in it but I remember PFC Stan Petriw was. An incident took place that has stuck in my mind ever since. It seems that Petriw was very captured by James Brown music. During this short operation the TAC Party team was trapped on three sides by a forest fire. As Petriw ran to get out the only clear way, he fell. As he was on his knees he said, “Hey guys, ‘Me fall down by James Brown. ’” He was a laugh to be around. That’s PFC Larry Greer at our newly built control tower. Most of us stayed at the battalion command post for this operation.
Operation Dagger Thrust Information Operation Dagger Thrust We did not participate in these operations only acted as a reserve force. They were to take place from Sept. to early Dec. I believe that 2/1 was involved in them. We were to participate in one or more of these raids but were held out to be utilized in Operation Harvest Moon instead. DAGGER THRUST IV – On 30 November, the SLF battalion landed as planned at Lang Ke Ga, but, with the exception of scattered tank traps in the beach area and isolated incidents of small arms fire, it encountered no opposition. DAGGER THRUST V began on 5 December near the Phu Thu village complex, 40 miles north of Qui Nhon. In retrospect, the DAGGER THRUST raids failed to achieve their overall objective, the quick exploitation of intelligence and resulting contact with large enemy formations. A quick reaction force.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp This, for many of us would be our first operation. The various “Grunt” companies were out in the field for almost 2 months but 2/7 was mainly in a “capture and hold” mode until the 1 st Cav would come “in-country. ” After they landed (which is another great story I’ll add later), we were freed up to take the offensive mode. Up until then we held the record which I haven’t heard was ever broken of a battalion holding 74 square miles of territory. On September 3 rd, we were ordered to draw rations and ammunition for a 3 -day battle. We did and then waited. Chaplain Hiskett held an open service which was well attended. We went to bed that night knowing we were about to be tested. A religious service on 04 sept 65, just before was about to get underway, Chaplain Hiskett gives a service in front of our Ontos.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The 4 of September we loaded into “ 6 Bys” and headed to the local Qui Nhon university. We spent the entire day just lying around. Qui Nhon was one of the major harbors in Vietnam. It is situated half way up the coast. We were based about a dozen miles to the west at Phu. Tai (4) just off Hwy. #1. While at the Phu Tai CP I was sent to the airbase to act as the liaison for 2/7 and HMM 161. Operation Stomp was created to remove the VCs from the area north of our CP and north of the city of Qui Nhon. The main part of the city is in the upper right. The area where the US Army had it’s supply base and where the airport and air base were. It also had some very beautiful beaches.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp took place from September 5 to 7, 1965. Our part started several days before as we moved into Qui Nhon about 15 miles to the east along the shores of the South China Sea. The truck convoy took the direct route through the villages along the highway. By this time, the “locals” weren’t waving anymore and just going about their daily business. As we drove along we did see some of the peasants smile with their blackened “beetlenut” teeth. I caught a glimpse of one old guy squatting in the front yard of a house talking to several older women while in the nude. It was truly a very The map of Operation Stomp shows how various units moved into action. We took strange sight. the wet way.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp We finally arrived in Qui Nhon and the convoy drove to the abandoned university which was located next to the airport. We disembarked and found a spot in the sand tried to get comfortable. The remainder of that day passed without incident as did the evening. I believe we caught guard duty but, it wasn’t any big thing. The following day was to be our jump off day but the “higher ups” postponed the operation until the next day. Finally, about 1100 we were told to mount up and to board By 1200, we were in the South China Sea moving towards the village. At the Operation Stomp kick-off area in Qui Nhon near the American University. L/Cpls. Kastens and Curley (right) with PFC Greer and L/Cpl Kiergaard on the left. Left - M-trac and troops. .
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp About 1300, the A 1 Es were pounding the village right in the direction we were heading. This was one of the first operations that we (2/7) were involved with and the sight of bombs being dropped didn’t set easy with us. Our M-Trac caught fire and was smoking so they brought another and we “off-loaded” onto it. In the process, PFC Simmons “rescued” the PRC-10 radio and for this he was given a “Battalion Mass. ” Good for him, I just didn’t want to “Go down with the ship” at my young age and got the hell out of there. As we traveled up the China Sea we could see just how low the M-Tracs sat in the water. In the lower picture is L/Cpl. Tom Kiergaard, with TACP 1 st Lt. Pete Amish (helmet) and PFC Larry Greer
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The operation was nothing complicated, we were to “Go in, clear out and move on. ” This we did. Then we moved out into the countryside. The only thing strange about the area was that there were no people. Later, we would find out that they had not completely disappeared but were hiding in underground caves. The “Utter Incident” took place that afternoon. I picked up a “One Dong” coin that was lying in the street but, nothing of any great interest to report about the town. We searched it and then cleared out moving to the west. We moved quickly as our group entered and cleared the village.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The Utter Incident By late April, Westmoreland had restricted authorization of the use of tear gas to only himself. Given the political outcry in March, and while the President had not banned its use, Westmoreland could read the prevailing winds. The formal shutdown came during a July 1965 inspection trip to South Vietnam by Secretary Mc. Namara, who ordered Westmoreland not to use tear gas on any more operations. General Westmoreland acquiesced, and MACV informed all the command elements of the new policy. On Sept. 5 th, 1965 the 2/7 Marines were engaged in a clearing operation against the VC. As the search and clear moved forward several hundred civilians were spotted moving into caves along with some Viet Cong. Gas.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Leon N. Utter, clearly remembers the operation: "My battalion was spread out over an area just to the north and east of Qui Nhon city. We received a message from an Army Special Forces team overlooking an area near the city that they could see a series of shelters, what I would call similar to fruit cellars, that were holding VC. Unfortunately, the VC were pulling in civilians behind them to act as human shields. My S-3 turned to me and said that he had a solution, that we had been issued a series of tear gas grenades with our ammunition. I decided to allow the company in contact to use the grenades to clear out the VC. This worked extremely well, and captured 21 VC and almost 400 civilians without any casualties to my Marines or to the civilians. " Some of the villagers as they left the caves.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp Traveling with Utter was an AP correspondent named Rick Merron was aware of the ban on tear gas use, which Utter wasn't, although he had arrived in country in late June/early July. Merron asked Utter on whose authority he used the tear gas. Utter immediately replied it was his own decision. Merron filed the story, and the controversy was instantly rekindled. Once again it appeared that the military was cavalierly using gas as a weapon, and the communist press jumped into the fray with the usual accusations. Responding to the outcry, Westmoreland directed an investigation of the incident, and sent a JAG Lieutenant Colonel to investigate Utter's communications logs to see if he had ever been informed of the "no tear gas use policy. ” AP correspondent, Rick Merron
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The JAG officer found no such message, and Westmoreland moved quickly to clear Utter of any wrongdoing. Utter's seizure of the VC area while not harming a significant number of civilians was precisely the sort of effect the military was seeking when it first started testing tear gas as a weapon. The successful use proved that tear gas, if used in specific tactical situations, could provide excellent results. In fact, some press reports were pointing out the humanitarian aspects of the operation. Within days, Westmoreland decided to use this victory as an example to prod Washington into rescinding the tear gas ban. By comparing other recent Marine missions that had taken significant casualties in a similar (continued on following page) Over view of area we were working in.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp environment against this highly effective clearing operation, Westmoreland hoped to starkly illuminate the problem. This time, however, he had an additional lure. A new procedure had been developed to clear tunnel complexes with the use of a portable air blower and tear gas. Called the "Mighty Mite, " it was a gasoline-powered machine that forced a high-speed column of air into a shaft. It was perfect for tunnels or cave complexes, and was the technological solution to the previous indiscriminate tossing of bags of bulk CS powder and then hoping that the climatic conditions were favorable. With the "Mighty Mite" and Utter's operation as a backdrop, Westmoreland sent a cable to CINCPAC listing several Marine operations where the Marines had taken heavy losses from VC hiding in spider holes and tunnels. In summary he wrote, "It is my firm belief that substantial military advantages can be gained by employing RCA against tunnels, caves and underground shelters. I am convinced that US and ARVN casualties would be reduced in assaulting these positions. Lastly, I am utterly convinced that the use of RCA is both militarily and morally preferable to the use of high explosives or flame weapons in circumstances where non-combatants are habitually encountered. ” And thus we (2/7) became known as “Utter’s Gassers” a title we wore proudly.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp That night we were “bivwacing” (sleeping or spending the night) in a small village open to the north. We slept out in the open in a small walled courtyard. All night long I was awaken by the sound of our radio operators doing their “radio checks” as I slept in command bunker area. The talk of the day was about the “gassing incident” with Fox Co. The H-34 helicopters were parked next to us that night and the command group formed a command post (CP) near by. This is a typical village with no people which was nothing out of the ordinary. That is Larry Greer and Billy Morgan at the Phu. Tai( 4) CP landing strip in August of 1965.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp We (the members of TACP) all knew that Larry Greer slept rather sound but, I had no idea just how sound he did sleep. About 0330, the VC sent in a few mortar rounds that missed us but hit nearby. The VC were going after the helicopters. The sound of each round was rattling and it shook the ground like an earthquake. I was wide a wake after the first round and crawled over to PFC Larry who was sleeping nearby. I shook him but he didn’t even remotely wake up. He was in “La-la Land” so far I don’t think a mortar hitting 2 feet away would have woke him up. The next morning he had no idea what happened. Now, that’s sleeping! H-34 helicopters parked next to our bivwac area. .
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp We finally moved out of this CP, across a small river and on to the area to our northwest. As we moved through the village we notice the aftermath of the night before when we stepped over one of the VCs who had tried to mortar us. Afterward, on a high plateau maybe several hundred feet above the village below, we saw a small farming village of about 5 or 6 huts and rice paddies. Moving near the huts were a dozen armed VC in black pajamas. Lt. Peter Amish ordered a napalm run on these troops. After Tom Kiergaard got the radio operating and Pete made the call. Within minutes there was an A 1 E on station and ready to do the run. We told him where they were and marked the target with a green smoke mortar round. One of the VC who attempted to mortar us lay dead in the village across the stream from us. We had to ford the streams in some cases.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The A 1 E fighter made one pass and laid the napalm from one end of the tiny village to the other. The VC (those that could) were running every which way. Our 81 mm mortar group just lobbed in several mortar rounds and then the grunt company utilized their skills as riflemen to finish off those that didn’t initially get killed. I remember walking with Lt. Davis and a 1 st Sgt. (“Top”) from the Rangers through the leech-infested rice paddies. There was not much to report about that day that has not already been said. Those leeches really suck. The type of fix-wing aircraft (A 1 E) that were utilized in the operation. .
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp On the second day we entered a village that had “fighting trenches” dug in. I’m not sure if they were created to use against us or for the protection of the villages by the “popular Forces. ” We just side-stepped them. About a half an hour later we heard rifle shots and a short time later saw the results of those shots (see next page). The sweep of Marines. The fighting trenches inside the village.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp During a sweep, that day, the Marines discovered two VC hiding next to the paddy dikes using reeds to breathe with. The two 13 - 15 year olds wouldn’t come out and were shot. Their grandfather gathered the boys and was in the process of burying them when some Marine who didn’t get the word shot and killed him. Several Marines were dispatched to finish the burial of the two, now three bodies. The village and the bodies of the two dead VC. The accidental shooting of the grandfather.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp On the third day we were moving towards our pick-up point where we received fire from a distant village. We called a helicopter gunship who was in the area and asked him to take a look. I call this day’s episode, “The Yellow Door. ” Above is Lt. Pete Amish calling a gunship on September 7 th. PFC Larry Greer is next to him. L/Cpl. Tom Kiergaard was also along for the operation (side picture).
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The Yellow Door The air strike was on a hamlet across the water from where we were. We knew the VC were ahead of us and an armed HU 1 E (“Huey”) gunship helicopter was on line so Lt. Amish asked him to go to work for us. He came around and waited for Pete’s direction. This was one of our rare “close up” support times we had. It was a few interesting minutes watching the Marine Air Wing doing it’s job. I grabbed my camera and caught these shots as the pilot talked to Lt. Amish on the phone. He would make a pass then attack. The hamlet chief’s house is in the center of the picture in the distance.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The gunship came around and took a look and said it called for an air strike. Those “fly boys” will do anything for a little fun blowing up anything. The air strike was on a hamlet across the rice paddy from where we were. Lt. Amish ask that the house with the large yellow door facing east be spared as it was the home of the hamlet leader who was “friendly. ” “Roger, the Yellow Door. ” The helicopter making a run at the hamlet chief’s house.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp The pilot radioed back, “Roger the yellow door” as he pushed the button on one of his rockets. The rocket was a perfect dead center hit in the middle of the leader’s yellow door. “That house? ” was the pilot’s reply. “Roger, ” said Pete. Making final approach and HU 1 E “Huey” rocket heading out!.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp No more leader’s house. The pilot then said, “I’m outta here. ” as he exited the area. No more yellow door. We then moved a few clicks to our pick-up point and went home. End of operation Stomp except for the backlash on the gassing. The hamlet chief’s house after the rocket entered the front door and the helicopter exits the area. Left - The hamlet chief’s house a few minutes after the front door was removed.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp When we returned to Phu Tai (4) things around the CP were a bit quiet. Behind the scenes things were a bit different. Our Colonel was in a battle for his job as some higher-ups were bent on getting rid of him because he authorized the use of gas. 2/7 at the time was under the command of the Army and the general in charge of us refused to adhere to the Marine generals requests but instead told them, “You have to go through me first. ” This put the Marine generals in their place and the incident was dropped. Later General Westmoreland would clear Colonel Utter of any wrong doing. I remember the following incident related to this incident involving the generals. The H-34 lands in our CP area.
Operation Stomp Information Operation Stomp “Have a nice day sir. ” One afternoon we received a radio call that we had an incoming helicopter with important cargo. We brought it in and off stepped several high ranking Marine officers including a general. He asked the directions to Colonel Utters tent which we pointed to the SE. He wasn’t a very friendly person. We knew why he was there and after about an hour he returned and we brought the helicopter back for him. I couldn’t resist in jamming him a bit knowing what kind of mood he was in. “Is it a beautiful day sir? ” was my remark to him. He just sneered as he hopped on the helicopter. “Have a nice day sir. ” but, I don’t know if he heard me or not. It felt great to jam a general. The H-34’s land in our CP area.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin About the 4 th of November we left the Phu Thanh Valley CP for the final time and went to Qui Nhon and boarded the USS Paul Revere (APA 248). From the 5 th to the 9 th we traveled up towards our next home base, Chu Lai. The USS Paul Revere that we boarded in Qui Nhon. We get into the “Mike” boats for delivery to the shores above Chu Lai on 10 Nov.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin Mike Boats These are “Mike” boats.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin On the 10 th of November (the Marine Corps birthday) we made the largest amphibious landing since Korea. A funny story comes out of our being onboard ship. The Navy couldn’t believe their eyes. Hey, we hadn’t eaten steak for over 5 months. Sounds important? What a farce. There was another thing that didn’t set well with the 2/7 Marines. When they landed us, it was out in the middle of nowhere about 1000’ too far east. Lots of salt water to wade through. We really had nothing to do operational wise. No VC, but, it looked good to the press and that was what the generals cared about. The USS Paul Revere underway. Departing the “Mike” boats on 10 Nov. I know that this photo shows the Marines disembarking near the high-water mark. This was not the case for those on my wave. We landed out in 4’ water. Thanks ya dumb swabbie.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin The seas were a bit choppy but they weren’t anything exceptional. The “boat swine” dropped us off about 100 yards from where he should have. Never trust a “chicken-dodo” driving a boat. The map of Operation Blue Marlin shows how various units moved into action. We took the wet way, again.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin His is where the “boat swine” should have dropped us off. Going through the surf really sucked. We would have loved to have met that bozo later. Later drop-offs of Operation Blue Marlin. During our hike through the surf we had a Marine Corps photographer right behind us snapping a way. I remember him there but I didn’t realize I was in them until 2005. This is an official USMC photo of the Blue Marlin landing on 10 nov 65. Notice that we are wading through the ocean. What the picture doesn’t show is that the land in front of us is an island with a lot more water beyond.
Operation Blue Marlin Information This photo is an official US Marine Corps photo
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin Hey lookie who’s in this picture That’s yours truly plunging through the surf. I know it’s me because the 45 is in my right hand the radio is on my back. Also, watch is on my right arm I’m left handed. This is an official USMC photo of the Blue Marlin landing on 10 nov 65. I’m in the lower right corner holding his 45 cal. pistol high in the air. In front of me (star) are Greer and Jack Swender (oval) plus other TAC Party members.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin Hey, it’s me again. Yep, same watch, same radio and the same soaked feet. We finally hit the beach and moved inland. Greer lost his Jim Bowie knife as we plunged through the surf. The knife is another funny story and sooner or later I have it on the site. Another official USMC photo taken a few minutes later after we had crossed the land mass. In front of me are Lt. Amish, Greer and Swender.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin On the third day running around, Operation Blue Marlin was almost over. As we began to relax and wait for the helicopters to haul us to our new CP, Foxtrot got into a fire-fight. Finally, after 3 days running around, Operation Blue Marlin was over and we headed to our new 2/7 command post at Chu Lai. 2/7 was now with the rest of the 7 th Marines. Foxtrot as they march by after firefight. The standing joke was that they were all firing at a “Cokie-cola mommason. ” Soon the shooting stopped and Fox came marching by. This is an official USMC photo of the Blue Marlin landing on 10 nov 65. Notice that we are wading through the ocean. What the picture doesn’t show is that the land in front of us is an island with a lot more water beyond.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin How We Should Have Landed But didn’t! Mike boats pulling right on to the shore at a later time. Marines on Operation Blue Marlin.
Operation Blue Marlin Information Operation Blue Marlin Various shots of Operation Blue Marlin.
Operation Thach Tru Information Operation Thach Tru On the night of 21 -22 Nov 1965 two ARVN units near Thach Tru were hit by NVA/VC attacks and the 2 nd ARVN Division requested a Marine sweep in the area in hopes of bringing the NVA/VC to bay. The 3 rd Bn, 7 th Marines were alerted and on the morning of 23 Nov air-assaulted into the area. After a two-day sweep which located and destroyed a number of enemy supply points, but which failed to locate the enemy forces themselves, the Marines were withdrawn. On Thanksgiving morning ( Nov. 23 rd)we (Amish, Greer, Kiergaard and I) were requested to go over 3/7’s CP to assist them on Operation Thach Tru battling NVA regulars. The 3/7 Marines take a prisoner.
Operation Thach Tru Information Operation Thach Tru Viet Cong Tactics About this time the battle for Il Drang was going on. This battle of the Drang river (hence the name "Ia Drang") is described in Sheehan's fine book ("A Bright Shining Lie") in good detail. The battle, incidentally, besides being significant in military terms (the first major bloodying of US troops) It involved the 1 st Cav Division and was a disaster with the Cav loosing 350 soldiers. It wasn’t acknowledged as a disaster because we killed more of them than they did of us. B. F. D. The VC tactics were to divide the enemy and encircle them and then wipe them out. This worked for the VC on the 1 st Cav during this operation. Later we will see just how well it worked on the Marines during Operation Harvest Moon. Check back later for this section. Captured VC on Operation Thach Tru ready to be placed on H-34 to be transported back to the rear.
Operation Thach Tru Information Operation Thach Tru Thanksgiving Dinner On Thanksgiving Day in Chu Lai while waiting to join 3/7 on an operation leading up to Harvest Moon we were put on “stand-by. ” We got the honor of standing in the rain for 4 hours before being given the news that we didn’t have to go. We would be told about 1830 and because it was too late to eat at our mess hall at 2/7 we were given “Thanksgiving dinner” at 3/7. They fed us in our mess kits - those clinketyclank metal double sided cumbersome things. I remember eating the turkey as the washed out gravy and soggy potatoes floated over the side of the metal holder from the rain dripping off my helmet. The peas and corn bobbed up and down in the watery mixture they called gravy. That was a low spot for any Thanksgiving Day for me. Every once in a while I’ll have a turkey potpie in honor of that day. Up and down the jungle hills.
Operation Harvest Moon Information Operation Harvest Moon For Operation Harvest Moon see the next presentation when finished. Thanks for your viewing, please pass this on to those who might be interested in this history. I can be Emailed at: T. Millerart@verizon. net Or tfmillerini@verizon. net for any questions you may have. Sincerely, T. Miller The helmets and boots of those either killed or wounded on Operation Harvest Moon.