NOTE: With a couple
pictures on these pages
are my personal property and cannot be used without permission.
This is me on the first day in the company area
in Nam. It's not hard to tell the "FNG" by the new, crisp, jungle
utilities; literally just issued minutes earlier
(I haven't even pinned my rank insignia on the collars yet). Even more
telling is the bright white t-shirt. It didn't take the t-shirts
long to turn a dingy yellow-brown from the water they were washed in.
It's clear that I haven't had my office call with Top Tuttle as well since
I'm still sporting a "Stateside" haircut.
On the left is LCPL William E. (Fast Eddie) Bolin
and on the right is Roger Hausauer. We called Roger "Little-John"
for obvious reasons; he was about 6'3" tall. Little-John and I
arrived at the same time and this shot was taken within a week or so of
our arrival; he also has shiny new jungle utility trousers. Bolin was from Alabama and Hausauer was from New York
State. Unfortunately, the slide has acquired a scratch right over
Bolin's upper lip.
This is Recon Team Dutch Oven on the LZ. This was prior to my second patrol (and before the call sign was changed to Grim Reaper). It's pretty obvious from all the stuff on the LZ that we weren't going out on a "hump." On this patrol we were headed to a permanent OP on Hill 452. Hill 452 was about as low-threat as patrols got in northern I Corps and a team usually drew that assignment after a particularly rough patrol.
It was an observation post situated on a lone hill out in the middle of the valley. The sides were so steep that it was accessible only by helicopter or by scaling a long rope on one end that led to a finger ridge that jutted out of the hillside about 100 feet below the summit. On this first trip for me to 452, we scaled the rope hauling all the supplies you see here up by rope.
They later brought some Seabees up who built a rather small wooden LZ that hung off the southern edge of the hill. After that, we were able to land right near the crest. The only problem was that the platform was so small that the CH-46 could put the rear wheels on it and the ramp but the front wheel hung out in space off the ramp.
At left is Fred Brisch. Next to him is
David "Stick" Nelson and Rufus Johnson is next to Stick. Sitting on
the ammo crate is the Platoon Commander (Dutch Oven-6) LT John Dunn.
John was a Mustang officer (prior enlisted) and one of the best Marine
officers I even knew.
This is our Recon Team in April of 1967, just
about the time our name changed from RT Dutch Oven to Grim Reaper.
On the left in front is Mike Bell from Utah. Next to him is Cleofus
"Roddy" Rodriguez from Texas (I inherited the M-60 from him when he
rotated home). Back row left to right is David "Gator" Thielen, also
from Texas. I am next to him (carrying the M-79 grenade launcher at
this time). Stick Nelson is next to him and Hospital Corpsman 3cl
Wayne Highum is to the right of Stick. Next is Rafael Triana.
Ray was from New York City. On the far end is David "Gertie" Gugich from
Washington State. Even in Vietnam, Gertie was probably the most
cerebral of the bunch. After the war, he published several books of poetry.
This picture of me was taken at the same time as
the one above. I've got two M-26 frag grenades taped to my web gear.
The card taped to the stock of my M-79 is the 7 of Spades. Each of
us had a different spade card on our weapon (if you look at the picture
above, you can see some of the other ones). When carrying the
single-shot "blooper" I was always concerned about not being able to get
access to additional ammo in a hurry.
This was our company commander when I first arrived; Captain Albert King Dixon. Captain Dixon was a great skipper. He was from South Carolina and was an All-American running back for the University of South Carolina in the late 50's before becoming a Marine officer. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and went back to Sough Carolina and was the Athletic Director for the USC in the later 80's and early 90's.
Click to go to Recon personalities Page 2
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