We get mail
On June 1, 1998, I decided to start posting the e-mail messages we get regarding the CAP 2-7-2 site. Lots of folks have their own great insights, memories and stories to tell — Roch Thornton
I was sent the URL for your site from my father-in-law who served on Swift Boats in Vietnam. I ran across the term “Kit Carson Scouts” in a work I’m reading on Air Mobility and now know the definition of it thanks to your site. I’ve immensely enjoyed what I’ve seen on your site thus far and I plan to refer to it often. I hope that if I’ve questions you’ll indulge me. I’m a history major here in Kansas and am working on a thesis regarding a WWII airbase here. However, I’ve developed a great interest (starting with the swift boats and air mobile) in the Vietnam War. When I served in the military in the 80s most if not all of the cadre were Vietnam vets. I’d like to learn more about the war and your site has provided an excellent opportunity to learn about Marine operations in SE Asia.
FHSU History Dept
PS You wouldn’t happen to have had a son named Ron Thornton who served in the Army in the 80s would you?
I have been reading some of the letters on your website and am finding them to be very interesting. At this time, I am 18 and a freshman in college in Wisconsin. I am doing a research paper comparing the happenings of the Vietnam War. To do this, I am reading through different letters from different times in the Vietnam War. As of right now, I am reading through the letters and looking for similarities in them. I hope to write an interesting an informative paper for my class.
I would like to thank you for posting your letters, along with the letters from others, for the public to read. I know some people do not want to remember that time in their lives, therefore don’t share their experience with anyone else.
If there is anything you think may be beneficial to my paper, or think I should help clarify, I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for posting your letters for all to read and take care.
Your site is very good. One of the best I’ve seen.
I’ve only one ‘war story’ – um, I was not quite draftable at age 8 – In school, we were made to do a ‘current events’ project every week. We snipped an article from the paper, pasted it to a piece of paper and commented on it. We were pointedly and specifically warned NOT to clip ANY articles involving the war in Vietnam at all. Too controversial, and our teachers were afraid – of what, that a 3rd grade class would stage an anti-war protest?
I was in the Navy in 1979-1980, and the legacy that the war had left on the service is now apparent to me. Drugs were everywhere, “fuck the navy” was on every members lips, and it became sort of cool to be a “bug”, as they said in boot camp. Needless to say, following the example set by senior enlisted personnel, I fell right into it. Literally; the day before graduation at RTC (Great Lakes!), the NTC people started a full blown riot with civilians outside the base. I arrived 2 weeks later (my transfer was delayed for 2 weeks due to this) and all hell had broken loose within the ranks. People were being thrown out by the dozens, and I got shitcanned along with them. 9 months, 19 days, never a day a sea, but 22 long years of feeling I’d disgraced the flag. I never would have refused to go into any combat zone, and had little regard for the fuckers who kept saying that if there was a war “I’m outta here” ie they’d go UA.
In later years. reading the different works about the war, I got a better sense of what went on. I almost wished I hadn’t; it wasn’t a proud moment in US history, that’s for sure. The sheer mettle of you guys out in the bush still amazes me. It’s a miracle anyone came back with any sanity left. To me, you guys are the “war heroes” of my generation, having suffered so much, in such a different situation than WWII or Korea or anywhere, any time.
I am now in the process, at age 39 🙂 of joining up again, this time as a dental officer (I’m a dentist), but I’ll tell you that I first attempted to join any service that would get me a combat slot. The only one who could come close was the army, but I’d just be trained and probably never see any action. At least in the navy I can get with the FMF and provide supplemental medical and regular dental care to the USMC. Your site inspired me further, and I’ll think of you when I’m in.
God Bless You, and all the boys who served in Vietnam. And all those “Ivy league anti war protesters form the 60’s” are now seeing where their legacy of complacency and apathy towards the very real and predicted danger we’re in now has led them.
Dear Mr. Roch Thornton,
My name is Leah and I am 19-years-old. I have spent this summer reading the articles, letters, etc. that you have posted on the CAP 2-7-2 website. Some of the stories have made me laugh, others have deeply saddened me, and still others have angered me (the story about the Vietnam veteran who lost a job interview because of his service in the military). However, the courage and strength, and the sacrifices, of you and your comrades have come through the stories and have inspired me.
Although this letter is addressed to you, I hope that you will pass along the following sentiments to your comrades, because I am speaking to all of you guys.
I am proud that America had men like you who were willing to step up to the plate when America asked you to. Thank you for taking the time to share your stories with me. Your stories have given me a new perspective on the Vietnam War, aside from the statistics that I can read in a textbook and the propaganda that may occasionally circulate. Your stories have helped place a face on the veterans of Vietnam. Although I do not presume to think that all Vietnam veterans shared the same experiences during the war, I believe that you all demonstrated courage and I am able to better understand and appreciate you. I dare say I have never heard of the Combined Action Program until I came across your website. (The public school system certainly does not cover this stuff). CAP 2-7-2’s operations seemed to be exceptionally dangerous, in part because of the elusive fighting technique of the Viet Cong. I admire the bravery you demonstrated in those situations.
I became very upset when I read about the treatment that you and your buddies received upon returning to the “World.” You men deserved the same “Welcome Home” that soldiers returning from any other war received. I am sorry that you had to hide the fact that you fought in the Vietnam War. That you served your country when called deserves the utmost respect! I hope that people are not still being discriminatory against Vietnam vets. It is unfortunate that the adolescent temper tantrums of those days took ahold of America and made it a sort of “Second Hell” for you guys to deal with. I am glad my own father did not take part in such frivolity, and supported his country.
Well, I have two neighbors (brothers) who are (or soon to be) a part to the fighting green machine. Jeremy is training as a gunner in the Army. Aside from the training, I think he is enjoying life in Hawaii. His younger brother, Curtis, will be leaving for the Marine Corps. While I am hoping that the United States will not have to see another war, if such a time came I will be praying – first, for the safety of our men and women, and second, that they will have the same courage and strength that I saw in the men of your platoon.
As for myself, I am currently a sophmore in college majoring in veterinary science. I hope to join the Army Veterinary Corps after I graduate from Vet school.
By the way, I thought it was nice of you to write your parents as often as you did while in Vietnam. In closing, I would just like to thank you for serving our country. May God bless you and your family!
Just finished reading the stories of CAP 2-7-2. I saw the web site posted on the Vietnam Vets message board. You really did an excellent job. A great tribute to you and your fellow Marines. The stories are very touching, some sad others funny.
John “toolie” Starkl
Where can I find some basic descriptive info about the Vietnam era CAP program? Your site is very specific and assumes that the reader already knows the background.
I’ve been reading your excellent site. I was the pbr sailor on pbr # 91 the night it was blown out of the water while tied up at the dock on 25th Jan. 70. No other RVN sailor’s were on board that night, I was the only WIA. The reason it was blown up, was because the supply officer for the Navy didn’t get his fat ass to Da Nang to get concussion grenades. This is to set the record straight. Another time in a sitrep for 6 Jan. 70, is bull-shit. We took a RPG from the west bank, on board was 2nd CAG’s top sgt. he got shrapnel from head to toe, he was MED-VAC to Japan. I was in the forward twin 50’s gun mount. I still have sharpnel working its way out of my face after all these years. 2 WIA in that one. I have 2 purple hearts and 100% PTSD. Glad you made it home
This webpage is awesome. I especially enjoyed the official documents section even though the chronology was after my time. I was in CAP 2-5-5 at Phong Le (2) just south of the Cau Do bridge on Hwy 1. Our CACO was Hoa Vang. I guess I’ll have to submit my request for the chronology for when I was there April 1968 to October 1968. I joined this unit after 13 months with Hotel 2/1. Will you be going to the reunion in Baton Rouge, LA in November. I live in Louisiana about 2 1/2 hrs west of Baton Rouge and will do everything I can to make it.
I found your site and can’t believe my eyes. The old unit in “Nam.” This is great. Thanks…
I will look for some old pictures. I only have one or two. This is GREAT !!
I have been very interested in the vietnam war for sometime now, watching movies and reading books, but I wasn’t satisfied till I came across your site. As I read some of your letters and looked at pictures, my reactions were unclear, meaning I didn’t know whether to smile or cry. I would just like to say that I’m very proud of our men who served their country….those who have lived and those who have perished.
Thanks for the CAP 2-7-2 Glossary, really answered a lot of questions I had.
Hey! First off i would like to say that your website is awesome. I am a senior in high school in North Carolina. Senior says alot! I can honestly say that i have the worst senioritis ever! But we have a class called “lessons of Vietnam” which we call LOV. We study the war, have guest speakers from all around the U.S. like Vice Admiral Tidd, General Price, and local vets. We also have links that each student is given at the first of the year which we call and interview about their war experiences. Its a wonderful class and has become well known across the US. We also have a Bridges newsletter just about the Vietnam war that students put together and write (which i am on the staff and will be glad to send you a copy if you would like). I was in the middle of a project for this class and i came across your website and sat there for an hour and half looking through it. It has gotten me more into learning about Vietnam and actually enjoyed more than anything i have read or heard from our LOV class. I guess i just wanted to write and tell yall how much i loved your website and how much i got out of it. Being a senior that is not required to take a history class my senior year this subject has captured my attention and i love learning new things about it everyday. and i have learned alot from your website. i would love to hear back from yall. stacey
I am Rodney C. Jones. I was in a cap unit from Sept. of 1967 until I returned to the states in May of 1969. I was a Sgt. and CAP leader for most of the time. In Sept. of 1969 I returned to a CAP south of Phu Bai and was wounded for the second time within 30 days. That ended my Viet Nam duty. During my time in Nam I led three different CAPS in and around Phu Bai and Hue. Love your website. Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I’m studying the language again and plan to return to Viet Nam next year. Would appreciate any info you might have about 3rd CAG.
roch – i happened upon your web site today & found it to be quite moving. i’m going to take the time to print some of the war stories you’ve provided, as stuff like that makes great before-bed reading material (i read all of your letters home in one sitting just now). & THANK YOU VERY MUCH for providing the reunion picture. it was nice to see what all your buddies look like now, particularly yourself & doc (whom, i assume, was quite a popular guy (he became such to me while reading) judging from the # of times he’s referred to in your letters home).
oh, did i mention that the letters, one in particular, were educational as well? i had no idea that one could use personal firearms sent from home for combat purposes! you learn something new every day….
in closing, thank you for an outstanding web site. its not too often that i get a chance to thank veterans for the sacrifices they made, so consider this letter just that – a very big thank you.
i am a 23 yr.old …
i have so much more respect for the marines now after doing some research. this research was just for my benefit…i am aquainted with a MARINE now and i always tell him to get out….i won’t tell him this anymore the pictures and stories touched a part of my heart that i didn’t know existed….he tell me he needs to do this and be part of his MARINE CORP….i have such respect for him now….the children in the photos were so innocent, and you as MARINES put your hands and hearts out to them…..thank you ……i thank for them i have a little girl and she is so precious to me…..i sent you a pic of her and i…….please write back to me…it would mean alot….i now need to be sure to tell MY MARINE that i love him for who he wants to become and for the lives he wants to lend his heart to…..thank you for reading my letter……….LOVE TO THE MARINES, shannon
I wanted to take a moment and commend you on the CAP 2-7-2 site. The truths that many experienced in the Vietnam War (not conflict) have been hidden from the public for too long. The media demonized the military and the politicians followed right along to keep their cowardly butts in office. The disdain that Vets recieved from the American public was absolutely shameful and is a sad commentary on America! These people were prepared to sit back and enjoy the benefits and freedoms that this country offered but had absolutely no idea why this was possible. I feel that America is finally seeing the truth that was re-written by the media and hidden by the politicians for all these many years. I have always felt that for the military Vietnam was a victory….it the politicians that should wear the shame of defeat! Time has passed, the word “Vietnam Vet” is no longer derrogatory, and Americans respect for the military has returned. The stories and photo’s on this site should serve to all who see them as a reminder of why this country is great.
The sacrifices made by the individuals that served their country should never be forgotten. When America called…. they answered….and many gave their lives. America can never repay the debt it owes to those who fought and those who died in Vietnam, but time has marched on and many have forgotten Americas longest war. Perhaps those that come to CAP 2-7-2 will spend some time there and learn of the sacrifices that were made and the horrors that these brave men faced everyday, and understand why we as Americans owe so much to these brave few.
As a side note. I enlisted in the Marines in 1982 after high school and spent 6 years in the airwing as a helo crew chief. I learned what it meant to be a Marine and that the pride and honor that goes with it was due to the acts of bravery and sacrifice that were performed by brother Marines that served before me.
Semper Fi brother!
Roch-Your site is excellent in its content. Since I was in High School w/Greg I have been looking for a little more info on his death and your site and the virtual wall have helped a lot. He was a tough dude who as I remember enlisted versus going out and getting his 2S college deferment to avoid Nam. He actually was out to do a career in the Marines. As I look back this week at this being the 25th year of the end, I was enlightened to see your thoroughness w/this site. I guess you guys really did not get much of a chance to get to know this guy, since as stated he was only w/CAP 2-7-2 for a couple weeks. I have read the accounts of his death and till this day we will never know whether he rolled over a mine while sleeping or was grenaded from a passing vehicle or thrown by the enemy on foot. Some 30 years and I still think about him and his boundless energy for life and I of course miss all that.
Thanks again-Larry Herman-
Hello you dont know me…..my name is tbear. I was directed to this site by Ed McIntyre. I am 37 years old and Viet Nam was a vague memory to me. I remember hearing and reading from time to time about the events that happened during that era. My oldest brother and middle brother were active in that war as well but didnt see the hardest hit areas of the war. Ed and I have become friends and I came here merely to see some pictures and never thought I would be compelled to come back to this site. But here I am and after 2 hrs and still counting, spent reading, looking and beginning to feel a lump in my throat, nothing that i ever read or heard about when it was actully happening 30 years ago, ever reflected the sights and sounds and feelings that each one of you have made me see from your submissions to your web site.
I have been a Legion Member for years. I’ve served every capacity of volunteerism to the Vets of this country. I have helped men from WWI WWII Normandy, Korean Viet Nam and Desert Storm. Ive listened to some who needed to talk about what happened to them during their tours of duty and nothing has ever made me feel the sights and sounds that you all encountered, till i read this website. I laughed I sighed I cried for those who never returned. For those that were forced to deal with un thinkable situations, for those that fought for the US, whether it was right or wrong to do so. In my mind those in the Viet Nam war were surely over looked by many. Im proud to say that Ed is my friend and I surely am proud of him and ALL of you for putting your lives on the line and I mourn for those that didnt return and honor the ones that did.
I know this site was mostly for you all to share amongst yourselves but Im forever grateful to Ed for sharing it with me. Its one I will never forget and will check now and then for new things.
Thank you all so much
Hello my name is Debbie. My father is Stan Gallagher who is Dan Gallagher’s half brother. I remember Danny’s funeral to this day. I was fifteen years old when he died. My Grandfather was Danny’s Dad. I have wonderful memories of Danny growing up and your web site has brought them all back. Thank you. WOW to read what happen to my uncle made me breathless. thank you for your time and what was in your heart to share what a wonderful story, Danny’s sister Randy is still a very large part of the Gallagher family, I only wish I could have grown up to have had Danny in my Life. Danny always had wonderful people in this life, you had to have been one of them. Thank you so Much for sharing your story.
My late husband was in this area you were in Quang Nam in the 1970 and I am needing information regarding a group of men who were killed on April 3, 1970 while out on patrol. My husband was the late William D Rivers, who served in Nam and brought one of the bodies back for burial. Do you happen to know him? He was being promoted on that day when the unit he was in charge of went out with his best friend and returned in body bags. I do not know much about this and I am interested in finding out all I can about this area. Thank you for your help.
I come from Switzerland. I’m 17. Since I was a little and innocent boy, I’ve been fond of military things. When I was 15 ou 16, A military surplu was selling american stuff of the Viet Nam war. I bought pants, patches, T-shirts and a helmet. I made kinds of commandos with some friends in a natural reserve, whose small rivers and exotic trees made it like a piece of Viet Nam. It was a little boy’s war, as thousand of boys made. My father tryied many many times to explain me the nightmare the Viet Nam was. I wasn’t able to understand the feeling of fear that the soldiers have had. And during the time between the words of my father and now, my mind changed. This evening, I visited your site. I read a lot of stories the soldiers of the CAP 2-7-2, I saw the photos of your friends. It’s really difficult to see all these photos of guys laughing when you see under them “K.I.A.”… I don’t know if I am too sensitive, but seeeing such things make me sad. The last stories I read are the one of Ed “Mac” Intyre followed by the “Death of Greg Keller”. I fell so sorry for these men…. I must look ridiculous. I imagine so well the horrors you must have seen. Guys diing so far from their home, from their mother. I imagine a man lying in blood, not able to breathe correctly. He sees his wounds and all his friends panicking around him. He hears voices saying he has no chance to survive, he cries, he shouts his mother, he wants his mother to come, but he knows she’s so far… he agonizes and dies miserabely… It’s what my imagination created trough these pictures and these words.
Your must think I’m mad, that anyway I haven’t known these feelings. You’re maybe right. But it’s the first time I cry in front of my screen for a thing I WAS fond of. My mind changed. Typing these lines, I feel the same tears rolling on my cheeks that thousand of men felt on their cheeks. I feel so sorry for you, for them and for the men who gave their life for political reasons who finally were not so useful. But I do not say that the deaths of the soldiers were useful.
I want to appologize for my sensibility. I really hope that stories like the ones you inserted on your site will help the politicians to think that, if they’re humans, they have not right to send in fact kids of 18 or 19 years old to death so easily…
I have to go, I don’t want my father to see me crying, take care…
P.S: Would you agree
to write to me (I mean
with real letters)?
hi im a student in england looking for some help i am curently studing history and have been asked to complete a project on the vietcong and guerrilla war fare i would be grateful for any help. thank you sam
I have again reviewed your web site, this time more fully than my initial perusal. In my opinion, you are providing an exceptionally important source of information, even history. Not to sound sappy about it, but yours is the kind of work that contributes to an informed citizenry and a healthy society. You provide information that allows all of us to look into the workings of our military and our country in significant ways that were unimagined just a few years ago.
While writing a couple of books about Marines in the Vietnam War, I was impressed with how much information is “out there” that most of us are completely unaware of. You are making us aware of much of that now-easily available information.
In my classes here at West Point, where I teach constitutional law, military law, and the law of war, I am often dismayed at how little even our generally well-informed cadets know about the Vietnam War. Granted, Vietnam is to them as World War I was to us, but still… Through sites like yours, kids, adults, everyone, has a far greater ability to appreciate and understand what the Vietnam War was about and what part we played in that war. It’s unvarnished folk history that communicates in ways that we academics and historians seldom do.
I appreciate your work, as I’m sure do many others from whom you never hear.
Subject: CAP 245
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 14:37:11 EST
From: Charles Scalzo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was with CAP 247, & 245 from June 1970 to June 1971. I was assistant Cap Commander with Cap 245. My nick name was Duke, not fitting for the Nam. Cap 245 was stationed right out side 2nd. CAG. I got some great pictures, a VC Flag and a SH 59 pistol I got off a VC, KIA. My home phone number is xxx xxx-xxxx, My address is xxx xxxxxxx xxxx, Beachwood, New Jersey. By the way my name is Charles Scalzo, E4S xxxxxxx.
Good day sir,
I discovered your website 3 days ago. I have been looking for a way to learn more about the Vietnam war. I don’t much like to read about it from text books. I feel that they tell about the war from the views of politicians. I am really glad that you have made a site such as this. I found the information very useful. And the photographs bring the war stories of CAP 2-7-2 to life for me.
I am a LCpl in the Marine Corps. Though I have never seen combat. I am very grateful to all the Marines and servicemen who have come before me.
If you could tell me of the effects of post traumatic stress disorder on the vets you know I would greatly appreciate it. Please get back to me as I am eagerly awaiting your response. Thank You!
Roch…Really enjoyed your web site about Vietnam..It is by far the most informative that I have yet to see on the net. It gives a real feeling of what it was like for you guys over there.
For some reason I have a big interest in the Vietnam war…I was a teenager through those years…and saw it in the news on T.V. and in the papers. At the time I wished that I was Old enough to help…I guess I was thinkin, that if I were there I could have helped…or made a difference. Be it right or wrong…I just thought I should have been there.
I did join the Army a few years later when I turned 18…I was in Boot camp 3 days after I turned 18. I did my 3 years…I grew up a lot…and I am damned proud that I served my country….It may seem screwed up at times … but we do live in a great country.
I could write more and more and never really explain how I feel….But mainly I want to say “WELCOME HOME” and thanks for the great Web site!
First of all- great site. the stories are plain and simple and I hope people understand the stupidity in the war.
I am personally a 23 year old ex Israeli Airborne Ranger- and for the past 2-3 years fought on the Lebanese front. Tactics are amazingly the same to that of US infantry in Vietnam. Although we have a huge advantage in training and gear (especially night vision).
But still – engaging at close quarters is something you cannot teach, practice or think about till you experience it first hand. Seeing mutilated friends 2-3 feet away and not being able to help them because if you move 1cm- you get hit, is something you have to feel -not read about.
Also, I liked the story about being shipped out in half an hour- I also was and still am feeling awkward at the way civilian life is turning out to be. I hope this feeling will pass as the years go by.
thanx for putting up this site
My name is Scott Miller and I am a 7th grade teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Tomorrow as you know is Veteran’s Day, and I was planning on doing an activity with my students to give them some perspective on war and what it means to serve your country. I found your website and will probably read a few of your letters aloud to my kids.
I’m emailing you because I thought it would add a lot to our class if you could maybe explain what Veteran’s Day means to you. Do you feel that the American public appreciates our veterans? Do you feel the youth of America understand the sacrifices earlier generations have made to ensure the security and freedom of our country? If you could say something to 7th graders about Vet’s Day (what they should think about or remember), what would you say?
I know that you are probably a busy person, but if you could take 5 minutes and respond to this email and perhaps write a little something that I could read to my students, I would greatly appreciate it. If not, just enjoy Vet’s Day. There are people thinking about you.
Thanks in advance,
Worthington Middle School
My compliments on the CAP site. As a former Marine of the Vietnam era and as an historian, I am doubly impressed both by quality of the personal histories, as well as the larger contribution that the site offers through a better understanding of an important but often overlooked component of the Vietnam War.
Too often in history–and particularly the history of the Vietnam War–the scholarly emphasis offers one of two approaches: a reduction of massive actions and battles to a few summary paragraphs; or an overemphasis on the politics, generals, battle plans and the grand strategies intended to win wars.
As you know, there is an axiom of history that says battles are won by the preparedness and, most importantly, the motivation of the soldier on the battlefield. Without him, the generals and grand strategies are worthless.
Your site contributes to a better understanding of the Vietnam war because it extensively relates the experiences by those who did the fighting and who then re-told them with the insightful reflection that only comes to us after decades of maturity and experience.
As the diaries of the Civil War soldiers contributed immeasurably toward a greater sense of appreciation and compassion toward those who fought then, your use of the Web will do the same for your fellow Marines who fought in Vietnam.
I have passed along your URL to one of our faculty members here who teaches a course on the Vietnam War. I took it during my graduate school days, and its students were overwhelmingly adults, many of whom were ambivalent about or opposed to the war. They failed to appreciate the awful sacrifices that were demanded of and rendered by extraordinary young men.
That’s because of the gap in the historical literature, which only emphasized the politics and the strategies of the war and sought to answer either why we lost, or whether we lost.
I predict that sites like yours will offer a tremendous contribution to a real understanding of how the war was really fought and contribute to a reconsideration of the War and our generation’s role in fighting it. I’ve spoken to our faculty member here about your site and he is enthusiastic about incorporating it into his course.
There’s an old saying that speaks to the need for such historical understanding. It was offered by the Greek historian Polybius, who was held as a hostage by the Romans for 25 years after they conquered his country.
He wrote “The Rise of the Roman Empire” after Rome destroyed its arch-enemy Carthage in the Third Punic War in 146 B.C. His history of that conquest, he wrote to his fellow Greeks, would explain why they were conquered by Rome.
He told them they needed to know this because:
“He who does not understand history is destined to repeat it.”
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
I was born in 1972. Growing up, we didn’t hear too much about the Vietnam War. In school, it was covered only briefly, and not in any detail. Not until college, when a former POW gave a speech, did I give it much thought. Since that day I have had a thirst for knowledge about the experiences that American Forces had in Vietnam. I have cheated by a school system that did not educate me in the slightest on a struggle that was very recent in American history. I have found many websites on the internet and get lost in the stories told first hand from the soldiers. Throughout my young working life, I have had the opportunity to work with veterans, and an opportunity to talk to them about their experience. I just wanted to write you and let you know that I have enjoyed your website. I plan to share it with several of my friends, who also are trying to learn more about Vietnam, and the world that we were born into.
I am Larry Thomas I served in CAP 2-7-2 from Jan. 71 til April 71. I can give you a few names if you wish . My phone # is xxx-xxx-xxxx or you can e-mail me. Just bought computer not very good on it yet.
I have enjoyed reading your stories about your experiences in Vietnam with CAP 2-7-2. Your site is truly moving. My dad was a Navy officer in Swift boats in the Mekong Delta area during ’68- ’69. I have great respect for all of you who served in Vietnam, especially those of you who served in such close combat against an often unseen enemy. I’m glad you made it home and just wanted to extend my thanks to you and all the guys like you who served.
Have you read the discussion about the M16 rifle series in Tom Clancy’s nonfiction book about the Marine Corps and his nonfiction book about armored cav? In my opinion, Clancy does a better job of describing the history of the M16 in his book about the Marine Corps, although I believe he glosses over it a little, compared to what retired Army Col. David Hackworth said about the weapon in his memoirs ABOUT FACE. In that book, Col. Hackworth called the rifle “the worst infantry weapon ever forced upon America’s fighting men.”
Subject: Re: CAP 2-7-2 website
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 09:36:43 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jacob Wang <email@example.com>
To: Roch Thornton<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Roch: I just want you and your buddies in 2-7-2 to know that I have the utmost respect in the world for you guys. How do you feel about war in general? What about guns and what they can do to people? What do you think of the school shootings that have happened repeatedly in recent years? What was it like having someone point a gun in your face? I hope you guys only killed in self-defense when shot at or ambushed.
Subject: info on father and mission
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 11:50:15 -0600
From: “John Hittinger” <email@example.com>
I was cruising the web and came upon your site; I am a civilian professor at the air force academy; I am looking on my wall at memorabilia about father which I proudly display for the cadets — aboout my father who was a member of the CAG for one day only to be blown away by the Viet Cong near Hoi An on March 9 1968. His name was Francis R Hittinger, Lt Col USMC; he was to take command of the 2nd Combined Action Group. He was killed with a dozen other men; it must have been a big and tragic event in CAG/CAP history. Can you help me find anyone who was in the 2nd CAG (2-7-2 would do just fine) on that day (era) who may know more about it? I have been in contact with Chaplain Dick McGonagle who had breakfast with him that day and he sent me a marvelous letter and pix; he was to make a documentary on the return to VN and visitation of the old sites; I lost contact with McGonigal. Any help you could give me would be much appreciated as I think about my father and the Marine mission in VN almost everyday and talk to cadets about what they did there.
I just met a vet in the chat rooms and we have been talking , and he gave me this address to read about Vietnam, so when he talked to me , maybe I could understand somewhat!! But I could never understand like the ones that served over there. I was 16 years old, but old enough to cry for our women and men serving in Vietnam!! What I am writting this letter for is to thankyou for making this page, and thankyou for all you have done, and the suffering you went thru!! He tells me he has PTSD, and I want to ask you where I might read up on this. He has a funny personality, but I see the hurt and sadness in his words he types. I wil be his friend, and want to be there for him if he should need just someone to listen, and yes I am interested in his stroies, and facts. If you can tell me how I can find out more I would appreciate it very much, Stll lots to read in your site.
And again thankyou so much!!!!!!!!!!! (Big Smile to you !!)
My name is Mary Ann and I am 46 years old
Subject: Thank you
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 14:51:01 EDT
My name is Eric Temte, I’m 15 years old, and very interested in history. I wrote you most of all to thank you for your service in Vietnam, I personally don’t care if the war was fought for a cause or not, but I know that you fought it for your buddies and people like me that cared for you, not so much for the government you were sworn to protect. I do know, however, that you made great sacrifices during the war and want to thank you for those. Hats off to you sir.
Subject: page CAP 2-7-2
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 13:25:35 EDT
I have not gone thru all of your page yet but had to take time out to tell you how much I have learned by going thru it. I think it is a very well done and very well planned out page too. I especially enjoy LETTERS HOME. I also like the ‘set up’ of your roster.
I got ‘here’ thru a search engine, using USMC VIETNAM VETERANS. I did not find what I am and have been looking for, but, none the less I am pleased to be visiting your page. I am looking for a homepage related to D BATTERY, 2nd Marine Battalion, 13th Marine Regiment, 1st Division ( REIN ) ….serving in Vietnam in 1968…TU CAU BRIDGE area. Would you know of such a page or a Marine from that unit and time? This concerns EDWARD A. WILLING….he disappeared from the 2/13/1 on 7/21/68.
Thank you for an informative and well done page! And most of all, thank YOU and all your buddies for serving your country!
Pat Mielke p.s. I should say that PAT is short for PATRICIA, lots of Marines who write me back think I am a PATRICK! 🙂
Subject: Thanh Quit Bridge
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 12:30:34 -0400
From: Merle Hollon
Just found your site surfing around…..just thought I’d see how good your memory was. Remember the ARVN compound that was at the bridge and Highway 1? The 81mortor that shot your light at night??? That was me up till March of ’71….LCPL Merle Hollon….I was looking at your pictures and remember alot of those faces when you guys came by for a visit….Just glad to see someone is keeping the memory of CAG going….feel like the lost step-child. Everyone always thought we were a little “different”. Keep up the great work and I’ll keep checking in…
Hi Roch, cool name! My name is Seth and Im doing somewhat of a report on wars and i read most of your letters that you sent from the Vietnam War. I couldnt find really how you felt about the war and/or how scared you were about what was going on, were you scared? I would have been, sheesh, war scares me to death.
Hey, i know you probably dont have a whole lot of time, but I beg of you to do something for me to aid me in my academic purposes. Can you write me back and tell me how scary it was and how scared you were, and if you ever just felt like you couldnt take it anymore. I would be most beholden to you if you could, for I procrastinated for a project due this monday and i need something to quote from about the Vietnam War and I ran across your site. If its too much trouble or if it will bring up bad memories or anything like that dont bother, I understand how hard it could be for my step father was a para trooper in the Vietnam War and he wont talk about it. Well anyways if you can help me out and tell me about some of the things and some of the horrible things you saw that would be great! Thanks again Roch and I look forward to hearing from you. I love reading about war, but war scares me to death. I dont want to die!
Seth Topping- Salinas, California
i have to say that i am grateful to you and all the men who have served this country with the dedication and loyalty that you have. Where would this country be without such men. i am only 15 years old but i reconize what you and your fellow platoon members did for this country, it may have been a bad war but you guys reconized that your county needed you and went i would like to thank you and all those who died and i salute you for your courage
I went to your Vietnam page to look up resources for my Vietnam rsearch paper we are doing in English. I’m a senior in high school and I really enjoyed your page. If you don’t mind, I’d like to use some of your narritives and war stories in my paper. And we are also allowed to have an interview with a veteran from Vietnam and since I liked your page, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions relating to courage in the war. I will write to you later. You do not have to do it if it is too hard to talk about. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. Hope to hear from you again.
I’m sure glad someone sent me an email awhile back and tipped me off on your website. Sure brings back a lot of memories.
Roch, I was CAP commander of 2-7-2 when we were shifted south from the area of Cam Le bridge to Thanh Quit. Most likely this was in August of 1969. I rotated out of there (via two weeks in NSA Hospital in early November of 1969).
For literally years I’ve trying to find out what happened after I checked out, but not even Captain Gary Brown (then 7th CACO commander) could tell me for sure when we had a nice visit in November of 1972 in Houston, Texas. I mean, like “zip!”
It is as though they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. They’re not even on “The Wall” — for which I’m grateful, to be sure.
Here’s 2-7-2’s “missing” from July 1969 to November 1969 when I was with them:
Cpls. TODD & WILLIAMS (zerossed before we moved to Thanh Quit.)
GARY OMEY (radio man)
WARNER — who took over as CAP leader when I was on my way to the “world” (He even got my bonus R & R to Sydney, the sucker!)
TRACHETT, who came in with me from 1/3 and 2/27.
MIODRAG JANEVSKI. Yugoslav national and former Int. Red Cross disaster relief worker in Italy (he was on our all-star soccer team, and I believe, score our one and onl point against the ARVN at Hoi An, after I was designated “trainer” mylast day or two incountry)
CPL GOODWILL and RUSAW, both came like me from 2-7-5 to 2-7-2 and then from Cam Le to Thanh Quit.
Well, anyway, I know you’re busy but I thought I’d try to see if you could help me, because while I was in ‘Nam nearly three years, the folks at 2-7-2 were “numero uno”
Don’t ever forget it!
Dennis Paul Morony
San Antonio, Texas
Hey whats up
My name is Billy Astudillo, im not exactly a Marine yet but im a poolee. Im gonna explain what that is because its a new program. Being a poolee is a guy who is still in high school and already signed up for marines and has shipping out date set and MOS set too and all that and we get trained by Marines on Saturdays =). I ship out to parris island on july 26th, my job is going to be Infantry. I read all the letters you have posted when you were in Vietnam. Umm it looks like you hated it, i heard that combat isnt as good as i hope it is. I dont say it often but i do wanna be in combat sometime of my life, you make it sound very bad =(. I heard lots of stories about veterans and some of them say is very bad, is like hell and i really dont agree with that because you fight with a reason. My opinion maybe one of an outsider or an ignorant one but i think that of combat and i dont think i will change my mind until i really get to it. Anyways my point is not this, i just would you to tell me if you really think that war is hell, youve been there, you should know =).
hello im a korporal in the danish army.
i would like to ask you if you have had some bad exsperiences with the 5.56 ammo the m-16 uses. I would like to know that course we are getting new rifles( the c7 the canadian version of the m-16) before the c7 we had and heckler and koch g3 where there the ammo is 7.62 and that kind just goes true anything trees and walls you name it but when we get the new rifle will it be less effektive?
and what about the acuracy?
hope to hear from you
I just had to drop you a line and let you know how much I’ve enjoyed reading your letters home. I’ve always been interested in the Vietnam war but I’ve never been able to figure out why. I’m a 31 year old Canadian woman so it’s not like I have first hand knowledge of anyone who was there, but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to it. I have several uncles who served with Canadian forces in WWII and the last few years they’ve talked more about the war, which has been really interesting for me. I must tell you though, I am writing a novel and I just surfed into this site looking for a place where there was some fighting in 1967 (it’s only a very small reference in my book) and I started reading your letters home. Incredible. I’ve never read any first hand accounts before. It makes me want to write a book set during the war, but since I am an inexperienced author I want my writing skills to improve first so I can really do it justice. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that someone was touched by your letters.
Subject: your website
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 21:29:15 EST
i wanted to thank you for your website. i am a highchool junior in new york, and i am doing a report on the marines during the vietnam war. your site gave me a good primary source. i am also a marine corps brat, so i have a special place in my heart for the usmc. i admire you to have the bravery to make it thru such a horrible expeirince such as war. i just want to thank you for sharing your expeirience.
Subject: thank you
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 18:42:04 -0700
From: montgomery <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you for sharing your letters .. it took a little courage to do that … I laughed at the sudden urge to have a pistol … anyways, I have spent about an hour reading your letters and viewing the photos, which are very good. Thank you for making a good site overall.
brenda m. montgomery
Subject: CAP 2-7-2 Web Site
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 15:40:03 -0500
From: “Bret M. Melby” <email@example.com>
I was referred to your CAP 2-7-2 site by a friend of my father’s, Dave McElwain. I took my whole afternoon at work to look through the site, and by the end felt as though I knew you myself. I just wanted to congratulate you on a very informative and well done document.
It was very interesting to hear about your day-to-day experiences. It is everyday that someone of my generation (I’m 24) gets the opportunity to learn of the personal side of Vietnam. Grandfathers are usually more than happy to talk about their days in WWII, but stories from Vietnam are harder to come by.
I am not sure if your site was meant to be seen by the general public, but I feel honored to have had the chance.
Best of luck in the future,
Bret M. Melby
Annunciate 2-Alpha, this is Annunciate, over. Be advised, break … just went mobile into your web poz…after initial contact at 0-dark-30 hrs, Saturday…came back for more today. Sent you a letter snail-mail yesterday … in which I misidentified CAP 2-7-6 Actual as TINGENT. He was TISDALE. Also, saw photo today of CHUCK WHITE alias “Little Rabbit”. I knew him when he served for a time in CAP 2-7-10. He was close friend to CAP 10 Actual Sgt. “Tom” Thomas, and to Ronnie Ross, K-I-A in April or May 1971. Also knew “R.J.” Carrier, Scotty Shirley, and maybe Frenchy. I served in 2-7-10 and 2-7-6 in ’70 and ’71 and did a month-long stint in between in the commshack at CACO, so I may have plotted your nightacts on the map. Carrier and I tore up Camp Lejeune for two years after the war. I’ll be in touch and you’ll get my letter in a few days if your street address is the same as the one you’ve got listed. My name’s Al Ryan and I’m a radio news anchor/reporter for WFLA, Tampa.
Came across your E-mail address, while web surfing, in the CAP listings. Just wanted to say Hi, and that I am still alive and well. Hope you are the same.
Life has been good since the old days in CAP 2-7-2, although I still carry some of the scars both on the outside and the inside. I still make my living healing the sick and injured as a trauma nurse, and do a much better job now than then (if I had only had the skill then that I have now). Ah, well …
Drop me a line sometime if you’d like to. I am still proud to have served with you and the other Marines so long ago and have always thought of them as the best friends I ever had. Hope they thought as well of me.
Rick “Doc” Doggett
Major, USA, Ret.
(can you believe that?)
Thanks for the reply. Yes, our unit was Delta 1 and our CACO was based on down the road in Dien Ban at the District HQ. I did a second tour in 69 -70 in 3rd CAG and agree that the mobile mode was better. Also agree with you about the people and why the PFs and RFs behaved the way they did. They knew it was just a matter of time until we too were wearied with Viet Nam and would leave them to fend for themselves. I often found myself thinking that if I were Vietnamese and living in that area during those times that I would have probably been a VC. Not that I like communism, I don’t, but that was what our war was about, not theirs.
It’s interesting to note that you were also with RFs as we were at D-1. Most of ours were from Dai Loc District. I got to be pretty close with a couple of them. One was Tuat real comical fellow and another was Sgt. Vinh. There was also a young kid from Dai Loc whose name was Khup.
Roch, is your email address the KC Star Newspaper? This is just a long shot but we had a guy at D-1 from Kansas City. His name was Bob Patrick, really great guy. I’ve often wondered what became of him. Don’t suppose you’ve ever crossed paths with him have you?
Will be glad to write some D-1 tales for you. Going back the first time was a bit frightening. This was in ’89 and things were not so good in VN at the time. I broke away from our government led tour and hitched a ride down highway 1 by myself. It was a great visit but found myself in custody of the local police and was sent under armed escort to the police in Da Nang. It’s no problem now but that was back in the days when VN was just beginning to open up. There’s much more to the story. I’ll try to write something for your Web Site but need some time to do it, a couple of weeks maybe. In the meantime would enjoy hearing from you or any of the other former Thanh Quit residents.
With best regards,
Subject: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 20:43:05 +0700
From: Tom Harvey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Enjoyed very much looking through your 2-7-2 site. I wasn’t in that CAP but patrolled the same villages, ambushed the same trails and probably knew some of the same people a few years earlier. We were the first CAP in the area and weren’t mobile at the time. We operated out of the compound there on the east side of the road on the south bank of the river. Our AO included all of the Thanh Quit hamlets, Phong Ngu, An Thanh and Quang Loc Tay 1. A bit too much for a dozen Marines and the RFs we had with us. We would have been better off mobile but that would have been scary as hell, since the VC pretty much controlled the area. This was in early ’68.
Your letters home brought back a lot of memories. I once found a cache of letters I had written and anxiously read through them searching for clues to events which had become fogged with the passing years. Found little substance about what was happening at our CAP but mostly comments looking forward to future care packages and pleas for more news about events taking place at home.
Have made quite a few trips back there, most recently this past April during the period of the Thai New Year here. It hasn’t changed that much. There’s a new enclosed market on the west side of the road, just north of the bridge. There’s a museum on the east side dedicated to Nguyen Van Troi who was originally from Thanh Quit. He had set a mine to blow up McNamarra back in the mid-60’s. This was near Saigon. He was captured by the GVN folks and sentenced to death. His parents still live in Thanh Quit. He’s considered to be a national hero and most towns of any size have a street named after him. The bridge crossing the river to Da Nang East also bears his name.
There’s also a large Viet Cong cemetary adjacent to the museum.
The village people still remember us. I usually stop and talk with some of them on the way through there. They still recall many of us by our names and nicknames. They really didn’t support us politically but liked many of us as individuals. A difficult concept for Westerners to grasp sometimes, but normal for this part of the world.
Well, didn’t mean to take up so much of your time. Take good care.
Roch: I just this week got on line and after 26-27 years of seeing your pictures in my ‘Nam photo album I find your E mail address. The back of my photos all say Calif as your place of residence. Where you at? I was shot and paralyzed from the waist down on 18 January 1971. You’d already left.
Found out a few years ago that Casey “Country ” Roach was killed in motorcycle wreck. Talked to “Hucklebuck” Prock a few months ago. Looking for Duncan and a few others. If you receive this respond as to your whereabouts. Captain Mallard contacted me a couple of years ago. Our association is really great and our reunion is in San Diego this year. I am on the Board of Directors. Man, after all these years, there you are. You may not remember me but I have a few photos of you. Hang tuff Marine, Godspeed and Semper Fi.
Paul “Tex” Hernandez
Subject: Web Page
Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 21:47:24 -0500
From: “Fred Caleffie” <email@example.com>
Just thought I’d drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoyed your additions to the CAP 2-7-2 web page. I especially enjoyed your letters home! My mother also kept every lettter I wrote from vietnam although I have yet to read them all.
I was in 1Bn 1Mar from Nov 67-Mar68 then in CAP 113 and 117 til Nov 68 so I can relate to most of what you have experienced….. Although I don’t think I would have enjoyed that Mobile CAP much, ours were all fixed.
Again thanks for the Web pages.
Sandy Wardlaw wrote:
I found Tim Duffie’s web site several months ago and have read some of your stories and have just recently found the listing for the 2-7-2 reunion. I was in 2-4-5 and then 2-4-2 from Jan ’70 to Jan ’71 and by some of the grid coordinates you gave in your stories we were sometimes just a few clicks apart.
Your stories bring back alot of memories both good and bad. I wish I could make it to the reunion but have had other plans for many months and will be unable to attend. I’ll be in Red River, NM that weekend but will be thinking about all you guys. Perhaps I can make it to a future get together.
I’m glad we made it back!!!
Just wanted to congratulate you on the site…I really like what you did…I was in CAP 1-2-4 in 69-70, but my closest boyhood friend, Pat Harris, served with 2-7-2, up until about jan or feb of 70. you have him on your roster and his address and phone number are correct. He doesn’t have a computer so now he’s a little green with envy. I live in Las Vegas and pat in Richmond, but we grew up in DC…I’ve been friends with Pat for over 40 years…we joined on the buddy system, and stayed together thru boot camp, ITR, Staging and CAP school….then got separated…Pat knows Sam King, spoke to him about a year ago, he says….also remembers one or two other names…but i believe he was there earlier than most of your friends … Also, a very good friend of mine, John Saucier, CAP 1-2-3, is from Opelousas, La….He is always pissing and moaning about no one ever hearing about CAP program etc. and I told him that you all had a marine from Opelousas … it’s a pretty small town. Anyway, if anyone knows how to get in touch with him, let John or me know … Really enjoyed your site, keep up the good work….Ever get to Vegas? let me know…..later,