I decided on June 21, 1999, to start posting my responses to the e-mail messages I get regarding the CAP 2-7-2 site. — Roch Thornton
I’m glad you liked our CAP 2-7-2 website. Several of us have worked hard to make it useful to historians, students, military theorists and just plain websurfers looking for an interesting story.
Unfortunately, the server that has hosted our site for free since 1997 is scheduled to be taken off line permanently in the near future … perhaps as early as Saturday. At that point I will have to bite the bullet and look for commercial server space. The CAP 2-7-2 site is too big for any of the “free” web servers and I hate to split it up.
Feel free to write me with questions, though, as I hope to be here at my job with KansasCity.com for a long time to come.
Coincidentally, the son of my high school history teacher works for a foundation affiliated with Fort Hays State. I can’t recall the name of the foundation, but you might know Joe Aistrup out there in Hays. I grew up just a few miles from another WWII airbase … Strother Field at Winfield. Have you seen the public TV documentary about the building of the B-29 in Kansas? I think the PBS station in Salina offers it for sale on VHS.
P.S. Nope, no relations named Ron Thornton.
Thanks for writing about your research paper. You have an interesting idea, comparing letters from different times during the Vietnam War.
I don’t think I can offer much to clarify my letters. They were written by an 18/19-year-old kid who was often bored or tired and sometimes scared or homesick. Towards the end of my tour, I grew emotionally tired and I think my letters reflect those feelings. Frankly, I was sometimes whiny.
I thought when I wrote those letters that I was careful to shield my parents from the day-to-day hazards of my job in CAP 2-7-2. In retrospect, plenty of hazards are evident between the lines.
And the vets who “do not want to remember that time in their lives” are missing something important. Considering your past in light of today’s mature judgment and experience can have a healing effect. It has worked that way for me.
I’m glad you liked the CAP 2-7-2 website. Several of us worked very hard to make it informative and even enlightening. Unfortunately, the site will cease to exist in the near future because we are losing our free home on my employer’s server. My company is outsourcing our server administration and turning off our servers — probably in December.
I was interested to hear that Vietnam was a taboo topic in your grade school. The war is still taboo, if not ignored, in many schools. I checked out a nephew’s high school history book last year and Indochina (1850-1975) was covered in one page, including half-a-dozen small photos. Maybe 250-300 words actually addressed the American role in Vietnam. You’d never know it was such a pivotal point in U.S. history.
I think your grade school teachers — and teachers today — don’t want anything to do with the Vietnam War because so many of the issues are still controversial. Most of the Boomer generation are still deeply polarized on the issue, ready to instantly attack anyone challenging their viewpoint. The teachers are not afraid of the students’ reactions, but their parents’.
Your Navy experience was also interesting. I know the armed services were in bad shape in the early 70s, but I thought they had most of their problems solved by the end of that decade. It’s funny, but my experience in the Marines was overwhelmingly positive despite spending a year in a war zone. Of course, I also managed to avoid being killed or seriously wounded.
Best of luck on your second time in the Navy. Every Marine knows the proud tradition of Navy medical care … exemplified by the corpsmen who stand shoulder to shoulder with us in combat.
USMC RVN, 1970-71
Thanks for your exceptionally kind words about our CAP 2-7-2 website. We hope we are telling our story in a way that is informative, yet touches people on another level. Your response goes a long way towards validating our hard work and the emotional risk of baring our feelings about those hard times.
I forwarded your email to nearly 50 former CAP Marines and corpsmen in my address book, and I’ve already heard back from half-a-dozen who were deeply touched.
Nowadays it’s remarkable to me that most of us were about your age when we arrived in Vietnam, or a little older. Our youth was often equalled by our idealism. We had the idea that we could serve our country while helping the people of South Vietnam. I think we were lucky to wind up in the Combined Action Program where we often WERE able to help the farmers and small merchants in our villes.
For example, Dien Ban District had a population of 180,000 in 1970, but not a single doctor who regularly treated civilians. CAP corpsmen provided routine medical care and, for serious cases, medical evacuation to fully equipped military hospitals. I well remember the steady flow of sick and injured civilians treated by Doc” Doggett, and his frequent requests for new supplies of penicillin, antiseptics and bandages.
Although we all suffered some danger and hardship during our tours in Vietnam, I urge you to also remember what we gained. I would not trade anything for the comradeship and sense of purpose I felt during my tour of duty. And serving under difficult conditions gave me a sense of confidence and self-reliance I would never have found in civilian life.
If not for the deaths and wounds suffered by others of our small team, I would consider service in Vietnam a high point of my life. But even their suffering taught me the ultimate cost, and value, of citizenship in a democracy.
Thanks again and best wishes for a bright future,
You apparently missed the articles and research papers explaining the basics of the CAP Program on our “War stories” page (http://www.kcstar.com/test/CAP/stories.htm):
III Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam, 1965-71 (RP – 14 pages)http://www.kcstar.com/test/CAP/text/IIIMAFinVN.htm
Civic Action: The USMC Experience in Vietnam (RP – 16 pages)http://www.kcstar.com/test/CAP/text/civicaction1.htm
U.S. Guerrilla Warfare Tactics in Vietnam (RP 2-page excerpt)http://www.kcstar.com/test/CAP/text/britannica.htm
What was a CAP (Combined Action Platoon)? (FPN)http://www.kcstar.com/test/CAP/text/whatsacap.htm
And there is considerable additional information at:
CAP Vets Web Site
USMC RVN, 1970-71
That’s GREAT you were able to find the two reports significant to you in the 2nd CAG Command Chronologies. Hearing that makes a lot of work feel worthwhile!
CAn you explain why the lack of concussion grenades led to PBR #91 being blown up? As you found, we have discovered a lot of bullshit in these Command Chronologies, occasional great information, and a lot of incidents completely ignored.
How many PBRs were based at Hoi An? Do you recall the numbers? How many U.S. and RVN on each crew? Where did you patrol? Were you billeted in the 2nd CAG compound? What was your parent unit? We have almost no information on the PBR presence at 2nd CAG HQ.
If you don’t mind, I would like to add your comments to the “Official documents” portion of the CAP 2-7-2 website. Let me know.
Gene, you should write to Tim Duffie (firstname.lastname@example.org) and get yourself listed on his CAP roster. I think working out of the 2nd CAG HQ compound entitles you to be listed. Tim has a terrific website with several very useful rosters at:
P.S. How did you find our website?
Hey, how ya doin’?
Were you in CAP 2-7-2, or another 2nd CAG unit? Let me know if you served in our ville so I can add you to the CAP 2-7-2 roster. I just checked and found your name on the April 30, 1971, 2nd CAG roster at:
If you are:
Moyzis Alan C. E3 2697229
If you were in 2-7-2, GREAT!, we need more photos and stories and memories to document our CAP’s work in Vietnam. As you can see, we’ve got a lot of stuff from 1970, but we’re short of photos and stories from 1971.
And be sure to get in touch with Tim Duffie who maintains the website for ALL the CAPs, CACs and MTTs. He has a great roster and he’ll put you on the list if you email him at email@example.com with your name and unit numbers.
Eventually I hope to put ALL the 2nd CAG Command Chronologies on the 2-7-2 website. I want to make the basic documents of the CAG easily available to CAP vets, students and researchers. Unfortunately, a lot of incidents we remember vividly were left out of the monthly reports. We’ll have to fill in the blanks ourselves.
I started with the 1970 chronologies because that’s when I was in country, then I got the 1971 chronologies with the help of some buddies who served through the end of the program in 1971. Now I’m working my way backward through 1969, although the project is likely to take another year or two. I got my 1969 chronologies from former 2-7-2 Marines Dennis Paul Morony and Ed McIntyre.
I’ve also posted several 2nd CAG rosters, Unit Diaries and miscellaneous documents that shed light on our activities. If you have any official documents to share, please don’t hesitate. I promise to return everything after its digitized for the site.
I still haven’t decided about this year’s reunion, but I’m more likely to attend a get-together in Baton Rouge than one on the East or West coasts.
P.S. I assume you’re able to access the CAPMarines list now?
I’m very glad you found our CAP 2-7-2 website worth seeing. I believe our site offers a lot of depth because we focus on one small unit in one small village. Stories about generals moving battalions and divisions are for historians. Most of us find it easier to understand the feelings and actions of a few young guys doing a dangerous job and hoping mostly to go home.
Thanks and best wishes,
Thanks for your appreciation of our CAP 2-7-2 website. What started as a small, individual effort has become something much more significant thanks to the letters, articles, documents and photos contributed by dozens of people.
Lessons of Vietnam sounds like a great course, and just the right antidote for senioritis. It’s great when a class catches your imagination and makes you want to learn even more about the subject. The lessons of the Vietnam War have more relevance today than ever because the collapse of the Soviet Union has created instability around the world.
Instead of fighting Soviet tanks on the plains of Europe, the U.S. military faces dozens of smaller challenges around the world. Instead of massive firepower, those situations require the creative use of force and civic action methods tailored to the local culture. CAP Marines and corpsmen paid a high price for knowledge that could help American soldiers and Marines tomorrow.
I would love to see a copy of your “Bridges” newsletter if you have time to send one.
Thanks again for your email.
I’m glad you like the CAP 2-7-2 website. We’ve had a great time putting it together. It sounds like you had a “fascinating” time in the CAPs yourself.
How far have you gotten in planning your visit back to Vietnam? I am in touch with a former CAP Marine in Thailand who speaks Vietnamese and has been back to his ville at least twice. His ville is also my ville since he was in Delta 1 in 1968, just across the river from my old TAOR in 1970. He may be able to offer some tips.
We have focused our site on CAP 2-7-2 and 2nd CAG, so I don’t have anything relating to 3rd CAG. But I will send a copy of this email to Tim Duffie whose website covers the entire CAP program. Let me encourage you to visit Tim’s terrific site at:
Tim is trying to cover all things relating to the CAPs, and the rosters on his site provide a great service to all CAP Marines. Hundreds of guys have found old buddies using his site. It would be great to have your name and email address on his 3rd CAG list.
Hi, we’re glad you enjoyed our CAP 2-7-2 website. We’ve had a lot of great moments putting it together, and more great moments experiencing people’s reactions.
Yes, Doc was a high profile member of the CAP while I was there. He took a lot of abuse for being a couple of years older, and for being the only sailor in our Marine unit. In return he developed a defiant, slightly superior attitude toward his less-well-educated Marine buddies. At the same time, we had a lot of faith in Doc’s ability to keep our wounded breathing until a medevac chopper arrived.
Actually, using personal, non-regulation weapons was completely against Marine Corps policy. If I had been caught by an officer, my grandfather’s little .25-caliber popgun would have been confiscated. But I knew a couple of guys who bought pistols on the black market or had pistols mailed from home. Pistols were valued for being easier to carry than our M-16s, while they were still somewhat credible defensive weapons.
Thanks for your message.
How nice to have such a wonderful note from you! And I wish I could open the photo of your little girl, but it came in a format my software would not recognize. But I know she is beautiful because becoming a first-time father late in life has taught me that children are beautiful by nature. Please give your daughter a good hug for me!
American servicemen always adopt the local children wherever they go. This has been true at least back to World War II, and probably longer. As a nation, we like children and hate to see them go sick or hungry. I have had WWII and Korean War veterans write me about their favorite kids who shared their rations many years ago in France or Korea. We loved the children of our villages in Vietnam, fed them, treated their bumps and bruises and wrote to our mothers to send clothes and toys. In return they made us feel loved and human in the middle of war … man’s most inhuman activity.
It’s hard to explain the loyalty Marines feel for the Corps and for each other. But that commitment is what sets the Marines apart from the other services. It doesn’t mean Marines, ex-Marines and corpsmen are angels or perfect in any way. We suffer from the same faults as everyone else. But we have an extra feeling of belonging to one another that often carries over into our family and work lives.
Today’s Marines have a very tough job. Their pay and benefits are not the best … housing and allotments have not kept pace with the economy. Training, equipment and leadership all need attention. And the mission of the Marine Corps remains the hardest. They must be ready to go anywhere, anytime and possibly sacrifice everything for their country and the Corps. And young men with courage and character continue to volunteer!
My sympathies lie with anyone today who loves a Marine and has to live with the demands of their Marine’s commitment. I know it’s hard, sometimes lonely, and the rewards are few. But I believe that no act of courage or commitment is ever wasted. If nothing else you become a stronger, better person by the sacrifices you make.
All best wishes and Semper fidelis,
Thanks for your kind words about the accounts of Greg Keller’s death on our CAP 2-7-2 website. You’re right, we didn’t really get to know Greg before he was killed. I have always regretted that.
One of the things we’re doing on the CAP 2-7-2 website is building memorials to our KIAs and the two buddies who have died since returning from Vietnam. In March we finally got in touch with the family of one KIA. It turns out they were anxious to meet us and had a number of questions we were able to answer.
Please consider writing an article about Greg for the 2-7-2 website. Our accounts of his death are harrowing and tragic, but give no sense of Greg Keller as an individual. Many visitors to the 2-7-2 website are high school and college students writing term papers. We try to give them details that help them identify with the 18- to 23-year-old guys we were in Vietnam. Our accounts of Greg’s death lack those details.
Your email contains exactly the kind of things we’re looking for — his toughness and energy and intentions for a Marine career. You might also answer questions such as — What was his family like? Where did he go to high school? Why did he choose the Marines? Was he nervous about going to Vietnam? How did his death affect you and his other friends? Did he have a girlfriend? A car? Did he play any sports? What was his sense of humor like? etc., any details or stories you like.
Please think about my suggestion and let me know. It would be a great way to honor Greg’s memory.
Thank you so much for writing. We go long periods between hearing from visitors to the CAP 2-7-2 site, then suddenly we’ll get a heartfelt email like yours. It’s a great honor.
Yes, I started the website for a place to put my own recollections, then Mac, Doc Doggett and a few others joined in and made it more fun. Trouble is, we’re so used to seeing this stuff we lose sight of what it looks like to non-vets. Recently we’ve gotten in touch with the family of one of our guys who was killed and they have been terrific. We were able to answer some questions they have wondered about since their brother was killed nearly 30 years ago.
Thanks for your volunteer service and Legion membership. Lots from the post-Vietnam generations don’t seem too interested in the old wars and warriors. But interest is growing in the lessons we can learn from the recent past.
Thanks again for your very kind words.
Take care and best wishes,
Thanks for writing. It has been great hearing from Randi and you about the remembrances of Dan and J.J.’s deaths on our CAP 2-7-2 website.
I began trying to find my Vietnam buddies three years ago and have located about 30, including eight of the 12 Marines who survived the explosion on Sept. 10, 1970. In conversations and email I found that most of those men are still grieving the losses of that night.
Four of us have contributed accounts of that night to the website which, I believe, is a form of healing therapy. I hope those accounts, and any questions we can answer, will resolve lingering concerns or doubts for your family. I know that unanswered questions can prevent acceptance and healing.
Dan was only in CAP 2-7-2 for about a month. I did not know him as well as Doc Doggett and some others, but his death was a serious blow to me. In many ways, Dan already was the kind of man I hoped to become. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of “survivor guilt,” but for many years I laid awake and wondered why Dan was killed and I survived.
It has been hard all these years to think of facing Dan and J.J.’s families, but I’m glad it finally happened. I’m happy we revived so many good memories along with the bad. The way you and Randi have embraced us survivors has also had a healing effect on us.
My best wishes to you and your family,
I do not remember your husband, and you really need more details to complete a successful search for this information.
Most importantly, you need the names or numbers of your husband’s company, battalion and regiment (e.g., Echo Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines). Once you have that information you can easily write to the USMC Archives Section and request the unit’s Command Chronology for April, 1970.
Be warned that many events are omitted or described very briefly in the typical USMC Command Chronology. What became a traumatic event for your husband may not have seemed out of the ordinary for a clerk compiling his unit’s monthly report.
You can also request the April, 1970, Unit Diary for your husband’s company. That will give you the names and service numbers of any men killed or wounded on April 3, 1970. If a name is unusual, you may be able to find a survivor through one of the Internet phone directories such as www.switchboard.com.
I have posted instructions on how to request Command Chronologies and Unit Diaries at:
Please let me know if I can be of any further help.
Good luck and best wishes,
I grew up playing war games just like you, stimulated by a steady diet of movies and TV shows about the glories of World War II. My father and uncles fought the “good” war against the Nazis and Imperial Japan, so I accepted the need to fight in Vietnam without question.
I joined the Marines out of patriotism, a desire for adventure and a sense of immortality common to young men everywhere. Boys don’t understand they can die. By the time I learned the fragility of the human body, I was in combat with no honorable or practical way out. I found that men go to war for various reasons, but wind up fighting to survive and keep their friends alive.
There is nothing ridiculous about you identifying with young men in the middle of war. I’m glad our stories made you feel close to us. One of our goals is to show young people the reality of war, not the flags, pride and perfect ranks of military parades. A general of our Civil War said, “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.” To that I can only add, “Amen.”
Do not pity us who fought in Vietnam, because we do not pity ourselves. We made our choices then and live with the consequences today, as men should. The past cannot be changed, but we can make the rest of our lives creative and constructive.
I wish you and your family happy and long lives, with my particular best wishes to your father. I have a 7-year-old boy who I treasure more than anything in life.
P.S. If you would like to write, please do. My address is on the “Where are they now?” page at:
Let me suggest you look at the following website:
Investigating the Vietnam War
It has a lot of information and links to many more good sites.
Your email is the most gratifying response we’ve gotten from the CAP 2-7-2 website. It’s nice to be appreciated, and even better when the evaluation comes from a respected source.
In addition, you’ve done us a service by helping define our work — as folk history. I’ve been at a loss to describe our unusual mix of first person narratives, old photos and letters, research papers and official documents. I always felt it was history, but history with a very personal and emotional edge.
We set out to fill the huge gap between popular perceptions of the Vietnam War, and the truths we learned in the paddies and treelines of Quang Nam. We started this project for ourselves and our children, but our presence on the Internet has given us a much wider audience. We have been most pleased to hear from students using our site for research.
Again, we appreciate your kind words.
Thanks for your kind words about the CAP 2-7-2 website. It has been rewarding putting it together and it has allowed us to get back in touch with close buddies after nearly 30 years apart.
There are many good websites devoted to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so we have not tackled the subject on ours.
However, I would estimate that half or more of the members of CAP 2-7-2 have suffered effects that could be described as PTSD. Those effects ranged from bad dreams and sleeplessness to feelings of guilt, anger and alienation from society. I know many of us also struggled at one time or another with alcohol abuse.
I’m happy to say that all the 2-7-2 buddies we have located have found constructive ways of dealing with those effects. Without exception, former 2-7-2 members are solid citizens successfully committed to their jobs, communities and families.
It was hard being a Marine in combat, but in some ways I think peacetime Marines have a tougher job. Constant training and readiness for war — with no combat “payoff” — can wear on the body and spirit. You must be satisfied knowing that you are ready to fight if needed, while being glad you are not called to make a blood sacrifice for your country.
Best wishes and Semper fidelis,
I’m glad you liked our CAP 2-7-2 site. My buddies and I think we’re putting together something unique and historically valuable, though it feels weird that events still vivid in our memories can be considered history.
It’s been gratifying to hear from a wide variety of people interested in the Vietnam War. People have many different reasons for their interest, but we’re just glad they are coming to our site with open minds. We don’t claim to have “the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” but we’re sticking as close to the truth as our memories and supporting documents allow.
Thanks very much for your praise of our CAP 2-7-2 website. Your thoughts mean a great deal to us because they come from a combat veteran of a different army and a different war.
You’re right about engaging at close quarters. Marine Corps training of the 1960s tried hard to simulate combat, with limited success. No matter how realistic, training cannot simulate the stress and confusion of combat — especially night fighting. And training cannot prepare soldiers for the agonizing reality of dead and wounded friends.
Re-entering civilian life is disorienting, but there is good news for you in our experience after Vietnam. Your service in the furnace has earned you a valuable portion of self-respect and self-knowledge. You know you can sweat, suffer, risk everything and prevail. That will provide a certain level of confidence in your new life.
During August, 1974, I traveled more than a week in Spain with Eytan Namali, a former member of the Golani Brigade and veteran of Israel’s 1973 war. We spent many hours comparing the training, weapons and tactics of our units and our enemies. We had some arguments, but agreed completely on one point. Nobody wants peace more than those who have been in battle.
Best wishes and Semper fidelis,
***What Veteran’s Day means to you?
Every day is Veteran’s Day to me, because every day I think about my buddies from Vietnam — especially those who were killed or wounded. It may sound corny, but every time I see the American flag, the red stripes remind me of their blood and their sacrifice.
***Do you feel that the American public appreciates our veterans?
I think most members of the American public take our veterans for granted. That upsets many veterans but — in a way — that’s fine with me. In America it’s taken for granted that men and women will serve when they are needed, because they have always served when they were needed. Ordinary Americans respond when their country faces a crisis. I think today’s generation would also stand and deliver — if faced by a threat.
***Do you feel the youth of America understand the sacrifices earlier generations have made to ensure the security and freedom of our country?
Most young people don’t understand the sacrifices of earlier generations because they have known only peace and prosperity in their lives. Their frame of reference does not include the death or wounding of an older brother or neighbor. That’s also fine with me. It is human nature to understand best what we know best. I’m glad the younger generation in America knows little about war and oppression.
***If you could say something to 7th graders about Veteran’s Day — what would you say?
I would tell 7th graders that different generations are called to serve their country in different ways. The unlucky generations are called to battle. Lucky generations can serve their country in many other ways. For example — they can study, read, keep themselves informed, vote, campaign for good candidates, and help the less fortunate.
Good luck and best wishes,
It suddenly occurred to me that I never replied to your very kind message about the CAP 2-7-2 website. Although I put off replying, I certainly told enough people about it. I think your note was the most gratifying thing anybody has ever written about our efforts.
The site began as a private place for me to put my recollections about Vietnam. I thought of it as cheap therapy. I debated whether to put my letters to my parents online. They sound whiny to me today, but in they went — a true reflection of that time and place and person. Soon it occurred to me that the site could be good therapy for other 2-7-2 vets, so I began encouraging them to contribute. I challenged them to write the truth about Vietnam for their children and grandchildren. God knows they’re getting a strange version of the war from Hollywood and many authors.
Then a funny thing happened. We started getting email from non-vets who found the site by chance. We were surprised that strangers were interested in those long-ago events. Some were more than interested, asking question after question. We heard from students and writers and youngsters trying to understand their fathers. We began to think of the site as a resource for a wider audience, applied for a listing in Yahoo! and took our first steps to gather official documents.
Our task has been made easier by the fact that most CAP Marines believed and still believe in our ultimate mission … making life better for the ordinary people of Vietnam. Most think that was a goal worthy of our sacrifices. Call it “nation-building” or whatever, many of us still think it was the unused key to lasting success in Vietnam.
I hope your friend the history professor finds our site useful. We’re interested in telling our story to anyone who will listen.
Thanks again for your praise and good wishes,
Thanks for your kind words about our CAP 2-7-2 website. One of the rewards of putting the site together has been hearing from younger people with an interest in recent history. Elements of the 2-7-2 site have even been featured in a number of high school and college term papers, which we did not expect.
IMHO, you didn’t hear much about the Vietnam War growing up because America is still deeply divided about the war. There is no national consensus about what Vietnam means to America, so efforts to add it to high school curriculums are bitterly controversial. The only high school history book I’ve seen recently has only three pages (including several photos) about the Indochina Wars.
Even veterans do not agree on whether we were fighting to support a struggling democracy, or fighting for a despotic government that happened to be anti-communist. It may take a hundred years and the death of all anger before the war can be considered objectively — and a national consensus achieved.
Until then, many veterans believe it’s important for us to tell our own story. Much has been written about the Vietnam War, but we have first-hand knowledge about the little-known Combined Action Program. We think our service in the CAPs was honorable and in many ways served the needs of the Vietnamese people. That’s the story we want to tell, so our effort and sacrifice will not be lost.
If you have not already read them, let me suggest books such as Frances Fitzgerald’s Vietnam history “Fire In The Lake,” the biography of Neil Sheehan “A Bright, Shining Lie,” and Michael Herr’s first-person “Dispatches.” And of course, there are many others.
Welcome! Boy are we glad to hear from you. It’s been months since the last old 2-7-2 member found our website and half the fun is adding new names and faces to those we already have.
Yes, we would like to have all the names we can find for our roster of guys who served in 2-7-2, and for our “Where are they now?” roster. Photos and narratives like the ones on the website are also very welcome.
Now that I have your name, I just need your hometown and whether you were ever wounded to add you to the duty roster. To put you on the “Where are they now?” roster we need your current mailing address. If you want to include your wife’s name, your occupation and number of kids, that would be great, too.
And tell us if you know the current whereabouts of any other guys from 2-7-2.
I’ll copy this message to a bunch of other CACO 2-7 guys who have email. Let me also give you the address for the big CAP Veterans website, covering all the CAGs, in case you haven’t seen it yet.
Keep plugging along on that computer. YOu’ve stumbled into a nest of computer fans here, although most of us are far from experts.
I just realized I have never replied to your email below. I apologize for my tardiness.
Thanks very much for your kind words about our CAP 2-7-2 website. It’s been interesting and therapeutic for us former CAP Marines to write our stories and put them online. We are surprised and pleased that others find our site valuable, too. The site has already helped with several high school or college term papers.
It’s little-known, but there was a Navy PBR unit co-located with our 2nd Combined Action Group Headquarters on the river at Hoi An in 1969-70. CAP Marines and brown water Navy guys sometimes conducted operations together. So maybe there was somebody your father knew from the Delta in 68-69 who operated with our guys later in the war? Please give him my best wishes. I have a lot of respect for the hazards the Navy guys endured to keep those waterways open.
I have not read Clancy’s book about the Marine Corps, but I will look for it thanks to your suggestion. I am interested in any substantial discussion of the M-16.
I read Col. Hackworth’s memoir and recall that he hated the M-16. He’s entitled to his opinion, but I respectfully disagree. Inadequate training was my only complaint about the M-16 I used in 1970. Hackworth was also contemptuous of grenades, but I have seen enough men killed and wounded by grenades to respect them.
I will counter your reading suggestions with my own. William H. Hallahan’s book “Misfire” is a very well-documented discussion of the politics behind the adoption of U.S. infantry weapons from the Revolution to Vietnam. And based on that book, I would say the “worst infantry weapon ever forced upon America’s fighting men” would be the Krag-Jorgensen that performed so miserably against Mauser rifle designs in the Spanish-American War.
Thanks for your kind words about our experiences in CAP 2-7-2. I can’t speak for the other members of my unit, but here are my responses to your questions.
1) My feelings about war in general?
No matter who “wins” or “loses,” war is a huge waste of money, resources and precious lives. The winner usually winds up little better off than the loser. Waging war should always be the last, deeply reluctant step to resolve differences between nations. I also believe that war is sometimes inevitable when the interests of two essentially different systems collide.
With hindsight I believe the U.S. should not have gotten involved in the Indochina wars. Without our involvement, North Vietnam would still have conquered and imposed communist rule on South Vietnam amid death and destruction. But the death and destruction would have been much reduced in Indochina. And without the long Vietnam War there would have been less damage and division to U.S. society.
2) About guns and what they can do to people?
Guns, to me, are inanimate objects — tools. Their effects can be good, bad or neutral depending on their users. The recent tendency to blame guns for school shootings makes as much sense to me as blaming circular saws for subdivisions. To put it another way, guns don’t create school shootings, our society creates school shootings. Blaming guns avoids placing responsibility on ourselves.
Two other observations:
More than 40 million students went to public schools last year without harming anyone. In that light, much of our reaction to the school shootings is hysteria. But it’s human nature to overreact to threats to our children.
I think those who wrote our Bill of Rights were deeply wary of central governments. I think the Founders intended to preserve a certain basic level of military power (guns) in the hands of individuals and local militias.
3) What was it like having a gun pointed in my face?
It scared the shit out of me.
4) Killing only in self defense?
The concept of self-defense is largely meaningless in war. Once you’re in a war zone, you can argue that killing an enemy soldier is self-defense even if he is unarmed and unaware of your presence. Sooner or later he WILL be armed and aware of your presence, so killing an unarmed, unaware enemy can be called self-defense.
On the other hand, how can you be acting in self-defense when you trained for a year and traveled 8,000 miles to be in that war zone?
Here was my experience. I killed every VC or NVA soldier I could, unless I could capture him alive without risk to myself or my friends. The VC and NVA killed every American or South Vietnamese soldier they could and made no effort to take prisoners.
Dear Mary Ann,
Thanks for your kind words and your interest in our Vietnam War experiences. The CAP 2-7-2 website was built for people like you who want to know what really happened in our small part of the war.
Yes there was hardship for those fighting in Vietnam, and sometimes mental anguish afterwards. But the vast majority of Vietnam veterans today are living happy, productive lives. In my experience, that’s especially true of CAP Marines.
We Vietnam veterans work hard at our jobs, practice our religion, and love our wives and children (and grandchildren!). We’re very much like our neighbors, though we might fly the flag more and have USMC bumper stickers on our cars. Vietnam was a big part of our lives, but not the only part. We healed, got stronger and moved on.
Some Vietnam veterans never experienced any symptoms of PTSD. For those of us who did, many years have passed and PTSD is no longer an issue in our lives. A small minority still have symptoms of PTSD, but there are many sources of help. Don’t forget that PTSD also often affects police officers, crime victims and survivors of accidents and natural disasters.
National Center for PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Resources Web Page
Most guys writing from a war zone want to spare their loved ones some anxiety. So it’s typical for guys writing home to make their daily lives sound less dangerous than they really are. That’s why my letters home from Vietnam don’t talk much about things like death and fear. I have read letters from Civil War and World War II soldiers who, I think, also tried to downplay the dangers they faced.
You asked how I felt about the war. When I first arrived in South Vietnam I felt U.S. forces were there to help preserve an embattled democracy from a Soviet-sponsored communist insurrection. After a few months in country, I learned that the government of South Vietnam was largely corrupt and only superficially democratic. The communists were merciless killers, but most South Vietnamese didn’t care who was running the country as long as the war ended.
How scared was I? When I first arrived in South Vietnam, I wasn’t very scared. I would describe my feelings as mildly apprehensive through in-country processing and training. Looking back, I didn’t understand enough about my situation to be scared. After my first month or so in combat, I looked around and found that nearly half the members of my Marine squad had been wounded. Many members of my company had been killed. I looked ahead at my remaining 10 months in the bush and saw little hope of surviving without suffering death or a disabling wound. Then I got really scared. I wrote to my older brother and gave instructions for my funeral. I didn’t think I would last the year, but I became determined to stay alive as long as possible … one day at a time.
When I say I was really scared, I’m not saying I was shaking in my boots and unable to function. Looking at me, you would not have seen that I was scared. And I got better and better at my job in spite of my fear. In fact, I used my fear to motivate myself to be a better Marine. I got very good at caring for and using my weapons, patrolling, ambush tactics, dealing with the Vietnamese and functioning under fire.
I never felt that I “couldnt take it anymore,” though I did begin to feel mentally and physically exhausted late in my tour (Oct-Nov). Letters of support from my friends and family, plus my R&R in November, helped me get past that period.
You and many people like to read about it because war presents the extremes of human behavior. People are interested in extreme behavior and that’s why newspapers print stories of people or natural forces acting badly and creating havoc. It’s boring when people or Mother Nature are nice.
Good luck in your studies. Next time don’t procrastinate.
Thanks for your kind words about our web site and service in Vietnam. Even after so many years have passed, it’s gratifying to find our efforts are appreciated.
Thanks again and best wishes,
Feel free to use anything I have written on the CAP 2-7-2 web page for your school assignment. Some of the narratives were written by other members of CAP 2-7-2, and you should ask their permission if you want to use that material. The newspaper articles, I’m sure, are in the public domain.
I would be happy to answer your questions about Vietnam and my experiences. I have some bitter and fearful memories, of course, but the passing of 29 years has healed most of those wounds. We built the CAP 2-7-2 site to help people understand the war and our particular role. I’m happy to hear that it’s working.
Welcome to the Corps.
In a lot of ways, war IS hell. People have trouble imagining what it’s like because they have never experienced anything like it. I don’t know if you play any sports at school, but try to imagine being on a team that lives together 24 hours a day for weeks on end under great hardship. Together you endure extremes of heat, soaking wet in the rain, sleeping on the ground, stinking dirty, never enough sleep, bad food, carrying heavy loads over rough terrain, sweat burning in your eyes, pack straps digging into your shoulders. Through it all you become closer and closer friends with your teammates — guys from all different backgrounds (black, white, brown, middle class, blue collar and poor) who become like your brothers.
Then try to imagine your teammates — your brothers — killed or wounded before your eyes. Meanwhile you’re fighting to protect them and keep from getting killed or wounded yourself. Maybe you’re holding a battle dressing over a friend’s wound with one hand, trying to stop the bleeding, while firing your rifle with the other hand. You learn something about fear, misery and grief — and your own strengths and weaknesses.
But I would never advise anyone to stay out of the Marines, or avoid war at any cost. War will be a fact of life for centuries to come, and America will be forced to fight for our interests and to protect the weak. America still needs warriors willing to fight hard and well, sometimes against huge odds, and that means infantry. And Marine infantry can usually get to a trouble spot before the Army finishes the paperwork.
On a personal level, young men such as yourself will always have an instinct to test themselves under extreme conditions. That has always been the appeal of the Marine Corps. If you get through Marine boot camp, you’ll have an accomplishment you can point to with pride for the rest of your life. In addition, you’ll be one of “us,” one of those America turns to for strength in times of trouble. The same is true if you wind up in combat.
Unfortunately, you may wind up doing more peacekeeping-style missions than actual combat. You may find yourself in situations where you can’t shoot some Third World gunman who richly deserves to die, because that could endanger civilian lives or trigger a full-scale war. You may rescue hostages or simply guard embassies surrounded by hostile demonstrators throwing rocks and bottles. Marines today are called on to perform a wide range of difficult missions, not just combat. Be a skilled fighting professional, hang tight with your buddies and you’ll come through okay.
It’s an exaggeration to say that I hated Vietnam. Despite occasional misery, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. And no matter how hard life has been since Vietnam, I know I’m tough enough to handle it.
Those are my thoughts for now. Good luck in boot camp and advanced training. Remember, more sweat on the training field equals less blood on the battlefield.
I’m glad you found our CAP 2-7-2 web site, and I was happy to get your email! The history of CAP 2-7-2 is one big blank before February, 1970, and you’ve already filled in some of that blank. For example, I had no idea that 2-7-2 was based in the Cam Le Bridge area before moving to Thanh Quit. As far as I knew, CAP 2-7-2 had always been in Thanh Quit.
I tried a hasty search of one Internet phone directory, looking for the “missing” guys you mentioned in your email.
I came up with 16 “JANEVSKI” addresses, but none of them are listed as “MIODRAG” or the initial “M.” That’s too bad. I thought he would be easy to find. There could be several reasons he’s not in the Internet phone books:
1) He’s dead
2) He’s in prison or another institution
3) He doesn’t have a phone
4) His phone is unlisted
5) He has left the country
6) He changed his name
7) We have the wrong spelling of Janevski
The good news is, there are only 16 Janevskis with telephones in the U.S. Any one of them could be Miodrag’s brother or cousin. If you’re serious about finding him, you could print out the list and start calling. If you know a hometown or home state, that can speed your search.
That’s how I found most of the guys on the current CAP 2-7-2 roster. I looked up guys with that last name, concentrating on their home state. Then I started calling. Sometimes I got lucky and found the right guy, or a relative, with a couple of calls. Other times I made 10-20 calls and found nobody. My wife cut off my long distance privileges a couple of times.
Using one Internet phone directory, I found only two people named Omey with the first initial ‘G.’ They include a “G. Omey” in Ohio. It could be a woman, since they often give their initial instead of a name, but it’s worth a try.
Steubenville, OH 43952
(740) 282 5549
My phone database search turned up no listings for Trachett, but 13 listings under the name “Trachet” (and one of them is named Sue). I’ll send them along.
I didn’t even try searching for Warner, Todd and Williams. All three are fairly common names and without a first name or hometown there’s little hope of finding them. Is there any chance you have your address book from Vietnam sitting around? I finally found mine buried in a box full of other junk, and it has been extremely useful.
I looked for “Goodwill” and “Rusaw” and there were dozens of listings under each of those names … far too many to call at random.
I hope you’ll decide to try finding these guys. I think you’ll learn it’s a great feeling talking with them after all these years. And sooner or later, even the ones we can’t locate will find us they way you did. They or somebody in their family will buy a computer, get on the Internet and start looking around for info about the CAPs. Then we’ll have ’em.
I have put your name and Gary Omey’s on the 2-7-2 roster at:
And I’ve put your name on the “Where Are They Now?” roster at:
We have several former CAP 2-7-2 guys down in Texas. Their addresses are on the “Where Are They Now?” roster. At least one of the guys makes it down to the VA in San Antonio on occasion — Paul “Tex” Hernandez of Brady, Texas.
I believe that Captain Gary Brown, who you mentioned, eventually became a general in the Corps. And I think his name is on the roster at Tim Duffie’s national CAP Veterans Web Site:
Please stay in touch and let me know if you have any luck finding the guys on your list. You’re also encouraged to send me stories, photos, letters, etc. for the CAP 2-7-2 web site. We even have a poem in there. I haven’t added much to the site lately, but I’m always eager to have new material.
And let us know what you’re up to now.
Thanks for writing. I understand your concern about switching from the H&K G3 to the M-16 (C7). I resisted the change from the 7.62mm M-14 to the 5.56mm M-16 when I served in the Marines in 1969-71.
My reply is limited by the fact that I am not familiar with the G3 or the C7. However, I can make some general observations. I will also forward your e-mail to others who may provide more specific information.
I trained with the 7.62mm M-14 through basic training and range qualification. During rifle training with the M-14, I was consistently able to hit stationary 20-inch bullseyes from 500 meters in the prone position. I also did well in slow and rapid fire from 200 and 300 meters. This performance gave me a great deal of confidence in the M-14.
However, my cohort was switched from the M-14 to the M-16 during basic and advanced infantry training. Then I was sent to combat unit in South Vietnam equipped with M-16s. It took me a long time to gain confidence with the M-16, but I eventually became enthusiastic about the rifle.
The long-range accuracy of the M-14 proved meaningless in combat because we rarely saw the enemy at distances greater than 100 meters. Most of our enemy contacts were at less than 50 meters, and contacts within 10 meters were not unheard of.
At short combat ranges, the M-16 is superior because of its light weight, maneuverability and high rate of fire. Pinpoint accuracy and bullet weight were insignificant factors.
The light weight of the M-16 ammunition was an important factor in combat because each Marine was able to carry 400-500 rounds. That would have been impossible with the heavier 7.62mm bullet and magazines used by the M-14.
I hope this brief explanation is helpful. I have discussed the issue at more length on my web site at the following address:
However, you probably found my e-mail address on that page and have already read my remarks there.
Please accept my best wishes for success with the C7 and your military career.
I’m glad you enjoyed our CAP 2-7-2 web site. Putting it together has been very rewarding, not least because it has put me back in touch with a couple of dozen old friends from the Marines. Most of us had been out of touch for 28 years.
The Vietnam war interests a lot of folks of your generation and even younger. All have different reasons, of course, but then it was a VERY different war. Many are puzzled and dissatisfied with what they’ve learned in movies, books and TV documentaries.
You may not be aware, but thousands of Canadians crossed the border and served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. I seem to remember a figure close to 10,000 from my reading, and some were killed in action.
I was astonished when I first read that little fact. Coming of age in America in the 1960s presented me and my male cohort with some unpleasant choices. Among other things, you could enlist and risk death in Vietnam, fake a medical condition to evade conscription, flee the country, or do nothing (which usually meant you were drafted anyway). All those choices forced us to deal with issues of morality and survival.
Young Canadian males coming of age during that time did not face those hard choices. It was not their fight, for or against, yet a substantial number chose to join. Were they moved by anti-communism, a sense of adventure, a desire to earn U.S. citizenship. Who knows?
I don’t mean to say that young American and Canadian women faced no challenges of their own during that period. It must have been extremely painful to watch their brothers and friends wrestle with impossible choices, sometimes dying or ruining their lives as a result.
Cherish the stories your uncles are sharing about their World War II experiences. Record or write them down if you can. I’ve found most in that generation are far too modest about their exploits. Even the guys who simply drove trucks during the war had some fascinating experiences. Their grandchildren will want to know those stories. I wish I had my father back to ask more about his WWII service. Once that generation is gone, there’s no recovering their wealth of experience.
Keep writing. It’s the only way to improve as a writer.
I’m pleased you “found” us on Tim Duffie’s CAP web site. Doc Doggett and I have talked about you several times, and you can see that both of us wrote accounts of your adventures. But neither of us could remember your first name. Of course, all corpsman were called “Doc,” so few of their first names have survived in memory to this day.
I’ll never forget seeing you standing and moving around the 2-7-1 night site as the sky began to lighten on May 9, 1970. I had been on perimeter security and until I saw you I thought all the Americans in 2-7-1 had been killed or wounded.
Obviously, Doc Doggett and I don’t think of you as a jinx — just a very lucky man. The leaders of CAPs 2-7-1 and 2-7-4 made some very clear mistakes that caused their downfall, and that had nothing to do with you. Too bad more of the Marines and PFs in those CAPs weren’t as lucky. I know some who survived were lucky to have you there providing medical care.
I’m glad to hear you have suffered no ill effects from your service in the CAPs. Various former CAP members describe having tough times emotionally as a result of Vietnam service, though nearly all are fine nowadays, with responsible jobs and families.
Yes, I wore the rain jacket you gave me for weeks. But when the monsoon began to fade I got tired of carrying the weight. I carefully folded the jacket and stuffed it into the rafters of a Vietnamese house where 2-7-2 was staying one day. For all I know, it’s there still.
Unless you object, I will add a couple of the remarks from your e-mail to my account of 09May1970. I’m always trying to add another perspective to the narratives we have collected for the 2-7-2 web site.
I will stay in touch, and hope you will as well. Ultimately, I would like to build a web site providing the history of all CACO 2-7 CAPs, and contributions in the form of photos, letters, souvenirs and written accounts are most welcome.
Glad you enjoyed the 2-7-2 site. We’ve had a great time putting it together and we’re still adding stuff. We held a CAP 2-7-2 reunion last month here in Kansas City and had 24 guys attend, including Scottie Shirley and a couple of former 2-7-6 and 2-7-10 members. Sorry you missed the get-together, but we’ll be doing it again someday.
R.J. Carrier is one of our “MIAs” from CAP 2-7-2. Several of us have called all the “Carriers” we could find around Detroit with no success — so maybe R.J. abandoned Michigan and moved the California or some other sunny spot. Maybe he stayed in the Corps? If you have any ideas on how to find R.J., let’s hear ’em.
I’m glad we got some “comm” with you, Al. I assume you found us through Tim Duffie’s CAP Vets Web site? Looking forward to your letter.
What a great way to start the day! (6 a.m. here) It’s GREAT to hear from you. You’ve made my day. Now I’m in touch with you, Ken “Dunc” Duncan, Dennis “Hucklebuck” Prock and Paul “Tex” Hernandez from CAP 2. They’re going to be pretty excited to hear about you.
Like most, I’ve had both good and bad since Vietnam. I was discharged in May, 1971, and headed straight to college. I went through about a year of PTSD back in 1972-73, but came through it largely intact before anybody had ever heard of “Vietnam syndrome.” That was when I was in college at Kansas State. Mental exhaustion from PTSD made me drop out of KSU midway through my junior year. I couldn’t think of anything better to do so I drew out my Marine Corps savings and went backpacking around Europe for six months.
Returning to the states, I went to the University of Kansas where I finished my journalism degree. I worked for a year at a newspaper in tiny Abilene, Kan., then two years at a paper in Emporia, Kan., before drawing all my savings again and heading off for a six-month trip around Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
Returning to the states again (see a trend here?), I got a job with Associated Press in Cheyenne, Wyo., early in 1980. I got married and divorced while in Cheyenne — no kids. Then they transferred me to Portland, Ore., early in 1983. Three years later, burned out, I quit AP and worked several months for a political campaign back in Wyoming (we were 2nd). Then I moved to Vail., Colo., where I lived for three years as a ski bum.
In 1989 I decided to revive my journalism career and moved to Kansas City for a job offer at the Kansas City Times. Before I could get on the payroll, the Times merged with the Kansas City Star and my job offer was withdrawn. I worked at various jobs in publishing, journalism and 7-Eleven until late 1994 when I was hired here at the Star in their Electronic Media (Internet) department. I also got married again and we had a son, now 4 1/2 years old.
Most of my free time is taken up with my son and family stuff, though I still do a lot of reading and play a bit with my home computer. My wife trains horses and teaches riding lessons. We live in Kansas City, Mo., but we’ll soon be moving to the Kansas suburbs of KC.
Tex Hernandez contacted me online a few weeks ago after he also saw my name on the CAP web site, and he told me where to find Huck. Dunc and I have been in touch off-and-on since 1971. That’s been easy since he still has the same address he had then.
Back in 1986 I spoke briefly with Al “Zorro” Zarosinski out in Keno, Ore., but haven’t phoned him since then. Tex tells me that Casey “Country” Roach became a California Highway Patrolman and was killed on duty several years ago.
Mike Kubina is on the membership roster of the CAP Unit Veterans Association. I sent him a letter some weeks ago but haven’t had a reply. Could be he doesn’t remember me, or he still doesn’t write many letters.
There’s an R.D. Erpelding listed in Rick Erpelding’s hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind., but I haven’t gotten around to writing or calling to find out if it’s our “Erp.”
The rest of the CAP 2 guys are still MIA (missing in America), but if this Internet things catches on maybe we’ll find them all? I’d particularly like to get in touch with Erp and “Willie” Williams to see how he’s been doing.
And, yeah, it’s hard to believe you’re an Army major, even if it’s in the Medical Corps. You weren’t exactly a dedicated military man back in 1970. ‘Course that may have had something to do with the fact that they shanghaied you into the Marine Corps and sent you to sleep on the ground in Vietnam.
Where the hell are you? Still in the Army? I always pictured you doing something in medicine, but admit I’m surprised to find you in the military.
I’ve been building a web site dedicated to CAP 2 on our server here at the Star. I’d love to have you look at it and tell me where I’ve mispelled names and gotten facts wrong. Maybe you have some photos, or your memoirs I could add to the site? Eventually I plan to send all my stuff to Tim Duffie for inclusion on his CAP web site. The address for my site is …
Send me your address and phone number — I’m putting together a current address roster of old CAP 2 hands. Also, I’m sure the other guys will want to know where to find you.
There’s bad news about Tex Hernandez. He was diagnosed with melanoma a couple of weeks ago and was supposed to find out the extent of the cancer and his “chances” on July 8. I haven’t heard from him since then, and I fear the worst. I’m not sure you remember Tex. He joined CAP 2 in September, 1970, after the deaths of J.J. Arteaga and Dan Gallagher. He was hit on Jan. 18, 1971, and paralyzed — has been in a wheelchair since then.
I must get some work done now, but please e-mail me as soon as you can. Modest as they may seem now, we all put a lot of faith in your medical skills back in the ville. We used to brag about you to the other CAP grunts — not within your hearing, of course. I always felt if I got hit that you would get me on the chopper alive with anything short of a massive blast wound or GSW in the head. Sometimes there’s just too much damage, and there is no golden hour, and that’s the tragedy of any war — young men’s promise sacrified for … whatever.
Take all the time you need writing your stuff about Delta 1, Thanh Quit, whatever subjects you like. We’re just tickled to have another voice joining the choir.
I think the CAP Program was one of the few U.S. military efforts in South Viet Nam that “worked” worth a damn. But Americans today are largely ignorant about the CAPs, their successes and the lessons learned for staying out of, or winning low-intensity conflicts in the future.
Our goal with the CAP 2-7-2 web site is to write our own history, laying out our successes and failures, in the hope that those who are interested can learn something.
I don’t recognize any of the RF names you mentioned, but I wasn’t especially close to any of our counterparts. That’s partly because we changed RF units a couple of times, but also because I was a very bad Vietnamese speaker. I depended greatly on our informal Vietnamese interpreters.
Yes, I’m at the Star nowadays. In fact, I work on the paper’s web site and my CAP 2-7-2 site is on their server. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Bob Patrick. Do you remember a middle initial or hometown? There are dozens of little towns making up the KC metro area and a lot of guys from suburbs like Lee’s Summit or Overland Park just simplified things by telling buddies they were from “Kansas City.”
> 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.
That’s a fascinating story about your first return to Thanh Quit after the war. That account would make a great addition to the site!
I’ll admit that the “opening” of tourism in Viet Nam hasn’t been much of a temptation to me. With only a week or two to spend, I wouldn’t want to waste time touring some “People’s Revolutionary Museum” in Hanoi or Saigon (oops, HCM City). My war was in Thanh Quit, and that’s where I want to spend my time — with maybe a couple of side trips to Hoi An or Da Nang.
I got a chill through my whole body when I read your e-mail and realized who it was. It’s great to hear from you! Other than Ken Duncan, you’re the first guy from CAP 2 I’ve heard from in more than a decade. I tracked down Al “Zorro” Zarosinski by phone back in 1986 or late 1985. He was logging in tiny little Keno, Ore., and I’ll bet he’s still there. I just added my name to Tim Duffie’s CAP Marines list on the Internet about two months ago, and finally got around to joining the CUVA last month.
I heard from somebody that you were badly wounded in a big firefight after I left CAP 2. I also heard later that you were paralyzed and at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver (true? false?). I tried to track you down there, but either you weren’t there or I got the bureaucratic runaround.
Ken Duncan and I have been in touch occasionally over the years. I visited him at his home in Crystal City, Mo., back in ’72 or ’73, met his first wife and son, now grown and in mortician school. He’s been divorced and remarried a long time, adopted his second wife’s daughter and she’s now out of high school and working. Ken owns an excavating company and works construction jobs all around the St. Louis area. Ken and his wife had plans to visit me and my family one weekend last year, but his mother had a stroke and that visit has been on hold ever since.
Does your Internet access include a World Wide Web browser? If so, I sent some CAP 2 photos to Tim Duffie and he’s put them on the ‘net at this address:
I believe you’re in the second group picture, listed as an “Unknown Marine.” Heck, I didn’t write any names on the photos in my scrapbook until about 1988, so there are lots of blanks.
Although it’s not finished, you might also want to look at the photos and stuff on the CAP 2 site I’ve been building on my own and hope to finish someday soon.
I got out of the Marines in May, 1971, went home to Kansas, went to college and I’ve been working for newspapers and the Associated Press most of the time since then. Over the years I lived in Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico and Kansas. Now I’m living in Kansas City, working on the Internet site at the Kansas City Star (newspaper). I’m married for the second time, with my first child, a boy now 4 and 1/2 years old.
I’ve been thinking about that CAP reunion in San Diego, but wasn’t sure I wanted to go — didn’t think there’d be anybody I know. Now I’ll have to reconsider (and start working on my wife — she hates to fly).
I’m sorry to hear “Country” is dead. He was a good man, and that’s a blow. I’ve come close to buying the farm a few times myself since Vietnam — a snowmobile accident, car wrecks, etc. — even had a stretch of PTSD and was semi-nuts for awhile. I guess we’re all survivors in our own way.
I’m also glad to know you’ve talked with “Hucklebuck” recently. I’ve never been able to get in touch with him through all these years. If you have his address, I’d be glad to have it.
I’m glad to hear from you Tex, glad to be in touch. Though some memories have faded, I’ve wondered about you over the years (nearly 30!) and hoped you survived.
God bless you,
No, I’m not religious, but it seems like the right thing to say after those hard days and nights in Vietnam and all the good and bad since then. Semper Fi.