Last night I awoke to the sounds of thunder. I was recalling a small part of a summer day a long time ago. As if it was yesterday as I remember it was the height of the war that summer of ‘69. The team of 8 recon Marines consisted of young, tough, bronzed warriors with an attitude, a gung ho bunch of Marines from the 1st Recon Battalion, Bravo Company, 2nd Platoon. My team was getting briefed by 1st Lt. Riley, his name I can recall. 1st Lt. Brian Riley sticks in my mind because I felt I was responsible for his death and that been playing on my mind all this years.
You see as the pointman for this small team of marines. I was responsible for finding and clearing the areas of all the booby traps, mines and all other devices that can wreak havoc on my brothers of my team. As a scout I took my job seriously all the time and on all my missions. Read the balance of my story by clicking the sign. A Summer Day in Nam (coming soon to this website)
I can recall that day I arrived at 1st Recon in Vietnam as a green know it all rookie marine with an attitude and gung ho at the same time. I was going to win the war by myself. I can look back today on this and laugh at myself. What a dumb kid I must have been then. Only moments after arriving that day, reality set in and I learn quickly that I was in hell or some where close. Yes I can recall the day I arrived at 1st Recon, it was Saturday July 7th, 1968. As one of their replacements for one of those brave men KIA “killed in action” on Hill 200 a month earlier on June 3rd, 1968.
I recall parts of the mission and the high probability of making contact deep in enemy controlled territory. I recall that this didn’t seem to bother me at that time been that I had been on plenty of patrol about 20 missions in all to date and because of my experience at that time as a scout. This was to be only one more mission to me. As I think back on this now. Why is this one mission constantly on my mind? After forty years, why is this summer day on my mind. I seem to be reliving this day over and over in my mind.
A company sized unit of North Vietnamese moved around me, four or five feet to my right and ten to twenty feet to my left on a winding trail. One by one they moved past me , one by one. As a twig snapped and one of the North Vietnamese turns and looks at me. Time stopped.
His eyes seem to be searching for me. This moment was an eternity for me. Then, the enemy moved past me with packs on their backs, their weapons shouldered, carrying heavy arms and equipment. I could almost make out the serial numbers on their RPGs.
Fifty or sixty NVA passed me and my team by that day and moved off into the bush. Not a shot was fired, not one shot was fired that day.
I considered my self to be very lucky in life and at that time in the years of ‘68 and ‘69.
1ST Marine Division 1967-1969
Personal Awards & Decorations
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with letter “V” (for valor)
Authorization. SECNAVINST 1650.16 of 1 May 1961, re-designated by SECNAVNOTE of 17 July 1967. On 19 August 1994, the SECNAV changed the name of the award to Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Eligibility Requirements. Awarded to members of the Armed Forces, including members of Reserve components on active or inactive duty, of the grade of lieutenant commander/major and junior thereto, for service performed on or after 1 May 1961. The award shall be given for meritorious service or achievement in a combat or non-combat situation based on sustained performance or specific achievement of a superlative nature, and shall be of such merit as to warrant more tangible recognition than is possible by a fitness report or performance evaluation, but which does not warrant a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal or higher.
Professional achievement that merit the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NA) must:
(a) Clearly exceed that which is normally required or expected, considering the individual's grade or rate, training, and experience; and
(b) Be an important contribution of benefit to the United States and the Naval Service.
Leadership Achievement that merit the NA must:
(a) Be noteworthy;
(b) Be sustained so as to demonstrate a high state of development or, if for a specific achievement, be of such merit as to earn singular recognition for the act(s); and
(c) Reflect most creditably on the efforts of the individual toward the accomplishment of the unit mission.
Limitations. The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal will not be awarded for service involving participation in aerial flight after 1 January 1969. The Air Medal is the more appropriate recognition for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. This does not preclude the award of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal to those who meet the eligibility requirement for service during which participation in aerial flight was incidental.
Combat Distinguishing Device. During the Vietnam era the Combat Distinguishing Device was authorized for service subsequent to 17 July 1967 and discontinued in April 1974; it was reauthorized on 17 January 1991.
Combat Action Ribbon
Authorization. SECNAVNOTE 1650 of 17 February 1969.
Awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when the Coast Guard or units thereof operate under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain/colonel and junior thereto, who have actively participated in ground or surface combat. Upon submission of evidence to their commanding officer, personnel who earned the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge while a member of the U.S. Army may be authorized to wear the CAR.
The principal eligibility criterion is that the individual must have participated in a bona fide ground or surface combat fire-fight or action during which he/she was under enemy fire and his/her performance while under fire was satisfactory. Service in a combat area does not automatically entitle a service member to the CAR. The following amplifying remarks are furnished as guidance.
(a) Personnel in riverine and coastal operations, assaults, patrols, sweeps, ambushes, convoys, amphibious landings, and similar activities who have participated in fire fights are eligible.
(b) Personnel assigned to areas subjected to sustained mortar, missile, and artillery attacks actively par ticipate in retaliatory or offensive actions are eligible.
(c) Personnel in clandestine or special opera tions such as reconnaissance, SEAL teams, EOD teams, and Mine Countermeasures operations are eligible when the risk of enemy fire was great and was expected to be encountered.
(d) Personnel aboard a ship are eligible when the safety of the ship and the crew were endangered by enemy attack, such as a ship hit by a mine or a ship engaged by shore, surface, air or sub-surface elements.
(e) Personnel eligible for the award of the Purple Heart would not necessarily qualify for the Combat Action Ribbon.
(f) Personnel serving in peacekeeping missions, if not eligible by the criteria cited above, are eligible to receive the award when all of the following criteria are met: -the member was subject to hostile, direct fire, - based on the mission and the tactical situation, not returning fire was the best course of action, and - the member was in compliance with the rules of engagement and his orders by not returning fire.
(g) The CAR will not be awarded to personnel for aerial combat since the Strike/Flight Air Medal provides recognition for aerial combat exposure; however, a pilot or crewmember forced to escape or evade after being forced down could be eligible for the award.
(h) Under Public Law 106-55, the CAR may be awarded retroactively to 07Dec41.
Operations. An individual, whose eligibility has been established in combat in any of the following listed operations is authorized the award of the CAR. Only one award per operation is authorized. The listing is not all inclusive as the CAR has been awarded in minor operations and for specific actions. Subsequent awards will be indicated by the use of a Gold Star on the ribbon:
(1) Southeast Asia. From 01Mar61 to 15Aug73.
(2) Dominican Republic. From 28Apr65 to 21Sep66. (No ships qualified)
(3) USS LIBERTY (AGTR 5). 08Jun67 and 09Jun67.
(4) USS PUEBLO (AGTR 2). 23Jan68.
(5) Operation FREQUENT WIND. (Evacuation Operations, Saigon) 29Apr75 and 30Apr75. (No ships)
(6) Operation MAYAGUEZ. 15May75. (No ships)
(7) Grenada. 24Oct83 - 02Nov83. (No ships)
(8) Lebanon. 20Aug82 to 01Aug84. (No ships)
(9) Persian Gulf
(a) COMNAVSPECWAR Task Unit Tango - 22Sep87
(b) USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) - 14Apr88
(c) Operation PRAYING MANTIS - 18Apr88
SAG BRAVO COMDESRON NINE STAFF embarked on (DD 976) USS MERRILL (DD 976) HSL-35 DET 1 USS LYNDE MCCORMICK (DDG 8) USS TRENTON (LPD 14) CONTINGENCY MAGTF 2-88 HSL 44, DET 5
SAG CHARLIE USS WAINWRIGHT (CG 28) USS BAGLEY (FF 1069) HSL-35, DET 7
USS SIMPSON (FFG 56) HSL-42, DET 10 COMMANDER, NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TASK
GROUP MIDDLE EAST FORCE SEAL TEAM TWO, THIRD PLATOON
SAG DELTA COMDESRON TWENTY-TWO USS JACK WILLIAMS (FFG 24) HSL-32, DET 2 USS JOSEPH STRAUSS (DDG 16) USS O'BRIEN (DD 975) HSL-33, DET 2 CO, SPEC BOAT UNIT TWELVE SEAL TEAM 5, PLATOON C
(d) USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FF 1082) USS VINCENNES (CG 49) -03Jul88
(e) Persian Gulf MCM Operations. Specific units during 19Nov87 to 01Apr88; 14 to 20Apr88; 20 to 23Apr88; and 02Aug90 to 10Sep91.
(10) Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama). 20Dec89 - 31Jan90. (No ships qualified)
(11) Operation SHARP EDGE. 05Aug90 - 24Aug90. (No ships qualified)
(12) Operation DESERT STORM. 17Jan91 - 28Feb91.
(a) The Secretary of the Navy approved the CAR as an exception to policy for the following ships that operated north of 28.30N and west of 49.30E from 17Jan91 to 28Feb91:
USS ADROIT (MSO 509) USS AVENGER (MCM 1) USS BEAUFORT (ATS 2) USS BUNKER HILL (CG 52) USS CARON (DD 970) USS CURTS (FFG 38) USS DURHAM (LKA 114) USS FIFE (DD 991) USS FORD (FFG 54) USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD 43) USS PAUL F. FOSTER (DD 964) USS HAWES (FFG 53)
USNS HASSAYAMPA (T-AO 145) USS IMPERVIOUS (MSO 449) USS KIDD (DDG 993) USS LEADER (MSO 490) USS MACDONOUGH (DDG 39) USS MISSOURI (BB 63) USS NASSAU (LHA 4) USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47) USS OLDENDORF (DD 972) USS PORTLAND (LSD 37) USS RALEIGH (LPD 1) USS VREELAND (FF 1068) USS WORDEN (CG 18)
USS HORNE (CG 30) USS JARRETT (FFG 33) USS LASALLE (AGF 3) USS LEFTWICH (DD 984) USS MCINERNEY (FFG 8) USS MOBILE BAY (CG 53) USS NIAGARA FALLS (AFS 3) USS OKINAWA (LPH 3) USNS PASSUMPSIC (T-AO 107 USS PRINCETON (CG 59) USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10) USS WISCONSIN (BB 64)
(b) The following ships were approved for the dates indicated:
USNS COMFORT (T-AH 20) 26 Feb91 USS GUAM (LPH 9) 25-26 Feb91 USS IWO JIMA (LPH 2) 26 Feb91 USS OGDEN (LPD 5) 25-26 Feb91 USS MISSOURI (BB 63) 12Feb91 and 25Feb91
VC-6 Detachment 12Feb91 and 25Feb91 EODMU Detachments 12Feb91 and 25Feb91
USS RICHMOND K. TURNER (CG 20) 19-24Feb91 USS VALLEY FORGE (CG 50) 16-28 February 1991 USS LEADER (MSO 490) 23Mar91
(16) Operation ASSURED RESPONSE (Monrovia, Liberia). 07Apr96 to 18Apr96. (No ships qualified).
(17) Kosovo Campaign. Specific units designated from 24Mar99 to 27Jan00.
Administrative Procedures. SECNAV determines which operations meet the criteria for this award. Requests for determination of eligibility of individuals for operations subsequent to 1975 should be sent to SECNAV via the chain of command including CNO or CMC, as appropriate, unless specifically delegated by SECNAV.
Subsequent awards are denoted by silver and gold stars.
Presidential Unit Citation
Authorization. E.O. 9050, 6 February 1942.
Eligibility Requirements. Awarded in the name of the President of the United States to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and co-belligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. The unit must have displayed such gallantry, determination and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions to have set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would be required for award of a Navy Cross to an individual.
Eligibility Requirements. Awarded by SECNAV to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps which has distinguished itself by outstanding heroism in action against the enemy, but not sufficient to justify the award of the Presidential Unit Citation; or to any such unit which has distinguished itself by extremely meritorious service not involving combat but in support of military operations, rendering the unit outstanding compared to other units performing similar service.
This award may also be conferred upon units of the other branches of the Armed Forces of the United States, and of armed forces of friendly foreign nations serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, provided that such units shall meet the standards established for Navy and Marine Corps units. To justify this award, the unit must have performed service of a character comparable to that which would merit the award of a Silver Star Medal for heroism or a Legion of Merit for meritorious service to an individual.
Normal performance of duty or participation in a large number of combat missions does not in itself justify the award. An award will not be made to a unit for actions of one or more of its component parts, unless the unit performed uniformly as a team in a manner justifying collective recognition.
(1) Honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces for any period after 26 June 1950 to 28 July 1954, after 31 December 1960 and before 15 August 1974 or after 1 August 1990 and before 1 December 1995. For this award, the following personnel shall not be considered as performing active service:
(a) Guard and Reserve forces personnel on short tours of active duty to fulfill training obligations under an inactive duty training program. However, effective 8 October 1991, President Bush expanded criteria to include all members of the National Guard and Reserve who were part of the Selected Reserve in good standing during the period 02 August 1990 to 30 November 1995. Consequently, all Navy and Marine Corps personnel serving on active duty and members of the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve who were part of the Selected Reserve in good standing during said period are eligible for the award.
(b) Any person on temporary active duty to serve on boards, courts, commissions and like organizations.
(c) Any person on active duty for the sole purpose of undergoing a physical examination. (d) Any person on active duty for purposes other than extended active duty.
(2) Subparagraphs (l)(a) through (d) above shall not bar the award of the NDSM to members of the Guard or Reserve forces, who, after 31 December 1960 become eligible for the award of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Vietnam Service Medal who serve for 30 days or more on temporary active duty. Such persons shall be considered to be performing active service for the purpose of eligibility for the National Defense Service Medal.
(3) Midshipmen attending the Naval Academy during the above periods are eligible for this medal.
(4) Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Midshipmen are only eligible if they participated in a summer cruise that was in an area which qualified for a campaign medal.
Note: President Bush has also authorized the award of the National Defense Service Medal to all military personnel serving on or after September 11, 2001, to a date yet to be determined.
Subsequent Award. A 3/16-inch bronze star shall be worn on the suspension ribbon and ribbon bar by personnel who earned the medal for honorable active duty after 26 June 1950 and before 28 July 1954, after 31 December 1960 and before 15 August 1974, and again after 1 August 1990 and before 1 December 1995.
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 bronze stars
Authorization. E.O. 11231 of 08 July 1965.
(a) Awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving at anytime between 04Jul65 and 28Mar73 in the area defined under the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Vietnam.
(b) Awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia or the air space thereof, between 4 July 1965 and 28 March 1973 and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam.
(c) Members qualified for the AFEM by reason of service between 1 July 1958 and 3 July 1965 (inclusive) in an area for which the Vietnam Service Medal was subsequently authorized shall remain qualified for that medal. Upon application, any such member may be awarded the Vietnam Service Medal in lieu of the AFEM for such service. However, no person shall be entitled to both awards for service in an area for which the Vietnam Service Medal has been authorized.
(a) Personnel Eligible
1. Shore Duty. Attached to or regularly serving for 1 or more days with an organization participating in or directly supporting military operations.
2. Sea Duty. Attached to or regularly serving for 1 or more days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations.
3. Air Duty. Actual participation as a crew member in 1 or more aerial flights directly supporting military operations.
4. Temporary Duty. Service for 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days, except that the time limit may be waived for personnel participating in actual combat operations. NOTE. Only personnel who were attached to ships/units and who actually participated in the given operation, are eligible for the Vietnam Service Medal. This includes personnel attached to a squadron or unit embarked in a ship during the period for which that ship is listed as eligible. Members of rear echelons, transients, observers, and personnel assigned for short periods or TAD and training duty are normally not eligible for the award; however, consideration will be given in those instances where the local commander certifies a particular and significant contribution by an individual. Such certification should be submitted to CNO/CMC via the fleet commander who exercised operational control in the area involved.
(b) Eligible Ships and Units. Ships and units present in the area merely for training purposes are not eligi ble for the award. Squadrons or units embarked in a ship during the period for which that ship is listed as eligible are automatically eligible for the medal.
(c) Limitation of Medals. The medal shall be awarded only for operations for which no other U.S. campaign medal is approved. No person may be issued both the Vietnam Service Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam (see Art. 431.16b(8) concerning election), and no person shall be entitled to more than one award of the Vietnam Service Medal.
Stars. A bronze star 3/16-inch in diameter is authorized to be worn on the suspension ribbon and ribbon bar of the Vietnam Service Medal for each of the following campaigns:
Vietnam Advisory Campaign........15 Mar 62 to 07 Mar 65.
.Vietnam Defense Campaign.........08 Mar 65 to 24 Dec 65.
Vietnam Counter-offensive........25 Dec 65 to 30 Jun 66.
Vietnam Counter-offensive II.... 01 Jul 66 to 31 May 67.
Vietnam Counter-offensive III....01 Jun 67 to 29 Jan 68.
Tet Counter-offensive............30 Jan 68 to 01 Apr 68.
Vietnam Counter-offensive IV....02 Apr 68 to 30 Jun 68.
Vietnam Counter-offensive V.....01 Jul 68 to 01 Nov 68.
Vietnam Counter-offensive VI....02 Nov 68 to 22 Feb 69.
Tet 69 Counter-offensive........23 Feb 69 to 08 Jun 69.
Vietnam, Summer-Fall 1969.......09 Jun 69 to 31 Oct 69.
Vietnam, Winter-Spring 1970.....01 Nov 69 to 30 Apr 70.
Sanctuary Counter-offensive.....01 May 70 to 30 Jun 70.
Vietnam Counter-offensive VII...01 Jul 70 to 30 Jun 71.
Consolidation I.................01 Jul 71 to 30 Nov 71.
Consolidation II................01 Dec 71 to 29 Mar 72.
Vietnam Ceasefire Campaign......30 Mar 72 to 28 Jan 73.
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION with Gold frame
Originally created as the Vietnam Friendship Ribbon, it was recreated as the Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation in 1961, and awarded to cited units under the same conditions required for the award of the Presidential Unit Citation of the United States.
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm & Gold Frame
This ribbon is awarded by the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) to certain units of the U.S. Armed Forces for valorous combat achievement during the Vietnam War, 1 Mar 61 to 28 Mar 73.
The Vietnam Gallantry Cross also is issued as a unit award which is an entirely separate decoration from the full sized medal. Known as the "Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm," the unit citation award was created in 1968 and was issued as the Gallantry Cross ribbon, with a metal palm device, enclosed within a gold frame. The unit citation was issued in the name of South Vietnam to any military unit which distinguished itself to the same level as would be required for the individual award. Regulations for the issuance of the Vietnam Gallantry Cross permit the wearing of both the individual and unit award simultaneously, since they both are considered separate decorations.
The Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm was issued to every Allied nation which provided military support to Vietnam between 1 March 1961 and the fall of Saigon in April 1975. The unit decoration thus became the most commonly awarded Vietnamese decoration to foreigners, second only to the Vietnam Campaign Medal. See additional information about unit awards.
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
This medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who: 1) Served for 6 months in South Vietnam during the period 1 Mar 61 and 28 Mar 73; 2) Served outside the geographical limits of South Vietnam and contributed direct combat support to the RVN Armed Forces for an aggregate of six months. Only members of the Armed Forces of the United States who meet the criteria established for the AFEM (Vietnam) or Vietnam Service Medal during the period of service required are considered to have contributed direct combat support to the RVN Armed Forces; 3) Did not complete the length of service required in item (1) or (2) above, but who, during wartime, were: a) Wounded by the enemy (in a military action); b) Captured by the enemy during action or in the line of duty, but later rescued or released; c) Killed in action or in the line of duty; 4) Were assigned in Vietnam on 28 Jan 73, and who served a minimum of 60 calendar days in Vietnam during the period 29 Jan 73 to 28 Mar 73.
The medal is gold-plated with two stars, one overlaid on the other, each star composed of six points. The stars' points above are white enameled in relief with gold border. The stars' points underneath are carved in relief, gold-plated, with many small brass angles directed toward the medal's center. The inside of the frame is green with the outline of the Vietnamese country gold-plated and a red flame with three rays upright in the center. On the reverse are the words "Vietnam Campaign Medal." The ribbon is edged with green stripes, and alternate green and white stripes with a white center. A rectangular, silver-plated medal device on the suspension ribbon denotes the period of war (for example "1960 - "). A similar but smaller device with the last two digits of the inclusive years of the war, "60 - ," is worn on the ribbon bar.
Basic Jump Wings
BUPERS Notice 1020 of 12 July 1963 announced approval of a new wing insignia for Navy and Marine Corps Parachutists with a minimum of 5 Jumps.
The change to the 1959 Uniform Regulations stated that the old Parachutist insignia would be renamed Basic Parachutist insignia in keeping with Army and Air Force nomenclature. The new Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist device was "a gold embroidered (Navy only) or gold-colored metal pin , the same as that provided for Naval Aviator’s insignia, except that a gold-colored open parachute shall be centered on the wings vice the shield and foul
MARINE CORPS RIFLE SHARPSHOOTER BADGE
RIFLE SHARPSHOOTER BADGE
Badge consists of a four-branched Maltese cross with the center emblem being the USMC Eagle, Globe and Anchor hanging from a bar that reads: "RIFLE SHARPSHOOTER".
In July 1958, the current USMC shooting badges replaced the old USMC Basic Shooting Badge.
1st Marine Division Website.
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