To provide an interactive, on-line forum for Vietnam Veterans and their families and friends to exchange information, stories, poems, songs, art, pictures, and experiences in any publishable form.
The 2nd ROK Marine Brigade "Blue Dragons"
Strong Men Armed
memorial service program for the men killed during a rocket attack on Bridge Ramp on February 27, 1969.
1ST RECON BN. ASSOCIATION
3rd Battalion 9th Marine Regiment (3/9)
Vietnam War Resources
USS Cabildo (LSD-16)
November 26th 1965 will always be a day in the history books for Kitty Hawk. It was the first time her aircraft lifted off the Flight Deck for combat operations. On that day, Kitty Hawk aircraft flew 90 attack sorties against the VC, unleashing more than 140 tons of ordnance.
Memorial Hill Restoration Committee
Vietnam Era Music
The USS Newport
S-3 Division taken in Norfolk Va. in mid July or August, 1967 just prior to Vietnam deployment.
Captain McCarty (CO) and Commander Ruxton (XO) during festivities on the fantail.
The USS Newport
shelling the Vietnamese coast
The Long Way Home Project
VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK in McKINNEY
No Man Left Behind
In Rememberance of Calvin C Glover
General Hieu of the Armed Forces of Viet Nam
The White House Commission on Remembrance
Height of Valor
This index is dedicated to those who earned our nation's highest awards for valor in combat - the Medal of Honor, the appropriate Service Cross, and the Silver Star Medal and the Bronze Star. The names shown here are links to personal memorial pages on The Virtual Wall in honor of the men who earned the award at the cost of their own lives in the Vietnam War. Click Here for Index
Veterans Memorial Museum
the National Vietnam Veterans Museum, Located on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.
Click the Photo
Least anyone forget, these named men, all members of the 1st Battalion 61st Infantry Regiment 5th Division (Mechanized), died in a futile attempt to preserve the freedom of another people. Others toured Moscow, posed on NVA anti-aircraft guns and studied in Cuba. Not these Americans, they lost their life in a doomed struggle.
On 25 October a C-123K (tail number 54-0667) from the 310th Air Commando Sqdn, Phan Rang Air Base, was conducting a routine "round-robin" administrative flight, with Tan Son Nhut Air Base as its last stop before the return leg to Phan Rang. As the aircraft taxied out for take-off, the pilot noted massive thunderstorms in the area, decided to abort the flight, and was cleared to back-taxi down the active runway in order to return to parking ramp. At the same time, Major Britt in F-105D tail number 59-1737 was cleared to land. The tower personnel realized their error and directed the C-123K to clear the active runway immediately, but before the C-123 pilot could do so Major Britt landed - and struck the C-123's left wing and fuselage. The C-123 promptly burst into flames, while the burning F-105 tumbled down the runway. Major Britt did not eject from his aircraft and died in the crash.
Although all four crewmen on the C-123 suffered burns they escaped the aircraft alive. At least one, SSgt Curtis E. Stieferman, was evacuated to Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, where he died on 04 Nov 1967. He is buried in Rosswood Cemetery, Cotuit, Massachusetts.
DAVID SCOTT GRIFFIN
Herbert Rand, David Griffin, Gerald Slingerland
An oak leaf cluster represents more than twenty-five aerial missions over hostile territory in support of counterinsurgency operations. David posthumously received a total of 22 oak leaf clusters.
LETTERS FROM VIET NAM
Heroes don't talk. They rarely let their family members know what is truly happening to them. For example, the day after his heroic actions, David wrote us a letter stating "By now you must know I have transferred to the 175th Avn Co in Vinh Long. I am still a door gunner. You must excuse me for not writing, but I have been on a big operation, averaging 4 hours sleep a night." That was the extent of describing his job. He never mentioned his bravery.
From the following two letters, you can get a rare glimpse into David's thoughts about life and death. He was 19 years old. Sandy was our family dog of many years.
June 22, 1966
I am sorry to hear about Sandy. But to be harsh, that's life. Life seems so cruel and strange at times when you grow older. But always remember that Sandy lived a good long life. He was happy most of the time and always remember the good and funny times. Sandy will always be a part of our lives since I was 8 and you were 6. So remember those memories and never be sad. Remember when LBJ's dog died? I read that in the newspaper and on the same day I saw twenty-three bodies brought in the heliport. 23 men with the promise of youth and the enjoyment of life gone forever. I was so angry because all the paper said was poor LBJ dog is dead. I couldn't give a damn less about his dog. You should be happy you're young and free. You are now entering the best part of a person's life. Be grateful for what you have and believe me you have a lot. I tell you we have it a hell of lot better than these people, that is a joy in itself. Don't cry about Sandy. He and you both were happy. But now he is gone and you must make the best of it. Keep writing, gets kind of lonely some times.
November 16, 1966
What's up? I received your letter yesterday. It was nice hearing from you. I showed my buddies your picture. They said they couldn't understand how anything so sweet and good looking could be my sister. Ann, you are becoming a very beautiful young lady. But both you and I know the Griffin boys are dirty young men, I would like to give you a word of advice. I for being so young have been around and seen and done a lot of things. I think, far too much, for a person of my age. When I was your age, which was not too long ago, I was usually unhappy. I won't tell why I joined the Army, because that is personal. But I hate it. But the Army made me realize how stupid I was. The people over here are less than animals. They have nothing to live for. We Americans are so lucky, we have every thing we could want. Over here life is cheap. It is nothing for a father to sell his children into slavery. I have seen little children pimping for their mothers and sisters. They do anything to fleece money from a G.I. even murder. Anything a person can think of in his depraved mind, he can do with the help of money. That is not just over here but also in other places in the world. Home we have love of family which no amount of money can dissolve. There is no reason on earth why we should be unhappy. What a joy it will be to go home to that way of life. To eat good food, to go to the beach, to sleep in a soft bed. To be with people all the time who are not trying to get your money. I know the people in the states are not all that good, but back home you don't have to mingle with that kind. America is the land of promise. You can make your own life. You can make life so enjoyable. It is all up to you. Happiness is a state of mind. I know you are concerned about the rest of the family, but you can't live other peoples' lives. Be as helpful as you want, but remember yourself. Enough of that.
As you can see I am trying to learn to type. I am not using one finger, but eight fingers and two big toes. In the near future I hope I be able to type half way good. How are you doing in school? Are you making good grades? How many boyfriends do you have? I use to think of you as a little kid. But you have grown up. I bet you have some real good looking friends you want to fix me up with. I can promise I'll be able to see you receive your pigskin. How do you like the pictures I sent home? What do your friends think of your brother, the good-looking war veteran? You are going to have to write me more or I will get piss-off. There is only one of me. I don't think the world could stand another one like me. At least that is what everyone tells me. Oh, I can't find a damn thing to buy for x-mas. Please don't buy anything for me. I really can't use anything over here or really need. Show mother this part, "Hi mom, what's new." Well I give you both my love and sign off.
Thirty-five years have passed since David's death. My parents and oldest brother, George, are gone. So much has happened since then - much for the better. One is the decline of communism. Back then, in my political science class at USF, the "domino theory" was discussed. It was one reason why the USA was in Viet Nam. Communism had to be stopped. We had to draw the line. Did our presence there help change global politics? Was it worth the cost?
Freedom is not free. So many lives over the centuries have been given and will be given for the price of freedom. So many families have endured the pain of loss. David is correct when he wrote, "America is the land of promise. You can make your own life. You can make life so enjoyable. It is all up to you. Happiness is a state of mind."
One cannot live in the past for the past is gone. The future never comes. The present is now. It is this moment, this present, that is the gift of life.
Update 20 Aug 2004
Life has interesting coincidences. After discovering 'The Virtual Wall' and reading some other memorials, I left wanting to know more about that person. To me each name represents family, friends and the people who served with that individual.
I created David's memorial page so his words can be remembered, his family represented and his friends comments posted if any came looking. I felt compelled to complete it immediately. For the first time in years, I read his letters and came away with a different outlook then when first read as a teenager. Though I have accepted his death years ago, I cried remembering him and the family that was. Shortly after creating this page, a very close soldier friend of David's e-mailed me. What were the odds of that happening so soon? I was extremely excited this man, Ed, took the time to share his thoughts and kind words with me. He gave me more insight about being over there in Vietnam and that fateful day.
The following are excerpts from Ed's letter: Click Here
Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year's first sunburn. Here's a handy 10-pack of facts to give the holiday some perspective.
The gravesite of Capt. Jesse Milton is seen in Arlington National Cemetery.
1. It started with the Civil War
Memorial Day was a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which some 620,000 soldiers on both sides died. The loss of life and its effect on communities throughout the North and South led to spontaneous commemorations of the dead:
• In 1864, women from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, put flowers on the graves of their dead from the just-fought Battle of Gettysburg. The next year, a group of women decorated the graves of soldiers buried in a Vicksburg, Mississippi, cemetery.
• In April 1866, women from Columbus, Mississippi, laid flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. It was recognized at the time as an act of healing regional wounds. In the same month, up in Carbondale, Illinois, 219 Civil War veterans marched through town in memory of the fallen to Woodlawn Cemetery, where Union hero Maj. Gen. John A. Logan delivered the principal address. The ceremony gave Carbondale its claim to the first organized, community-wide Memorial Day observance.
• Waterloo, New York., began holding an annual community service on May 5, 1866. Although many towns claimed the title, it was Waterloo that won congressional recognition as the "birthplace of Memorial Day."
2. General Logan made it official
Gen. Logan, the speaker at the Carbondale gathering, also was commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans. On May 5, 1868, he issued General Orders No. 11, which set aside May 30, 1868, "for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion...."
The orders expressed hope that the observance would be "kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades."
3. It was first known as Decoration Day
From the practice of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, the holiday was long known as Decoration Day. The name Memorial Day goes back to 1882, but the older name didn't disappear until after World War II. Federal law declared "Memorial Day" the official name in 1967.
4. The holiday is a franchise
Calling Memorial Day a "national holiday" is a bit of a misnomer. While there are 11 "federal holidays" created by Congress -- including Memorial Day -- they apply only to Federal employees and the District of Columbia. Federal Memorial Day, established in 1888, allowed Civil War veterans, many of whom were drawing a government paycheck, to honor their fallen comrades with out being docked a day's pay.
For the rest of us, our holidays were enacted state by state. New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day a legal holiday, in 1873. Most Northern states had followed suit by the 1890s. The states of the former Confederacy were unenthusiastic about a holiday memorializing those who, in Gen. Logan's words, "united to suppress the late rebellion." The South didn't adopt the May 30 Memorial Day until after World War I, by which time its purpose had been broadened to include those who died in all the country's wars.
In 1971, the Monday Holiday Law shifted Memorial Day from May 30, to the last Monday of the month.
5. It was James Garfield's finest hour -- or maybe hour-and-a-half
On May 30, 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery -- which, until 1864, was Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's plantation.
Some 5,000 people attended on a spring day which, The New York Times reported, was "somewhat too warm for comfort." The principal speaker was James A. Garfield, a Civil War general, Republican congressman from Ohio and future president.
"I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion," Garfield began, and then continued to utter them. "If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of fifteen-thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung." It went on like that for pages and pages.
As the songs, speeches and sermons ended, the participants helped to decorate the graves of the Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.
6. Not even the Unknown Soldier can avoid media scrutiny these days
"Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God." That is the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknowns, established at Arlington National Cemetery to inter the remains of the first Unknown Soldier, a World War I fighter, on November 11, 1921. Unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War subsequently were interred in the tomb on Memorial Day 1958.
An emotional President Ronald Reagan presided over the interment of six bones, the remains of an unidentified Vietnam War soldier, on November 28, 1984. Fourteen years later, those remains were disinterred, no longer unknown. Spurred by an investigation by CBS News, the defense department removed the remains from the Tomb of the Unknowns for DNA testing.
The once-unknown fighter was Air Force pilot Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, whose jet crashed in South Vietnam in 1972. "The CBS investigation suggested that the military review board that had changed the designation on Lt. Blassie's remains to 'unknown' did so under pressure from veterans' groups to honor a casualty from the Vietnam War," The New York Times reported in 1998.
Lt. Blassie was reburied near his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. His crypt at Arlington remains permanently empty.
7. Vietnam vets go whole hog
On Memorial Day weekend in 1988, 2,500 motorcyclists rode into Washington, D.C., for the first Rolling Thunder rally to draw attention to Vietnam War soldiers still missing in action or prisoners of war. By 2002, the numbers had swelled to 300,000 bikers, many of them veterans. There may have been a half-million participants in 2005 in what organizers bluntly call "a demonstration -- not a parade."
A national veterans rights group, Rolling Thunder takes its name from the B-52 carpet-bombing runs during the war in Vietnam. Rolling Thunder XXII (and you thought only Super Bowls and Rocky movies used Roman numerals) is Sunday, May 24.
8. Memorial Day has its customs
General Orders No. 11 stated that "in this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed," but over time several customs and symbols became associated with the holiday.
It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. It originated in 1862 when Union Gen. Dan Butterfield "grew tired of the 'lights out' call sounded at the end of each day," according to The Washington Post. Together with the brigade bugler, Butterfield made some changes to the tune.
Not long after, the melody was used at a burial for the first time, when a battery commander ordered it played in lieu of the customary three rifle volleys over the grave. The battery was so close to enemy lines, the commander was worried the shots would spark renewed fighting.
The World War I poem "In Flanders Fields," by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies. In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for "keeping the faith with all who died." The sale of poppies has supported the work of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
9. There is still a grey Memorial Day
Several Southern states continue to set aside a day for honoring the Confederate dead, which is usually called Confederate Memorial Day: Alabama: fourth Monday in April; Georgia: April 26; Louisiana: June 3; Mississippi: last Monday in April; North Carolina: May 10; South Carolina: May 10; Tennessee (Confederate Decoration Day): June 3; Texas (Confederate Heroes Day): January 19; Virginia: last Monday in May. 10. Each Memorial Day is a little different
No question that Memorial Day is a solemn event. Still, don't feel too guilty about doing something frivolous, like having barbecue, over the weekend. After all, you weren't the one who instituted the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911. That credit goes to Indianapolis businessman Carl Fisher. The winning driver that day was Ray Harroun, who averaged 74.6 mph and completed the race in 6 hours and 42 minutes.
Gravitas returned on May 30, 1922, when the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated. Supreme Court chief justice (and former president) William Howard Taft dedicated the monument before a crowd of 50,000 people, segregated by race, and which included a row of Union and Confederate veterans. Also attending was Lincoln's surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln.
And in 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. "is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday."
Nationl Vietnam Veterans Art Museum.
1st Marine Division Website.
1st Reconnaissance Battalion Website
Click for Website
1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association Website Click Here