When my brother left for Vietnam I was only 11 years old, but I remember his time there well.
My brother enlisted in the Marines a few weeks before graduating high school. The following September he left for Parris Island, North Carolina. After graduating from boot camp he went on to Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California. From there he was sent to Vietnam as part of Combined Action Platoon.
I remember my mom having a Vietnam map and every time the news reported where heavy fighting took place she would pull the map out, spread it across the kitchen table and see if my brother was anywhere near.
I remember helping my mom and sister-in-law pack care packages for him filled with sour balls and other non-perishable items. Sometimes he wouldn’t receive the package for weeks because of being out in the field, but when he did he and his Marine brothers appreciated it.
I remember hearing my mom talk about him moving through rice paddies in order to get to the next village to teach the natives how to fight against the Viet Cong.
In order to honor my brother and the many others who gave service and those who are giving service today I plan to write a piece on the special unit he was a part of.
The Combined Action Platoon was part of one of the longest and bloodiest battle in Vietnam, which took place in the Imperial City of Hue (pronounced “way”). Although my brother was not part of this battle, he is the one who first told me about it.
Recently, the Military Channel did a piece on the Battle of Hue. What an intense battle it must have been. So many Marines lost their lives in the month long battle. The events of that day no doubt reflect much of what the United States military has done in Iraq and currently in Afghanistan. As a country we are very fortunate to have such brave men and women so willingly risk their lives in order to keep their homeland free.
My various articles on the Vietnam will be published by August 31 of this year on Suite 101. Until then, if you are curious about the Battle of Hue and the Combined Action Platoon please checkout the following websites: