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2/7 CP - September 1965

2/7 CP - September 1965

LtCol Leon N. Utter passed away a couple weeks ago. I guess he made Col, but I'll remember him at this time. He was the CO of BLT 2/7 when we went to Vietnam in 1965.


I just want to make a point about this fine officer, lest it be lost to time. I am also attaching a picture of the 2/7 CP about September 1965. I just found the software to combine pictures like this (PixMaker).

As it happened, a few VC had forced a bunch of Vietnamese civilians into a cave for protection from our troops. Faced with how to get them out, we threw about 8 CS grenades into the cave and sorted people out as they emerged, subdued and teary-eyed.

The alternatives, explosives or flame throwers would not have elicited a side-long glance.


But the world's newspapers proclaimed that the US had introduced toxic gas in country. It was a big deal, at the time. We made headlines in Russia!

There ensued about three weeks while the US considered a court-marshal for our LtCol and the USSR considered some sort of attack on the US, or more likely, getting directly involved in RVN.

Fortunately, good sense prevailed and neither thing happened. But LtCol Utter never let the stress of the situation show, or tried to pass-the-buck to someone else.

But I got to deliver the message to him which said that he would not have action taken against him. Let's say he got misty…

Just a footnote in history, and a fine man.
Scott McClellan
MSgt USMC (Ret)

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