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Groucho Marx

On August 8, 1966 a four man recon team from the First Force Recon Battalion was inserted just below the DMZ in northern Quang Tri province. The team went by the name Groucho Marx and was led by Staff Sergeant Billy M. Donaldson. They were eventually discovered and trapped by the NVA. A reaction force from Echo Company, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines was sent to the rescue and part of that unit was also surrounded and trapped. A vicious over night fight ensued and eventually helicopters from HMM-265 and VMO-2 were involved. During the fight one Marine, Howard V. Lee, earned the Medal of Honor. Four Marines, including Donaldson, earned the Navy Cross, one the Silver Star and six the Bronze Star. Navy Corpsman Nicholas Tarzia also earned the Silver Star. Many were wounded and 5 Marines lost their lives. This story is thoroughly researched and included in my book Marines, Medals and Vietnam.
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Cpl Allen Comm Platoon 1/5 Hill 54 6/66-11/66 - May 22, 2020

In reply to Cpl Allen Comm Platoon 1/5 Hill 54 6/66-11/66.
I stand corrected, I am the one who does not know s— from shinola, MOH recipients Jimmy Howard & Howard Lee, two different engagements about a month apart. My apologies to William L Myers.

Cpl Allen Comm Platoon 1/5 Hill 54 6/66-11/66 - May 22, 2020

Hill 488 is no where near the DMZ, its west of Tam Ky off Hwy 1 just north of Chu Lai in the Quang Tin Province. No disrespect, but Mr William L. Myers does not know s— from shinola.

Cpl Allen Comm Platoon 1/5 Hill 54 6/66-11/66 - May 22, 2020

Hill 488 engagement took place on the evening of June 15, 1966 with the rescue on June 16

Cpl Allen Comm Platoon 1/5 Hill 54 6/66-11/66 - May 22, 2020

In reply to Zippo.
GySgt Howard was Platoon Leader, Co. C 1stRecon Bn. His Platoon consisted of 15 Marines & two Navy Corpsmen. They were awarded MOH, 4 Navy Crosses & 13 Silver Stars. Gunny Howard was already a seasoned combat Marine from Korea having earned the Silver Star & 2 Purple Hearts. His Rescue was led by Lt Buck Darling of 1stBn 5thMar off of Combat base Hill 54, It was called Operation Sparrow Hawk.

Zippo - May 22, 2020

Sorry….3dForReconCo

Zippo - May 22, 2020

Are you sure that it was 1st Force? 1st Force was down south, near Saigon. 3d Force rear area was on Quang Tri Combat Base, just south of Dong Ha. I was there 68-69. Zippo, 3dFiorReconCo 68-69

Steve Gardner, 3rd Force Recon - May 22, 2020

1st Recon Bn. SSGT Jimmy Howard was awarded the MOH. It was a platoon not a 4 man team, there were 5 KIA and many medals. This is a true story, just confused facts.

Michael Galvis - May 22, 2020

It should be “1st Force Recon Company”, not Battalion. Big difference.

L/CPL JOHN PETRUSKA , 1ST MAW 1969-70. NOW A VETERANS CHAPLAIN - May 22, 2020

AMAZING ACCOUNT OF MARINES IN ACTION. HOORAH. IT’S WHAT WE SIGNED UP FOR. ALWAYS SORRY FOR THE DEATHS AND LOSSES. I ALWAYS STRESS TO INTERESTED MEN AND WOMEN WHO WANT TO BE MARINES THAT THIS IS THE MOST SERIOUS AND LIFE CHANGING DECISION THEY WILL EVER MAKE. WE DON’T PROMISE THEM A ROSE GARDEN. WE ARE A CUT ABOVE. USMC HISTORY TESTIFIES TO THIS. FOUND OUT RECENTLY THAT MY TWO YOUNG NEPHEWS ARE IN THE CORPS. I HAVE BECOME A VETERANS CHAPLAIN SINCE 1983 WORKING WITH MANY VETERAN ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS THE USA.

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