Hill 488

Hill 488 was just another landmark in the jungles of Vietnam. For the 18 men of Charlie Company, it was a last stand. This is the stirring combat memoir written by Ray Hildreth, one of the unit’s survivors.

On June 13, 1966, men of the 1st Recon Battalion, 1st Marine Division were stationed on Hill 488. Before the week was over, they would fight the battle that would make them the most highly decorated small unit in the entire history of the U.S. military, winning a Congressional Medal of Honor, four Navy Crosses, thirteen Silver Stars, and eighteen Purple Hearts – some of them posthumously.

At the time, this was happening I was at HQMC Communication Center. By the time they received the mentioned medals, I was out of the Marines and unaware other then the purple hearts, the body count, and what happened afterwards. I do remember reading traffic about the Marines calling in artillery down on themselves. Then the messages say from Vietnam all the way to HQMC no, no way, impossible etc. Then later something like – You can kill hundreds of VC or let them kill us, your choice.

This true life experience should be known by every Marine. Every famous place the Marines have served this should be right in there.

Mac McDonaugh

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Sgt.Ron Roth

    Hey Joe, my name is Ron Roth. We were stationed at Yorktown together in 1965. I was in H&S Co.,1st Recon Do you know if Chuck Bosley is still around? He and I became friends after he came back from the hospital. We e-mailed a couple of times years ago and he was in Pittsburg. The book, Hill 488, by Hildrith and Sasser is outstanding

  • A. Troy Morris, Sgt. USMC 1964-68

    In reply to Joe Kosoglow.
    Thank you for your service Joe. Hill 488 Nui Vu is a sacred place for Marines.

  • A. Troy Morris, Sgt. USMC 1964-68

    In reply to Robert H Bliss.
    You and I had the honor to serve in combat with a great Marine.

  • Robert H Bliss

    In reply to A. Troy Morris, Sgt. USMC 1964-68.
    I serviced under Cpt. “Buck” Darling in Viet Nam, G Co. 2nd. 5th. Marines out of An Hoa in 1970. I agree with Sgt. Morris assessment of Cpt. Darling. It was often said in the rank and file that the “old man” had his “head and ass wired together” (one of the best things that can be said about a Grunt) . He knew how to survive in the bush and never took chances with our lives. I can not tell you how much I appreciate knowing what happen with him after I left. Rest in Peace my Captain. Thank you Sgt. Morris.

  • C L Pittman LCpl USMC

    At a loss for words WOW!

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