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Maj. Gen. Ray L. Smith
Republic of Vietnam, April 1972
Award: Navy Cross
Smith, a Captain at the time, was serving as an advisor to approximately 250 Vietnamese Marines located on a small hilltop outpost in the Republic of Vietnam. Helping “repulse several savage enemy assaults, and subjected to a continuing hail of fire from an attacking force estimated to be of two-battalion strength, Capt. Smith repeatedly exposed himself to the heavy fire while directing friendly air support. When adverse weather conditions precluded further close air support, he attempted to lead the group, now reduced to only 28 Vietnamese Marines, to the safety of friendly lines. An enemy soldier opened fire upon the Marines at the precise moment that they had balked when encountering an outer defensive ring of barbed wire. Capt. Smith returned accurate fire, disposing of the attacker, and then threw himself backwards on top of the booby-trap-infested wire barrier. Swiftly, the remaining Marines moved over the crushed wire, stepping on Capt. Smith’s prostrate body, until all had passed safely through the barrier. Although suffering severe cuts and bruises, Capt. Smith succeeded in leading the Marines to the safety of friendly lines.” (U.S. Marine Corps photo)
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Kapena - April 18, 2020

Sgt. Maj. My thoughts on where Maj. Gen. Smith’s moniker “E Tool” comes from I can imagine a scenario where in a single moment the crushing overwhelming sense of what to do now weighs on you like the worst fears any one of us can ever imagine all combined into one moment. With only 28 out of 250 men left and hairs on the back of your neck being caressed ever so slightly by the breath of death, your mens fate and yours hangs in the balance. Cornered on all sides with your only chance of egress through barbed laced with mines. In that defining moment he made a choice that forever enshrines him in the annals of the Marine Corps. In the finest tradition of the Marine Corps ,he improvised adapted and used his only tool at that moment. HIS BODY! Hence the name ” E- TOOL”! A Marines greatest asset is his mind! Well that’s my take on it. SEMPER FIDELIS!

Bill 0331 - April 18, 2020

Blood still pumping and I’m still able to move, though not as quickly. Yeah not sure about 3/1 either.. Could look it up I guess. SEMPER FI Bill 0331

Gary Nash, 0302, ’65-’70. - April 18, 2020

Hey, John! Slight error: You could not have been with M Co., 2/5. Perhaps you meant 3/5.

John Robert Morris - April 18, 2020

Sgt. Davis.: Also In ‘Nam In ‘67 & ‘68. Spent most of my time with M Co.,3/1. Got banged up and ended up with M Co., 2/5. Went thru TET with 2/5. Hope you are healthy and doing fine. Take care and Semper Fi, Sgt. John R. Morris.(spent my time in Vietnam as an E-4)

John Robert Morris - April 18, 2020

Hey Bill: I was with M Co, 3/1 in ‘67 &’68. Danang. Not sure where in Danang. Hope you are safe and doing well – Semper Fi!! Rob Morris In Philly ( John R. Morris)

Kapena - April 18, 2020

OOPS! I get so caught up and dont notice my errors! Thank you! I stand corrected! Carrying on!

Gunny - April 18, 2020

He was my Bn Co. with 2Bn 8th Mar promoted me to Cpl. Cg inspection in 1983. Outstanding co! He was a Marines Marine! Words can’t express.

Bill 0331 - April 18, 2020

Did ops with the ROK Marines (Blue Dragons ) in 69 south of Da Nang Dodge city area. Friendly bunch until they get pissed. The will mow over anything or anyone that gets in there way including civilians . BTW they loved and respected American Marines and I for one respected the hell out of them. Bill 0331 E-2/1.

R. Lee (USMCR) - April 18, 2020

Kapena, it’s not the CORE, its the CORPS.

Rich “Dino” Lee - April 18, 2020

Hell Yeah Sir…outstanding! VMA-225

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