The End Of Combat?!?

Yesterday was 29-March the date in 1973 “That the last combat troops left Vietnam.” Our local VFW was having an event to commemorate that day. My friend and I decided to go. We are not members of that post but, all veterans and the public were invited to attend. They had refreshments and music but,not much else. It was more of a meet and greet. We were listening to a guy that was talking to a group of young people and I heard him comment that the last casualty occurred in March 73′. My friend JJ looked over at me and shook his head as to say “let it go” but I couldn’t. I waited for an opening and ask if he knew how many names are listed on the WALL after 29- 73′? I told them “at least 83 maybe more.I ask if he knew about the S.S.Mayaguez He said he did but thought it happened in Korean water. I said “No it was actually Cambodian water.” 41 Americans were killed including 18 Marines and Corpsman (3 of the Marines were executed by the Cambodians) Ask the families of those killed or wounded after the so called “End of Combat”. What they think. His response was that more would have died if we would have stayed I agreed and, we left it at that. jj and I also left! NEVER FORGET!! SEMPER FI!!


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


  • GYSGT Danny Marso

    I have always thought of the Mayaguez “incident” as part of VN war, I thought I have read a history of the action, and the three Marines who were executed, were an M-60 crew that was mistakenly and sadly left behind,I may be wrong. In any event it was an action of the VN war,and I believe the Marines who were KIA in that action ,thier names are on the Wall. But as I get older , I think your Buddy was right, “let it go” , correct the uninformed,but we all lost Brothers,may they rest in peace. One of my platoon mates in 2nd Marines was KIA In 1967 with the 7th Marines ,and we used to have a saying, they will be 22 forever. RIP. Semper Fi.

  • Harry

    In reply to Fred Egbert.
    I never will forget the people that died or suffered after the war. That is a different topic for another day.We all lost something in that war. SEMPER FI BROTHER!! Harry

  • Dan Cameron

    This story brought back a memory. I reported to MCRD San Diego 8/9/77, platoon 3094. We had a recruit in the platoon who was really squared away and knew his stuff. I don’t recall his name (I can close my eyes and see his face, but names fail me at times). The drill instructors recognized his abilities almost immediately and appointed him platoon guide. He often spent the little free time we had (about an hour a night) helping other recruits in areas they were having trouble. Some time around the end of first phase two MPs showed up with the Company CO and he was escorted out of the platoon area with all his gear. Scuttlebutt was that he was one of the Marines that survived the USS Mayaguez “incident” and he loved and missed the Corps so much he tried to sneak back in by going through boot camp again. At graduation he was at the end of the reviewing stand wearing lance corporal chevrons with service stripe in full dress greens with ribbons and badges. May be my imagination but it seems we held our “eyes right” during the pass in review just a little longer than would have been required so he could sort of be included. Don’t know what happened to him after that but I hope he was allowed to remain on active duty.

  • Griff Murphey, DDS

    I was BLT 1-4’s naval dental officer on operation Fortess Journey, I was with Alpha Company on board USS Durham LKA-114 on April 4-5 1975 when we picked up 3,500 refugees, more than ANY other US Navy Ship. We clearly saw shore fire nothing fired at us. I gad a detachment of corpsmen who gallantly gave aid and allow us cleaned up wounded and injured. When we left Phan Rhang the LST USS Newport dilly dallied and left hurriedly 30 minutes later after coming under fire from a column of NZA tanks. I personally was credited with 27 days in a hostile fire zone. We were also involved in Eagle Pull, Frequent Wind, and the SS MAyaguez recovery. Our Delta Company (Capt. Walt Wood) and Bn XO Maj. Porter raised the US flag over the Mayaguez. I draw a distinction between myself and full tour guys who ate dirt and survived but am proud to have served on a good humanitarian mission with the USMC. In 2003 I was finally awarded the Viet Nam Service Medal.

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