We Heard the Tupe, Tupe

Right after Dewey Canyon we received a new platoon commander, Lt. R. We were his first command and I’m sure he wanted to do everything right. I’m almost positive it was operation Apache Snow, of course the Lt. was the last one on the chopper to lead us off. This was only my second operation but after life in the Valley it seemed I had been in Vietnam forever! Our new Lt. with map and compass in hand stood by the ramp ready to lead us into combat. Thank God it was a cold LZ, we touched down and he walked off the chopper? Still looking at his map and compass, a lowly private ran past him and the others followed to set up our section of the perimeter. That lowly private just happened to be me, little did I know I was about to receive a royal a$$ chewing. After all was secure I was singled out and told in no uncertain terms never to run past my commanding officer(putting it lightly). Later on that day our new Lt. called a break, our 10 minutes was almost up when in the distance we heard the tupe, tupe of incoming mortars. Needless to say we all did the Marine Corps disappearing act. I looked up from my small depression in mother earth only to see the new Lt. still looking at his map and compass oblivious of what was about to happen. Thankfully the mortars fell short of the target and all of us were spared. I’m not sure whether he got a heads up from our NCOs or he just figured it out all by himself but later that evening I received a visitor with an apology, it was our new Lt. He turned out to be one of the best officers I ever served under. Wishing you well Lt. R and hope life has treated you well!

Semper Fi

W. Whitley, Corporal of Marines!

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9 comments


  • Matthew Held

    Thanks to all my fraternity brothers and sisters past, present, and future. I served from 1981 – 1987 my Commander in Chief was President Ronald Reagan needless to say he didn’t take shit from anyone. I tell people I was fortunate not to see any action except from Susie on Saturday nights ( lol ) Semper Fi!! Happy Thanksgiving to all. Lcpl Held


  • Ron Cook

    Semper Fi for the new looie.


  • Doc John P.

    “If you think about it, he was probably more concerned than you were because his first thought I’m sure was that “he” was responsible for “you” as well as himself.” I like what you said there, Billy. We Corpsmen felt that very same way as well with every new unit we may have joined. As I have often said, It was the best job in the world that I hated so much. Doc John


  • SGT Billy Richardson

    Great story. Your story is one we probably all had some insight into at one time or another. The thing is, we all had to learn our jobs regardless of what our rank was, pvt or Lt. However, a brand new 2nd Lt in a combat situation is a really scary thing. If you think about it, he was probably more concerned than you were because his first thought I’m sure was that “he” was responsible for “you” as well as himself.


  • Murray Hermanson

    Harry, ya forgot the sound of shrapnel twanging in the air from artillery rounds hitting. On operation Buffalo, we were in two man fox holes. The guy with me was married and after every volley he would dig the hole deeper, I remember telling him, it made no difference how deep we were, if they put it in the hole we are done. We could hear them fire their guns so we always had a couple of seconds to jump in the hole every time. I was with Lima 3/9 that time, pulling out what was left of 1/9.


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