1st Recon Bn. Association
Fall/Winter 2010
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Robert G. "Doc" Buehl

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Ken Benchwitz
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David Backer

Charles Howdyshell


Final Extracts

Raymond A Duncan Jr
New Bloomfield Pa
Jan 6 1948
Dec 10 2008

Bernard Szumigala
Erie Pa
Aug 27 1943
Aug 31 2009

Sniper Attack

Recon Marine Who Survived Sniper Attack
Earns Purple Heart
Story by Gunnery Sgt. William Price

Sgt. David Fresenius was lying on a rooftop in Helmand province’s Trek Nawa
on the morning of June 21. His machine gunner and radio operator, Cpl. Greg
Harris, was by his side, providing over-watch security for their unit, 3rd Platoon,
Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.

Everything was quiet until approximately 9 a.m., when all hell broke loose.
Suddenly, the village erupted with enemy small arms fire. For Fresenius,
a 22 year-old native of Westminster, Calif., the situation was about to get a lot worse. Approximately three minutes into the engagement, he saw rounds coming from a canal and brush about 300 meters from his right.

What Fresenius didn’t realize was that while he had been acquiring his target, a Taliban sniper had gotten Fresenius in his sights. The enemy sniper squeezed out a bullet. A 7.62 mm round hit Fresenius square in the back. “It felt like I had been hit with a sledgehammer,” Fresenius recalls.

Despite seeing his assistant team leader hit, Harris, from Apple Valley, Calif., thought, “Keep firing,” to disrupt further enemy fire. After emptying his load, Harris finished his rounds, and rushed to Fresenius' aid.

Fresenius, writhing in pain, was pulled by his legs to safety. As Harris yelled for the corpsman, Petty Officer 2nd Class Dan Brown, also known as "Doc," came running. Harris and Brown got Fresenius inside by climbing down a ladder on the backside of the beseiged building. That’s when Doc Brown went to work.

With bullets still impacting just three to four feet over his head, Brown, from Colorado Springs, Colo., tended to the wounded Marine. “I immediately stripped his gear off, to examine the wound. I saw he had been hit on the top of his spine, but thankfully, the round had NOT impacted the skin.”

How was this possible? The round had shattered the top of Fresenius’ protective Sapi plate. The impact left a welt the size of a baseball on the middle of his back, but did not penetrate his skin! The Marine was shaken, but appeared to be otherwise okay.

“Once I realized I was okay, my only thoughts were to get back to the fight – to get back to my men,” Fresenius said.
He returned to his position and proceeded to continue engaging the enemy with his M40-A3 sniper rifle. Harris continued spotting for him for the next hour, exploiting all enemy positions.

The engagement ended when air support, two AH-1 Cobras, arrived. The aerial gunships and 3rd platoon killed several enemy insurgents and forced the rest to flee.

On Sept. 23, in front of his entire battalion, Sgt. David Fresenius, an assistant team leader with 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, is awarded the Purple Heart by Brig. Gen. Joseph Osterman, 1st Marine Division (Forward) commanding general, aboard Camp Leatherneck, Sept. 23.

Fresenius, who enlisted in the Marines in June 2006, right after graduating
from Mount Ridge High School, in Phoenix, Arizona said he was proud to be
following in the footsteps of his father, a 0311 Marine infantryman.

Nam Trip

Doc Dave Snider and Dennis Swick, Delta 69/70, are working with Tex Stitler, president of Vietnam Battlefield Tours on a Recon focused tour back to Vietnam in April next year. Below you will see a proposed itinerary that is a working document and not the finished product.

The itinerary is very aggressive. Normally, the tours include some of the more cultural sites that reduces the time in the rural areas. Dennis and I have stressed the need to visit as many places that we ran patrols in as possible. You will notice "free days". This is not down time, but opportunities to schedule other locations, including "personal" locations that participants have a particular need to visit. As an example, in 2006 my wife and I went on a VBT tour and was fortunate to have a copy of a patrol report in the Arizona where myself and three others of Vesper Bells were wounded. I had the coordinates where we were extracted which was also where the RPG's did their thing. It was a satisfying experience, what was a free fire zone had children playing outside their concrete block homes.

You will notice on the itinerary a trip up the river past Dong Den, if I recall this river split Elephant Valley from the Garden Eden. We will also visit Hills 119 and 200. Dennis lost a brother in an area near 119 and wants to walk around the area. This is gonna happen. For those who would like to stand on hallowed ground, you can do so at Khe Sahn or do a little climbing on 881S or 681A.

If there is anyone that wants to go, but might need a little Tex thru the VBT web site.

Finally, if you know of any grunts, air types, etc we welcome them to return with us. Already, we have a couple coming. I have a former Sgt who was discharged prior to VN who wants to visit where many of his close friends fought.



April 10-24, 2011

Day 1& 2 Apr 10/11 LAX to Hanoi

Day 3 Apr 12 Saigon to Qui Nhon Vietnam Airlines-VN 2913 @ 1345

Day 4 Apr 13 Qui Nhon Free Day

Day 5 Apr 14 Qui Nhon to Quang Ngai (Duc Pho, Nui Cau, Mo Duc, Team Duckbill)

Day 6 Apr 15 Quang Ngai to Hoi An (Chu Lai, Howards Hill 488)

Day 7 Apr 16 Hoi An (Que Sons, An Hoa, Liberty Bridge, My Son and Hill 119)

Day 8 Apr 17 Hoi An Free Day (Team Spillway-991483 on 6640IV)

Day 9 Apr 18 DaNang (Reasoner, Arizona, Hill 200, Charlie Ridge, Thuong Duc)

Day 10 Apr 19 DaNang (Nam o River, Dong Den, Ba Na, Elephant & Happy Valley)

We could take an optional boat ride to rivers end past Dong Den. Day 11 Apr 20 Hue (Hai Van, Phu Loc, Bach Ma, Phu Bai, Hue)

Day 12 Apr 21 Hue Free Day* (Khe Sanh/Leatherneck Square Option)

Interested participants depart for Dong Ha, Con Thien, Gio Linh, Camp Carroll, Cam Lo, Rock Pile, Razorback, Khe Sanh and Lao Bao. 881S and 861A are options. Overnight in Lao Bao (Laos border crossing).

Day 13 Apr 22 Hue/Lao Bao Free Day* Return to Hue DaKrong/Ho Chi Minh Trail

(thru the Ashau Valley)

Day 14 Apr 23 Hue/Hanoi (JPAC, Marine House-Embassy Guard), Water Puppet Show)

Day 15 Apr 24 Hanoi/USA

*Free Day in Hue. We can split the tour for those who may not want to go north to the DMZ areas. If 881S is an option with 4 X 4’s this would be an added cost. 861A is also an option but probably a hump. We would use Lao Bao as the jump off for any climbing.

Message from the President
Message from the President

   My thanks to the many Association members who worked to ensure the success of our 2010 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Reunion in San Antonio,Texas. Some fifty members, with family and friends, participated in the August 25-29 reunion.
   For many, our Texas barbeque luncheon, at VFW Post 76 on Friday, 27 August, was the highlight of the reunion. Guest of Honor Richard Botkin, a reconnaissance Marine and author of Ride the Thunder, an account of the Vietnamese Marines and their American Marine Advisors, spoke from the heart about the portrayal of the Vietnam War in the media. A special thanks to Curtis Gruetzmacher for arranging the luncheon and to “Howdy” and Rhonda Howdyshell for their work on our silent auction and raffle. Finally, a big thank you to Oscar and Gina Aldana for hosting Association members and their families at their home for dinner.
   Congratulations to our newly elected leaders Gary Maxam, Association Vice President, and Bill “Lurch” Laber, Associate Director, and Curtis Gruetzmacher re-electedas our Secretary/Treasurer. Our thanks and appreciation for the dedication and work of Kent Dickson and Tom Hyder, who leave the Board of Directors on completion of their terms of office.
The Marines and Corpsmen of 1st Recon Battalion remain in harms way, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
   God bless America! God bless the United States Marine Corps! God bless 1st Reconnaissance Battalion!

Semper fidelis,

Charlie Kershaw

2010 Reunion Group Flick 29 Aug. 2010

Marine Corps Museum

   The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a lasting tribute to U.S. Marines-past, present and future.. The Museum and surrounding grounds are adjacent to Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. The museum's design soars above the horizon and captures the image of Iwo Jima's flag raisers. The world class museum's interactive exhibits display irreplaceable historical artifacts and immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of Marines in action.
  • By the end of 2010, the 1st Recon Battalion Association memorial
    will be placed in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Garden of the National
    Museum of the Marine Corps. The memorial will honor the Marines
    and Corpsmen, serving with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, who
    gave their lives in service to their Corps and country during the Korean
    War, Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Memorial, approved by the Marine
    Corps Heritage Foundation, is a black granite monument standing 101
    inches high and 36 inches wide, mounted on a 48 inch x 20 inch base.
    The two hundred sixty-two Recon Marines and Corpsmen who lost their
    lives in combat with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion are identified by
    their rank, name, age at death and home state inscribed on the face of the

    The 1st Marine Division Association’s 2011 reunion will be held in northern Virginia during the week of 15-20 August 2011. 1st Recon Battalion Association’s annual reunion will held in concert with the 1st Marine Division Association Reunion. However, we plan to conduct a 1st Recon memorial dedication ceremony on-site at the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, Quantico, Virginia. Our dedication ceremony is tentatively planned for Friday afternoon, 19 August 2011; a reception will be held following the dedication ceremony. Planning for this event is ongoing. Detailed information, including ceremony and reception date and time, transportation and, for those requiring it, lodging will be provided in our spring 2011 Patrol Report and on the Association web site.

    Marines and Corpsman who served with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, family members of our KIAs and friends are cordially invited to attend the memorial ceremony and reception.

    Our thanks and gratitude to the one hundred five 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association members and friends who generously donated to the Memorial Fund, transforming our dream into a reality.




    COMMEMORATIVE BRICKS will line the winding
    pathways in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park. 1st Reconnaissance
    Battalion Association members, family and friends are invited to donate a
    commemorative brick, to be placed along the pathways around our memorial,
    to honor or remember a reconnaissance Marine or Corpsman, living or deceased.
    The Association will coordinate with the Heritage Foundation, the collection of donations and inscriptions for 1st Recon commemorative bricks. Commemorative bricks may be ordered through the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association with a donation of $210.00; your engraved brick will forever attest to the honor, courage, and commitment of your Reconnaissance Marine or Corpsman.

    Brick Engraving Guidelines.

    Each brick can contain a total of up to three lines. Each line is 20 characters in length; a character includes all letters, punctuations and spaces. Each line must end with a complete word or name (words and names will not be hyphenated or continued on the next line). You may purchase as many bricks as you like. Examples of commemorative brick inscriptions are provided for your information.

    Order your Commemorative Brick not later than 15 January 2011 and submit your contact information (name, mailing address, phone number(s), and email address) along with a check or money order and your brick inscription to the 1st Recon Battalion Association at the address below. The Heritage Foundation will provide a proof copy of each brick inscription before it is engraved. Ensure you send your contact information in case there are questions about your inscription. Thank you for your support of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Memorial and Commemorative Bricks.

    Commemorative Brick check or money order donations should be made to: 1st Recon Battalion Association. Send your contact information with your donation and brick inscription to: 1st Recon Battalion Association, c/o C. Kershaw, 2527 Unicornio Street, Carlsbad, CA 92009. Email or call Charlie Kershaw with brick questions at: 760 402-8638


    1st Reconnaissance Battalion, less elements supporting MEU (SOC) deployments, is again deployed deploys to 1st Recon Battalion is composed of A, B, C Companies and 1st Force Company (formerly D Company) and Headquarters and Service Company.

    Raider Report, the battalion’s newsletter, is available on line at 1st Recon Battalion’s official website:"_blank . The Raider Report is also posted at our Recon Rendezvous web site: Report. 1st Recon Battalion’s website is comprehensive and very informative. To learn more about the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, visit their website.

    2011 Div. Reunion

    Babcock, John 1st Recon Co. 53/54
    Beahm, David Alpha 80/81 & 82/83
    Bursey. lyn Delta 90/94
    Cantarero, Eddie Alpha 88/91
    Clark, Jeremiah H&S 08/10
    Conroy, William Alpha 57/59
    Cotton, Patrick H&S 73/74
    Creech, Michael Charlie 68/69
    Curtis, Chuck Charlie 59
    Daymut, Stephen Bravo 87/91
    Doyle, Richard Charlie 66
    Elizondo, Rene Bravo, 3rd SRIG Det. Force Recon Co. 89/93
    Griffin, Buck Bravo 84/88
    Harp, Geoffrey Alpha 67/68
    Hernandez, Alejandro Charlie LA
    Herrington, Harold S 111 Delta 67/68
    Hughs, Richard H&S Motor T 84/85
    Jesseman, Gregory Alpha 77/78
    Kollmorgan, Antohny H&S 2000/04
    Laverty, Sean Bravo 86/90
    Leland, Don (Peepy) Charlie 67/68
    Majewski Robert Bravo 67/67
    McGraw, Mark B & D 88/91
    Musick, Mike Bravo 03/06
    Munoz, Oscar Alpha 67/68
    Ralston Seth Bravo 99/02
    Sanders, Steve Delta 69/70
    Sepulvado, David Alpha 66 RVN
    Swiger, David 1st Force & H&S 72/73
    Watson, Damon Charlie 80/81
    Witkin, Ralph H&S 69/70



    1st Recon Gear

    For all your 1st Recon gear visit John Dalton's site at Dalton Sportswear John served with Charlie Co. 77/80.

    Oceanside Fund Raiser

    Our non-profit is currently working on a local fundraiser for October 30, 2010. It will be at Rubio's in Oceanside to raise money for the local AFJROTC who perform memorial services out at Riverside National Cemetery. It would be great to see any hungry local brothers there (Rubio's is donating 20% of each sale)!! We hope if it is successful we can donate a portion of the money to the 1st Recon BN association for future reunions or where ever they see the money needed most. Our non-profit is also working on a Government Grant Proposal to further assist Veterans who have suffered TBI's and PTSD that have fallen wayside.

    Mandy & Erik Sims
    Charlie Co. & MARSOC

    The North Star Group, Inc. 501 (c)(3)