1st Recon Battalion Association
Fall/Winter 2013
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Recon Gear


Robert G. “Doc” Buehl

Charles Kershaw

Gary Maxam

Curtis Gruetzmacher

Bob Morris

David “Doc” Snider

Fred Arthur
Ken BenckwItz
John C. Clary
Steve Lakernick

Dave Backer

Larry Feldman

Gilbert Perez

Contact Information:

HELP! Only a complete, up-to-date mailing address and email address will ensure you receive your copy of the Patrol Report. About 1000 Patrol Report email notices and 450 printed copies are mailed each spring and fall. Unfortunately, many are returned by the USPS as “Undeliverable; no known address” or by your internet provider as incorrectly addressed. Help us help you to receive the Patrol Report! Go online to our website and check your contact data; submit changes/corrections with Bob Morris or Charlie Kershaw at:  


Message from the President
    Some fifty-three men of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association came to Milwaukee in August to reunite with friends and team-mates. The Milwaukee Chapter of the 1st Marine Division Association did a superb job planning and conducting reunion activities and showcasing the Milwaukee area. The success of our reunion was due to the voluntary efforts of many members; my thanks to: John Beard for his help luncheon planning and coordinating our luncheon; Association Directors at the reunion for pitching-in where needed; Rod Kicklighter for conducting our most successful auction ever; Ed & Pat Rowland for managing the winning auction bids and Gene Lashley for his leadership and management of the hospitality suite. A special thanks to LtCol Brian Von Herbulis and SgtMaj Wesley Shaffer, our Guests of Honor, for attending the reunion and briefing us on the state of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.
   Congratulations to re-elected Vice President Gary Maxam and Treasurer Curtis Greutzmacher; and newly elected Associate Director Steven “Doc” Lakernick. Our thanks and appreciation to Bill “Lurch” Laber, who leaves the Board of Directors after three years of service.
Keep the Marines and Corpsmen of 1st Recon Battalion, especially those deployed, in your thoughts and prayers.
   Happy 238th Birthday Marines! The Commandant’s Birthday message is at the following link:

God bless America! God bless the United States Marine Corps! God bless 1st Reconnaissance Battalion!

Semper fidelis,
Charlie Kershaw


    Thirty-nine commemorative bricks line the pathway in front of the 1st Reconnaissance
    Battalion Memorial; an additional twenty-seven bricks are placed in the concrete pad
    Marine or Corpsman, living or deceased, may be ordered through the 1st
    Reconnaissance Battalion Association with a donation of $215.00. Each brick
    inscription may have three lines; each line is not more than 20 characters in length
    (this includes all letters, punctuation and spaces); each line must end with a complete
    word or name (words and names may not be hyphenated or
    continued on the next line). Here are two examples of Recon bricks:

    Send your contact information, brick inscription and check or money order to: 1st Recon Battalion Association, c/o C. Kershaw, 2527 Unicornio Street, Carlsbad, CA 92009. Call/email Charlie Kershaw with brick questions at: 760 438-8638 or 

1st Reconnaissance Battalion

1st Reconnaissance Battalion, less elements supporting MEU (SOC) deployments, is at Camp Pendleton, California. The Battalion is currently composed of A, B, C Companies, 1st Force Company and Headquarters and Service Company.

August-November 2013

Bronze Star Medal with “V” Distinguishing Device
Capt John Billiris

Meritorious Service Medal
Capt Timothy Sparks
1stSgt Tate Ulven

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
GySgt Arthur Rios
Sgt Gregory Verhelle
Capt Roger Stanely
Capt Matthew O’Brien

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Sgt Jose Montellano
Sgt Hatfield

Special Recognition

Sergeant Benjamin Lebidine, 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion; graduated from U.S. Army Pathfinder’s Class 01-14. and was awarded the Col Robert L. Howard Award, for being the Distinguished Honor Graduate of Pathfinder Class 01-14

Corporal Zachary M. Yepma, 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.
attended a multinational Mountain Sniper Course, Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, CA from 10 Sept 2013 – 1 Oct 2013. Corporal Yepma was the only American to graduate from class with 10 British Royal Marines and 2 Captains from the Swedish Military and 7 U.S. service members.

2012 Team Leader of the Year.

Gunnery Sergeant Brian L. Crogg
1st Reconnaissance Battalion
2012 Team Leader of the Year

Gunnery Sergeant Brian L. Crogg was selected as 1st
Reconnaissance Battalion 2012 Team Leader of the Year.

GySgt Brian Crogg reported to MCRD San Diego in August 2002.
After completing Recruit Training, he reported to the Infantry
Training Battalion at the School of Infantry Camp Pendleton,
California. Upon graduating as a 0311/Rifleman he reported to
1st Battalion, 7th Marines. During March 2003, Lance Corporal
Crogg participated in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. In June of 2004,
he was selected to be a Scout in the Scout Sniper Platoon. On 27
August 2004, he was forward deployedto Iraq and served as a point man in an eight man sniper section. During his second deployment Lance Corporal Crogg was promoted to the rank of Corporal; awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and the Purple Heart Medal. In 2005, following his return to CONUS, he successfully completed Sniper Schooll. Corporal Crogg returned to his Sniper Platoon he was assigned as a section leader. Corporal Crogg once again deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 5-7. On September 2006, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

In January 2007, he executed orders to 1st Special Operations Training Group, as instructor for the Urban Sniper Course. In June of 2007, he attended Scout Sniper Advanced course in Quantico, Virginia and completed the course as Honor Graduate. During March of 2008, Sergeant Crogg also attended U.S Army Ranger School in FT. Benning Georgia and graduated with honors being awarded the Enlisted Leadership Award. Following Ranger School he attended the Basic Airborne Course prior to returning to his duties as an instructor.

In February 2009, he attended the Basic Reconnaissance Course and was presented the Class Motivator Award. On 2 June 2009, Sergeant Crogg was assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion as a Team Leader. In March 2010, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. In May 2010, Staff Sergeant Crogg deployed to Afghanistan with 2nd Platoon, Company C. For his actions during the deployment he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”.

In Jan 2011, Staff Sergeant Crogg was assigned to the Force Reconnaissance Company. From March 2011 through August 2011, Staff Sergeant Crogg executed a wide variety of missions in support of the 15th MEU Pre-deployment workup as part of the Maritime Raid Force. From September 2012 to June 2013, he deployed with the 15th MEU as a member of the Maritime Raid Force. Staff Sergeant Crogg was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant on 1 March 2013 and is currently assigned to the Reconnaissance Training Company, Advanced Infantry Training Battalion as an instructor at the Basic Reconnaissance Course, 1st Recon Battalion Association is proud to present GySgt Crogg, the 2012 Team Leader of the Year, with a plaque and a combat knife in memory of Ron Graebel, a Vietnam Marine, charter member of the Association and Vice President.


New Area

1st Reconnaissance Battalion relocated to a new Command Post, facilities and enlisted barracks. This past September, the Battalion moved from 33 Area, Camp Margarita to the 41 Area, Camp Las Flores. Just north of Edson Range, Camp Las Flores is home to 1st and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalions, 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO), 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion (MSOB) and now 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.

The development and construction effort was closely supervised by the command to adequately house each company central to the Command Post (CP photo below) for ease of information flow and heightened command and control. The 185,000 square foot complex includes a multi-story Headquarters, supply warehouse, comm/elect maintenance shop, motor transport shop, paraloft and armory all within a minute walk of each other. The bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQ) is conveniently close to the fitness center, dining facility, mini exchange, post office and single Marine recreation center, keeping the Marines healthy and engaged when off duty.



Books By Reconners

Flames and Smoke Visible: A Fire Fighter’s Tale By D.S. Lliteras

In 1969-70, “Doc” Lliteras served as a recon corpsman and combat diver with A Company; he completed twenty long range reconnaissance patrols and was awarded a Bronze Star with Combat V. He went on to earn a Bachelors of Arts degree and Master of Fine Arts at Florida State University. Commissioned in 1981, Lliteras returned to naval service as a Deep Sea Diving and Salvage Officer. Ultimately, “Doc” Lliteras became a fire fighter in Norfolk, Virginia.

Critically acclaimed Flames and Smoke Visible: A Fire Fighter’s Tale is D.S. Lliteras eleventh book and his first non-fiction work ( Flames and Smoke Visible is available on line at &, Independent Book Stores, Barnes & Noble, and direct from the distributor & publisher: Square One Publishers & Rainbow Ridge Books.

Flames and Smoke Visible reading/book signing by author, D.S. Lliteras, was televised at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 68's Annual Firefighters Retiree Luncheon at Norfolk (Virginia) Fire Department's Fire Station #1.

C-SPAN BookTV Video of Flames and Smoke Visible link:

Killer Kane: A Marine Recon Team Leader in Vietnam, 1967-1968 By Andrew R. Finlayson

Killer Kane was of one of the most successful U. S. Marine long range reconnaissance teams of the Vietnam War. Team Leader Andy Finlayson’s narrative covers a pivotal period in the war, the year leading up to the Tet Offensive, and presents a highly personal account of the dangerous missions conducted by this team of young Recon Marines as they searched for North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong units throughout the Da Nang area of operations
Killer Kane’s six to eight man patrols searched for the enemy far from friendly lines, in locations such as Elephant Valley, The Enchanted Forest, Charlie Ridge, Happy Valley and the Que Son Mountains, often engaged in desperate fire fights with vastly superior VC and NVA forces. The book also explains in detail the planning, preparation and conduct of, a long range reconnaissance patrol, giving the reader many insights into why Killer Kane was so successful.

Andy Finlayson’s Killer Kane is a gripping account of a young Marine officer and his highly capable, dedicated group of men doing a very dangerous job for their country, while the United States became increasingly disillusioned and weary of the Vietnam War. Killer Kane is expected to be published in August by McFarland & Company, Inc. Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640; advance purchases may be made on the McFarland website, print and mail the order form at, and by ordering on line from Amazon Books (search Andrew R. Finlayson to find the book).

New Members
Bruce Dolan Alpha 70/71
Christopher Wasik 1st Recon Co. 95/01 & Charlie 01/04. 1st Force 93/95
Clifford Byerly Charlie 89/93 & 95/97
Fidel Aguirre Alpha 57/60
Gilbert Caballero Alpha 64/65
Jerald Anderson H&S 62/63
John Laurent Alpha 64/66
Karl Paffrath H&S M?T 81/82
King Ritchie 111 Bravo 04/08
Larry Mayes Charlie 69
Lyth Kjeld 1st Force 64/66
Michael Quinn H&S 79/82
Randall Wayne Delta 68/69
Randy Lowry Delta 69/70
Richard Bailey H&S & Delta 67/68
Robert Brasiel Echo 69/70
Ronald Ratliff Delta 66/68
Terry Wallace Alpha 66/67
Thomas McCausland 1st Force 66/68
Donna Graebel, Associate Member




RVN 1965





Vietnam Trip

Ever Thought About Going Back to Vietnam?

Vietnam Battlefield Tours (VBT) designed a 1st Recon Battalion battlefield tour, scheduled for 9-23 March 2014. Visit Chu Lai, the Que Sons, Hill 119, An Hoa and the Arizona, Hills 55 and 65, Camp Reasoner, Ba Na, and Elephant Valley. While we’re in the boonies, spouses will enjoy exotic shopping and dining opportunities. All hotels are rated 3-star or better. Contact Dave “Doc” Snider, , for tour details, pricing and reservations.