The Patrol Report               Newsletter of The Natural Warrior

Volume Fourteen   Issue One
Spring/Summer 2007

Message from the President

   As we prepare to for our coming reunion, let us not forget that our Corps is engaged in combat around the globe. 1st Reconnaissance Battalion (-) is in Al Anbar Province, Iraq on its fourth deployment, elements of the battalion are on MEU (SOC) deployments and the remainder are training in anticipation of further deployments. This high operations tempo demands great courage, commitment, endurance, and patience of Marines, Corpsmen and their families. Taking the fight to our enemies comes at a high cost. 1st Lt Travis Manion and Sergeant Nick Walsh, two of 1st Recon Battalion’s finest, gave their lives in service to our Corps and Country.
    The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association reunion will be held in conjunction with the 1st Marine Division Association in Philadelphia, PA, and at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA, August 29-2 September. Our 2007 reunion is dedicated to those reconnaissance marines and corpsman who served in the Republic of Vietnam in 1967. Commemorate the 40th anniversary of 1st Recon’s Vietnam service, tour the National Museum of the Marine Corps and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of our Corps, and, end the day dining with recon team-mates and friends in the rotunda of the National Museum. Lt Gen Bernard E. Trainor, author, military affairs analyst and a Commanding Officer of 1st Recon Battalion is our Guest of Honor. Join us this year and make this reunion one to remember!

God bless America! God bless the United States Marine Corps!

Semper fidelis,
Charlie Kershaw

 

Special thanks to 1stSgt Justin LeHew for providing many needed services to the 1st Recon Association the last few years. He is due to make SgtMaj and will be moving on to another duty station. Had the pleasure of spending a few hours talking about 1st Recon with him while I was in the Bn. area. He is an exceptional individual who will be greatly missed by the Bn. The 6

Reunion Essential Elements of Information

   Reunion Registration: 1st MARDIV Association, 29 August- 2 September, at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 201 Market Street Philadelphia, PA. 1st Recon Battalion Association Quantico events, 29-31 August, at the Ramada Inn, 4316 Inn Street, Triangle, VA (I-95 Quantico/Triangle exit, adjacent to I-95 North).

   Lodging: The Philadelphia Marriott Downtown is the official 1st Marine Division Association reunion site. Hotel accommodations for Association members are available at $115.00 + tax per night; reservations may be made by calling 800-320-5744. Parking is available at $36.00 + tax. For Quantico events, 1st Recon Bn Association has a block of 30 rooms reserved for members and guests at the Ramada Inn, Triangle, VA at a rate of $80.00 + tax (complimentary breakfast included). For Ramada Inn reservations call: (703) 221-1181 or (800) 2 RAMADA.

   1st Recon Bn Assn CP/Harbor Site: Visit with 1st Recon Bn Association teammates 29-30 August in our CP at the Ramada Inn and/or at the Philiadelphia Marriott 31 August-2 September

KEY EVENTS

   Philadelphia: The 1st Marine Division Association offers reunion attendees a full schedule of tours and special events. The Marriott Downtown is minutes away from Philadelphia’s historical attractions and landmarks. Consult the “Old Breed News” for details.

   1stRecon Bn Association Dinner: Lt Gen Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (Ret), author, military affairs analyst and former 1st Recon Battalion CO, is the Guest of Honor at our reunion dinner at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Thursday, August 30th, 7:00-9:00 pm, $50.00 per person. RSVP by Sunday 24 August, with reservations and checks made out to “1st Recon Battalion Association”; mail to Charlie Kershaw, 2527 Unicornio Street, Carlsbad, CA 92009.

   1st Recon Bn Association Annual Membership Meeting/Election of Officers: Friday, 31 August, 0900-1100, Association CP, Ramada Inn. Members attending the Annual Membership Meeting will elect four Association Officers: the Vice President, Secretary Treasurer, Chaplain, and one Associate Director. Your Association needs directors willing and able to accept the responsibility and challenges of Association leadership.

   1st Mar Div Association Banquet and Grand Ball at the Marriott Downtown Ballroom, 1820-2400, Saturday 1 September. 1st Recon Bn Association will have one or more tables. Contact 1st Marine Division Association for reservations ($75.00 per person).


ASSOCIATION AUCTION and RAFFLE

Association operating revenue comes from your donations and reunion activities such as a raffle and silent auction. Association members and friends are requested to donate items for our Silent Auction at the reunion dinner and raffle. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Memorial Fund and Raffle proceeds will be divided between the 1st Marine Division Association Scholarship Fund and the 1st Recon Battalion Association General Fund. Past raffle/auction items have included Reunion lodging, Marine Corps uniform accessories, memorabilia, K-Bars, books, military art, gift certificates, lodging and travel. Bring an auction or raffle item!


I just wanted to throw out the idea of getting teams to invite any of the families of our KIA's they have contact with to attend the reunion. The first KIA of our team was a kid from Georgia and his sister lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida. I contacted her and she is very interested in coming up to Quantico. So myself and some of the other guys will help her financially be able to do so. I just think it would make the reunion even more special if we can share it with some of the KIA families.
Semper Fi,

Doc Buehl

FUTURE REUNIONS
2008 NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, GAYLORD OPRYLAND HOTEL, AUGUST 20-24.
2009 ANAHEIM, CA.

1st Recon Bn. News

April 14, 2007

   Greetings from Camp Fallujah Iraq. Been on the ground about 2 weeks now and wanted to share some quick thoughts. My unit, 1st Recon Battalion, will officially take over the mission here from 3rd Recon Bn in about a week and the Marines are motivated to get started. Living here is actually pretty nice, and to be honest the single Marines live and eat better here than they do in the barracks and cafeteria back at Camp Pendleton. The gym is free, the food is free, no traffic to speak of, and we even get occasional comedy acts and bands rolling through town.

    During the first few days I was here I had the opportunity to sit in a brief from General Petraeus who is the senior military Commander for all of Iraq. It was great to get his insight and understand the big picture of the fight we are in. The biggest difference in today's conflict vice this time last year is the focus on security vice transition. Last year transition was the mission, i.e. getting the Iraqi's to take the lead on everything here. This year the focus is security to enable transition. A subtle change, but an important one that has resulted in the "surge" to bring more forces to bear to stabilize the country as we transition. The surge itself has a direct impact on my unit in a positive way. The additional Marine units here have allowed by Battalion to be utilized in a manner that is more consistent with our training. We are in what's called general support of operations in the Fallujah area. What that means is that we have the latitude to work all over the area and are not tied to one city or one piece of turf. It keeps the job exciting as we are in some ways like fireman that can be called up to support whatever is the most pressing need in the Marine area around Fallujah.

    On a positive note in regard to Al Anbar province which the Marine Corps is responsive for, things are going well out West as a result of what was been called the "awakening" of the Sunni Arabs, particularly near the Syrian border. The bottom line is that the Sunnis have gotten tired of having Al Qaida in their midst and would prefer to have us here. That's a big change from the past where the locals typically provided at last tacit support to the Al Qaida presence. These days they are much more likely to point out folks that shouldn't be here which makes our job a lot easier. As is easy to imagine, it's nearly impossible for Marines to tell the difference between a Sunni, a Shia, an Egyptian, a Syrian, etc but the locals know who's who and their support has been crucial in making a difference in Al Anbar province. Kind of like an Iraqi couldn't tell if an American is from New York or New Orleans, or LA (Lower Alabama).

    One of the biggest hurdles we still face is setting up the local governance piece. The majority of money and logistics are focused at the national level in Baghdad, but its been difficult to establish a system where the government in Baghdad pushes those resources down to the Provinces (similar to states) and then for the provinces to push that down to the cities. I know that sounds like it should be a simple system to implement, but it didn't exist under Saddam Hussein and we have had to create it from scratch. One of the problems is an Arabic culture issue, by that I mean the guy that has the stuff (money, food, vehicles, etc) gains importance "wasta in Arabic" by the mere fact that he is in control of things. If he gives away the stuff he feels less important. Lots of effort is being put into establishing provincial teams and city level teams that will coordinate with their higher bosses to ensure this process is rectified, but there is still a long way to go.

    All in all in the Al Anbar province the tone is best described as cautiously optimistic. I cannot speak to Baghdad, but out here we are seeing the fruits of what has been over 4 years of effort to get the country back on its feet.

    That's about it for now, I truly appreciate all of your prayers and support for my family and I, and I am happy to answer any questions you might have as time permits. I am also a willing pen pal if your kids schools want to do something for the Marines or have questions about stuff in Iraq.
Semper Fi,

LtCol Beau Higgins
Commanding Officer, 1st Recon Bn
"Bellator" 6


 

May 8, 2007


    Greetings once again from Camp Fallujah and I hope this e-mail finds
you well and having successfully celebrated another Cinco de Mayo. The
festivities here in Iraq left a lot to be desired as what is cinco de
mayo without Coronas and sombreros, but they did put on a nice meal at
the chow hall.
    Since my last e-mail the Marines of my Battalion have been extremely
busy working on a wide variety of operations trying to maintain and
enhance the security situation here in Iraq. It is hazardous and
difficult work, but my Marines always meet and exceed my expectations
and they truly are a national treasure.
    In the big picture I continue to get good reports on the situation out West and in the town of Ramadi which is the provincial capitol for Al Anbar province. The hope is that the improvements will continue to move West as more and more Iraqi's buy into the future. I tell my Marines all the time that during our time here we cannot expect to win the war. Our job is to move the ball 5 yards down the field and the field may be more than 100 yards long. It is important to understand that the good news stories that are coming out of Al Anbar province today are not the result of 6 months of work, but instead the progress is based on the efforts that began 4 years ago. Everyone (the Marines included) has made mistakes in Iraq, but the critical element to our recent success is that we have learned from our mistakes and adapted our approach and we are now seeing the fruits of our labor in many cases. To look at this success as something that has occurred because of 6 months of work would be like opening a book half way through and reading it from that point. This has been and will continue to be living and breathing process but I am convinced that we are making progress after several years of trial and error. I am attaching below a quote from the Iraqi Foreign minister that I thought summed things up very well.
    "We remain determined in spite of our losses. Spectacular attacks may dominate foreign headlines, but they cannot change the reality that Iraq has made steady political, economic and social progress over the past four years. We continue to strengthen our nascent democratic institutions, pursue national reconciliation and expand Iraqi security forces. The Baghdad security plan was conceived to give us breathing space to expedite political and economic development by "securing and holding" neighborhoods across the capital. There is no quick fix, but there have been real results: Winning public confidence has led to a spike in intelligence, a disruption of terrorist networks and the capture of key leaders, as well as the discovery of weapons caches. In Anbar province, Sunni sheikhs and insurgents have turned against al-Qaeda and to the side of Iraqi security forces. This would have been unthinkable even six months ago."
    When we first began Operation Iraqi freedom back in 2003 one of the biggest challenges we faced was trying to get the Iraqis to believe in the future. Life in Iraq for many under Saddam Hussein was a day to day existence and most people did not have a long term view of life. For years now we have tried to create an environment that allows the Iraqis to believe in and be part of the future. They as well as we know that we won't be here forever, and it is critical that we set the Iraqis up for success before we depart. I have heard many people say that we can't do this for them and that we need to put an Iraqi face on everything we do. An Iraqi face is part of the solution but the real way forward is to put an Iraqi back behind everything so they are pushing this process forward. Are we there yet, certainly not, but the situation is undoubtedly improving at least in my limited view of Iraq.
    Sadly this progress also comes with a price. On 29 April I had one of my Marines killed in the town of Fallujah. Lt Travis Manion was a Naval Academy graduate on his second tour here in Iraq. He was an incredible man and Marine and we will all miss him dearly. That is by far the hardest part of this profession. I will add that when I spoke to his Father he re-iterated how proud he was of Travis and of his service to the country. As Marines we all join up knowing that the possibility exists that we may lose our lives for our country, although never really believing it will happen to us. We certainly do not join this profession for the money or the glory. I think instead we join the Marine Corps and stay in the Corps because of the people. Travis is one of those people that represent all that is good in our Corps and I ask you all to keep Travis Manion and his family in your prayers.
Semper Fidelis
Beau
LtCol Beau Higgins
Commanding Officer, 1st Recon Bn
Bellator 6

 

May 31, 2007

   Greetings all once again from friendly confines of Camp Fallujah, Iraq. I had intended to send an update out in conjunction with Memorial Day, so please accept my belated appreciation for all your support and prayers for my Marines, my family back home and I on this Memorial Day 2007. And while our Memorial Day celebration may not have been what it would be at home, in some ways it means more being here on a day that honors then sacrifice of those that have gone before.
    In the big picture of Iraq and specifically Al Anbar province the news continues to be positive. A lot of people try to capture metrics for success out here in different ways. For me there are two things that I watch in particular that seem to indicate progress. The first of these is the number of daily reports we get from the Iraqi Police (IP) and Iraqi Army (IA). In a typical day the military keeps a running log of all the incidents in zone. IED's found/hit, small arms fire attacks, detainees captured, weapons caches discovered, etc. Back in 2004 we were for the most part going it alone out here as the IP and IA were still a work in progress. During those days all the incidents reported were from US units. These days that has changed dramatically. While I cannot give exact percentages, it is very re-assuring to see every day the growing number of IP and IA reports that are part of the daily roll-ups. The Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army in Al Anbar province are out on the streets putting their lives at risk to make their country safer. When I see the daily reports of what they are doing rolling up enemy weapons caches and bringing in suspected enemy forces it make your realize the progress that has been and continues to be made.
   The second thing I look at is the general feedback I get from the local Iraqi's our Marines interact with in regard to their future. As my Marines are out and about on their different operations they do a lot of what we call census operations or "knock and talks" which are just what they sound like, Going to people's homes and knocking on the door to get "atmospherics" of an area. More and more these days in the nightly recaps I receive my Marines are telling me about local Iraqis that are looking to join the IP or IA and be part of the future. That is a huge change from things past. Increasingly the Iraqis in Al Anbar province realize that a) the Coalition Forces here have their best interest in mind b) the Al Qaida and Pro-Saddam elements offer a future of more killing and discord and c) that now is the time that they must choose where they stand with the possibility of Coalition forces being reduced out here looming in the background. For the longest time most Iraqi's just rode the fence preferring to turn a blind eye to enemy activities and generally just trying to blend into the woodwork of society. Today a growing number of Iraqi's are buying into a future that can be better vice being willing to accept the status quo and they are realizing that the best way to make things better is to support the Coalition effort.
   In regard to my Marines they are being utilized in a broad spectrum of counter sniper, counter IED, and area reconnaissance roles. The Recon Marines are analogous to firemen that get called in to deal with hot spots throughout the zone. You would all be proud of their efforts especially when you consider they are conducting these missions wearing a lot of heavy body armor in 110 degree plus temperatures.
   In closing I would be remiss if I did not mention the sacrifices of Sgt Nick Walsh who was killed by a sniper on 26 May and GySgt Buck Doyle who was shot twice in that same attack and is now recovering at the military hospital in Landstuhl Germany. A month before our deployment, Sgt Walsh's family was visiting his family at Pendleton. They were trying to pin Nick down about his wishes in case something happened to him in Iraq. His Mom asked if he'd like to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. "No way," he said. "That's for people better than me. That's for heroes. I'm not a hero...I'm just a Marine doing my job." But Nick was wrong. He is a hero as are all of my Marines. I have attached a copy of the remarks I plan to deliver at the Memorial for Sgt Walsh on Saturday, 2 June as I think its important particularly this close to Memorial Day for all of us to reflect on the sacrifices that America's sons and daughters are making out here every day.
Semper Fidelis
LtCol Beau Higgins
Commanding Officer, 1st Recon Bn
Bellator 6
Memorial Speech

----------------------------------------------------------

A message from the 1st Recon Bn Association Vice President:


For those of you that may not know, I am not running for re-election as Vice President or for any other office at the coming reunion. For 10 years now, I have had the pleasure of serving as an officer of our Association. It has been an honor to serve both Col. White & Col. Kershaw as Association Vice President. I will always make myself available to the Association in any way that I can be of help. I think that it is time for some new members to throw their hats in the ring. So, if you know of any member that you think would make a good Vice President for the Association, please put their name(s) forward. Again, let me say that it has been my honor and pleasure to have served with and for you as an officer of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association.

Patrick P. Grady

Camp Reasoner....Then & Now

Larry Chavez

I went on the internet and got a few pics of Camp Reasoner near Da Dang (circa 1966-7). I then located Camp Reasoner on Google Earth from my own recollection of the area. Finding it was fairly easy.

I then took original photos other people had taken and placed them under photos I downloaded from Google Earth.

It's interesting, but sad in a way. Even though there was a war on, many of us have a great recollection of our time there.

Share this with the guys from Recon.

Larry Chavez, Sgt.
USMC 1964-1968
Served with 1st Recon B Co., 1st Marine Division from March '66 to November '67.
Served 31 years with the Sacramento Police Department, Hostage Negotiation Team


Links to four comparisons


http://www.1streconbnassociation.org/Graphics/RE.gif
http://www.1streconbnassociation.org/Graphics/RE2.gif
http://www.1streconbnassociation.org/Graphics/RE3.gif
http://www.1streconbnassociation.org/Graphics/RE4.gif

Outstanding job Larry. THANKS

National Purple Heart Hall of Honor (NPHHH)

http://thepurpleheart.com/

The above link is for background information on the new National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. The official dedication occurred this past November 10, 2006.


A review was conducted of the records accrued by "Doc" Buehl, pertaining to the First Recon Bn. members that died while serving in VietNam. The names of those individuals that were clearly entitled to the Purple Heart Medal have been submitted for inclusion in the Roll of Honor. The names were submitted in one group as members of the Bn.?


In the event any of our members are in possession of photos or pertinent information for our "fallen" and wish to submit same to the NPHHH, the site provides the appropriate manner to do so. I would only suggest the name of the individual as it appears in our KIA list as well as reference to the First Recon Bn. be made to assist in the locating of the appropriate record.


It is respectfully requested you include the information regarding this website in the next newsletter. Further, it is recommended each of our association members that are recipients of the Purple Heart give consideration to submitting their? personal information. Again the website provides the necessary information for completing this task.


Ed Rowland

Inspirational Stories

Dave Backer


   Alpha Deuce is only one platoon of many Recon units that suffered tragedy while serving in Vietnam. Alpha Deuce was my platoon and I was proud to serve with all under her name. We published in the last Patrol Report events and reaction from one of Alpha Deuce’s brave Marines, James Rowe II. He suffered greatly like many from his team as they were overrun by Vietcong that early morning Feb. 4, 1967. Please review the account in the last Report.

   There were four of us that I can remember from that squad who didn’t go on that patrol. Nathan Barron was switched for some reason with Robert Armitage. Robert told Nathan goodbye & said he wouldn’t be coming back but it was ok because he was ready. This has haunted Nathan to this day. Questions of what, why & how did Robert know he’d be KIA. Mike Shore & Kent Dickson both left for R&R, again survivors guilt plagues them. Sgt. Starbuck switched me to LT. Williams’ patrol the morning we left, Feb. 3rd. I wouldn’t be going out with my new buddy, Smitty. Ed Smith took an interest in me and helped me those first few weeks. Sgt. Starbuck & Smitty both were KIA.

   Both squads in Alpha Deuce were positioned in the same valley as FO’s for the 7th Marines. Sgt. Starbuck’s squad with a total of 11 Marines ended on a barren hill well used by the Vietcong. Lt. Williams’ squad of 10 Marines & a Navy Corpsman, ended on a hilltop with huge boulders. Chet Bittecuffer, a seasoned Recon Salt was assigned to harbor with me. Talking around the table @ DC Reunion in 2004 Chet jumped up and said, “It’s true, it was real, I wasn’t imagining that grenade all these years.” I’d been reviewing the events of that Feb. night with fellow Marines from Alpha Deuce as we do every reunion, and had mentioned that dud grenade. For Chet & myself it was a joy to experience life together, as we experienced near death together, 37 years ago. Our squad was attacked with grenades and small arms fire that evening from all sides. That dud grenade which landed next to me is seen every day these last 40 years. The next morning after the jets bombed & strafed the area we gathered the unused claymores. Mine had been turned around by the gooks.

   These events are similar to those experienced by hundreds of Recon Marines, all are replaying them time & time again in their minds. My experiences are not more profound but they’re mine. Let me explain what I called life changing. That evening as we waited & listened for the next grenade or gook to show, Chet nudged me and whispered something to me. “Fudge, are you scared.” I lifted my hand and it was shaking. I don’t remember if I responded to him then but we talked the next morning. What happened next when he asked that question, changed my life. My body was reacting to the trauma around me and was tense and shaking. Instantly my body was flooded with a calmness that I’ll never forget. I’d been a Christian for several years but had never experienced such dramatic awareness of God’s presence. Why had God chosen me to experience His protection? I hadn’t done anything special. I do remember I had a renewed urgency to pray for by buddies. We’d seen the flares just a few miles away and heard the reports on the radio, so we knew our buddies were in trouble. What was profound was that when I was covered with a flood of peace, a scripture from the Bible was given to me by my Lord. It was really pretty cool. This is it. “Be anxious for nothing, but with prayer and thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the Peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” You can imagine that this verse has been my favorite these past 40 years. We want to hear from you, share your inspirational stories. This was mine. Dave Backer 665 Collins Crest Gladstone, Or. 97027 dlbacker@comcast.net

Team Semper Fi

GySgt Spanky Gibson   Bravo 89/93

Hey everyone,

Me and the new Team Semper Fi, which is made of injured Marines from OIF/OEF raced in the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston SC. I attached a photo and will send more from the race website. With support from the Citadel we raised over $50,000. We will start competing monthly in many different events. Next month we wil compete in Lake Anna Va in a Triathlon Sprint and then on the 28th we will be riding from Gettysburg to Bethesda, Md. All of these events which we compete in are to raise money for the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund. Go to the website below for more information.

    This was my farthest distance to run/walk (10k). So I am working to get back to business.

Spanky

www.semperfifund.org




BOARD of DIRECTORS

DIRECTOR EMERITUS
Robert G. "Doc" Buehl

PRESIDENT
Charles Kershaw

VICE PRESIDENT
Patrick Grady

SECRETARY/TREASURER
Garry Kline

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS
Larry Feldman

HISTORIAN
Kent Dickson

MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR
Robert Morris

ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS
Jim Richards
Denis Baker
Dave Backer
Curtis Greutzmacher

CHAPLAIN
Ray Tibbets

RECON BATTALION UNIT DIRECTOR
Rodney Poston



IN MEMORIAM

Final Extract

 

 1stLt Travis Manion 1st Recon Bn. was KIA to a sniper April 28 just outside of Fallujah. He was OIC of a MTT (Vietnam type CAP).

 

  Sgt. Nicholas R. Walsh, 27, of Millstadt, Ill., died May 26 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.


Robert M. Shannon, Jr. Tues Jan-30-07
A, B, H&S,1st Force 11/66 - 7/67 Corpsman

 

Gary Husar Feb. 24, 07 1st Recon March 66 - Aug. 67 Alpha Sniper, Delta Clerk, S-2, & S-3


Michael Holmes April 22, 07 Delta Co. Team Duckbill 66/67


William Alexander
Alpha/Charlie 79/80

 


Looking For


Dave Delozier's cousin, Gregg Clark, would like to get copies of any photos anyone might have of Dave during his time with Battalion. He also mentioned crash site photos, but I don't know if any exist.

I told Gregg he could come to the reunion and talk to some of the guys in person, as well. It would be nice if Bernie Trainor shows up. Do you know if Charlie invited Bill Leftwich, Jr.?

Gregg's email address is GClark5959@aol.com. If you put the request in the Patrol Report maybe someone can bring some pictures along to the reunion. Thanks much!

SF Ron Huegel

 

 

Marine SGT Bryan Shay bryanshay@hotmail.com is looking for flicks of HM-3 Robert L. Tracy KIA 1/18/68