1st Recon Bn. Association
Spring/Summer 2010
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Robert G. "Doc" Buehl

Charles Kershaw

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Curtis Gruetzmacher

Larry Feldman

David “Doc” Snider

Robert Morris

Jim Richards
Ken Benchwitz
Phil Peters
Tom Hyder

David Backer

Charles Howdyshell

Viet Nam 1970

Were you with 1st Recon Battalion in 1970?.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of your service in the Republic of Vietnam. "Doc Snider, our Association Historian, is asking members who served with 1st Recon Battalion in Vietnam, to send him their memorabila and memories of 1970. We need anything that tells 1st Recon's story - your personal histories, electronic photos, scanned documents, maps and news articles. Email your personal histories and stories to: or mail your stories and memorabilia to: Dave Snider 885 Glendora Rd. Kissimmee, FL 34759

Help Needed

My name is SSGT LONES, I am an Amphib Recon Marine instructor at Camp Pendleton Ca. I have currently run a ground in a bit of information that I myself can't seem to figure. Please if you know of anyone, or have any information to help me it's deeply appreciated.

1 Where did the RECON Creed originate from? The author and date?
2 As a Recon marine in training we refer to them as "Ropers" is this an age old tradition? or is it a recent action?

Contact me at


Present 1st Recon SgtMaj

Sergeant Major James K. Porterfield

Sergeant Major Porterfield was born on 26 November 1970 in Jacksonville, Florida. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 1989 and completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. Upon completion in August 1989 he reported to Millington, TN for basic avionics training. After graduation in March 1990, he was directed to report to MCAS Cherry Point for MOS specific training on AV-8B Harrier Comm/Nav/Wpns/Elec systems.

Following MOS school he was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 211 in July 1990. In June 1992 Sergeant Major Porterfield was attached to HMM-161 (REIN) 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit for Operation Desert Stay in Southwest Asia, Restore Hope in Somalia, Operation Eager Mace in Kuwait and Operation Nautical Mantis in Saudi Arabia. In May 1993 his unit deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan for the unit deployment plan. In September 1996 he was attached to HMM-166 (REIN) as SNCOIC of the AV-8B detachment, 11th MEU for Operation Southern Watch, returning in April 1997.

In September 1997, Sergeant Major Porterfield was transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego where he served as a Drill Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor and Chief Drill Instructor assigned to Company M Third Recruit Training Battalion. In 1999, he was selected as the Third Battalion Drill Instructor of the Year and Drill Instructor of the Quarter (fourth quarter). In February 2000 he checked into Instructional Training Company, earning the MOS 8551 close combat instructor. In April 2000 he then transferred to Drill Instructor School for duty as a squad instructor, serving as the General Military Subjects, Techniques of Military Instruction, Uniform instructor and Curriculum Developer.

Ordered to MCAS Yuma in January 2002, Sergeant Major Porterfield reported to Marine Attack Squadron 214 as the avionics division NCOIC. Deploying in January 2003, he served as the Avionics Division Chief in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Upon his return from Iraq he received orders to 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California. Where he served as Kilo Battery First Sergeant, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines until January 2004, when he received orders to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Shortly after arriving he was assigned to Alpha Company and deployed in February 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi freedom II and participated in the first push into Fallujah in April 2004. He then re-deployed back to Iraq for the third time participating in Operation Steel Curtain in Husaybah returning in March 2006.

In March 2007, Sergeant Major then reported Recruiting Station Portland where he served as the Recruiting Station Sergeant Major until December 2009. Sergeant Major Porterfield’s personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device and two Gold Stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device and three Gold Stars and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Sergeant Major Porterfield is married to the former Caren Albright of Midland, Texas and has four sons Gary, Calvin, Johnathan and Andre and granddaughter, Aubrey.

Message from the President
Message from the President

   The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association’s annual reunion, held in concert with the 1st Marine Division Association reunion, will be in San Antonio, Texas, August 25-28. The 2010 Reunion is dedicated to the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Marines and Corpsmen who were in “in harms way” serving in the Republic of Vietnam in 1970.
   Our Association luncheon will be a Texas barbeque, Friday, 27 August, at VFW Post 76. The Reunion Guest of Honor is Richard Botkin, a reconnaissance Marine and author of Ride the Thunder, an account of the Vietnamese Marines and their small band of American Marine Advisors. Join your recon team-mates in San Antonio this year and make Reunion 2010 one to remember!
   As we celebrate our reunion, know that our successors in the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion are on the battalion’s sixth successive deployment since 2003 and their first deployment to Afghanistan. Concurrently, other elements of the battalion are forward deployed with Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable). Keep these Marines and Corpsmen in your thoughts and prayers.
   God bless America! God bless the United States Marine Corps! God bless 1st Reconnaissance Battalion!

Semper Fidelis,

Charlie Kershaw

2009 Reunion Essential Elements of Information
    REUNION 2010
    23-29 August 2010

       Reunion Registration: The 1st MARDIV Association Reunion will be 23-29 August at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Holiday Inn, San Antonio, Texas. Register on line with the FMDA at: or or call Armed Forces Reunions at (757) 625-6401. A mail in registration form and reunion maps are available as links to the Patrol Report. FDMA Registration closes 23 July 2010!

       1st Recon Battalion Association members and guests should confirm that they plan to attend the reunion by emailing Curtis Gruetzmacher at: and sign in at our hospitality suite after you arrive in San Antonio.

       Lodging: The El Tropicano Riverwalk Holiday Inn, 110 Lexington Ave. San Antonio, Texas 78205 is the official reunion site for 1st Marine Division Association and 1st Recon Bn Association. Reunion accommodations are available at a rate of $105.00 per night. Parking is $18.00 per day. For hotel reservations call: (210) 223-9461; ask for the 1st Marine Division Assn Reunion rate.

       1st Recon Bn Assn CP/Harbor Site: The 1st Recon Battalion Association Reunion CP /hospitality suite at the El Tropicano Riverwalk will be open from 25-28 August.

       Transportation. SA Trans (210 281-9900) provides airport-hotel service; tickets are sold in San Antonio baggage claim at $32.00/round trip. Reunion venues are accessible by foot, streetcar, river barge and bus; a car is not necessary to get around down town San Antonio.

       Volunteers. The success of our reunion is the result of members who volunteer to help with registration, selling raffle tickets, donating raffle and auction items, the silent auction and ensuring the hospitality suite is stocked with refreshments. Our thanks and appreciation to perennial volunteers such as Doc and Linda Buehl, Curtis and Luana Gruetzmacher, Larry and Nancy Feldman, “Howdy” and Rhonda Howdyshell, Bob and Julie Morris and Kent and Ester Dickson. Help your Association and fellow members this year, be a reunion volunteer.

       Fundraising. The reunion is your Association’s primary source of income. Our raffle, silent auction and Hospitality Suite refreshments keep the Association going through the year. Please donate raffle and auction items, buy lots of raffle tickets and bid generously at the silent auction.


       1st Recon Battalion Association Luncheon is a Texas BBQ, 1200 pm, Friday 27 August, at VFW Post 76, 10 Tenth St. San Antonio. The luncheon is $30.00 per person; RSVP not later than 24 Aug to Curtis Gruetzmacher 3375 Post Oak Rd Goliad, TX 77963 or

       1st Recon Bn Association General Membership Meeting and Election of Officers is Saturday 28 August at 1:00 pm in our Hospitality Suite. This year, we elect the Association Vice President, Secretary/ Treasurer, and an Associate Director.

       1st MarDiv Association Events include the National Museum of the Pacific, the San Antonio city tour, a marichi concert and a Reunion Banquet. Details and registration forms are found at the 1st Marine Division Association website: .


2010 Marine Corps Birthday Cruise

Grab your muskets and sign on with us to celebrate the 235th Marine Corps Birthday in traditional fashion on the high seas.

   The 1st Recon Bn Association sponsored USMC Birthday Cruise is gathering steam. Presently we have 67 travelers signed on. Our goal is to have 100 or more gathered together to celebrate this traditional and unique event in first class Marine Corps style, all the way. The list of attendees is a cross section of past and present warriors. We have Marines who served during the Korean War, Cold War Marines, Vietnam Marines and Marines of the present day Iraq and Afghanistan. Amongst our attendees is an Army nurse who served in Vietnam and a Navy C-130 aircrew member who flew casualties out of Khe Sanh during the siege. This will be a memorable celebration and the stories are sure to get better with each retelling.

   One of the celebrants is Sgt James “Eddie” Wright. I first met Eddie at the 1st MarDiv reunion held in Washington, DC in 2004. Eddie has an outstanding story of personal courage and was interviewed for the Marine Corps movie currently being shown at the Marine Corps museum in Quantico. Here is a link to the movie, an exceptional look at Marine Corps history:

   The cruise, November 8 – 13, 2010 on board the Royal Caribbean ‘Radiance of the Seas’ – a 5-star ship, is sailing out of Tampa, FL for 5 nights.

   On November 10, dinner will be enjoyed with other ship’s passengers during the normal dining period (1st seating) as the ship sails away from Costa Maya, Mexico. Following dinner a two-hour celebration will be held in our private room. There will be no charge for well drinks, wine and soft drinks. This private celebration is totally funded by monies returned to us from the Cruise Line as a result of the number of passengers our group has booked. The celebration will begin with a video viewing of the Commandant’s message and then the Chaplain’s prayer. The National Anthem will be observed followed by the singing of the Marine Corps hymn and the reading of General Lejeune's Message. Finally, the birthday cake will be cut by the oldest and youngest Marine present. Tall tales will then be in order.

   All military participants are urged to wear their uniforms, Marine Corps League uniforms or appropriate civilian attire. Medals and ribbons are encouraged to be worn on civilian jackets. There will be hundreds of civilians on the ship and this is an opportunity to proudly put the Marine Corps on display.

   Here is important information regarding the wearing of medals and awards:

   It is permissible for veterans and retirees to wear military awards on civilian clothes for gatherings of a military theme. On significant holidays like Veterans Day and Memorial Day, veterans and retirees are encouraged to wear their awards and medals. The choice of ribbons, full-size medal or miniature is an individual one.

   Note: Retirees and veterans may wear their uniforms in appropriate settings as described in the Department of Defense Instruction 1334.01 "Wearing of the Uniform." “

   The Department of Veterans Affairs calls on all veterans to express their patriotism and pride on Veterans Day and other major patriotic holidays through a display of medals earned in their military service.

   Join your comrades in public display of your military decorations. It’s a way to show your community the spirit of America’s veterans and remind your neighbors of the service and sacrifice of those who guarded democracy. “

   Here is a link for those wishing to purchase new ribbons or medals. There are other vendors available over the internet.

   Our ship, The Radiance of the Seas is a 5 star ship which will provide its travelers with exceptional dining cuisine. For those who enjoy a variety of foods, the buffets are extraordinary. No one goes away hungry. Nightlife is unique onboard a cruise ship, featuring live entertainment in the theatre, live music in any number of lounges and bars as well as first run movies in the movie theatre.

   Here is a list of ship’s entertainment and activities:

· Casino Royale SM Las Vegas gambling

· Themed bars and lounges

· The Colony Club, a unique British colonial-style lounge with self-leveling pool tables

· African safari-themed Solarium

· Indoor/outdoor country club with golf simulator

· Day Spa and Fitness Center

· Sports court with basketball/volleyball court

Ports of call:

· Costa Maya, Mexico

· Cozumel, Mexico

   The ship sails from and returns to Tampa, Fl and includes two days at sea. Here is a link to the ship:;jsessionid=000007uV5djkx8jUpBkUlNFAqQX:13hldil87?br=R&shipClassCode=RD&shipCode=RD

   If you are ready to enlist for the duration of the cruise, here is the information to sign up.

For information and reservations contact:





or Dave “Doc” Snider


Semper Fi

Doc Snider

  • The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Memorial is a black granite monument standing 101” high and 36” wide, mounted on a 48” x 20” base. The two hundred sixty-two Recon Marines and Corpsmen who lost their lives in combat with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion will have their rank, name, age at death and home state engraved on the face of the monument.

    The replica pictured to the right was presented by the Association to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion at a March ceremony. It stands in a place of honor at the battalion command post.

    The Heritage Foundation approved the design and size of our monument, and directed that it be placed in the second phase of the Semper Fidelis Memorial Garden; development of the Memorial Garden has been delayed. Dedication of our memorial may not be before early 2011. A dedication and memorial ceremony is planned on site. Association members and families will be informed in advance of the day and time of the dedication



       The 1st Recon Battalion Association will place a memorial in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Garden of the National Museum of the Marine Corps honoring the two hundred sixty-two 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 Iraq. 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.  

    1st Reconnaissance Battalion

       1st Reconnaissance Battalion, less elements supporting MEU (SOC) deployments, is again deployed. 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: The Raider Report is also posted at our Association web site: RR (email).pdf 1st Recon Battalion’s website is comprehensive and very informative. The Raider Report is an excellent newsletter filled with useful information about the battalion. To learn more about the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, visit their website!


    The Passing of a Legend-Sergeant Major Otis Barker

       Anyone who served in A Company, 1st Recon Battalion in 1967-1969 has enduring memories of 1st Sergeant Otis Barker. Top Barker was a short, powerful, profane and thoroughly professional Staff Non-Commissioned Officer, whose service in World War II, Korea, Lebanon and Vietnam earned him a Silver Star, Bronze Star and five Purple Hearts. Top Barker ran Alpha Company. He knew it and so did everyone else. No one messed with the Top. Most of Alpha Company went out of their way to stay off Top Barker’s radar screen and hoped that they didn't screw up. The Top knew everything that was going on, and he didn't seem to have much of a sense of humor. If you got on the wrong side of the Top, you were likely to be off to the grunts. Leading Company PT, his one arm pullups, running the Company in formation to Freedom Hill and back, adding your name to Charlie’s Hunting Club, riding with a team to a hot LZ and one of his ass chewings are memories of Top Barker that stay with you forever. Does one marine make a difference? You Bet! Top Barker may have been 5'5", but to his Marines, the Top was a giant of the Corps. Top Barker’s legacy is the many young Marines and Corpsmen, now grown gray and out of shape, that learned, through his example, that they could be better men than they ever imagined. Rest in Peace Top!

    For flicks and comments from those who served with Top Barker go to


    Bob McConaghy (2 Cool) H&S COMM SEC / 1ST FORCE VN June 22, 09
    Col. Richard "Dick" Oxnam 1st Recon Co. Korea July 15, 09
    Lt Col Michael J. Smith 1988/1994 Extract Date Unknown
    Ben Szumagala Delta Co 67/68 Extract Date Unknown
    Val Fuiava, Alpha 70/71 Team Cayenne & others. March 31, 2007
    Vaughn Towle B Company 1983-1985 Extract Date Unknown
    William Kern Reconnaissance Company 1993-1997 Extract Date Unknown
    Corporal Ryan L. Pape. Force Reconnaissance Co. 09 Parachute accident Dec. 09
    Todd Werda C Company 1989-1992 Extract Date Unknown

    More Reunion Info

    Adam Donovan Alpha 88/92
    Allen Hallbauer Delta 67/68
    Anthony Miele Alpha 03 - Present
    B. Parker Miller Alpha 69/70
    Billy Upchurch Alpha 90/93
    Brain Donnelly Charlie 80/81
    Chuck Setser Echo 69/70
    C.S. Goddard "Doc" Charlie 89/91
    Dan Avery H&S 67/68
    Dan Kumle Alpha/Delta 70/71
    Danny Conyers Charlie 67/70
    Denzil Franklin C & D 90/99
    Don Losson Alpha, Charlie, & H&S 73/75
    Donald Cole Alpha 84/88
    Douglas Burkhardt Alpha 67/68
    Edward Larkins H&S 99/02
    Edward North Charlie 90/92
    Eric Leppanen Alpha 90/93
    Eric Loya Charlie & 1st Force 81/83 & 91/00
    Frank Cole Delta 68/69
    G. Lew Joiner Bravo 60 and Alpha 65/66
    Gregory Walsh Alpha & H&S 73/74
    Henry Covarrubias Alpha 68/69
    Ihor Balaban Bravo 81/84
    Jake Hollingsworth Recon Co. 96/99
    James Baranowski H&S 06/08
    James Hunt Charlie 70/71
    James Morley Echo 68/69
    James Oberlander Alpha 82/84
    Jason Rampa H & S 09 - (Present)
    Jeffery Lee Bravo & H&S 89/90
    Jim Ambrose H&S 90/92
    Joe Reyes Jr. Echo 1st Recon and Bravo 5th 68/70
    John Henson Bravo 68/69
    John Sumner Alpha 66/67
    John Tapia Div. Recon 95/97
    Jon Darah Bravo 84/86
    Jon Hall Alpha 70/71
    Jonathan Muhl Bravo 77/78
    Jonathan Staples H&S 90/93
    Joshua Gennari Alpha & H&S 01/03
    Justin Honcoop Alpha 05/09
    Larry Elkins Delta 69/70
    Lawrence Jones H&S 59/60
    Lincoln Stull H&S 64/65
    Lynn Day Charlie & Delta 66/67
    Michael Schneider H&S, Bravo, Charlie 69/70
    Owen Lovejoy II H&S and Charlie 90/91
    Patrick McKenzie Charlie 02/06
    Peter Simpson H&S 70/71
    Randy Lowry Delta 69/70
    Richard Davidson 50/51 55/56
    Rick Schaepe DRP 74/77 & 86/93
    Robert Cortesi Alpha 70/71
    Robert Grace Echo 70
    Ronald Nottage Charlie 69/70
    Ronald Orr H&S Motor T 72/76
    Ronnie Bayless (Dave) Alpha & Charlie 2000 - 03
    Roy Burns Bravo, H&S, & 1st Force 2/66 - 2/67
    Samuel Dunnuck Alpha 2nd Plt. 05/07
    Samual Luera Echo 67/69
    Seth Vance A Co. 1st Recon 06/08 and Force Co. 08/09
    Stephen Dockery Alpha 68/69
    Ted Godlove Alpha 68/70
    Thomas Davidson Delta Co. 69/70
    Thomas Minder A, B, C, DRP, & H&S 77/87
    Timothy Derkatch Bravo 77/79
    Timothy Neese Alpha 86/89
    Tom Majewski Alpha 68/69
    Walter Farrell H&S 80/84
    Wayne Missildine A Co. DRP 85/87




    1st Recon Gear

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