Category Vietnam War/Era

Poppa Fox

I have written on several occasions about the Purple Foxes. It is a Marine Corps helicopter squadron formerly known as HMM-364, now redesignated VMM-364 to reflect transition to the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. The squadron’s first aircraft was the Sikorsky H-34 helicopter, and its first designation was HML-364, which stands for Light Marine Helicopter. The […]

Hell in a Helmet

This is what the Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines call themselves. There is a reason for this; the battalion has participated in some of the most horrific battles in our nation’s history since World War I. Since its initial activation in 1917, 2/9 distinguished itself during the Battle for Guam and Iwo Jima […]


In May 1966, a small North Vietnamese reconnaissance force made their way across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) into Quang Tri Province. The unit’s mission was to begin preparations for a massive invasion by regular forces of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). Preparations included organizing local sympathizers to help with a very large logistics support mission. […]

Wings of Honor

This story begins with a young Hospital Man by the name of Gary Norman Young. Gary was attached for duty with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 364 (The Purple Foxes), one of the most decorated units in the Vietnam War. Gary was Navy Corpsman volunteer for medical evacuation missions. He knowingly put himself in harm’s way to […]

Combined Action Platoon (CAP), Vietnam —Part VI

By Lieutenant Colonel William C. Curtis, USMC (Retired) I always tried to think about what we were doing in terms of how the enemy would view it: our defensive positions, our offensive tactics, and in our relationship with the civilians who surrounded us. Politeness and courtesy toward village officials, women, and the elderly was very […]

Combined Action Platoon (CAP), Vietnam —Part V

By Lieutenant Colonel William C. Curtis, USMC (Retired) Around June or July 1967, our CAP had a new Corpsman report in.  He was a young fresh-faced kid from the Middle West. Naturally, I welcomed him and let him know how important he was to all of us. I asked him about his history and somewhat shame […]

Combined Action Platoon (CAP), Vietnam —Part IV

By Lieutenant Colonel William C. Curtis, USMC (Retired) Hotel three was linked by tactical radio to the support base at Phu Bai. One morning I received a summons to report to higher headquarters, the Combined Action group. After our meeting, I tracked down the mail orderly to see if we had any mail, and then […]