The Warriors of Hill 881S
(A web site which also shows appreciation)
Thanks Purple Foxes
-From A Recon Guy-
I was at Khe Sanh from June '67 until 20 January '68 (when I got hit). I pulled something more than 30 patrols at Khe Sanh so it's a fair bet that I was in your bird at one time or another – belatedly; thanks for the ride.
I know that Recon was your least favorite load - with good reason. The NVA at Khe Sanh had a big case of the a** for Recon and tried hard to snuff us. If they had good NCO's or officers with them they would hold off closing in for the kill because they knew you guys would be coming and they had a big case of the a** for you too. They would take extra casualties from our fire just so they could get a crack at you. I can't tell you what it felt like to be facing certain death and then see you brave Marines come down through a hail of fire into our crappy or non-existent LZ's to get our shot-up butts out. I would never have blamed you for not coming down - but you did - you crazy bastards.
We were always somewhat distracted so we never thanked you appropriately at the time. Frankly, there are no words sufficient to thank you enough. You guys saw the condensed version of the worst war has to offer. Flying into harm's way in a thin skinned sausage full of JP4 and packing your bird full of wounded, dead and dying Marines is incredible all by itself. But to keep doing it day after day is beyond the pale. As I said; words are insufficient. Then and now, we Recon Marines stand in your shadow.
B Co. 3rd Recon
06-10-08 Forwarded by SgtMaj. Rick Caisse
Sgt major Rick,
I am honored that you thought my e mail was something for your purple fox Marines and their wives to read. I can tell you that we were Battalion Landing Team 3/5 floating on the USS Princeton LPH 5.
The squadron was flying the old Korean vintage choppers and we all sat on our flak jackets and helmets because nobody wanted to lose their manhood by way of a AK 47 round sailing through the fuselage.
The foxes took to us into combat operations Deckhouse I, Deckhouse 2, Nathan Hale and into
I often wondered how they did it, but I know why, because they knew that we grunts were in need and without the help or assistance, many more would have perished in the jungles or rice paddies of
You tell your present day Marines that they have made us old Marines very proud of the work that they are doing. Please tell the older purple fox Marines from my era, that there are a whole bunch of mud Marines alive today, still in the vertical upright position because of their heroic efforts some 42 years ago. I want them to know how thankful we were and I never got that chance to say thank you, until now.
Feel free to send this along,
My e mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Semper Fidlelis and until you return home to your families and a grateful nation, be safe.
Cpl USMC 2140311
1st platoon, Mike Company
3rd Battalion 5th Marines
FMF, 1st Marine Division
10-13-07 The Purple Foxes Were Always There
I just found your website on the internet. I served with Fox Company, 2nd Bn., 5th Marines from March of 1970 until February of 1971. We were picked up, delivered, resupplied and rescued by Purple Fox many times during my tour. We were located in An Hoa until it closed down and then LZ Baldy until the Battalion went home in April of 1971.
I can't say enough about the courage of the pilots and air crews of HMM-364. It always seemed that when the going got tough Purple Fox was there. I can't even remember the names of the other squadrons in country at that time. I do seem to remember a little blue bird on the tail of a few 46's but no name.
This is one of the best military web sites I have seen. The photos from 1970 and 1971 are great. Just wondered why you don't have a guest book. If your members would like to see other photos of the Arizona, Liberty bridge, Go Noi Island, etc. point them to http://2ndbn5thmarines.com/
Ian Bailey Fox 2/5 1970-1971
While vacationing in Que Son valley from 9/69-9/70, with C1/7, I vividly remember (with a chuckle) the image of a fox (thought it was a wolf) with the saying "Give a Shit" stenciled on the aft rotor tail of a few CH-46s. That phrase succinctly summarized my state of mind for that year. About 3 months ago, while surfing a Marine web page that listed the various helicopter units in Vietnam, I couldn't find any reference to that notorious unit with the "Give a Shit" emblem, but I was told that it had to be HMM-364. Well, yesterday I did indeed find your patch and web page on the list, and I have been reading the passages and enjoying the memories that are flooding back.
During my last 5 months in country, I carried the platoon radio, and daily talked to the pilots bringing in supplies as well as the occasional medevac. You all made a big difference in our lives out in the bush, and I want to thank you all for your dedication and splendid flying, in some very adverse conditions.
Of all the helo units I had contact, the Purple Foxes stands out, that smiling fox and Give a shit motto still makes me laugh. You guys had the right attitude, there it is. I downloaded and printed your patch and have it on my office wall, which will surely generate lots of comments from my associates. Your unit logo has legs, it has been one enduring memory of many which I have of the Nam.
I'm convinced that I should have been a door gunner, although I also recall that I called you all in on some pretty hot LZs in the bush, for medevacs. You all were on the receiving end of some furious gunfire, while I was laying low in the nearest ground depression available, making
like a gopher.
Semper Fi . Cpl. Mike Broderick . The voice of Charlie two.
Love your web site, and you guys saved my butt many times. Was in Vietnam in 64-65 with BLT 3/9, 66-67 Mike 3/5 and 69-70 with 1st Recon Bn. Seems like overtime I turned around we saw that Happy Fox Face. You guys would go out where no one else would, Thank God for sending you guys to Vietnam, or there would have been a few less Marines make it back.
Received many many ladder rides and SPIE rides when I was with the Mission Impossible Team, 1st Recon BN. in 69 and 70. When we saw you guys coming we knew that we would get our mission done. I remember one such mission when we had to go out on a body recovery for a downed Army huey, we came in hovered lowered the repelling rope to go in, for the huey had crash in triple canopy, when we looked down the hell hole we could tell the rope was to short so to get us in the pilot lowered the chopper into the trees as much as he could and we went in. We recovered the bodies and then hooked up to the SPIE rig and you guys took us home to Camp Reasoner. Was also there the day of the Dog and Pony mishap. You guys saved my butt more times than I can remember.
Thanks to all of you and I received many of your calling cards. Would also like to order one of your coffee mugs to have as a remembrance of the Greatest Helicopter Squadron in Vietnam.
Gary Buday, SSgt. USMC (Ret)
I am pleased to say that I have a card from the Purple Foxes in my scrap book. We lifted off under fire, and had the opportunity to exchange some of our own fire out the the empty windows of the 46. We all sat down, sweating and shivering at the same time, as the bird lifted off, down the mountain side, and then up, up and up some more. The crew chief then walked among us and handed out those cards, "This Trip Courtesy of the Purple Foxes". Damned glad they were there for us! Been meaning to send an E-mail to the Purple Fox Assn. for some time, but seemingly just too busy.
Roger "The Walrus" LaRue, former Cpl. USMC
Team Leader Delta 2/2 and 2/3, 1st Recon Bn. RVN 69-70
I just wanted to say thank you. In December of 1967 the recon team "Old Colonel" was extracted from the back side of hill 881 south. This was no small task, it was at night and we were taking fire from an unknown number of bad guys and we were on the move when a flight of 46s with huey escorts flew over. We called for assistance and with no hesitation they landed in what I would call a postage stamp size landing zone and got us out of a jam. On the way back to Khe Sanh the crew handed out business cards stating "This ride is the courtesy of the Purple Foxes." They droped us off and headed back to Da Nang. Just wanted to say thanks.
B Company Recon
I am tingling all over. I received no less than 5 cards which stated, "This emergency extract compliments of Purple Fox." You came in anywhere, anytime. Many of us are alive today because you "gave a shit."
I was there in 70-71. One extract of our team wasn't even supposed to be an emergency. A regular extract from the Sherwood Forest area got real stupid after we blew you guys a landing zone. There wasn't much room, and we were backed up to a steep drop off. The pilot backed that sucker right into the hole we made and then held it there for over 5 minutes while we figured out ways to get in the helicopter. Our tail end saw movement on top of the hill right at the beginning, but we didn't think it was much to worry about. After we were all aboard and the bird was headed home, your crew chief pointed to the deck and the port side. It was full of holes. Evidently we were taking fire the whole time, but that pilot never wavered. When we got back, our secondary radio man, LCpl. Hughes was his name, had taken rounds in the C ration cans that were still in his ass pack. No one got hit other than his chow. The door gunners gave us all cards after they realized they had actually been in the crap.
Purple Foxes...brave men all!!
Robert Fabian, former Cpl. USMC
During the period '69 - '70, I was assigned to the 1st. Platoon, 1st Force Reconnaissance Battalion. During the summer of '70 (late May or early June) our team of six Marines was assigned the mission of determining the size and capabilities of a new Viet Cong base camp which had been spotted in Elephant Valley. Additionally, we were to utilize the supporting arms of artillery and air to levy interdiction and harassment fire upon the base camp.
The insertion was normal and we spent all of day one maneuvering to a position where we could observe the enemy. The second day we spotted troop movement and called in an artillery fire mission. This provided secondary explosions so we then called upon the "fast movers" to rain down their lethal loads for additional damage. This air strike caught the VC in the open right at sunset.
We moved back to the harbour site that we had selected and were preparing to settle down for the night when the Viet Cong opened up on us with their AK-47s on full automatic. That was a mistake because the recoil ratcheted the rifle barrels upward and none of us were hit. We executed a well rehearsed quick reaction defense plan and were able to control the area by the time darkness fell upon us. Our mission and location had been compromised and there was no other choice but to call for an emergency extraction.
The "Purple Foxes" came with their Cobra gun ship escorts. We provided them with a briefing of the situation, a description of our location which would not allow the helicopter to land, and the location of enemy forces. The Cobras raked the perimeter of our site as the lead CH-46 dropped the Stabo-Rig, jerked us out, and flew to a safe site. I remember the night was crystal clear and the ride 100 or so feet below the helicopter was spectacular. You lowered us to the ground at the safe site, we unhooked and entered the cabin of the helicopter to be greeted by your crew chief with a beer for each of us which was truly appreciated as we proceeded back to the MAG-16 flight line at Marble Mountain. Oh yes, the crew chief also gave each of us a calling card and I still have mine.
Don't remember if I thanked you then, but if I didn't, I now say, "Thanks."
Raymond P. Moon, former Sgt. USMC
"We remember Frank from a bad "lesson learned" as his (new in country) door gunner opened up on a strobe light (new to us at the time, stolen from your survival kits) one night in a smoky LZ. He came over to see us after the accident, and helped us piece together what happened from the air crew point of view. Real act of moral courage, and he became one of the heroes of our battalion. As a result, we quickly put blue plastic filters on the lights.
He became an even bigger hero after we learned he could get one of those old frogs into VERY tight LZs under very tough conditions, and I'm sure he "branch tested" the blades on more than a few trees cutting his way into the zone.
Boy, the things we got away with in our youth."
Glen F. "Smoke" Burgess, Colonel USMC(Ret)
08-18-99 Would you please deliver this message for a lot of grunts who owe you guys more than we can ever repay. Speaking for all the grunts who served in Nam, we thank all of you for your courageous effort while coming to our rescue under hot lz's and unbearable conditions to 1st of all take our wounded out of harms way, for the water & ammo resupplies along with the c-rats. And last but not least for getting our Brother Marines who gave it all, back to where their families could lay them to rest in a descent place on American soil. I say to you my Brothers, never ever let the spirit of that time in history fade from your minds and please pass it down to your children. SEMPER FI ! God bless each and every one of you and your families .
Viet Nam 1966 till 1969.
Last Thursday morning I was one of more than 300 runners in the NSA Armed Forces Week 5K run (Ft. Meade, MD). It was pretty crowded at the start, but things thinned out after about five minutes or so, and I took my bearings. Perhaps 200 yards ahead of me was a group of maybe 8 Marines or so who were obviously running together. I decided that a good goal would be to beat them, which seemed reasonable as I am a macho Air Force Chaplain and they were only a bunch of United States Marines. I kept them in sight for the next couple of miles, but the longer the race went on, the younger those guys got. It became apparent to me in the last half mile that I was not going to catch them, and I resigned myself to finishing well behind them.
Then I noticed that one of their number was struggling and was gradually dropping off the pace. I panted out a word of encouragement as I caught him and realized that he was not about to give up. Within 100 yards of the finish line I saw a strange sight. The entire group of Marines made a U-turn in the road and were running back towards me. As they ran past me I noted their well-chiseled muscles and the determined set of their jaws. I glanced over my shoulder in time to see them rally around their buddy to provide the emotional support of the team so that they could all finish together.
I was impressed. No way would they leave a struggling comrade behind. As I entered the finishing chute I murmured a prayer. "God, I'm glad those guys are on our side." And so it was that I learned a theological truth from the U.S. Marines that is as vivid as any my seminary professors ever taught. "If anyone... sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
1 John 3:17,18
Last Thursday I witnessed "a few good men" in action. They reminded me of the strength of being a team, and that words without actions are pretty much useless.
I knew I had been carrying some photos around for more than thirty years. I was your basic 0311 in Vietnam. I am not certain of the time lines of the attached pictures because I was in the same area twice with two different outfits. First was from 7 April 1968 to late August with the 27th Marines. The second time in that same area was from mid September 1968 to March 1968. Can anyone identify the crewmen of the two aircraft?
By the way, you can check out the 27th Marines web site at:
Semper Fidelis & Welcome Home
Thank you for service to your country. I humbly present this picture to you with all of the honour and respect that you deserve for offering your life for my freedom and the freedom of my children. Your sacrifices will allow these two beautiful children to grow up as citizens of the United States of America in a safe, free, proud and prosperous nation. We will never be able to repay the debt that is owed the Veterans of this nation and their families.
Thank you and; "Welcome Home Sir, Welcome Home"
A Grateful Citizen
We felt that we supported the Grunts even though we were also Grunts. The Grunts thought we were crazy and we felt the same toward them. Hope you remember us in your site. Thanks.
3rd Force Recon, Vietnam 67-68
To all members of the Vietnam Helicopter Association:
I served as a grunt with "The Flaming I" 3rd Battalion 9th Marines from July 1966 through August 1967. During this time I was wounded and medevac three times. Many more times my fellow Marines and I were saved from certain death by you angels from the sky. The LZ was hot most of the time but only too hot a couple of times. On those occasions you made several attempts to land only to be driven off by the NVA fire raining down. I still remember the grief in your voice over the radio when almost out of fuel your chopper had to leave the area. There were occasions that you did make it in that I thought there is no way you can keep from being shot down. (Cu Bon Seep. 5, 1966, we had 56 wounded, and Hill 70 west of Con Thien March 30, 1967 in the battle that became known as "Getlin's Corner" we had 16 KIA and 63 WIA. Our air observer, Capt. Ralph Pappas was KIA. Lt. Butch Neal who became Asst. CMC was our arty. FO). Getlin's Corner produced one MOH, Lt. John Bobo, and four Navy Crosses. The gun ship that arrived on station saved our butts. We were outnumbered and outgunned by the NVA but the gun ship made it possible for us to repel repeated attempts to overrun our small unit on that hill. Many Marine lives were saved that night when you braved enemy fire to pick up our most serious wounded.
Today when I hear that familiar whoop-whoop-whoop sound overhead, I am immediately back to those memories of what that sound meant to a grunt. It meant fellow Marines were on their way to help. No matter if it was evac., air support, more bullets and beans, water or mail, you were always there to help the grunts. We didn't know your names. We didn't get to thank you and shake your hands like we would have liked, but you did have our utmost respect and admiration. One of my buddies commented one time when I asked, "I wonder what the 34s crews names are?' He answered, "United States Marines, your brothers."
Thank you from your brothers, the grunts of India Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines.
2308 Chestnut Road
Birmingham, AL 35216