Judge Donovan's Evening Parade Speech
General and Mrs. (Bonnie) Amos,
General and Mrs. (Ellyn) Dunford,
LtGen. and Mrs. (Pat) Mills, USMC
Marines, and Families of Marines, Distinguished Guests
As Marine Veterans of Viet Nam ( '62 thru '75) our bonds have formed throughout the last 50 years.
Better that the next five minutes be spent in silent remembrance...of our fallen Marines and their families ...their faces, names and voices...who breathed their last while placing their Marine Buddies first...forming our lasting memories eloquent beyond our mere words.
As Representatives of Marine Aviation in this Centennial Year, we shall raise our voices in commemorative toast to All Marines on the Ground and their families, whom we praise.
Bonds of friendship five decades in formation, daily lift us in The Spirit of Semper Fidelis.
Here among us tonight are persons of exemplary character, leadership, skills and dedication to the Mission of The Marine Corps, whenever and wherever...all sharing the same earned first name "MARINE"...and their surnames are: Infantry, Artillery, Logistics, Aviation Maintenance... Crew Chiefs wearing Aircrew Wings and Medical Corps ensignia. We are Marine Air Ground Task Force, once and forever again.
We recall those for whom we flew support among the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Marine Divisions in RVN. Leaders among them come to mind:
Lt.Gen. Ron Christmas and his Marines in the Battle of Hue;
Col. Bill "India Six Actual" Dabney and his Warriors of Hill 881 South;
Lt.Col. Al Chancey, Flight Leader of “SuperGaggle” support on Hill 881 S Landing Zone,
Cpl. Assum, and Helo Support Team.
Permit this reflection... from Camp Upshur, Parris Island, Marine Corps Depot San Diego...we all lined up for that first breakfast plopped onto plates on metal trays...fast forward in a heart- beat...around our necks were dog tags and a John Wayne key...with C-Rats...who can forget the Turkey Loaf, or Pound Cake...or Pork and Beans..in combat...in LZ's...at the ramp of a UH-34 or a
CH-46 or CH-53 or in Huey Guns or Cobras.
Day in day out...month after month...never a simple shower...seldom a letter from home then many at once...mud rain heat...dreary tired eyes staring at each other: "How you doin’ Marine?" "Great! One more day in paradise! How 'bout you Marine?"
In the eyes of a Marine extracted under fire and laid with many other wounded, jammed into our helicopters...maybe a Corpsman on board...maybe not...
that's where Crew Chiefs did all:
help the pilot, and perform a tracheotomy to save a choking Marine in agony...a wounded Marine buddy next to him spoke these words to the crew chief,
"You Really Do Give A Shit”
"Medevac missions" in valleys like “Queson” or “Ashau” need only be mentioned to invoke the highest traditions of the Marine Corps.
1st Lt. Macharg flew solo from his Co-Pilot seat, fully loaded with Medevacs, when his HAC was hit by rockets at An Hoa. Cpl. King jumped in the HAC right seat to monitor gauges.
Crew chiefs patched up their damaged aircraft...slept, if at all, in the aircraft...
resumed flying the next O Dark Thirty and thus history was made by those unable to write home, much less write a record of what happened to them...names recalled only as "Marines" but to name a few "Altazan" "Gomez" "Steinberg" "Gruenwald" and our Avionics NCOIC "Jim King" who volunteered to ride the hoist down through the triple canopy of Charlie Ridge to extract
from burning wreckage Capt. Rich Bianchino (1st Tour as Co Cmdr, 2nd Tour as Bn Ops at Hill 55, and 3rd Tour as Purple Fox CH-46 Pilot when he was medevac’d to CONUS).
This Marine like his Squadronmate,
1stLt. "Cash" Casciano, here tonight, bears the smile of a champion while still overcoming great hardships.
We Purple Foxes of HMM-364, salute a Marine who gave us our cohesive lifelong example of his leadership, one to another. This former "Buck Sgt" 1946-7 was our CO Lt.Col. Eugene R. "Papa Fox" Brady in 1969, as we forty one green horn Lieutenant helicopter pilots merged from everywhere into our most remarkable Marine Squadron "The Purple Foxes" as HMM-364 CH-46 team.
The torch now passed, our Purple Fox families today bear the mark of loyalty that "The Papa Fox" and his wife, Virginia, set by example, marking each chapter of our lives over decades with their honored presence.
In Our Remembrance of them, we are grateful.
All One Breed,
We "Marines" gather again tonight,
as one Marine Air Ground Task Force
to recall our friends,
whether precision bombing by Fixed Wing Marines in close air support,
or steadfast Cobras and Huey's side by side with Marine Medevac Birds they provided direct support down to the LZ...be it rice paddy, or triple canopy jungle, where
Marine Infantry prevailed and upheld the highest traditions in combat again and again,
in fire team, Recon, or Company movements.
We Marines tonight gather to give thanks for the honor of serving together.
From the first rallying cry
in1964 at Do Xa under LtCol John LaVoy,
in 1967-'68 to Hill 881S “Super Gaggle” support "India Six Actual",
in every MOS of every Marine Mission, since then and now, We One Breed of Marines,
Really Do "Give A Shit" and will do so forever.
On behalf of All of US Marines!
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