By Bill Ring, Board of Directors, Nominations
It is hard to believe our reunion is only three months away. The planned activities in San Diego and our guest speakers will make this event one of the best yet. By way of introduction, my name is Bill Ring. I was with Delta Company 1st Platoon. I arrived in country in November 1967 and was sent up to Quan Tri.
The battalion had, for the most part, moved up to Con Tien, the day before I arrived. The Hill of Angels known in English or what some described later as a little Khe Sanh as we were in Artillery and rocket range from the North and the target area was much smaller. That was where I received my baptism of fire when a platoon from Alpha Company under the command of Lt Smith, later to become General Smith, ran into an NVA detachment and first Platoon Delta was sent out to assist. When not filling sandbags or digging deeper, it was nightly ambushes and LPs. Rain, mud, and cold. I thought it was supposed to be hot there. Little did we know. After leaving beautiful Con Tien just before Christmas, it was off to Camp Evans for a so-called break. Cold showers, new utilities than on to Operation “Neosho” slugging through paddies and sand again, cold, rainy and muddy. All during the so-called Christmas Truce. What a laugh. Hue City was our next stop on the tour of exotic places. Followed by a return trip up North to Ca Lu and into the Khe Sanh area with Hill 881S, Hill 861, Hill 558 and lastly Hill 689. That hill was the most infamous as we lost most of the first platoon in an ambush in July. The incoming and nightly NVA assaults were the order of the day. Not even a decent place to visit much less want to live there.
With the close of the Khe Sanh base and abandonment of the Hills, Delta Company was sent down to C-2 just below Con Tien in preparation for a move to the Da Nang area. Well, that plan didn’t work out for me as a recon team had run into what was thought to be an NVA platoon moving through the DMZ headed South, and 1st Platoon was sent out as a reaction force. Well, landing in a hot LZ wasn’t quite the word for it, but arriving in an NVA Company CP was where we ended up. The chopper that took us in was shot down on the way out, and we could hear the NVA dropping the mortar rounds into the tubes. All in all, not to an inviting scene. I was hit shortly after landing, and then the Lt was hit. There were about 13 others also hit and medevacked that night. Later that evening, the remainder of the Company arrived, and I was off to the land of the big PX spending six months in St Albans Navy Hospital in Queens, NY and a medical discharge. I am attempting to locate the Lt who was our CO that day I believe his name was Kull or Cole or some variant. I am hopeful that at our reunion, we can meet up with others who were there to renew old friendships and toast to our fallen brothers.
I look forward to this year’s reunion as we are not getting any younger, and the ravages of Agent Orange continues to haunt us all. I would ask anyone who is on our list to reach out to any other Marines they may be in contact with and encourage them to attend or if they are unable to touch base with the Committee chairman to provide their contact information so that others may be able to get in touch with them. That’s all for now and hope to see everyone in San Diego.