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By Pat Lisi

I came across some photos the other day that were taken in Vietnam in the late 1960’s.  The top picture shows part of a squad that had just returned to 2nd Platoon, Echo Company, 2/5’s command post, after a night ambush.  I was the Platoon Guide at that time and I accompanied the Marines out on the mission.  We did not activate our ambush, because we did not see any of the enemy during the night.  But, we were very tired and hot.

The 3rd man back pictured here was killed the day after this photo was taken.  It was April, 1969, his name was Tom Romaine.  Note how the men are standing with their arms ‘open’.  This is was a common stance when temperatures were tropical and humidity levels were brutal.

The  middle picture is one of myself (on the right) and Ira Stone (L).  We are back at the An Hoa combat base on a couple days away from the field.  Don’t mistake the time we spent in the rear with fun and games, because when were back at the base camp our time was spent with training exercises and standing bunker watch at night.  We were typically anxious to go back out in the field, as the time spent in the rear was dreary and very boring.

Ira is from Little Rock, AK and we have kept in touch all these years and gotten together a few times since the war.  While with Echo Company Ira was the Platoon Guide and then Platoon Sergeant.  He left for home in early spring, 1969 and I felt alone until I found someone else to chum around with in the bush.  Everybody needed a companion to have their back when the shit broke lose.

The Marine in the lower picture is Mike Wasserman from Boise, Idaho.  Mike was in my platoon in boot camp and we both graduated as PFC’s.  I would say Mike was my best friend in the Corps, but he was killed on October 12, 1968 when our company was attacked by a large force of NVA on Hill 100 in Quang Nam Province.  Mike was the M-60 machine gunner in our platoon and was dug in on the tip of a finger that overlooked a large valley down below.  The enemy knew they needed to silence his position if they had any hopes of reaching the summit to get at the rest of us, and so Mike’s fighting position was targeted rigfht away.

My wife and I went out to Boise, once, to visit Mike’s mother and siblings.  It was a bitter-sweet experience, because the family was very curious as to how Mike died and whether or not he went quickly.   I think they were satisfied with my rendition of how things went down that October, 1968 night, and they get closure to Mike’s death.


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