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Thanksgiving 1968
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Nov 24, 2022 10:20:24   #
catterar Loc: Angier, NC
 
I have posted this many times on many forums, this year I thought I would let it go by, but something says post it again.

November 28, 1968. Fifty-four Thanksgivings ago somewhere south of the DMZ and East of Laos on a secured helicopter landing zone in Vietnam.

For days the Marine Corps had been promising us a full Thanksgiving dinner. The 150 plus men of Bravo Company First Battalion Third Marines were looking forward to a break from yet another C-rat meal. The day dawned cold, damp and foggy still we were all excited and looking forward to a hot meal and sharing memories of past Thanksgivings spent back in the world with family and friends.

We were in a state of semi-stand down and there were going to be no patrols from our LZ that day. As the morning wore on the fog thickened into heavy cloud cover. We were socked in.

Soon the realization and disappointment began to sink in, the helicopters would not be flying and the likelihood celebrating the day with hot food quickly dwindled.

Around 1400 the radio in the command post crackled to life confirming our fears. The helicopters would not be bringing Thanksgiving dinner. However, there was a road about 6 kilometers off the ridge we were occupying. Trucks would deliver Thanksgiving dinner in vacuum containers to a specific set of coordinates on that road.

About 1600 two platoons of Marines and two Navy Corpsmen left the LZ headed for the road and a rendezvous with dinner. It was nearly 1800 when our two forces connected. Close to 20 vacuum containers each about the size of an ice chest were unloaded from the trucks Thanksgiving greetings and well wishes were exchanged with the truck drivers who soon left to return to the Dong Ha Combat Support Base and the nearly 40 Marines and the 2 Corpsmen began the long trek back up the ridge.

By now darkness had set in and we moved up the ridge in a column of twos each man with the handle of a vac-can in one hand and his weapon in the other. The going in the dark was difficult to say the least and the wet muddy conditions along with the weight of the vac-cans did not make for an easy hike.

It was after 2000 when we crossed back into our lines. The vac-cans were opened, and steam rose from hot turkey, dressing, rolls with real butter, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables. There was even pumpkin pie. As we sat in small groups enjoying the first hot meal, we’d had in weeks we talked of our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, wives and children back home and hoped that they too were enjoying Thanksgiving and not wasting time worrying about us.

As much as we enjoyed this small break from the war that was not a war each of us knew that some of us sharing that Thanksgiving would never celebrate another and we were all sure that would be someone else.

I was 21 years old and had the privilege of being one of the 2 Hospital Corpsmen who humped Thanksgiving dinner to Bravo Company that cold Thanksgiving Day so long ago.

Reply
Nov 24, 2022 10:26:36   #
mr spock Loc: Fairfield CT
 
A great story worth repeating every year.
Thanks for your service and Happy Thanksgiving

Reply
Nov 24, 2022 11:16:20   #
genocolo Loc: Vail and Gasparilla Island
 
A good and timely reminder of how a few Americans lived, if they were lucky, through hell for 365 days, while the rest of America had the opportunity for a “Happy Thanksgiving.”

1st Cav
Phouc Vinh

Reply
 
 
Nov 24, 2022 14:11:03   #
TriX Loc: Raleigh, NC
 
Worth repeating every year to remind us how lucky we are to be here, and not there - men in a hostile, strange land (I was there also in ‘68)

Reply
Nov 25, 2022 07:08:41   #
yssirk123 Loc: New Jersey
 

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Nov 25, 2022 07:56:47   #
samantha90 Loc: Fort Worth,Texas
 
Thank you for sharing an awesome story.

Reply
Nov 25, 2022 08:00:11   #
charlienow Loc: Hershey, PA
 
Happy thanksgiving. Thank you for reshaping your story and thank you for your service.

Chuck

Reply
 
 
Nov 25, 2022 09:15:17   #
olddutch Loc: Beloit, Wisconsin
 
Thank You for your Service. I cannot imagine how good that meal tasted. And you sure earned it. And it is good to remember that in respect for you, the buddies that didn’t make it home , and those that did. May God Bless you all.

Reply
Nov 25, 2022 09:32:31   #
jaymatt Loc: Alexandria, Indiana
 

Reply
Nov 25, 2022 12:44:39   #
Fredrick Loc: Former NYC, now San Francisco Bay Area
 
catterar wrote:
I have posted this many times on many forums, this year I thought I would let it go by, but something says post it again.

November 28, 1968. Fifty-four Thanksgivings ago somewhere south of the DMZ and East of Laos on a secured helicopter landing zone in Vietnam.

For days the Marine Corps had been promising us a full Thanksgiving dinner. The 150 plus men of Bravo Company First Battalion Third Marines were looking forward to a break from yet another C-rat meal. The day dawned cold, damp and foggy still we were all excited and looking forward to a hot meal and sharing memories of past Thanksgivings spent back in the world with family and friends.

We were in a state of semi-stand down and there were going to be no patrols from our LZ that day. As the morning wore on the fog thickened into heavy cloud cover. We were socked in.

Soon the realization and disappointment began to sink in, the helicopters would not be flying and the likelihood celebrating the day with hot food quickly dwindled.

Around 1400 the radio in the command post crackled to life confirming our fears. The helicopters would not be bringing Thanksgiving dinner. However, there was a road about 6 kilometers off the ridge we were occupying. Trucks would deliver Thanksgiving dinner in vacuum containers to a specific set of coordinates on that road.

About 1600 two platoons of Marines and two Navy Corpsmen left the LZ headed for the road and a rendezvous with dinner. It was nearly 1800 when our two forces connected. Close to 20 vacuum containers each about the size of an ice chest were unloaded from the trucks Thanksgiving greetings and well wishes were exchanged with the truck drivers who soon left to return to the Dong Ha Combat Support Base and the nearly 40 Marines and the 2 Corpsmen began the long trek back up the ridge.

By now darkness had set in and we moved up the ridge in a column of twos each man with the handle of a vac-can in one hand and his weapon in the other. The going in the dark was difficult to say the least and the wet muddy conditions along with the weight of the vac-cans did not make for an easy hike.

It was after 2000 when we crossed back into our lines. The vac-cans were opened, and steam rose from hot turkey, dressing, rolls with real butter, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables. There was even pumpkin pie. As we sat in small groups enjoying the first hot meal, we’d had in weeks we talked of our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, wives and children back home and hoped that they too were enjoying Thanksgiving and not wasting time worrying about us.

As much as we enjoyed this small break from the war that was not a war each of us knew that some of us sharing that Thanksgiving would never celebrate another and we were all sure that would be someone else.

I was 21 years old and had the privilege of being one of the 2 Hospital Corpsmen who humped Thanksgiving dinner to Bravo Company that cold Thanksgiving Day so long ago.
I have posted this many times on many forums, this... (show quote)

I was fortunate enough to only having been on the attack carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) in 1964 and 1965 in the South China Sea. We always had a great deal of respect for you guys fighting in the jungles.

Great story you posted, which should be repeated every year as a constant reminder. Thank you for your service.

Reply
Nov 25, 2022 13:52:27   #
SteveFranz
 
catterar wrote:
I have posted this many times on many forums, this year I thought I would let it go by, but something says post it again.

November 28, 1968. Fifty-four Thanksgivings ago somewhere south of the DMZ and East of Laos on a secured helicopter landing zone in Vietnam.

For days the Marine Corps had been promising us a full Thanksgiving dinner. The 150 plus men of Bravo Company First Battalion Third Marines were looking forward to a break from yet another C-rat meal. The day dawned cold, damp and foggy still we were all excited and looking forward to a hot meal and sharing memories of past Thanksgivings spent back in the world with family and friends.

We were in a state of semi-stand down and there were going to be no patrols from our LZ that day. As the morning wore on the fog thickened into heavy cloud cover. We were socked in.

Soon the realization and disappointment began to sink in, the helicopters would not be flying and the likelihood celebrating the day with hot food quickly dwindled.

Around 1400 the radio in the command post crackled to life confirming our fears. The helicopters would not be bringing Thanksgiving dinner. However, there was a road about 6 kilometers off the ridge we were occupying. Trucks would deliver Thanksgiving dinner in vacuum containers to a specific set of coordinates on that road.

About 1600 two platoons of Marines and two Navy Corpsmen left the LZ headed for the road and a rendezvous with dinner. It was nearly 1800 when our two forces connected. Close to 20 vacuum containers each about the size of an ice chest were unloaded from the trucks Thanksgiving greetings and well wishes were exchanged with the truck drivers who soon left to return to the Dong Ha Combat Support Base and the nearly 40 Marines and the 2 Corpsmen began the long trek back up the ridge.

By now darkness had set in and we moved up the ridge in a column of twos each man with the handle of a vac-can in one hand and his weapon in the other. The going in the dark was difficult to say the least and the wet muddy conditions along with the weight of the vac-cans did not make for an easy hike.

It was after 2000 when we crossed back into our lines. The vac-cans were opened, and steam rose from hot turkey, dressing, rolls with real butter, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables. There was even pumpkin pie. As we sat in small groups enjoying the first hot meal, we’d had in weeks we talked of our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, wives and children back home and hoped that they too were enjoying Thanksgiving and not wasting time worrying about us.

As much as we enjoyed this small break from the war that was not a war each of us knew that some of us sharing that Thanksgiving would never celebrate another and we were all sure that would be someone else.

I was 21 years old and had the privilege of being one of the 2 Hospital Corpsmen who humped Thanksgiving dinner to Bravo Company that cold Thanksgiving Day so long ago.
I have posted this many times on many forums, this... (show quote)


Semper Fi Doc!

Reply
 
 
Nov 25, 2022 14:12:01   #
Earnest Botello Loc: Hockley, Texas
 
Great story, Bob.

Reply
Nov 25, 2022 14:49:41   #
burkphoto Loc: High Point, NC
 
catterar wrote:
I have posted this many times on many forums, this year I thought I would let it go by, but something says post it again.

November 28, 1968. Fifty-four Thanksgivings ago somewhere south of the DMZ and East of Laos on a secured helicopter landing zone in Vietnam.

For days the Marine Corps had been promising us a full Thanksgiving dinner. The 150 plus men of Bravo Company First Battalion Third Marines were looking forward to a break from yet another C-rat meal. The day dawned cold, damp and foggy still we were all excited and looking forward to a hot meal and sharing memories of past Thanksgivings spent back in the world with family and friends.

We were in a state of semi-stand down and there were going to be no patrols from our LZ that day. As the morning wore on the fog thickened into heavy cloud cover. We were socked in.

Soon the realization and disappointment began to sink in, the helicopters would not be flying and the likelihood celebrating the day with hot food quickly dwindled.

Around 1400 the radio in the command post crackled to life confirming our fears. The helicopters would not be bringing Thanksgiving dinner. However, there was a road about 6 kilometers off the ridge we were occupying. Trucks would deliver Thanksgiving dinner in vacuum containers to a specific set of coordinates on that road.

About 1600 two platoons of Marines and two Navy Corpsmen left the LZ headed for the road and a rendezvous with dinner. It was nearly 1800 when our two forces connected. Close to 20 vacuum containers each about the size of an ice chest were unloaded from the trucks Thanksgiving greetings and well wishes were exchanged with the truck drivers who soon left to return to the Dong Ha Combat Support Base and the nearly 40 Marines and the 2 Corpsmen began the long trek back up the ridge.

By now darkness had set in and we moved up the ridge in a column of twos each man with the handle of a vac-can in one hand and his weapon in the other. The going in the dark was difficult to say the least and the wet muddy conditions along with the weight of the vac-cans did not make for an easy hike.

It was after 2000 when we crossed back into our lines. The vac-cans were opened, and steam rose from hot turkey, dressing, rolls with real butter, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables. There was even pumpkin pie. As we sat in small groups enjoying the first hot meal, we’d had in weeks we talked of our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, wives and children back home and hoped that they too were enjoying Thanksgiving and not wasting time worrying about us.

As much as we enjoyed this small break from the war that was not a war each of us knew that some of us sharing that Thanksgiving would never celebrate another and we were all sure that would be someone else.

I was 21 years old and had the privilege of being one of the 2 Hospital Corpsmen who humped Thanksgiving dinner to Bravo Company that cold Thanksgiving Day so long ago.
I have posted this many times on many forums, this... (show quote)


Great story! I couldn't help thinking of what that must have been like, half-way around the globe, not knowing if you would ever return home, and missing your family. My Dad spent some Thanksgivings and Christmases on boats in WWII and Korea. He always got emotional on those days.

Flash forward to today, we have a mess in Ukraine, with all those folks without power, proudly keeping the faith that they will prevail. It seems there is constant reminder that freedom isn't free, and democracies are fragile targets of tyrannical dictators.

Thanks for your service to ALL who bear that burden for the rest of us.

Reply
Nov 25, 2022 16:59:33   #
NDMarks Loc: Dublin, Ca
 
burkphoto wrote:
Great story! I couldn't help thinking of what that must have been like, half-way around the globe, not knowing if you would ever return home, and missing your family. My Dad spent some Thanksgivings and Christmases on boats in WWII and Korea. He always got emotional on those days.

Flash forward to today, we have a mess in Ukraine, with all those folks without power, proudly keeping the faith that they will prevail. It seems there is constant reminder that freedom isn't free, and democracies are fragile targets of tyrannical dictators.

Thanks for your service to ALL who bear that burden for the rest of us.
Great story! I couldn't help thinking of what that... (show quote)


Thanks from a "Lucky" Air Force member. I spent Thanksgiving 68' at Ubon RTAFB, where we had hot meals every day and a Thanksgiving meal with all the sides. We were the lucky ones but I often thought about the folks in the field that were not so lucky. Glad you made it back and can tell the story!

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Nov 25, 2022 18:40:46   #
canberra Loc: Top of the (Chesapeake) Bay
 
Powerful story, indeed. “Thank you” is pretty inadequate, but from the heart……. Thank You.

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