MARC C GORHAM ((( PART 2 )))

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forums - A Place For All Vets Fro' started by cpt-t, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    With in a couple of weeks MARK and I were no longer Cherry Boys we were Old Hands and had become very close. And what a few days ago turned your stomach a week ago, now was hardly even noticed. Our Platoon worked some bad areas because of the fire power we had, and we had our own transportation, and staying power when we got there. And when our Radios were working we could talk to ((( GOD ))) on them. We did Search & Destroy Missions and Reconnaissance In Force Missions and ran Resupply Convoys during the day and Ambushed at night. We were kept busy and that was good we didn't have a lot of time think about a lot of things. We didn`t write a lot of letters home for we were pretty dirty, so we used small tape recorders that used batteries. We all talked to each others family`s all the time. And on a tape MARC`s Mother asked me to promise Her that I would take care of Her Son, and to send Him home to Her safe and sound to Her just like She sent Him to me. And I made MARC`s Mother a promise on a tape, that I would send Him home to Her safe and sound, just like She had sent Her Son to me. I had no right to make such a promise to Her, and I would pay dearly for my absolute stupidity. Our Platoon went OPCON to the COL Pattons 11th ACR a few days later. Working the dry jungle and guarding a Roan Plow operation in the day time and ambushing at night. I had a real bad feeling about the next day with the Roan Plows and had decided to leave MARC at the firebase we were working out of on the pretence He could get all of our Back Pack Prick 10`s and Prick 25`s Radios reconditioned at the 11th ACR`s como shop, for they really needed it. But MARC asked me not to leave him and I could see it was very important to him, so I left one of the other guys. We were working with the ROAN PLOWS that day and about 0700hrs a call came in that a small group of NVA Soldiers wanted to surrender and they were only about Klick and a 1/2 away from us. So the 11th ACR told me to go get them, I only had 0ne track at my location and the 11th ACR CO told me, we couldn`t wait to go with the men I had, and he would send the rest of my Platoon when they got to his location. We had to cross a stream so we left our track behind, so 5 of us went to get a small force of NVA Regulars that supposedly want to sunderender. I just knew this was going to be bad. The shallow stream we had to cross was about 30 or 40 ft across and was about waist deep. MARC and I had just got across and were stepping up on to the bank when the 11th ACR called for a SIT RIP and Mark handed me the hand set we were less than arms length from each other when all hell broke lose and MARC took several hits in His chest. And he fell back into a bush in the water and I was able to grab Him in my arms. And I held MARC in my arms till he died while holding him I tried to use His radio but it had several bullet holes in and was inop. We shoot at them and they would duck under the water and then we would duck under the water and the NVA would shoot at us. And this went on forever it seemed. I lost my hold on MARK and had Him by the hand for a while but soon lost that to and I seen Him sink under that muddy water. We were stuck in a bad way but the NVA couldn`t go any where either. Finally out of no where I started hearing voices yelling at us, and I turned around and there was our tracks on the bank of the stream but they could not shoot to help us for we were in between our tracks and the NVA. So they started shooting their rifles to help us out. All of a sudden they started yelling for us to pull back for there was a pair of Cobra Helicopters lining up on a gun run. And we had to do something so we just tried to get to our tracks and we were out in the open, and not any of us were hit. The Cobra`s really worked the place over 2 or 3 times apice. And there was a friendly force that got there that had 15 or 20 or more Infantry troops and they said they were going to MARC and the rest on the NVA if any of them was still left alive. There was a CPT and a 1 LT with them the way I remember it that was in charge and back down in the river we went the CPT and the LT was giving hand and arm signals. And the shooting stared again and the CPT and the LT were both hit really bad. and they started yelling at us again to come back,that the Cobras were getting ready to make some more gun runs and you don`t want to be in the way of a Cobra`s Firepower in a Gun Run. So we grabbed the wounded and got out of the way. The Cobras really worked that place in the river over and I saw a rocket hit right about where MARC and I had been. And a body was blown out of the water and up into the air. And I knew that was MARC. After the Cobras and the 50`s off of our tracks finished working over the area, it was over. And people were just standing around waiting for something to happen. I just told them I was going get my RTO and started wading out in the stream again and others came with me, but I don`t remember how many. I don` remember if there were any shots fired that time. I got to where MARC and I were in the beginning. And the first 2 bodies I found in that muddy water were both NVA, but the 3rd one was MARC and I just picked Him up and carried Him back to the make shift First Aid Station and laid MARC down and I covered Him with a Poncho Liner for I did not want any strangers looking Him or taking pictures of Him while we waited on the Med-Vac Hueys to carry MARC and the other dead and wounded out.. I think I kinda lost it for a few days after that for I really don`t remember much for a while. And when I did get it back I remembered the Broken Promise I had made MARC`s Mother and the Lie I had told her. I don`t really believe She ever forgrave me for that, and I don`t blame Her one bit. Just who in the Hell did I think I was to make MARC`s Mother a promise like I did. And I dream about doing that most every night for the last 47 years. So if any of You that could go look up MARC grave site at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Or. Talk to Him for a while MARC would like that. MARC was a Fine Young Man, You would have liked Him. If You would tell MARC I am sorry and that I will never for get Him.
    THANK YOU:
    ken tucker
     
  2. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Ken Tucker, I sincerely respect and admire you for your having told this story...a story of war with a beginning
    and somewhat of a doubtful ending...no, let me rephrase that...perhaps no ending forever for you, concerning
    Marc....I've waited an entire month to see if there may be other replies...attempts at least by some one other than I who seems to hog the postings...I had read or thought I had, some remarks or other about the coins on the grave marker....You know Ken, the more I think about this story you've so remarkably had related, I think of one of my own I wrote almost 20 years ago..one I was rather involved in...I shan't list any names... only Donnie...we had served together during the Korean War as naval construction forces (Seabees) down in the Philippines when we were mere, teen-aged boys...we helped to build one of the largest and finest air bases in the Far East...Cubi Point Naval Air Station...we served together for that year and never together again, though we both remained for a naval career ...During one of the very brutal attacks by the NVA and Viet Cong against Khe Sahn 1967, Donnie was killed by an enemy rocket...When I was ordered to Vietnam in early 1968, it was during the so-called TET OFFENSIVE 1968 and in a Camp named after Donnie...honors extended to all camps where Seabees would serve during the war...Camp Shields was named after Marvin Shields, the only Seabee ever awarded our nations
    highest award, the Medal of Honor....Be at peace Ken with your thoughts and memories...chances are that your own Christian beliefs are that Marc knows...personally, I've never doubted that Donnie knows.. Chief

    For my own information I went back to check how long ago I'd done that story about Donnie...
    It was February 2001 when MS/NBC still had the site named then :
    VIETNAM MEMORIES BULLETIN BOARD...I posted it 2 different days because of the networks
    rule on length of stories posted.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
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  3. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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  4. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    ROOTER: Thank You for acknowledging and answering my post. I don`t tell this story very often if at all. And I thought about doing it for sometime, before I shared this very personal story here. And probably won`t ever do it again. I really did not know what to expect, but I just did not expect this type of response. Not one Vet other than Your Self, had any comments at all. I guess I really over stepped my boundary`s and offended the rest of those who read my story. I truly hoped some one in the Portland Or area might find the time to kindly assist me in finding MARC`s grave sight and putting a Quarter on top of MARC`s Gravestone. But that was not the case, and am sorry for asking.
    Again I really did not mean to offend any one with the mabey much to graphic story I told. But I really thought this was a place, where I could do so and it would be welcomed. I guess I was wrong.
    ken
     
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  5. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    I don't know who said it but I've recalled hearing it often...."like a voice, crying in the wilderness..". I was hoping that you'd get back to me, Ken...so often the things I post here and in another military forum, My Seabees
    Smug Mug, there are no responses back...if any at all, a very few cryptic, rather bitter words...I found personally, that writing aids and favors my own hurts and short-comings...son John died in 1996 and it is a wonder I survived
    that terrible ordeal...before the computer so I filled numerous yellow pads with stories and more stories...I was under the gun..! Eventually I laid it aside and dealt with everyday difficulties and rewards...Chief
     
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  6. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    ROOTER: I am so sorry for the loss of Your Son. I have a 46 year old Son, our only child. And I can`t even think how my Wife and I would survive, should something happened to Him or our only Granddaughter. I never handled the death of someone that was both close and important to me very well at all. I guess that is one of the reasons why I have so few real friends. I thought I might be able to vent by telling about something that really haunts my thoughts and dreams. But maybe there are just not that many Combat Vet`s that read this Forum. And it is IMHO very hard to try to explain Combat to a person that has never experienced it first hand. I think I will be more carefull next time.
    ken
     
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  7. SkeeterDope

    SkeeterDope Well-Known Member

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    Cpt-t I just found this thread. Thank you for sharing your account and the loss of a Brother. I know what it is to lose good men, men better than I, and the bonds that we forged under fire in combat. He knew the risk going in, there are no guarantees outside the wire. You made sure he got home and not one of us could ask for more and MARC knew that too. I think that he has forgiven you. Cpt-t try to find forgiveness in yourself. The hidden wounds & scars we carry though burdensome serve to remind us that survived the field of battle that life is precious and war should be the last resort. We owe that to those who will be forever young. Sepmer Fi!
     
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  8. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    CAP-T...SKEETER-DOPE...It is unusual for a discussion such as what we are having here to take place...I
    know that you've heard yourself some person remark, "Grandpa was on Iwo Jima with the Marines...Grandma
    told us about that because Grandpa just never did...never talked about it". A fault or a blessing...depends on
    who for...a blessing for the old Warrior for when he'd even remember things, it would make him all jittery...couldn't
    sleep...not thinking about it gave him peace...a fault to his kin for there was no way they'd ever know the first-hand
    accounts of the horrors of war their kin had experienced...I've often on here told of the two times I've attended funeral services for friends I'd met after their war...my wars...when we'd visit tell each other, perhaps even laughingly about something that happened to them...one was from Bob Payne, an Army Air Corp flying a P-47 Thunderbolt during the battle of Okinawa...after the service male members of his family caught up with me to hear more details about Uncle Bob they never knew...another very similar circumstance was Darrell Workman, a B-17 tail gunner, eventually shot down over France to become a German POW...asked to speak at his funeral service I told the group a rather off-colored event related to me by Darrell as actually having been the truth....it was one of those stories that perhaps had happened to a dozen others, but told as the truth of having happened to them....Oh, for the sad occasion of that assembled event that day, that old oft-told story evoked peels of laughter from the men there! Only recently on here I told of being with a mortally wounded Seabee at Dong Ha RVN...TET 1968.
    I titled my story, 'MINE EYES HAVE SEEN......' I had never told that story about that early morning occasion
    when a Corpsman had called out to me to hold the intravienous bottle for the smoke-blackened and bloody casualty there on the litter...As I looked into the man's terror filled eyes, suddenly a change...to an almost peaceful acceptance...as if a veil had passed over them....he died....the corpsman must have known for he took the bottle from me and simply remarked, "Thanks, Senior Chief". Chief
     
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  9. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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  10. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Before the introduction of the P-51 Mustang escorting B-17 bombers from bases in England, the escort
    fighters were (P-47 Thunderbolts) that did not have the fuel range to go all the way and had to turn back to England leaving the B-17 bombers fair game for lurking German fighters and the loss rate of the bombers were
    extremely high.. The Germans main fighter planes were the FOKKERS and the MESSCHERMITTDS. Such
    an attach was taking place this one day with all the fury of any others...."TAIL-GUNNER WORKMAN...THIS
    IS THE CAPTAIN...ARE THOSE BASTARDS FLYING FOKKERS OR WHAT..."? Gunner Workman
    shouted back into his face-mike..."CAPTAIN, THEM FOKKERS ARE FLYING MESSCHERMITTDS"!
    A WWII story told many times by different air-crewman, supposedly having happened to them, personally.
    A friend, Darrell Workman would be shot down over France and be a German POW for the remainder of the
    war...he told me this story years ago and I related it at his funeral service about 1999...Chief
     
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  11. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    rooter, SkeeterDope: Thank You both for kindly responding to me. Sometimes I really feel this overwhelming need to just tell one of the stories that I keep locked away, deep in my soul, that I have dreamed about at night for the last 47 years. To just anyone, anyone that will just listen. And to not be offended, shocked or turned off by the graphic details of the death of one of my very close friends, a particular fire fight or battle, or the description of the surreal sights of going thru a Mountainyard Village . Just after the NVA or VC had just been there and had taken their sport and revenge with the defenceless Men, Women, and Children that had once lived happy lives there. Or retracing your steps thru a fresh battlefield where the ground is still smoldering, the smell of Cordite still lingers so strongly it burns your eyes, and the Dead and Wounded from both sides still lay as they fell. These are some of the mental pictures that are just burned into my brain. And these are some of thoughts that flood my mind, when my memories come to call. And something else that haunts me more every day is the Young Men we lost so very long ago. Their Mothers and Fathers have most all died by now. And I wonder anyone stops and talks them and puts flowers on their grave once in a while. Or if any one even remembers them, or cares. I guess this is a common problem with Young Soldiers, that died so young so long ago.
    ken
     
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  12. SkeeterDope

    SkeeterDope Well-Known Member

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    The Telling is part of healing took me a long time to overcome the grip of my demons and it's still a work in progress.
     
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  13. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Both of you troops have my sincere appreciation and admiration, and though I would never say that I know how you feel, you allowed me to tell you of a comparable pain and agony over loosing my son John...Thank you
    both for your service to a nation deserving, though sometimes there are fellow citizens and even leaders
    seeming not to be deserving. Hang tough...keep telling those stories...it helped me during my worst
    anguish. Chief
     
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  14. SkeeterDope

    SkeeterDope Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Senior for paving the way with your service the CAN DO spirit and a dry place to sleep,I'll send a good word up the chain for John.
     
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  15. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    Rooter, SkeeterDope: Again thank you for just, not only responding to my post`s. But by just simply sharing your time with me and actually just talking to me. I can`t tell you guys how good it is, just to be in the company of men that has Seen The Elephant. Up close and personal again. After I left the Military, I searched for the type of friends I had while in the in Viet Nam. But I never once found them again, not even close. To have friends that with a simple handshake, a node of there head, the wink of their eye, or the simple words I`ll be there for you, should you ever need me. And with that to know they and their troops would walk thru the fires of hell, to save you and bring you home safely. And you felt the absolute same way for them and their troops. I can`t tell you how much I miss that type of comradery and simple trust. I miss who I was and I miss the very special men I served with. And to be just really honest, I miss the adrenaline rush. Of the life I once was allowed to be part of so long ago. I was so proud of being part of that. It was the most important and exciting thing I ever did with my life. And no one can ever take those memories from me. For they are mine and mine alone. I never really fit into civilian life very well at all. I guess I just missed my very special life and old friends to much. But I don`t have to explain this to you, do I.
    ken
     
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Vietnam Memories Forums - A Place For All Vets Fro MARC C GORHAM ((( PART ONE ))) Jan 8, 2016