David 'Doc Johnson - Editor
May 2005
Officers & Directors

Tom ‘Stormy’ Mateo
Vice President
Paul Mangan
Phil Lelslie
Mario Sagastume

John Norman
Phil Odom
Gene Csuti
Joe Mazzariello

Newsletter Editor
David ‘Doc' Johnson

Vin Burdziuk

Inside this Issue

2005 Reunion Set

‘In the bunker’
President Tom Mateo

2/1 on the Road
How to Register
Bronze Stars
Mail Call
Let’s Sell Some Books

Dues and membership renewal

Please return this form along with your $15.00 dues made payable to;
“Vietnam Era 2nd BN 1st MAR”
Mail to: Mario Sagastume  778 Silverado Estates Ct., Chico CA 95973

Name: _________________________________________________________

Address __________________________________ City _________________State ___ Zip_______

Phone ____________________________________ Email address __________________________

Is this a renewal?___________

Yes! I wish to support  2/1 and enclosed is my dues of $15.00___________

Yes!  I wish to receive the newsletter: _________

* Organization name (i.e. Golf, Foxtrot, etc.)________  

* Years of service in Vietnam: _________ 

* (include nickname if your buddies knew you by that) _________
Volume 4 Issue 1
We are going to Reno folks, the Biggest Little City in the World. When: October 26th thru October 29th.  Why Reno?  Cost, more bang for your buck.  What would you think about $35 a night on week days and $69 on Friday and Saturday to stay in the room on the right?  This room is comparable to any room we have yet had the pleasure of staying in at reunions in the past and for half the cost.  If these rooms are not large enough; they have mini-suites for $65 ($73.78 with tax) Sun-Thu and $99 ($112.37 with tax) Fri-Sat. 
And I have not even mentioned airfares.  All sorts of discount rates exist into Reno and can be easily accessed and purchased from websites such as Ortiz, Expedia, or Hotwire.  Checking the host of rates available this evening I could fly cheaper than drive.

A recon mission was lead by our Chief, Stormy, and members of his staff, and the resulting LZ is listed as the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, Reno Nevada.
And they really do mean Circus with FREE DAILY CIRCUS ACTS.  The Circus Circus Hotel & Casino features a variety of FREE World Class Circus Acts Daily on the Midway Stage. Come see the Imperial Acrobats of China; Trapeze and Aerial Silk from Mexico; from America, The Globe of Death and JR Johns and his award winning Canine Comedians; and from Russia, Juggling and Rolla Bolla.
Also happening concurrently with our stay is the Nevada Day Celebration,
Oct 26- Oct 30.
Nevada Day Celebration is celebrating Nevada’s birthday including the largest parade in the state, the Nevada Day Parade on Sunday, October 30.  And we have not even started on the surrounding area, Lake Tahoe, the Sierras, other casinos, acts, and entertainment available.
To register, AND WE DO WANT YOU TO REGISTER, call Circus Circus at (Ph) 866-447-7728, www.CircusReno.com .  Ask for a room in the Sky Tower making sure to give them our group rate code number, 1VV21 (one victor victor two one).  We are going to Reno with the idea of having a good time and we want as many former 2/1 members as the hotel will hold.  And you can help.  No doubt you know a number of other members.  Call them.  Ask them to come.  If that don’t, make they feel guilty, bribe them, lie, do anything you can to make this trip one of our greatest yet.  But most of all, do come and join in the comradely.  We want to see you in Reno.
Now here are a few bennies you should know about  1) You will have the chance to win a Free Hotel Stay.  There will be a drawing for up to three group members to win their stay at the hotel free.  Sign up now, you might get lucky.  2) As a member of the 2/1 group  (1VV21) you will receive VIP status throughout the hotel and casino.  3) Your VIP package will include a 10% discount at all Circus-Circus retail stores, Business center, and restaurants.  4)  Two free drink coupons and 5)  A voucher redeemable for five free midway play coupons.  6) There will be an airport shuttle form the Reno / Tahoe International Airport.  This shuttle available to all Circus Circus-Reno guests picks up from the airport at a quarter after the hour and a quarter to the hour and leaves the hotel at the hour and half-hour daily beginning at 5:00 a.m. until 12 midnight.
Hospitality Suite
Like previous reunions we will have a Hospitality Suite, this year however, we will have five rooms for our hospitality functions and all of them will be connected.  In one suite will be our complimentary bar, another room will be full of tables so we can talk and enjoy our stories and families, another room will have our PX while other rooms will serve as unit meeting rooms and a place for our smoking brothers. The hotel is giving us and opportunity to do something new this year, provide free noon chow for all of you that want it.  On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday your association will be providing a no cost colt cold cut buffet in the hospitality suite for all of you that would like to join brothers and their families for lunch.  All items to here on page two were taken from our website and may be viewed there at http://www.firstmarines.org.  Our Webmaster, Vinnie, can be reached at Vin@FirstMarines.org for anyone with questions about that site, comments, and additions.  As information becomes available it will be added to the website.  I’d also like to personally thank Stormy and Paul Mangan for their effort in putting this thing together.  Great effort!
Other News
I do not know where I got this from but I thought it was worth mention for those of you who experienced life as Life Magazine, October 27, 1967, wrote about it “Inside the Cone of Fire at Con Thien.  You can read about 2/1 at Con Thien at http://www.ehistory.com/vietnam/books/1968/0041.cfm  see pages 41-43.  Lt Col Parker is mentioned on page forty one.  What is not mentioned is it was Mike “Doc” Hill and I that took him from the COC Bunker to BAS to be medivaced.  What a day that was, like the day Kennedy was shot.
Mail Call
Hello Doc Johnson,

My Uncle was LCpl Robert A. Blissett 2/1 Fox, 3rd Platoon. He arrived in Vietnam on 7-16-67, and was KIA on 11-30-67 in Quang Tri Province.  He was killed by a landmine; I was told that someone near him tripped one, but I have not been able to verify that information.  He died before I was born.  My father has told me things about him, but I want to hear from guys who he served with.  I'd like to know things about his life at that time from his buddies, the things they were doing during their tour.  Personal stories his friends might remember that they could tell me.

Could you place something to that effect in the newsletter?  Doc Pipkin says that I'm eligible, so I will be joining your organization soon.  Hopefully I'll be put on the newsletter mailing list when they receive my dues. Thanks for contacting me, and I look forward to getting your newsletters. Sincerely, Rob Blissett.  Anyone with any information they’d be willing to share with Rob may reach Rob at 1542 Brandywine Ln, Little Elm, TX 75068
Hey Marines,

For all of you who shared the wonderful vacation in Vietnam with me, and you've met my son at a reunion or two, I would like to let you know that he has taken and oath to pursue a Marine Corps career.  He is now in college but has signed on for the PLC program.  He has been tested and past the requirements to become a Marine aviator. This summer he will attend OCS for six weeks.  He will be commissioned after graduation from college, attend TBS, then on to flight school.  I know he'll do his best to take care of our Marine Corps with the love, honor and tradition that he has learned from you Marines.  For this I thank you.  Semper Fi,  Ollie  AKA Bruce Oliver of Golf 2/1, 68/69
Say Folks---we have numerous books in stock, largely “We Remember II.”  These books are paid for and represent boxes of money that currently exists as non-legal tender, meaning they are our money which can not buy anything.  They are inventory and would serve us much better if turned into cash.  Libraries will take them, in particular home town libraries.  High schools have bought them.  College libraries have bought them in the past.  How about helping us out?  Call your old schools.  See if they would like your book among their inventory.  If they do, let me know.  You can contact me by mail at Dave Johnson, 265 2nd St SW, Forman ND 58032, via Email at 17dodge@drtel.net or by phone at 701-724-3347.  I will see they get a book.  All I need is where to send it and who to bill it to.  Let’s see some effort about getting those books turned into cash.
Bronze Stars
Doc Pipkin has noticed that we do not have in our Awards Page a place of honor for those who received the Bronze Star.  Pipkin will be contributing a couple of citations and Vinnie will be creating the necessary pages on the website for those known to have earned the Bronze Star.  Anyone with any information is asked to contact to Vinnie at Vin@FirstMarines.org..
From the Bunker, President’s Message
Another reunion is around the corner and we look towards making this one the biggest one yet. Your board has worked real hard and spent countless dollars of their own money to make sure that the venue is a perfect site for all to have fun. I would like each of us to find another brother from our company and to get him and his family to attend the reunion.  Everyone should make an effort to get in touch with someone who they served with and talk them into joining their brothers in Reno. This is your association and we need to all pitch in the make it better for the years to come.

On another note we have a new treasurer on the helm, Mario Sagustume has taken the bridge and is currently putting some new systems into effect that will make us more informed of the association’s financial status.  We thank Pete Meadows for his efforts over the years and know that he will always be a part of the association in other areas and responsibilities.

Some members had asked about the donations that were sent to the association for the troops. There still are funds available for projects to assist these men and ladies in combat. Some care packages were sent to the troops from the board, basically Second Battalion First Marines were sent packages, which we are not sure on their condition or if the individuals received them for sure?  It was our understanding that a couple of men told our source in 2/1 that they did, but the others did not respond back.  I know from recent conversation with General James Mattis that 2/1 will be going back in when 1/1 returns in a couple of months.

At our next regular board meeting we will announce how much we have left in the donation fund, and what we should do with the funds.  We may want to send more packages or we want to invite some of these troops to dinner, help the Fisher House project that supports the families when they travel to visit wounded personnel etc.  At our last California reunion we paid for all the dinners and drinks for the 3/1 group that was with us at the banquet, so that was a good gesture on our behalf.

Anyone in need of assistance for the trip to Reno may contact me personally.  Remember that rooms are only $35.00 dollars during the week and you can sleep up to four people.  This means that under $10.00 a night you have sleeping quarters, which is an excellent deal.  Just ask for the two queen size beds in the room when you book the reservations.  I will provide one paid room for up to four men to anyone who needs assistance. It's my donation to the association group and hopefully someone will take me up on it.

That’s it for now and keep in touch with Ben Dickson and Ron Bates and the board members who can help you locate old friends.
2/1 on the Road
Actually it’s me, Doc Johnson, on the road.  The wife and I have a fifth wheel trailer and a wild hair to roam so we go whenever we have the chance to where ever the wind blows.  If it were not for our place in North Dakota, we’d likely be on the road all the time given that I am not working anymore.  I like that.  As the saying goes, a bad of fishing is better than a good day at work and while I make no claims to being a ditto-head,  I’ll give a big ditto to that.

One thing other than fish that I try do while touring our land is find out how members of our group, being 2/1 are doing.  For example we stopped to visit Bob Hughes, our former president and founder, at his new location.  Bob’s doing well.  He has himself a new foot and a little black hair ball for a dog to guard his front door.  It was great to see you again, my friend, and hope to see you in Reno.
Then there is my long but not forgotten buddy, Jim McNatt.  Jim has put on a little weight since I last seen him (Jim is on the right in the bottom picture).  Jim and I spent the summer of 67 back packing in and around Dodge City, the Tower, the Tracks, and the bridge on Hiway 1 south of Da Nang.  We were both there when that bridge was over run in August of 67.  He was good scaring the X out of FNG’s (me being one) and to make me feel better, he had me carry an extra belt of machine gun ammo (like I did not have enough to carry myself) just in case he had to save my ass.
One day while at the bridge I had an opportunity to steal a large brown can of peaches from the mess hall.  Jim volunteered to help me eat them but all the time whined about the fact I stole peaches and not fruit cocktail.  Well, I never forgot that and after 30+ years of never seeing each other, I finally got him his can of fruit cocktail (see above).  Jim, we hope to see you in Reno also.

We also stopped to see Sandy Carlson with whom we spent most our time.  Sandy is good friend and has been since the Welcome Home Parade in Chicago.  We’re wishing you the best, Sandy, and hopefully will be back to see in the future. 
And you too, Mary.  Keep in touch.

Then came my most trying stop of the trip, Milt Cochran.  I do not have any funny stories of Milt and me for we really never knew each other, yet, since I have left Vietnam, Milt was perhaps the largest memory that I carried from that place.  You see, Milt, was my very first casualty that I was not sure if he would make it home.  For me, one of the hardest things about the Nam was throwing someone on a chopper and never hearing back if the person made it or not.  Milt was such a person.  Not only that, he was a corpsman and although I do not know this for sure, I believe I was to be Milt’s replacement.  Well I replaced him all right, but not in the manner I had in mind.  Glad you made it, Milt.  And with some luck will see you in Reno.  If I’m back your way, we’ll be stopping by for the evening outing we talked about.  It’s on us.
Click here for:>>> Online Reservation <<< 2005 Reunion
Semper Fi, Tom "Stormy" Matteo, President 2/1 Association
Click here for:>>> Online Reservation <<< 2005 Reunion