Volume II Issue 1
June 2006
Its Time to Start Planning Our Upcoming Reunion
Officers & Trustees
Paul Mangan

Vice President
Phil Leslie

Ben Dickson

Mario Sagastume

Ron Bates

Phil Odom

Gene Csuti

Ron Sampson

Mitch (Doc) Kosoff

Vinnie Burdziuk
    "The dates for our reunion are the week of November 1st thru the 5th".

Holiday Inn Rosslyn / Key Bridge                 Phone Reservations:  1-800-368-3408
1900 N Fort Myer Drive                                 Hotel Front Desk:        1-703-807-2000
Arlington, VA 22209                                      Hotel Fax:                   1-703-522-8864
Email: hirosslyn@aol.com                   Group Booking code: MRN
Check-In Time:      3:00 PM
Check-Out Time: 12:oo pm

September 1965 – December 1971)

Monthly Command Chronologies for 2/1 during the Vietnam War is now available for review and downloading from our website,  www.FirstMarines.org.  At their mid-winter meeting in Houston the officers and directors of the association determined that acquiring these documents would be of value for those searching for historical information on the Battalion or to support claims to the VA.  The documents are in PDF format and there is no cost for downloading them.
What is there to do in
Holiday Inn Rosslyn / Key Bridge
Overlooking Washington DC and adjacent to historic Georgetown , the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge lies aside the Potomac River across from the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Area Train - Rosslyn

Train Station Name: Rosslyn
Train Station Distance 0.01 MI
Taxi Fee $3.00 

Local Information
Golf within 4 MI
Shopping within 0.5 MI
Tennis within 2 MI


Downtown Washington DC Area 0.75 MI
The Pentagon 2 MI
The Washington DC Mall 2 MI
Capitol Hill 3 MI
Iwo Jima Memorial 0.75 MI
Arlington Cemetery 1.5 MI
Pentagon City Shopping Mall 2.5 MI
Ballston Shopping Mall 2 MI
Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin 3.25 MI
Historic Georgetown 0.5 MI

Purple Heart Happenings
Postage Stamp: By the time you receive this newsletter, The U.S. Postal Service will have issued a 39-cent version of the Purple Heart stamp to meet the new first-class postage rate [target issue date is 27 May 2006].   The stamp honors the medal issued to military personnel wounded in combat.
George Washington designed the original version of the medal, called the Badge of Military Merit, at his Newburgh, NY headquarters in 1782.
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is currently under construction in New York's Hudson River Valley at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site. The 7,500 square foot facility will share the stories of America's combat wounded veterans and those who never returned, all recipients of the Purple Heart.  The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations in an attempt to ensure that all recipients are represented. Their stories will be preserved and shared through a series of exhibits, live and videotaped interviews with veterans themselves, and the Roll of Honor, an interactive computer program detailing the stories of each individual.

The Hall of Honor will be the first in the nation to recognize the more than 1.7 million Americans wounded or killed in action while serving in the United States Military, and will become the nation's sole repository dedicated to the preservation of these stories of sacrifice.  The Hall of Honor will serve all Americans and inspire people around the world to learn more about these men and women and to give thanks to those who gave so much to keep the dream of freedom, liberty, and equality alive for all.
The Hall of Honor wants to register all Purple Heart Recipients in the Roll of Honor, an interactive computer databank of all the recipients of Purple Hearts.  To register, please mail the following information:
1. The name, address, and contact information of the person who will be providing information on a recipient or recipients

2. The name of the Purple Heart recipient and as much information as you can provide: the time of service, rank(s), military unit,        date and location of birth, the date(s), location(s) and circumstances of being wounded, and any additional information that will      help tell the story to visitors, perhaps including future generations of your own family. If you are a Purple Heart recipient                submitting your own information, please include information so that we can contact you.

3. Documentation of receipt of the Purple Heart: Copies of the DD-214, WD or equivalent discharge paperwork, Certificates or            other proof of receipt of the Purple Heart.

4. Copies of photographs, telegrams, newspaper, magazine or online articles about the recipient or other materials that help tell        the story.
Materials can be mailed to: ATT: Karen Pena, National Purple Heart Hall of Honor  PO Box 207 Vails Gate, NY 12584-0207
Telephone 845-561-1765, or fax 845-561-6577.
In addition, objects that help tell the personal stories of each recipient which would be appropriate for exhibit in the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor will be considered. If you have any objects you and your family are willing to donate, something that helps tell the story of service and sacrifice, please include a brief description of any objects you would like to considered.  Due to limited storage space and the amount of attention each object in the collection receives, we may not be able to accept all objects. Please keep your Purple Heart with your family or your community (if you have no relatives who wish to keep it, consider donating it for exhibition at a local museum, library, school or post office so that people across the country can see a real Purple Heart in person). Do not send any objects before hearing from The Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Update - Information You Need To Know About VA Stolen Data
June 2, 2006

To All Veterans and Spouses:

On May 3, personal information on 26.5 million veterans was stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee who was not authorized to take such information home. The data, stored on a personal computer, consisted of names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and some home addresses, telephone numbers, disability ratings and spousal information.
VA Secretary R. James Nicholson publicly announced the theft on May 22 and assured the nation that his department would contact every veteran affected and provide them detailed information on what they should do to protect themselves from identify theft and fraud.

Until you are contacted by the VA, every veteran should assume that they are affected by this loss of personal data, and act quickly to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud. Veterans should contact one of the three largest national consumer credit bureaus below and place a free three-month fraud alert on your file and, if married, your spouse’s file. The other two companies will be automatically informed of the fraud alert.

• Equifax:       1-800-525-6285, www.equifax.com
• Experian:     1-888-397-3742, www.experian.com
• TransUnion:  1-800-680-7289, www.transunion.com

We understand the VA is working with the national credit bureaus to develop a program that will extend beyond the three-month free period. The VFW firmly believes it is the obligation of the U.S. Government to pay for any additional credit protection, to include assisting veterans should they become credit fraud victims.

The VA established a national toll-free number, 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636), and website, www.firstgov.gov, for veterans to contact for additional information, but the answers provided are generic and do not answer the primary question: “Am I on the list?” The VFW recommends that you assume you are.

Here’s what we know about the data loss to date: It impacts up to 26.5 million veterans, to include some spouses. The VA said it affects all veterans who separated or retired since 1975, and older veterans if they filed disability compensation claims or used their GI Bill or home loan guarantees. We also learned this week that World War II veterans who participated in Mustard Gas experiments may be affected, as well as current Guardsmen and Reservists who once served on active duty.
Clearly, we do not have a full accounting on which veterans are impacted, so I urge you to protect yourself and your families now, and I ask that you share this letter with others, especially older veterans who may not fully understand the ramifications of identity theft and fraud.

We will continue to keep you informed as more details become known. Please check our website at www.vfw.org for updates.
Yours in Comradeship,

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
The following is an excerpt from Volume II “WE REMEMBER”
My Brother
By Gary Hoffman

This is a tribute to the men of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines in Vietnam.  It is a painfully true story how the men of 2/1 and their reunion association helped a Marine MIA air crew member and his Marine family 28 years after his death near Con Thein.

Corporal Terry A. Hoffman, USMC, served as a crew chief with Marine Medium Helicopters squadron 262 (HMM 262) flying out of Phu Bai and Quang Tri, RVN.  On 19 August 1968 this squadron flew in an airlift for 2/1 on a battalion-size raid near the DMZ.  Reports of flight that morning indicated that several of the helicopters took hits from small arms ground fire and that injuries were sustained by the on-board infantry and air crew members. 

Lieutenant Lewis Puller, USMC, son of Lieutenant General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, was one of the platoon commanders that were aboard for this operation.  The squadron successfully delivered companies of 2/1 to the designated LZ’s.  After a long and hot day in the field the 46’s of HMM262 returned for flight out.  Members of Echo company 2/1 were being picked up when an artillery bombardment of the LZ commenced. Several helicopters in the landing zone area were hit.

In one of the 46’s, Captain Rocky Darger and his co-pilot 1st Lieutenant Ken Bradley hovered to access damage to another aircraft in the LZ.  The other crew members aboard this aircraft consisted of Cpl Terry Hoffman, crew chief, and Corporals John Hutchinson and Patrick Miles, gunners.  A large explosion under the helicopter caused it to buckle and break into two pieces.  The aircraft crashed and burned, killing all the enlisted crew members.

Capt. Darger and Lt Bradley were seriously injured but survived and were rescued by members of 2/1  The bodies of Cpl Hutchinson and Cpl Miles were later recovered.  The body of Cpl Hoffman could not be located and was presumed burned in the wreckage.  He was listed as “Missing in action, presumed dead, body not recovered.”  Later his status was changed to MIA. 
Cpl Hoffman was my brother.

The story takes up again some 26 years later. Our family believed that some day additional details of this crash and personal would be recovered. We even considered a trip to Vietnam and a visit to the crash site. Events began to unfold—our family received word that an extensive search for MIA’s would be conducted in all known crash sites containing missing Americans.  Bits and pieces of information trickled out of CIA operatives in Bangkok that human remains and personal equipment from this crash site had been recovered.  According to military reports these remains and personal equipment were recovered in the rainy season of 1989 by a local Vietnamese and kept at a jewelry store in Dong Ha. This local Vietnamese died about a year later.  
In July 1993 these remains, military ID tag, and parts of flight gear were turned over to the Joint Task Force for Full Accountability (JTFFA) at the Dong Ha hotel.  Subsequent examination by a team of forensic scientists indicated these were the remains of Marine Cpl Terry A. Hoffman.  On July 4th, 1994, Cpl Hoffman was buried with full military honors.  His final rest is in a very old tree-lined country cemetery close to where he grew up.  He is finally “back home in Indiana,” in the shade of stately sycamores and oaks—along with other veterans, from the Civil War to Vietnam.  In command of the solemn funeral detail was Cpl Hoffman’s’ nephew, Lieutenant Randall Hoffman, a newly commissioned Marine 2nd Lieutenant.  Lt Hoffman is a former enlisted Force Recon sergeant and combat veteran of the Gulf War.  He was two years old when he attended a memorial service for his uncle in September of 1968.

At the ceremony were many friends, classmates, football team members, and neighbors.  The commanding officer of HMM 262 at the time of Terry’s death, Colonel Mel Steinberg, USMC (ret), and his wife flew in from Florida.  We were honored by their presence.  Comforting words of respect for military service and for service in the Marine Corps were spoken by a Vietnam veteran, a former enlisted Marine and now an American Legion division chaplain.  Stories of high school days, proms, the accomplishments of an all conference football and track athlete, a Marine of unselfish patriotism and devotion to duty, God and country filled the gym were Cpl Hoffman attended high school.  Cpl Hoffman flew over 550 mission in Vietnam, and many were in support of 2/1.  He and other air crews faced danger and death daily.  He asked no quarter and gave none.  He was an exemplary Marine just doing his duty.

After taps at the grave side service I began to wonder about the 2/1 that I knew—thoughts of an eyewitness to this crash or someone who could provide details.  With the aid of a new computer and Internet access I began to search and investigate. A short e-mail message to Michael Rodriguez keeper of the 2/1 home page, contained the following request. “Looking for an eyewitness to helicopter shoot down of CH-46-D on 19 August 1968, near Con Thein.  HMM262 was extracting 2/1 at the time.”  A quick e-mail reply from Michael indicated that he and the association would help.  A message went out in the 2/1 newsletter.  A reply came back in the form of a hand-written letter complete with diagrams from Michael Pipkin. Michael Pipkin, a corpsman with Fox Co. 2/1 in 1968, was an eyewitness and also helped recover a crew member from this crash.  His story of this day in August 1968 is told on page 262 in Volume I of We Remember.  Michael sent me the book.  Here it was laid out in detail—the events of 2/1 on 19 August 1968.  Michael Pipkin, Doc Ike Ellis, and others continued to provide photos of the operation and details that were not known to me.  Through their efforts I have contacted other members who were there—the process is still going on.  A telephone call from David Novak prompted this writing.

Our family is indebted to the men of 2/1 for their service in Vietnam and assistance provided to our family by Association members.  As a former member of 2/1 (1962-1963) I am proud of the heritage carried on by this battalion of Marines and the contributions made in Volume I of We Remember.  It is ironic and fitting the Leatherneck magazine article on the compilation of the We Remember book in December of 1994 also carried and article of a 26-year old MIA lost in support of 2/1.  We are proud of our American heritage and the fact that as Marines we exemplify and live by our motto.  It is a brotherhood that has to be earned, and experienced, to be fully understood.  A memorial scholarship in memory of Cpl Hoffman is established and is supported by friends and family.  The scholarship is awarded each year to a member of the Danville, Indiana High School graduating class who exemplifies patriotism, devotion to duty, and military service to this country.

Our family sends a heartfelt thanks to all members of 2/1 and prays fro your continued safety and God’s speed wherever you go.                 
           Semper Fidelis, Gary Hoffman, Sergeant, USMC, 2nd BN, 1st Marines (1962-1963)

Major Sergeants  by Dave Beakey 2/1 Echo ‘68-’69

"I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity." Albert Einstein

As Baker entered the International House of Pancakes, he was stunned. There was a large dining area in front of him and a smaller eating area to his right. In the smaller area sat 6 Sgt. Majors! They were alone, at one table. They wore khaki shirts and dress blue pants. Their white caps were on the table. Their ribbons indicated Middle East service, along with good conduct and a few combat action presentations.

First of all, Baker had never seen so many Sgt. Majors at one time! He thought back to his days of: Platoon 3020 at Parris Island, Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Lejeune, NC, Oceanside, CA, Okinawa, Viet Nam and Quantico, VA. He had never seen more than one Sgt. Major at a time! Additionally, these men were young! He finally realized that they were recruiters, like Sgt. Shaunessy, the Marine who had signed up Baker and his friends, on the “Buddy System.” Baker’s dad had to come with him to the recruiting station, to co-sign the enlistment papers, as Baker was 17 years old.

When Baker was in the Marine Corps, he thought that Sgt. Majors were ancient! They were crusty and profane. These Marines looked fairly wholesome. He wondered, “Is rank quicker now?”  He hesitated, then walked past the waitress, into the private dining area.

The Sgt. Majors eyed him suspiciously. He walked to their table. They all stopped eating. He said, “My, my!  A flock of Sgt. Majors!” They said nothing.  All eyes were on him.  He waited a beat and said, “0311, ‘68, RVN.”  They paused for a second and then they all started smiling. They said, almost in unison, “Semper Fi!”

Baker nodded and left, feeling an overwhelming sense of pride. He also felt a weird sense of sorrow, perhaps thinking of his buddies from Con Thien. Perhaps not…
Major Sergeants by Dave Beakey 2/1 Echo '68-'69
From the C.P.
Mid-Winter Officers and Trustees meeting: The Vietnam Veterans of the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines now has an Operational Plan!  With the hard work and cooperation by your officers and trustees, who traveled to Houston on their own nickel a few months ago, a lot was accomplished to ensure the future of our organization. The details of the plan will be outlined during our annual meeting November 4 2006 in Washington DC (see reunion details elsewhere in this newsletter) but I can report now on the general objectives of the plan here in the newsletter. The 2/1 Operation Plan, at this time, has the following objectives;  Membership, Communications, Annual Meeting/Reunion, Budget & Finance and Service.  Your officers and trustees spent close to three days working on strategies and tactics for each of these objectives, as well as designing a process for reviewing the progress of each goal within a scheduled time-line.  Several of the items on the 'to do' list of the plan are already underway and one or two have even been completed.  For example; during the meeting it was suggested that having copies, of the command chronologies of the battalion, would be of help for those needing information to aid with VA claims, (VA claims assistance is outlined in the Service objective of the operational plan) historical research or for other needs, and that we should acquire the chronologies.  As a result of that discussion and although there are a couple of months that cannot be located at this time, we now have copies of the Command Chronology of the 2nd Battalion, First Marines from September 8, 1965 thru December 31, 1971.  The chronologies can be viewed and copied, or printed, by month or for an entire tour and is available on the 2/1 website, 1stMarines.org, (the chronologies are in PDF format)  *special note;  for any Brothers that do not have access to a computer and might need copies of a particular time period of the chronology, please let us know and we will arrange to get you what you need.  During the meeting, one discussion on the Newsletter portion of the communication objective, resulted in over twenty new or different action items and suggested changes to the content of the newsletter and I hope what you read in these pages indicates how we have tried to meet those challenge.  .You will notice, for example, that we have added an excerpt of a story from one of our WE REMEMBER volumes and changed the overall layout of the newsletter and it's content.  More changes will come and it will continue to improve.
You will also be proud to know that we operated in typical Corps fashion during our meeting in Houston.  We slept barracks style with some on the floor, others on couches, three or four to a room, including the living room.  .........Special note to you wives of the officers and trustees,  ...if you think YOUR Marine snores loud, trying spending three days with a dozen of them...... it was so bad one of the trustees was forced to sleep out on the porch........No name will be mentioned but that trustees wife deserves a medal or something.   Every man had a hand at KP, and thanks to the outstanding culinary skills of Phil Odom, no man went hungry.  Our meeting room was the barn/garage and we took full advantage of it.  We ate our meals in the same place and worked during several of them.   And finally a special thank you to Don Conrad of Bellville, Texas (a new Friend of 2/1) for letting us use his ranch and bunkhouse for our meeting.     

Be sure to be at this years reunion to learn more about the results of the mid-winter meeting and the work of your dedicated officers and trustees.  I personally want to thank each and every one of them for coming together as a team to good work for the association....these guys worked hard.   OooRahh!!

Speaking of the reunion, it would be a good idea for you  to register as soon as you can to make sure you have a hotel room for the November 1 - 4 annual meeting.   We were only able to reserve a certain number of rooms and we want everyone that can attend to get a room, (we usually have several men that are willing to share room and cost and we have even arranged extra bunks when needed) but it would be wise to reserve your room now rather than wait till later.    This years events and programs are starting to come together and we should have an agenda posted to the website soon.  A few weeks ago I received an email from former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Charles Krulak (Golf '65 - '66) in which he said that it is his hope to join us at this years reunion and banquet, provided HQ Marine Corps, does not have other plans for his time during Marine Corps Birthday week, which begins the weekend of our reunion.  I know all of us would be honored to have General Krulak join us.   We may have a few more special attendees this year so be sure to be there.  (Reunion and hotel info can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.)
            Semper Fidelis, Paul Mangan  - Foxtrot '65 - '66
Happy Birthday America
New Memberships & Renewals
On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born. Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the "land of the free and the home of the brave" so they can begin their American Dream.

The United States is truly a diverse nation made up of dynamic people. Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate that freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings. Through the Internet we are learning about and communicating with people of different nations, with different languages and different races throughout the world. Bringing the world closer with understanding and knowledge can only benefit all nations.

     We invite all nations to celebrate with  
              Americans this July 4th!                                          
From the Webmaster
Thanks to you we will be breaking our goal for 5,000 pictures on our 2/1 website this year. I know there are a lot of you who have your memories locked away in your photo albums. And there are many more of you who have a story or two to tell. Share your pictures and stories with us! Lets get the historical perspective of Vietnam Vets of
2nd Bn 1st Marines “Archived” so future generations will know what we were about!

Send them to: Vin Burdziuk

Please return this form with your TAX DEDUCTIBLE Voluntary Donation of  $15.00, $25.00, $50.00 –or- $100.00 to:

    Vietnam Veterans of 2nd Bn 1st Marines
Mario Sagastume  778 Silverado Estates Ct., Chico, CA 95973



City:              State:Zip:

Phone:  eMail:

Is this a Renewal ? ___ 

Yes! I Wish to Support 2/1 and Enclose My Voluntary Dues in the

Amount of: Enclosed $_______  

Yes! I wish to receive the newsletter:________

Rank:______  MOS______  Year(s) in Vietnam_______to_______

Nickname________  Your Outfit: i.e. Golf/Fox/Etc.._____________

“Voluntary Memberships Run From January 1st to December 31st”
    Your Donation is Tax Exempt Under 501( c ) 3 – Non Profit.