23 April 2007

Bob Bliss on "Our Purpose"

Just to add a note to what Bill Sellers has all ready mentioned so eloquently in "Our Purpose," I want to say this: There is the old addage that the Marines Corps doesn't like awarding medals to it's Marines and Corpsmen in combat, unless an act is so above and beyond the call of duty that it can not be passed over. Except for the Purple Heart, of course, which is given to anyone who is wounded in combat against a hostile enemy of the United States.If you were serving with a Marine "Grunt" batallion in Vietnam, chances were very good that you would get a tour of northern I Corps and the DMZ. And if you did that, chances were even better that you would receieve at least one Purple Heart.As I recall the events of September 21st, as we Marines locked horns with a hard fighting, determined NVA force, I saw such acts of courage and bravery by our buddies, that to this day I can't get the images out of my head. Acts of true love, as when a Corpsman tried to save the life of a Marine while enemy small arms are impacting all around them. I saw Marines charge into an enemy held headgerow in the thick of the fight. Smoke and screaming, and the weapons so loud as they moved into the fire. That was the most courageous thing I've ever seen anyone do. Later I learned how Gene Cully, from 1st Platoon, Golf Company, put his body in front of a Corpsman who was treating a wounded Marine under fire. By himself he saved many wounded Marines by pulling them out of the line of fire. When he could find a working M-16, or other weapon, he continued to attack enemy positions. He also silenced an NVA machine gun implacement when he found an M-79 grenade launcher. Then he went back to helping the wounded.These Marines all have one thing in common regarding that battle, none of them received the recognition they deserved, other that the Purple Heart, if they were wounded. Even though Gene Cully was told by his platoon Sgt. that he was putting Cully in for the Navy Cross, nothing ever became of that. Having said all this, I think a part of our purpose, other than preserving our true history as a fighting Marine Corps infantry batallion, is to find, recognise and "embrace those gentle heroes we left behind."

Semper Fi,Bob Bliss 1st Plt. Golf Co. 1967

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