28 April 2007

Fifteen Marines Left Behind

Part of being a Marine is knowing and believing that no matter what happens, you won't be left behind. It is a point of pride for the Marine Corps that "we don't leave our men behind". Well, there were at least 15 left behind on Sept 21, 1967. Now I know that some of you reading this are thinking we have left men behind before, but we go back and get them. While it is true that units have left men on the field of battle before, they usually go back and get them in a day or two. Well, the 15 left behind on Sept 21, 1967, were left laying out in the heat and rain for three weeks! During these three weeks the area was pounded by our planes and artillery. Who knows what else happened to them?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't know of any other instance where Marines were left on the field of battle for three weeks. If anyone knows of another case like this, please contact Bill, Bob, or Mark on this site. You are also invited to leave your comments. If we are wrong, we need to know.

Semper Fi,

1 comment:

Henry Ensley said...

Great site, Just found it. First off, all Marines left behind were members of 2/4 Fox Company, 1st Platoon. I was a member of this platoon for about a year, since Okinawa, November 1966. For some strange reason I was given an in-country R&R September 19,1967. When I returned to Dong Ha September 23,1967 I stopped to see a high school friend who ran the mail room. He told me my unit got wipped out 2 days before. Then he took me to graves registration where they allowed me to view the book. For 44 years I have always remembered reading 17 names I knew who were all in my platoon. Also I have always remembered there were 24 of us when I left and were only 7 of us left when I returned. The 7 survivors of 1st platoon were Wayne King, grenadier from Sevierville, Tenn; William Mahachek, Denny Friese, and Fred Miller, all riflemen and from Chicago; Tim Cowhig, radio operator from Maryland; Wayne Hokstra, rifleman from Chicago (who went with me on R&R, but never returned; I think he may be still living in "dogpatch"; and myself, Cpl William H. Ensley, squad leader. There are 3 names that I can't account for. A 26 year old Cpl whose first name was Lonnie from Ark. I am almost positive he was there when I left on R&R. A radio operator named Rivera and a 2nd LT. named Gallagher. I am almost postive they were there also. I did read where there was a Lt. Gallagher killed about 2 weeks later at the "bridge". He could be the same. As for the delay in retrieving the bodies of the rest of our platoon, I do not know. There are no excuses. I sincerely hope this bit of information will help the cause. Semper Fi, Henry PS my E-mail is henryensley13@aol.com