Basic School Class 2-65 New Orleans 2019 Reunion

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Bill Smith's Story


5th Platoon, TBS 2-65

The day before we were going to Okinawa, three Marines were transferred to my LSU. The men who were transferred went missing (U.A.). They sneaked out of the firebase.

                These three marines were lined up outside the battalion commander’s tent. They had been picked up from a patrol. (The North Vietnamese Army [NVA] had several patrols in the area. These three Marines would have been killed had they not been picked up by the U.S. Marines.) The alcohol and women were behind their U.A.

                The Division had transferred them to the 3/9. The Division transferred these three young Marines. The battalion commander did not want these three young Marines in the battalion. The battalion commander could have court-marshaled them or NJP them. The battalion commander told me that “the orders were orders”.

                I took the three young Marines (in hardened trucks). The men who accompanied were a squad of young Marines. (Who were really bitter about going. There were many whose last day in Vietnam.) The ship was to leave the following morning for Okinawa.

                Our orders were to take them back to where they came from. It was 2100 hours and I had no idea where they came from. I had no idea where I was going. I got lost in Vietnam. I got back in the firebase at 0300 hours and I was on my own. I had maps looking for battalions. I got lost looking for the places. The rain was coming down and the way was muddy. I finally found the place where I was supposed to deliver them.

                The battalion commander would not take the orders which were issued by the battalion commander 3/9. I had to let the three Marines out at the gate.

                The three Marines were flown to Okinawa. 

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