War & Conflicts Discussions => Vietnam War => Topic started by: FACman on 2 February 2009, 17:44:58

Title: In Memoriam
Post by: FACman on 2 February 2009, 17:44:58
David Dewayne Overstreet, HM3

http://www.virtualwall.org/do/OverstreetDD01a.htm (http://www.virtualwall.org/do/OverstreetDD01a.htm)

Title: Re: In Memorium
Post by: FACman on 15 February 2009, 07:24:14
And another...Lt. Col. George T. Sargent

Lt. Col. George T. Sargent: Panel 28W, row 3. From Auburn, Ala. Age 39. Commander of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines during Operation Purple Martin. he was killed on March 21, 1969, by North Vietnamese mortar fire on the second day of battle for control of LZ Argonne in Quang Tri Province. Posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism" the previous day in personally suppressing enemy machine gun nest with hand grenades. Ten Marines were killed and 23 were wounded in two days of fighting.

What the official statement above doesn't tell you is, the Col. was hit as he was climbing out of his bunker as the first rounds of the barrage started coming in. He was responding to the sound of the guns, to lead us from the front. I am proud to this day, of having been one of two to carry him on the first steps towards his new duty station 'The Pearly Gates'. We set him in line with all the other re-deployed Marines near the edge of the lower LZ, awaiting the time when we could re-open the LZ and the choppers could haul them out of the hell called FB Argonne, and start their journey back to 'The World'.

Title: Re: In Memoriam
Post by: FACman on 23 March 2009, 07:51:45
Today marks the 40th anniversary of 'Docs' passing. And since this is a site dedicated to military history, I now present you with two different versions of the same story.

From the 1/4 Marines Operations Log for 23 March 1969:

    "231415 - Co "D" at grid XD676579 found 5 graves with 3 markers, proceded to check out area and was taken under fire by 7 NVA. Pulled back and fired 60mm, 81mm, 105, and 106 and had 2 air strikes. Had 3 friendly KIA and 4 friendly WIAs and 3 confirmed NVA and 4 probables."

    "231720 - Co "C" at grid XD677575 went to retrieve 1 friendly KIA [from Co "D"] after air strike was run. Taken under fire by enemy sniper, snipers located in bunkers. Commenced search and clear, resulting in 6 enemy bunkers destroyed. KIA retrieved and Co "C" pulled back and called in air. Results 3 friendly WIA minor and 5 enemy KIAs confirmed."

The three men killed in the engagement at 1415 (2:15 PM) were

    * HM3 David D. Overstreet, San Angelo, TX;
    * LCpl Steve E. Byars, Lorida, FL; and
    * Pfc Norman E. Beck, Rockford, IL.

From an eyewitness...me.

[Please note, that once the firefight begins, all recollections of time are subject to the combat warp, that is to say, I really dont know how long the firefight lasted, but my best estimates suggest a little over an hour]

This was a platoon patrol of our sector of the FB Argonne perimeter. After leaving behind the sick, lame & lazy, we numbered 20-25 men. We were led by the Plt Sgt (SSG) since the PLt CO was wounded when he rolled over the booby-trapped (grenade) body of the 3rd Plt CO who had died in the initial assault, the grenade didnt kill him, but when we next saw him in the rear, some 6 mos later, he was a changed man to say the least. (we called him 'Gungie' Gates & were not sad to see him go, as he was a dufus that was gonna get some of us hurt) I was the RTO for 1st Plt and was in the hip pocket of the Plt Sgt for the duration of the patrol.

The patrol route did not take us very far outside the perimeter, 2-300 meters at most, but was through thickly wooded jungle, on the hillside below the FB and visibility was extremely limited. The first half of the patrol went quietly, with the only interruption coming when we stumbled upon some fresh graves. There we found several recently (2-3 days) dead NVA in shallow graves. After quickly checking the bodies for intel, we re-buried them and continued the patrol. We were soon on the back leg of the route home to the FB, when our point (Beck) walked upon a bunker and was shot dead where he stood.  The next 3-4 guys behind him were wounded also, with 'Professor' running back towards the HQ, hurdling a waist high fallen tree, crashing on landing, rolling onto his back and scurrying with his hands and legs another couple of feet away from the enemy fire that had gut-shot him. His first words when he stopped scuttling away were, "They got me!". (it was surreally humorous, even at the time)

In an instant it seemed, we had reacted to the fire and were returning same. Sarge was barking at me to tell Co. what sit-rep was, while directing the fire & dispo of the Plt..  Byers set his Pig up where Sarge told him and returned fire for but a few minutes into the fight, before he too was hit. The call went out for "CORPSMAN!"and 'Doc' responded quickly. While he lay on his left side to avoid the withering fire coming from the bunkers (yes, by now we had seen fire coming from a couple more bunkers) I could clearly see him (5-10 meters) struggling to turn Byars over to access his wound. Doc's next move, shall for the rest of my days on this earth, live etched in my memory. He bounced up into a flat footed squat and began to flip Byars over, it was the last thing he ever did, for he fell over like a statue, never coming out of the squat, even in death. My life would never be the same.

The shock of my Buddy checking out right in front of me, had put me into another dimension of thought, hate and anger. Time warped, had you asked me how long we were pinned down, I would have said 4 hours, it seemed an eternity. One of the other platoons was sent down to help pull us out of the jam we were in. And contrary to the AAR above, we left all three of our KIAs down there, as we had half a dozen wounded that had to be helped up the hill. I crossed the wire and reentered the FB, jumped into a nearby mortar pit that was firing a cover mission for the platoon that had helped us pull out. I started helping pass the ammo, spitting on rounds when I could work up the saliva, all the while cursing the people, lands and gods of Vietnam, with tears streaming down my face. After a few minutes of watching me vent, Gunny jumped in the pit and took my arm and guided me back to my hole.

After the arty & airstrikes went in, they cleaned up the bunker complex and brought back our dead. Doc lay on our LZ wrapped in a poncho for a couple of days, as we still couldnt take any inbound choppers due to fire coming in from Laos. A dark time had come to my young (19) life.

So here's to you 'Doc'*raises a glass* it wont be long now.



Title: Re: In Memoriam
Post by: Tanker on 23 March 2009, 15:52:03

Title: Re: In Memoriam
Post by: FACman on 24 August 2009, 15:09:02

(http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/ww278/sgtfaust/th_tnmaxam_a.jpg) (http://s727.photobucket.com/albums/ww278/sgtfaust/?action=view&current=tnmaxam_a.jpg)


Rank and organization:
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps,
Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF.
place and date: Cam Lo District, Quang Tri province, Republic of Vietnam, 2 February 1968.
Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif.
Born: 9 January 1948, Glendale, Calif.

Medal of Honor
Viet Nam
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress
takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
for service as set forth in the following

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a fire team leader with Company D. The Cam Lo District Headquarters came under extremely heavy rocket, artillery, mortar, and recoilless rifle fire from a numerically superior enemy force, destroying a portion of the defensive perimeter. Cpl. Maxam, observing the enemy massing for an assault into the compound across the remaining defensive wire, instructed his assistant fire team leader to take charge of the fire team, and unhesitatingly proceeded to the weakened section of the perimeter. Completely exposed to the concentrated enemy fire, he sustained multiple fragmentation wounds from exploding grenades as he ran to an abandoned machinegun position. Reaching the emplacement, he grasped the machinegun and commenced to deliver effective fire on the advancing enemy. As the enemy directed maximum firepower against the determined marine, Cpl. Maxam's position received a direct hit from a rocket propelled grenade, knocking him backwards and inflicting severe fragmentation wounds to his face and right eye. Although momentarily stunned and in intense pain, Cpl. Maxam courageously resumed his firing position and subsequently was struck again by small-arms fire. With resolute determination, he gallantly continued to deliver intense machinegun fire, causing the enemy to retreat through the defensive wire to positions of cover. In a desperate attempt to silence his weapon, the North Vietnamese threw hand grenades and directed recoilless rifle fire against him inflicting 2 additional wounds. Too weak to reload his machinegun, Cpl. Maxam fell to a prone position and valiantly continued to deliver effective fire with his rifle. After 11/2 hours, during which he was hit repeatedly by fragments from exploding grenades and concentrated small-arms fire, he succumbed to his wounds, having successfully defended nearly half of the perimeter single-handedly. Cpl. Maxam's aggressive fighting spirit, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.