We were Marines of Battalion Landing Team 2/26 who fought in the brutal battle of Landing Zone Margo and in combat patrols across Vietnam's Demilitarized Zone in the fall of 1968.
These pages hold our memories.
Why Were We There?
Our country called its young men to defend an ally in a faraway land. We answered.
America and its allies were engaged in hot and cold wars all over the world with Soviet Russia, China, North Korea and their proxies like North Vietnam. For decades America had prevented North Vietnam from conquering its southern neighbor through financial, diplomatic and military means.
We were in Vietnam as part of this long, grinding process of defending countries threatened by Communist forces. Like the Second World War and Korean War, the Vietnam conflict pitted forces from democratic countries against regimes with sinister objectives.
Communist North Vietnam and its Viet Cong cadres terrorized and routinely executed civilians.
We knew that South Vietnam's democracy was flawed, but we also knew that its enemy was far worse. Communist North Vietnam and its Viet Cong cadres terrorized and routinely executed civilians, seeking to conquer the South through brutality.
The North Vietnamese fielded a modern army fighting in dense jungle just across its own border and its soldiers knew their backyard well. Fourteen years earlier they had defeated the French Army at the pivotal Battle of Điện Biên Phủ.
But we were Marines, young and well-trained, and we were determined to confront the army of an evil system and to face down our own fears as well.
Exhausted, underfed and in constant danger, we were the tip of our country's spear.
Marines of 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Foxtrot Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/26, days after the Battles of LZ Margo. Read their story here. Photo by Ed Flores, courtesy of Mike Wilson.
Why We Fought
We were Americans from all backgrounds who were willingly molded in the crucible of Marine Corps training to fight for our homeland. We believed that if you truly loved your country, that's what you did.
Our most brutal battle, on LZ Margo, was worse than anything we had gone through at Khe Sanh, and it defined us forever. In moments we lost brothers who will never be forgotten.
We experienced all of the emotions men can feel: fear, despair, anger, regret and a deep, lingering sadness. And we pushed those soul-destroying feelings deep down inside ourselves and did our jobs as US Marines.
We endured much, many of us bled and our fallen brothers died. For what? To win an increasingly unpopular war?
No, it was pretty simple. We fought for our nation, for each other and for those back home who couldn't -- or wouldn't -- answer their country's call.