Young Blood: A History of the
1st Battalion, 27th Marines, (Vietnam) 1968 — Including Details of the Death of Corpsman Danny Grimshaw
Gary Jarvis, Ph.D., Battalion Historian of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, has authored a detailed history1 of the Vietnam experience of his battalion during 1967 and 1968. This history is available at the following website:
Dr. Jarvis has kindly provided an excerpt from his book (p. 225-234) that describes in graphic detail the battlefield circumstances at the time of the death of Danny Lee Grimshaw (see companion webpage) in Vietnam on August 23, 1968. As shown in the excerpt (see below), Danny (“Doc”) Grimshaw was killed instantly by a 50-caliber bullet wound to the head while attending to two wounded Marines during combat action. After his death, he was carried out of the battlefield area in a poncho by hand a distance of more than a mile (2000 yards) by four Marines.
Additional information on the combat action around August 23 is available in Chapter 19 of Jack Shulimson’s book, “U.S. Marines in Vietnam, the Defining Year, 1968”2 (see companion webpage).
Thanks go to Dr. Gary Jarvis for sending an e-mail with the excerpt shown on this webpage after viewing the companion webpage on Danny Lee Grimshaw. Thanks also to John Haugabrook for calling Dr. Jarvis’ attention to Danny’s webpage, which led to Dr. Jarvis’ providing the excerpt. Finally, thanks to both for sharing their personal experiences around Danny Grimshaw’s battlefield death.
|Excerpt from Dr. Gary Jarvis’ Book|
Pages 225 to 234 of Dr. Jarvis’ book are shown below. As noted, the specific references to the death of Danny Lee Grimshaw are shown in bold.
August 22, 1968
At 2115 hours, a squad patrol from Charlie Company was engaged in a firefight with five (5) VC at coordinates 965650. Two (2) of the VC were killed and two (2) enemy weapons were captured. One (1) Marine was also wounded.
August 23, 1968
Under the cover of the early morning darkness, the NVA assumed an offensive posture and launched their long awaited Third Offensive. The first attacks against the Marines of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines occurred at 0300 hours when the Communist forces attacked a Bravo Company platoon perimeter base while another NVA force simultaneously attacked a Charlie Company platoon perimeter base. The Bravo Company platoon perimeter base (coordinates 970697) was attacked by a NVA/VC force, which fired rockets and small arms. Military records indicated that the size of the NVA force was an estimated squad, which was contrary to the general attack plans of the NVA. It was a common practice for the NVA not to attack unless they outnumbered their foes by a ratio of 2:1 or more. Nevertheless, the Marines successfully repulsed the enemy attack but not without losses. Shrapnel from the enemys fatal rocket barrage killed three (3) Marines: PFC Ricky G. Harrison, PFC Robert J. Miller, PFC Gregory Woods and five (5) other Marines from Bravo Company were also wounded. When the enemy retreated, the Marines found (1) Viet Cong soldier left on the battlefield. The rest had escaped into the darkness with their dead and wounded.
While Bravo Company was engaged in a battle with the enemy at 0300 hours, a platoon perimeter base from Charlie Company (coordinates 973642) located less than 500 meters away simultaneously received incoming mortar rounds that were followed by a ground assault by the VC/NVA, killing corpsman Charles R. Golling. Fourteen (14) Marines were wounded. Three (3) Viet Cong were killed and three (3) weapons were captured. The communist attacks on the two (2) platoon perimeter bases were part of the enemy’s strategy for diverting attention away from their true objectives.
Captain Ron Gruenberg, the CO of Company C, recalled the following regarding the August 23,1968: the intelligence reports concerning another NVA push on Danang were coming hourly. To secure our platoon patrol base the Engineers created a berm for the platoon. After repeated requests, I was finally granted permission to move my HQ group out to the platoon position and reinforce it with what little men we had left. The coordination to get through several different ARVN units was a nightmare but we finally got there just in time for the attack. Intelligence later verified that an entire NVA Regiment lay in waiting for the attack on Danang had let us slip by Fortunes of War. Lt Crane Davis’ platoon base became affectionally (sic) known as Fort Apache. It was during the assault on Fort Apache that we received a call from Battalion to send out a patrol and determine the situation at a similar ARVN position up the road from us. I gave them a firm negative. At the time, we were endangered of being overrun. The next day we did send the patrol and found them all dead.
Two and one-half hours (0530 hours) after the two platoon perimeter bases were first attacked, regimental headquarters informed the battalion that the Cam Le Bridge (coordinates 016715) had fallen into the hands of the enemy. Company D 1st Military Police Battalion was responsible for security of the bridge and during fierce fighting, they lost control of the southern end. The Communists had also captured a 50 caliber machine gun mounted in an old French Bunker on the southern end of the bridge and were firing it at the Marines.
Regimental headquarters ordered the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines to exert maximum effort to retake the bridge. By then, there was little doubt that the NVA had launched their planned third offensive. While the Marines in 1/27 made preparations to retake the bridge, Marines from the 1st MP Battalion held their ground and fiercely repelled the enemys efforts to take control of the north end of the bridge. They were determined not to give another inch to the enemy.
Since the command post of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines was only four (4) kilometers southwest of the captured bridge, the battalion commander, Major Kenneth J. Skipper, ordered Company A and Company D located at the battalion command post, to waste no time proceeding to the Cam Le Bridge and launch a counterattack immediately. Battalion’s plan was to initiate a convergence of forces scheme of attack. First Lieutenant Robert Baribeau, the CO of Delta Company, left the battalion compound with three platoons of Marines to attack to bridge from west to east. Within five minutes of receiving the battalion commander’s order, at 0645 hours, Captain William 0. Moore, the company commander of Alpha Company, rushed out of the compound with only two reinforced squads led by First Sergeant Ronald L. Burtsell. The Alpha Company Marines were ordered to attack the bridge from the south to north. Burtsell and Moore left with anyone available in their company, even clerks. The company commander had limited Marines at his disposal since two of the company’s three platoons were already detached and one squad from the remaining platoon was out on a patrol. One of his platoons was on Christmas Island, 1,000 meters northeast of the bridge, and the other was supporting a combined action platoon, CAP, in the hamlet of Lo Giang (1), 1,000 meters southeast of the bridge.
While on his way to the Cam Le Bridge, Captain Moores troops passed through an ARVN compound where Moore stopped to talk with U.S. Army advisors. The advisors pinpointed the suspected positions of the Communist who held positions on both sides of Highway 1. As the Marines proceeded north near the outskirts of Cam Nam, which was only two kilometers from the NVA’s positions on the south end of the bridge, Captain Moore received orders from Major Skipper to send one of his two squads to assist the platoon in Lo Giang (1). Lo Giang (1) was suspected to be surrounded and under attack. Sixteen (16) Marines left to reinforce the Marines at Lo Giang (1). Captain Moore requested permission to proceed toward the bridge but was ordered by Major Skipper to stay in position until a platoon of tanks could arrive to support the attack. Shortly thereafter, the Marines sent to Lo Giang (1) radioed back that they had found the hamlet quiet. Since they were not needed by the combined action platoon Marines, Captain Moore asked Major Skipper for the Marines to be returned for the inevitable counterattack on the bridge. The Major denied his request.
At 0915 hours, the original combat patrol from Alpha Company was at coordinates 018717 when enemy small arms fire and automatic weapons fire pinned them down. The enemy fired at the Marines from a bunker and entrenched defensive positions at the southern end of the Cam Le Bridge, which was located at coordinates 016715. For almost six hours, the platoon was pinned down and unable to move. Two Marines were wounded during this incident.
At 0920 hours, Delta Company, under the command of 1stLt Robert Baribeau, a mustang Marine officer known for his tactical acumen, was conducting a sweep in the vicinity of coordinates 007704. While sweeping east toward the direction of the Cam Le bridge, which was approximately 900 meters away, Delta Company received small arms and automatic weapons fire from an entrenched enemy in a tree line, halting the advancing Marines. Air strikes were called before the Marines continued their advance toward the Cam Le Bridge. During a hostile exchange of weapons fire, three (3) Delta Company Marines were wounded. After the air strike ceased, the enemy retreated to the east with Delta Company right on their heels. In a futile attempt to stop the advancing Marines, the NVA left behind snipers who fired at the Marines from well-concealed positions. The enemy small arms fire did little to deter the tenacious Marines from moving forward. The enemy frequently used one sniper or a team of snipers to cover their retreat in an effort to slow down advancing Marines.
At 1145 hours, four 90mm gun tanks and a flame tank from Company B, 5th Tank Battalion arrived and the two ad-hoc Alpha Company squads that constituted the original Company A platoon, supported by the tanks, moved toward their objective, the Cam Le Bridge. The road near the hamlet of Cam Nam was raised above the surrounding rice paddies with sharp drops on both shoulders of the road. Consequently, the two squads were forced to march single file on both sides of the road. As the two squads made their way toward Cam Nam, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Marines swept toward the east and attacked Cam Nam from the west.
In less than three (3) hours, the Delta Company Marines along with an attached platoon from Bravo Company had swept through five hundred (500) meters of enemy occupied territory and advanced to the vicinity of coordinates 012705 by 1215 hours. As the Delta Company force moved closer toward the bridge, which was approximately 400 meters away, small arms and automatic weapons fire from the vicinity of coordinates 013705 halted their advance. The attached platoon from Bravo Company was also on the receiving end of the enemy’s devastating initial small arms and automatic weapons fire. The enemy had held back their fire until the Marines were within 100 meters from their concealed positions before they opened fire from entrenched positions.
The vigilant Marines saw many Marines near them hit the dirt, falling to the ground wounded from the enemy gunfire. Doc Grimshaw, a combat weary corpsman in Delta Company, had taken cover behind a rice paddy dike alongside an M-60 machine gunner and LCpl John Sloatman III. Doc spotted two wounded Marines trapped in the enemys hail of fire. Sloatman said “don’t do it Doc. Wait until the fire dies down.” Doc Grimshaw refused to wait. He left the relative safety of the dike and under a hail of heavy enemy fire, the corpsman miraculously reached the exposed site of the wounded Marines. But his premonition from months before came true when a enemy machine gun round struck him right between the eyes, piercing his skull and exposing gray brain matter. Another bullet severed one of his fingers. Doc Danny Grimshaw, a truly brave Navy corpsman, died instantly. Subsequently, the Marines laid down their own devastating field of fire and angrily assaulted the enemy positions. Again, the Communists fled as the Marines overtook their defensive positions, leaving three (3) VC/NVA behind. Remnants of the enemy force fled with their dead and wounded, escaping to the northeast. Besides Doc Grimshaw, there were other casualties. Thirteen (13) Marines were wounded and the courageous Sgt Luther J. Thedford from Bravo Company died from bullet wounds in his abdomen. Both Sgt Thedford and Lt. Charles Collins, who sustained a severe wound from a 50-caliber bullet which shattered his upper arm, had adamantly refused to be evacuated until their mission had been accomplished and the other wounded were evacuated, Sgt Thedfords unselfish refusal to be evacuated inevitably resulted in his death.
Before the day was over, the dead and wounded were carried out. Doc Danny Grimshaw, a corpsman who was killed by the NVA with a 50 caliber machine gun round to his head, was hand-carried in a olive-green poncho by LCpl Billy Frye, LCpl Gary Jarvis, LCpl Michael Magaw and one (1) other Marine in Delta Company from the battlefield back to Camp Duong Son. On the way back to the battalion rear area, LCPL Jarvis, while carrying the left front corner of the poncho, wrapped Doc Grimshaws head in a shirt to prevent the other Marines from seeing Docs exposed brain. Carrying the lifeless body of their heroic corpsman off the battlefield through rice paddies all the way back to the battalion rear area, which was over 2000 meters, was a very painful unforgettable experience for all the Marines. Out of profound respect, Lt. Baribeau personally turned over Grimshaws body to the battalion corpsman as the Marines entered the battalion compound. Doc Grimshaw had volunteered for a dangerous mission and paid the supreme price. Senior Corpsman Grimshaw was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V for his heroic actions on August 23, 1968.
First Lieutenant Robert Bob Baribeau, the commanding officer of Company D, 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, succinctly recalled Company Ds role in the retaking of the Cam Le Bridge on August 23, 1968:
At approximately 0530-0545, I was called into the COC (Combat Operations Center) Bunker where Major Skipper informed me that the Cam Le Bridge had been taken by NVA. I was given orders to take Delta Company and proceed as quickly as possible and attack from West to East. Alpha Company was to attack from South to North. Our mission was to retake the southern end of the Cam Le Bridge. I moved D Company down the road from the battalion command post, as it was the most direct and fastest route. We then moved off the road and went due east toward the Cam Le Bridge. We arrived at an open rice paddy. On the other side of the rice paddy was a small village. I sent 1st platoon B Co to the right to cross the rice paddy and enter the tree line. I had 3rd Platoon cover the left flank. They also moved toward the tree line in the village. I kept 2nd Platoon (-) in reserve along with my command group. First Platoon received fire and became pinned down. As 3rd Platoon moved forward, they too received fire. Two of the Marines from 3rd Platoon moved by fire and maneuvered to approximately 100 yards of the tree line and became pinned down and unable to advance.
I received a call from Air overhead, asking if they could help. I replied in the affirmative. Ordinance (bombs) could not be used as the South end of the Cam Le Bridge was on the other side of the village and they feared severely damaging the bridge. However, they informed me that they could use their guns. I instructed Lt. Charles Collins, B Companys 1st platoon commander, to have the most forward Marines place an air panel directly in front of him. I subsequently, informed a pilot that he could strafe forward of the air panel. The pilot made a pass, firing rounds right in the area in front of the air panel. I then ordered a platoon to move forward approximately 25-40 yards and place the air panel to the front of their most forward Marines. I again notified the pilot that he could strafe the more forward area in front of the air panel. I repeated the forward advance move one more time so that we could reach the tree line at the village. After 1st Platoon reached the tree line, 1st Platoon swept to the left and 3rd Platoon moved to the tree line. Second Platoon and the command group followed.
Once in the village, we moved toward the Cam Le Bridge. We managed to evacuate our wounded. As we battled forward, Delta Company flushed out several NVA who ran into a Pagoda. A tank that was attached to Alpha Company moved forward and torched the building with the NVA inside. Subsequently, I received a radio call from battalion, informing me that they were going to TOT (artillery time on target) the area and that I was to evacuate the area immediately. I radioed battalion and informed them that I could not execute their order because Doc Grimshaw had been killed and his body was still lying out in the battlefield where we were to pull back from. I informed battalion that I still had one of my men to bring back. We were always taught and strongly believed that we always bring back our dead and our wounded. Once Doc Grimshaws body was recovered, I then informed the battalion CP that all dead and wounded were retrieved and I was moving my men from the area so as to TOT the target.
After Delta Company moved from the area, the artillery performed their time on target, using the artillery battalion in its full sense. Subsequently, we received our orders to return to the battalion CP.
While Delta Company (2d and 3d platoon D Co and 1st platoon B Co was in a fierce battle with the communist forces west of Cam Nam, Captain Moores Marines moved forward along the eastside of National Route 1. As the under strength Company A platoon advanced to less than 400 meters from Cam Nam, the large well-entrenched enemy force opened fire with mortars, RPGs and small arms. The enemy’s devastating heavy volume of fire killed two (2) Marines and wounded four (4). Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the First Sergeant of Company A, First Sergeant Burtsell, unhesitatingly deployed his men to advantageous positions and with bullets penetrating the dirt at his feet, he moved throughout the fire-swept area, aiding the wounded as he simultaneously directed his mens fire. Soon after, First Sergeant Burtsell led his men on a determined assault against the enemy emplacements. The Marines inched forward with only low-lying rice paddy dikes for cover as they fired their weapons and maneuvered toward the enemy. As the attacking force got to within two hundred meters from the hamlet, an RPG round hit one of the lead tanks but it caused only minor damage. Captain Moore pointed out the source of the RPG round to the tankers. With the enemy rocketman in their sights, the tankers fired three (3) rounds of white phosphorous, four (4) rounds of “Beehive,” and forty (40) rounds of high explosive. The fire was a bit too much for the Communist troops. The enemy soldiers hastily ran from one building to another within the hamlet, trying desperately to evade the tanks deadly firepower, which was intensified by the fire delivered by the ground troops. There was no escape for the enemy. The tanks cut them down with machine gun fire and fired 90mm rounds at any structure used as cover. But the enemy did not surrender. In one instance, several enemy soldiers tried to flee by jumping into a jeep and driving off. Their attempted departure was halted by tank fire, causing the vehicle to burst into flames. Enemy machine gun fire from a straw hut was also squelched when a flame tank saturated the hut with burning fuel. In a short time, all the structures in the entire hamlet were on fire. Virtually every structure was leveled. Capt Moore aptly summed up the situation in the hamlet with his statement “This about ended our problem.”
But the bridge still remained in the hands of the Communists who had blocked the highway with vehicles for cover in an attempt to slow down the Marines attack. The motor vehicle obstacles were virtually eliminated with five rounds of 90mm fire from the tanks as the Marines moved forward toward the Cam Le Bridge. As they maneuvered through the burning hamlet, Alpha Company received word that a platoon from Company E, 2d Battalion, 27th Marines would arrive to assist them in the bridge counterattack. More troops became available for the counterattack when Captain Moore ordered his platoon on Christmas Island to join the counterattack from the east. The platoon on Christmas Island had already made one unsuccessful attempt to recapture the bridge.
The .50-caliber machine gun retrieved by the NVA, when they captured the bridge, fired burst after burst of rounds at the Marines who were attempting to recapture the Cam Le Bridge. At 1405 hours at coordinates 012705, the original platoon that was dispatched by Alpha Company encountered B-40 rockets, automatic weapons and small arms fire from the enemy held French bunker and defensive position at the southern end of the Cam Le bridge (coordinates 016715). Marine tanks fired at enemy positions as First Sergeant Ronald Burtsell directed accurate suppressive fire and led the Company A Marines forward through the fire-swept terrain. The Marines overran and secured the enemy positions, causing the enemy to abandon their entrenched positions. As the enemy retreated, Burtsell directed supporting arms fire, which aided the Marines who were advancing through the village of Cam Nam. First Sergeant Burtsell received the Silver Star Medal for his heroic actions on 23 August 1968. At 1545 hours, Captain Moore radioed battalion command and notified them that the bridge was secured. It had taken the Marines nine long hours to take the bridge back from the Communists.
At the conclusion of the battle for the bridge, twenty-two (22) VC lay dead on the battleground. Days later, there were ten (10) additional dead VC discovered after the bodies surfaced in the river, bringing the total enemy dead up to thirty-two (32). The fight for the bridge was a victory for the Marines but not without Marine casualties. Alpha Company had two Marines killed in action: PFC Henry H. Ballew and LCpl Leo Miller Jennette. Four (4) other Company A Marines were wounded.
While searching the bridge area, the Marines discovered several South Vietnamese Popular Force soldiers hiding beneath the bridge. They had been there since the battle began and had hid there during the entire battle.
Another noteworthy enemy engagement was reported on August 23,1968. At 1405 hours when a platoon from H&S Company was on a recon patrol in the vicinity of 003668, the Marine platoon came in contact with an unknown size enemy force. At the conclusion of the firefight, there were five (5) VC killed and one (1) Marine was wounded.
At 1700 hours on 23 August 1968, the 2d ARVN Ranger Battalion assumed the tactical area of responsibility for the area east to the main supply route, MSR, north of Grid 69, west of Grid 04 and south of grid 71. The Marines continued to conduct their assigned operations.
After Company D had returned to Camp Duong Son following the Cam Le Bridge battle, Lt Baribeau was called to the Battalion COC Bunker and given orders to a rescue a combat patrol from another unit (not a 1/27 unit) that had been ambushed. Lt Baribeau along with his Company Gunny and his Delta Company reactionary force saddled up and as they approached the ambush site, the D Company Marines received fire from a village. Lt. Baribeau prepped the hostile area with artillery fire as he moved his company toward the village and discontinued the artillery fire as the Marines entered the targeted area. The Company D Marines swept the area and found dead NVA everywhere. According to Lt. Baribeau, one of the NVA was alive but playing dead. When the NVA twitched, he was shot and killed. When he was flipped over, it was confirmed that he had his finger on the trigger of a fully loaded AK-47 that was ready to fire. Lt. Baribeau, later, personally carried this AK-47 back to the battalion rear area. In the meantime, the trapped and pinned down Marines were taken out. Subsequently, Major Skipper ordered Lt. Baribeau and his Marines to return in the darkness to Camp Duong Son for hot chow. Though Lt. Baribeau knew that such an order was tactically flawed and his company gunny had told him to tell Major Skipper that you cant move at night especially since moving in the dark through enemy infested territory at that time was foolish, he reluctantly and against his own personal judgment, complied with the battalion commanders orders. Lt. Baribeau cautiously moved his Marines through the enemy infested territory. When Lt. Baribeau reached the Bn. CP, he turned the still loaded AK-47 over to Lt. John Bouldin.
LCpl Richard Hunt, one of 1/27s S2 Scouts, also provided his recollection of other actions on August 23, 1968. It is as follows: About midday on 23 August 1968, Pfc. Otto J. Ostenfeld, another S-2 Scout, and I were in the Battalion Command Post, having returned from an earlier patrol. An aerial spotter known as a bird dog working with Marines attacking the Cam Le Bridge had observed an enemy group of unknown size proceeding toward the Battalion Command Post. Orders were given assembling a patrol of approximately three squad sized units comprised of any able bodied Marine available. As all Marines are trained as riflemen, cooks, mechanics, clerks and others were given their first opportunity to serve in this capacity. Three separate prongs left the command post in the direction of the enemy unit. The group Ostenfeld and I were with was the center prong. Coming through a tree line, the Scouts observed enemy troops taking up positions to ambush the left prong. These enemy were immediately engaged with devastating results. One of the enemy KIA was found with a RPG off safe that was intended for the left patrol. Another Viet Cong was wounded; he shot one of the Marines with an AK47 in the neck and head. The enemy soldier died in this exchange. The Marine was emergency evacuated. Protocol required that any chopper not already on an emergency mission assume the pickup. I recall that this evacuation was handled by the helicopter, flying the Commanding General 1st Marine Division. After loading the wounded Marine aboard, the patrol swept a nearby village and returned to the Battalion Command Post. I noticed that blood on my hand and rifle was not drying as it would normally after working with the wounded. It was then that I realized I had been hit sometime during the exchange. I recall that the results of this H&S Company patrol were approximately six enemy KIA and two Marines WIA. Ostenfeld was later WIA after he was reassigned when 1/27 departed Viet Nam. While on a second tour with a Combined Action Unit, he was KIA.
August 24-25, 1968
In the vicinity of coordinates 000662, a squad size combat patrol from Charlie Company made contact with a large enemy force. The 1st Battalion, 51st ARVN Regiment reacted to the contact. There was heavy continuous action for two days. An initial report showed that there were 200 VC killed. The remainder of the battalion’s units continued to patrol their areas and provided security for perimeters. On August 25, ten (10) enemy bodies surfaced in the Cam Le area. The bodies were uncounted enemy from the 1st Bn., 27th Marines battle with the NVA on 23 August.
August 26, 1968
The NVA were engaged in combat at coordinates 969656 by security patrols. Sporadic contact with the enemy resulted in three (3) NVA killed, two (2) Marines killed and one (1) wounded Marine. Lance Corporal William J. Bilboa, Jr. and PFC Gary Lyn Clapp, Marines from Charlie Company, were the two Marines killed. One (1) AK-50 and six (6) 60mm mortar rounds were captured. Delta Companys 1st Platoon returned from Rough Rider Duty.
|Map of the Area of Battlefield Action Described in the Excerpt from Dr. Jarvis’ Book|
Dr. Jarvis also provided page 235 of his book, which includes a map (shown below) of the area where the action took place when Danny Grimshaw was killed. “TAOR” stands for “Tactical Area of Responsibility”.
|E-mail from Gary Jarvis Describing His Role in Removing Danny’s Remains from the Battlefield|
The following e-mail exchange (edited slightly) between John Haugabrook and Gary Jarvis on August 9, 2006 was provided by Haugabrook. It describes Gary’s personal experience in carrying Danny’s remains from the battlefield. Thanks again to both Gary and John for sharing these deeply personal experiences in remembrance of Corpsman Danny Grimshaw.
E-mail from John to Gary
Were you in weapons Plt Dco 27th Marines? Please let me know. I WAS ASSIGNED TO WPNS PLT FROM APRIL 68-SEPT 68. If you’re the same person, you were on patrol with us the day Danny Grimshaw (Delta Company Corpsman) was killed.
GYSGT USMC RETIRED
Response from Gary to John
Yes. I was in Weapon Plt and I was there that day. I was one of the Marines who carried Doc Grimshaw back in a poncho (8/23/1968). I vividly recall that he had been shot in the head with a 50cal from the machine gun that the VC/NVA had captured when they overran the south end of the Cam Le Bridge that the MPs were guarding. I’ll never forget having seen his exposed gray brain matter due to the 50 cal round. I had forgotten putting my shirt over his head. Lt. Baribeau told me of this a few years ago when I asked him about his memory of Doc Grimshaw and the August battle.
There is a significant amount of coverage in the 1/27 history book about the action on 8/23/1968.
Lt Bob Baribeau who was D Co’s CO that day. He recently passed away from cancer. He retired as a Sgt Major.
Good to hear from you… It is also especially good to hear from other Delta Co. Marines.
1Jarvis, Gary, 1999, Young Blood: A History of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, (Vietnam) 1968: Jacksonville, FL, G.E. Jarvis Publishing Co., 259 p.
2Shulimson, Jack, Leonard A. Blasiol, Charles A. Smith, and David A. Dawson, 1997, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, the Defining Year, 1968: U.S. Government Printing Office, unk p.
Webpage posted August 2006.