Vinh Chau Island (CAP 2-4-2) is outlined in black. The mine field is located just under the number 13 where the grid lines cross. I was across the river in the area outlined in blue. (CAP 2-4-5)
Here are some responses to this story when it was first
posted on Tim Duffie's site:
Subject: RE: CAP 2-4-2 Destroyed
I have additional information of the 2-4-2 incident. I was the Comm Chief that called the medivacs that night. "Sgt. Gary L. Sharp". I can't remember names, but there were two sets of medivacs. The second set was for the guys that tried to rescue the first group of casualties. This included the Sgt. who called me for the first set of KIA / WIA.
I believe there were only two Marines left in the CAP that were not extracted. The pilot asked me if they should also be extracted. ( I don't remember why I was the senior man in the HQ. that night. The CO must have been temporally gone ) I chose to leave them with the PF plt. so they they wouldn't panic at being left alone. I was sick with worry all night after that until morning when members of other CAPS re-built the unit.
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An agency of the State of Hawaii
Gary L. Sharp USMC (Ret.)
Facilities Maintenance Manager Phone: (808) 875.2333 / 875.2300
Fax: (808) 875.2330
Subject: CAP 2-4-2
We've talked once before a long time ago. I had forgotten you were in the Comm Center. I suppose you would remember some of the details. I appreciate your comments. The sargeant you mentioned must have been a man named Roe Hopson. The records indicate he was killed the same day as the other four but I was never sure if he was there that day.
I'm sending this to Tim also. If it can be confirmed he was killed with Rick and the others he needs to be included on our list. Thanks for jogging my memory!!!
You take care.
If you get this I know your computer is going to be down for awhile. When you get back up and running, and you have time, maybe there will be some way to verify Sgt. Hopson as being there that day.
You take care also.)
To: Tim Duffie
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Cap Hai (2)
I was over there during that period and remember
the incident. I was with Cap Ba (3) at the time.
One of the survivors told me what had happened that
night. I wish I could remember his name. Pfc Ricky Persely
and one other Marine went into the mine field to take
a shit. Some of them did do that. Hell, we were all a
little crazy at the time. Ricky decided he was going
to burn some of the high grass, that's what started it.
It was an old French mine field filled with
"Bouncing Betty's". I recall it was marked on the map;
some Marines didn't really believe it though.
Why, I can't recall. I first met Rick when I came down
from 3rd CAG and went to Cap 2-4-3. He was one of the
gun men. He broke me in to what was going on in the
Cap. I took an immediate liking to him, why I don't
know. He was kind of a shit bird when he was back at
CACO, but he was bush wise. He knew his shit. He taught
me the gun (M-60), how to break it down, interchange
barrels, don't be behind the spring when you release
it, and how to make the gun "talk", especially when
two gun men were on line. I ended up being his asst.
gunner and spotter.
I carried an M-14 at the time so I loaded my weapon
up with 2 and 1 per magazine. One tracer for every two
ball rounds. In Cap Ba we used to rotate our weapons
from time to time, including me. Sometimes I would
carry the gun to our night ambush sites and sometimes
the "bloop". When I carried the bloop it was usually
Bell's bloop. It was in better condition. Persely and
I went through many a gunfight together along with
Willis, Bell, Tex, Mex, Stever and Dick Clark.
Persely saved my life one night when we were on a KT
going through a Ville. (Dick: that was the night that
Brown got hit in the leg.) When Skipper Johnson found
out that I was out there on the KT the shit hit the
fan. (Gary, I don't know if you remember that.Persely
eventually went to Cap 2-4-2. I think it had alot do
to with our Actual at the time. They clashed too much.
Our Actual had one tour before in Nam but it was
with the 1st Marine Division Band, from my understanding
talking with Dick. So he was real new to Cap Combat
and tactics. Hell, he was new to combat but tried to
act like he knew what he was doing. Almost as bad as a
2nd. Lt. Persely was a LCpl but ended up a Pfc when
he went to Cap 2-4-2. I think it had something to do
with being caught in a skivvy house or in Hoi An
without authorization. Persely started the chain of
events that led to the destruction along with, I believe,
Willis. Willis was also from Cap 2-4-3. He was sent to
Cap 2-4-2 for he only had about a month and a half
left on his tour and the skipper wanted him to go to
a Cap that wasn't having that much contact with Charlie.
Persely and Willis pretty much hung out together in
Cap 2-4-2 after having gone through the Cap Ba
Doc Daane first came to Cap 2-4-3 for me to break
in before the Skipper sent him to Cap 2-4-2. He had
been there a week before he had to take over for me
when I got hit and Paul Handerhan was killed at the
orchard. Doc Daane was a very good with the kids and
was a good corpsman. He did have a little problem
trying to walk the rice paddy dikes at night. A couple
of Marines complained he was too noisey. I came back
after about 3 weeks and on he went to Cap 2-4-2. What
I remember from that night listening on the 25 and
from what I can remember from what was told to me by
one of the survivors is that when Persely or the other
Marine tripped the betty, Doc Daane immediately tried
to get to them and tripped one which blew his legs off
and on to another one.
The Actual was calling into Gary at CACO. They tried
to use det cord to blow a path through it to get to
Persely and the other Marine. It didn't work, they got
wasted in there along with 3 PF's. I do remember that
before they went in there they were taking RPG, bloop
and AK fire from one of the treelines which they and
the PF's were able to suppress after a while. The
Actual, I believe, lived. He had lost his leg. I had
thought his name was Hudson. But it might have been
Hopson. He could have succumbed to his wounds later
in CONUS or Japan. I remember something about the
first DUST OFF. I believe they had spotted Persely
and the other Marine but couldn't land (for obvious reasons)
and were taking fire which the rest of the Cap was
trying to suppress. They had to abort.
The second DUST OFF call they were able to get the
others. I do remember that you, Gary, were very calm
and were able to calm down one of the survivors that
was on the radio. Also, all of us who have been in
the CAPs awhile knew you stay with your PF's. We don't
abandon them. One of the Marines, I believe it was
Persely, lived most of the night. The survivors said
they heard him moaning. Nobody was left to try to get
to him. When the next day arrived and we were able to
get to the bodies, Persely was in a sitting position
and had bled to death. The other Marine had been killed
instantly. If we could have got to him that night,
I believe he would have lived.
Sandy, I knew you guys were only a click or so away.
We at CAP Ba, as I recall, were broken into two night
ambush teams and I believe we combined the two expecting
to react for them. I know your actual, Sgt Joe Valdez,
was expecting the same. That river was too damn big to
swim. They probably could have sent PBR's down from
2nd CAG to insert us, but the elements of the Q-80
sappers off of bad guys island would have torn us
apart. Remember what happened to the 2nd CAG 1Sgt and
the PBR's one night? Dick, you ought to remember very
well. I think about Persely, Daane and the others from
CAP Ba and other CAPs from time to time. The way
Persely died hit me real hard when I was there. As
bush wise as he was, I keep asking myself why, why
did it happen? After the first explosion that got the
two, Doc Daane started to go into the mine field after
them; I learned later is that the Actual tried to
stop him, but he wouldn't listen. His Marines needed
him. So that is what I remember about the "Destruction
of CAP Hai". Believe me when I say, this was very hard
for me to write.
Semper Fi Marines