Writings Of Boondockers Poetic Justice Members
OVERDUE MEDAL OF HONOR
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Site Awards
Lighter Side Of BPJ
Lighter Side #2
4TH OF JULY 2003

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snakeusmc.jpg

In 1969, an 18 year-old Marine risked his life to save his fellow
Marines in a minefield. He risked his life at least 8 times to save
others in the most noble of Marine Corps traditions. He has waited 34
years for his day of honor. Now, with so much time gone and witnesses
harder to find - he waits for the Navy Departments Board of
Decorations to determine what medal should be awarded.

What he did on that day in a minefield on the Batangan Peninsula near
Chu Lai in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam - January 1969 should
be honored. He was recently contacted a couple of weeks ago, by a
retired USMC full-bird colonel who had been one of his lieutenants in
Vietnam. He informed "Snake" that during the first week of February
1969 that the Acting Company CO, 1st LT Drew James Barrett III **,
USMC had recommended that he be awarded "The Medal of Honor" for his
actions in the minefield.

(NOTE: ** Many of the books entitled "The Corps" which are written by
W.E.B. "Web" Griffin are dedicated 1st LT Drew James Barrett III,
USMC.) LT Barrett had been wounded on 27 February 1969 during an
intense firefight against a superior number of hardcore NVA soldiers
while participating in Operation Taylor Common in the flatlands of
the Arizona Territory near An Hoa, South Vietnam; and, had died of
his wounds on 09 March 1969. (Initially struck by an AK-47 round in
the upper thigh, LT Barrett died a few days later of internal
injuries caused by the round deflecting from the leg bone upward into
internal organs.)

Robert "Bob" MacPherson who retired as a USMC Colonel was wounded on
Charlie Ridge atop the mountainous terrain of the A Shau Valley
during Operation Oklahoma Hills in April 1969 when he saved "Snake's"
life by shoving him, and jumping where Snake had been, thus placing
himself between Snake and an enemy Chi-Com grenade that had been
thrown into the small clearing of the hilltop area where he was
briefing a group of 8 Marines about to go out on patrol into an NVA
Base Camp & Bunker Complex. McPherson spent the next year or so, in
the hospital before returning to duty.

After retiring from the Marine Corps, Colonel MacPherson went to work
for CARE as a minefield clearing representative, traveling all around
the world to war-torn countries.

While conducting research on the internet, he came across 26th Marine
Regiment website at
http://community.webtv.net/kaybran/26thMarineRegiment/
and contacted Snake.

All these 30 plus years, he had assumed that LT Barrett's
recommendation had been lowered to a Silver Star Medal by the USMC (
USN Board of Decoration & Awards officials).

After he was informed that "Snake" never received any type of award
for his actions in the minefield on 31 January 1969, Colonel
MacPherson informed "Snake" that he'd try to correct the error. That
is were this situation now stands. We could use some support on this
but we are not sure yet and how to go about using it - so I am asking
for veterans and non-veterans alike to contact Snake Arender
kaybran@w... . If you have a website or newsletter get the word
out about this 34 year long delay! Maybe write your congressmen and
senators - or at lest the Department of the Navy. This whole affair
has been delayed too many years already.
Rev. Bill McDonald

Snake is also featured on our Tribute Pages
http://www.vietnamexp.com/guestpoets/snake/snake.htm
and our Guest Poet Pages
http://www.vietnamexp.com/guestpoets/snake/snakepoems.htm


Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals

Private First Class Loyde Patrick Arender, USMC, Service Number:
2454394
Date of Birth: 19 October 1950
Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana
Enlisted 28 June 1968 at: Shreveport, Louisiana

Date of Action: 31 January 1969

Combat Unit: Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment (Kilo
3/26), Special Landing Force Bravo (SLF-Bravo), 9th Marine Amphibious
Brigade (9th MAB), 1st Marine Division, OpCon to the 3rd Marine
Division - Assigned to Task Force Cooksey (General Cooksey, U.S.
Army, Commanding Officer)

Location: 12 miles north of Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) on the
Batangan Peninsula in Quang Ngai Province

Combat Operation: Operation Bold Mariner / Russell Beach
Dates of Operation: 13 January 1969 to 08 February 1969

SUMMARY OF ACTION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty on 31 January 1969, while serving
as an assistant machine gunner with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th
Marine Regiment, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade as a participant in
Operation Bold Mariner / Operation Russell Beach during combat
operations against enemy forces of the North Vietnam Army and the
48th Viet Cong Battalion on the Batangan Peninsula in Quang Ngai
Province near Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam, Private First Class Loyde
Patrick Arender, 2454394, United States Marine Corps, with absolute
total disregard for his own life and completely on his own
initiative, repeatedly subjected himself to a series of no less than
eight (8) life-threatening trips into, across, and back out of an
enemy minefield, in an effort to render assistance to his fellow
Marines and Corpsmen who had been seriously wounded or killed by
numerous enemy bouncing-betty booby traps and anti-personnel mines.
As a member of 1st Platoon of Kilo Company, PFC Arender was walking
with the point element of the patrol column who were conducting an
online sweep in search of enemy forces who were known to have
occupied the numerous tunnel complexes in the immediate area. PFC
Arender was doing his best to walk in the safer path made by the
tracks of the tank escort, since the tank had previously detonated
two anti-personnel mines only a few minutes before and because the
entire area was known to be heavily mined. As the patrol column and
tank escort neared the ocean, the tank began to sink in the soft,
sandy terrain which made it impossible for the tank to continue.
Realizing that there was a substantial probability that enemy forces
inhabited the tunnels and spider holes on the peninsula, the Marine
patrol column continued forward, without a tank escort. Suddenly,
without warning, the point man detonated a bouncing-betty booby trap,
killing him instantly and wounding approximately six other Marines,
including PFC Arender, who was wounded in the left arm near the wrist
by shrapnel. As the patrol column halted and prepared to take cover,
PFC Arender's M-60 gunner detonated another booby trap and was
seriously wounded. Although wounded and in a relatively safer area
near the tank, PFC Arender chose to totally disregard the danger to
his own life, by leaving the safety of the tank tracks and completely
on his own initiative, ran through the minefield to the aid of the
seriously wounded machine gunner. After quickly wrapping the wounded
Marine's chest and abdomen in a poncho, in an effort to curtail some
of the bleeding, PFC Arender placed the Marine on his shoulder and
ran to the relatively safer area behind the tank, where he placed the
Marine on a med-evac helicopter which had just landed. Hearing the
screams of his fellow Marines, PFC Arender refused medical attention
for his own wounds and ran back into the minefield to carry out more
of the wounded. PFC Arender aided the Corpsmen by passing out tubes
of morphine to the more seriously wounded Marines and by carrying
more wounded Marines and Corpsmen out of the minefield to the med-
evac helicopters (2 USMC C-46 and 2 Army Huey) which were landing
near the tank. As PFC Arender was making his fourth trip across the
minefield, there was a large explosion, believed to have been an
enemy command-detonated explosive device, which instantly killed one
Marine and seriously wounded about 10 to 15 others, including the
Kilo Company commanding officer (Captain Fred L. Fox, II) and the 1st
Platoon commander (1st LT James "Jim" Bligh). Because PFC Arender
continued to carry wounded and dead Marines out of the minefield, he
displayed great initiative as he continually exposed himself to
death, as he entered and re-entered the minefield, on no less than
eight (8) occasions. Furthermore, his bold courageous actions in the
face of certain death greatly inspired others who joined in to help
load the dead and wounded onto the medical evacuation helicopters.
The indomitable courage and actions of PFC Arender aided greatly to
the expedient medical evacuation of many Marines and Corpsmen which,
in turn, saved many lives, thereby reducing the total amount of
fatalities. By his extraordinary heroism and exemplary determination
in the face of grave risks, PFC Arender inspired the efforts of
others which also further reduced the amount of casualties,
reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest
traditions of the United States Marine Corps and the United States
Naval Service.






WEB Site links to more photos and poetry

http://community-2.webtv.net/kaybran/26thMarineRegiment/page2.html

http://usmcwife.hypermart.net/mmsnake.htm


http://sullyusmc.com/menu.htm

The following is a Summary of Actions
http://community-2.webtv.net/kaybran/26thMarineRegiment/page4.html

 
 
 
Special thanks to Rev.Bill McDonald for this page

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