Jimmie D. Bogue
Rank at end of Service: MGYSGT E9
Enlistment Date:1 April 1958
Specialty (MOS):2533 up to 2591 (Morse Code & Voice Radio
Operator to CommChief)
Dates in Country:1st Tour - August '65 to August '66
2nd Tour January '69 to January '70
Organization:1st Tour - H&S Company 2/1
2nd Tour - III MAF TAD to 1st Mardiv, NCOIC
Areas of operation:All of I Corps from Chu Lai to DMZ
I was an "old man", a 25-year old Sgt. on my second enlistment when we received Certificates in Lieu of Orders from Camp Pendelton to a "restricted area" on August 3rd, 1965. A few days later we left San Diego aboard ships headed for Okinawa. After a few weeks there, we went "down south" and our lives changed forever...
In the following 12 months we would engage in 10 or more Battalion or larger-sized operations (a Battalion move being anytime the Bn CP moves "from the rear with the gear" to "da bush"):
Me...during a rare moment in the rear, 1966
Anyway, I had the privilege to participate on every one of them with some of the greatest Marines that have ever been assembled in one unit at one time. Units like 2/1 are born when the demands of combat call for the right combination of people to be in the right place at the right time under a common banner. From the CO down to the newest FNG (F__king New Guy), it took us all to accomplish what we did. 2/1 had the best...the most magnificent Marines that it was ever my honor to serve with.
I know what I'm talking about, brothers. I served in the Corps for 23 years. I saw and was in some great outfits, but 2/1 was the best. It remains closest to my heart. It's been 33 years, but it seems like yesterday and my memories are my daily reminder of what we went through together. Here is just one:
* 5 Dagger Thrust raids from the ships to the beach, each lasting 2 to 5 days.
* Countless unnamed sweeps, some with enemy contact, some without, but all with the spectre of mortal danger ever present
* Other operations that didn't even have names.
Operation New York - 28 February 1966
About ten clicks southeast of Phu Bai it was mostly sand. Open, exposed...with treelines all around us. Hot and still! Very little breeze. Can't keep the sweat out of my eyes. PsyOp planes flying overhead, trolling for NVA defectors by broadcasting music and news items of interest to lure them into giving up. I was humping the radio for the CO, LtCol Hannifin (the Six) on Bn Tac.
Thinking, hoping, praying that it was just another walk on the wild side. But it was not to be...
The point squad, Sgt Allen's squad, came under intense fire from an ambush. A nervous NVA opened fire early before the main body was in the kill zone or it would have been much worse than it was. And it was plenty bad.
The Six and I hit the deck with our faces pressing against the sand. We were 200 or 300 yards behind the point and it was about the same distance to the treeline and cover. We were totally exposed and the tracers from the main battle were criss-crossing over our heads like a solid layer. They were all green tracers.
Our eyes locked, and the Six said, "What the Hell, we can't live forever, let's get to the treeline." We did so, a la John Wayne.
That was the longest couple of hundred yards I ever ran in my life. We hit and rolled a couple of times like they taught us in ITR. By the time we made the treeline and hit the deck, my legs felt like lead weights. I was panting so hard I could barely talk on the radio. I had given up trying to keep the sweat out of my eyes.
Less than 5 minutes had passed since the first round and about 10 Marines from Foxtrot were already dead or dying, with many more wounded. By the end of the day, there would be a total of 16 names that would be added to the Wall.
The long and intense firefight continued as we consolidated and gained control. My friend Nugent's place as Foxtrot radio operator was taken by a tall Grunt who had been shot in the eye. I had the hardest time convincing him that he was going to be medevac'd! And since he was doing such a great job, he was one of the last out.I'll never forget his reply when I told him to go: "But, Sarge! I can't turn the radio over to one of these grunts. They'll mess it up!" And this from a grunt with no radio training!
I later heard that his eye was saved. The round had just creased the socket, breaking the bone. Is this true? Are you out there, Marine?
During the heat of the fight, about 30 minuters or so into it, the Corpsman told me he had some critical medevacs. To him, critical meant that if these guys weren't on the operating table within a half hour, they would not make it. I called for an emergency medevac.
As the CH34 from HMM-161 was inbound, the pilot asked if the LZ was hot. I replied, "Hotter than a firecracker!" He asked what direction and size of fire he could expect. I said, "360 degrees and everything from small arms up to 50-cal, rpgs, and recoilless rifle fire." He asked if the wounded were really critical and I shouted, "Roger that!" He replied, "That's a roger. I'll give you 30 seconds to load and then I'll be out of here!"
I told him, "Okay, you'll see us lying in a row on the ground. Put your door-side wheel on the first man. That will be me and we'll be throwing the first one in before your wheel hits the ground."
He started to drop right on us. I was hearing the hits he was taking when he was still 200 feet up. Ping! Ping! Ping! "Ah, shit," I thought,"He'll never make it...we're all dead men."
His blades went Whoop! Whoop!Whoop! and suddenly he's on the ground and the first wounded goes in. I try to make eye contact with the door gunner, but he's intensely searching the bush over our heads to our rear looking for targets.
The second man goes in and I see a row of holes across the side of the chopper by the door, just like in the movies. The door gunner is still there. How? Was he hit, but not down? Or just terribly lucky?
The third casualty goes in and, as I look up, the pilot grunts and falls forward. Ahhh, shit! The door gunner is still there...he must be very lucky.
The rest of the wounded go in and the chopper takes off with the co-pilot flying. The pilot is still slumped over his stick. That bird must have taken at least 200 hits!
I later heard that they all made it. So, whatever happened to you, my fellow Marines? And the rest of that fantastic CH34 crew who pulled Marines out of harm's way on that sultry day 32 years ago 10 clicks southeast of Phu Bai? How did you guys make out?
Sgt. Allen got a tooth shot out and lost most of his squad...
We had the hardest time finding one man. A machine gunner, we finally found him buried under a bunch of NVA bodies. He was still gripping his M-60, completely covered with the bodies of those he had killed before dying, his finger still on the trigger. I heard his name was Casebolt and that he got a Silver Star...
A salty FNG who had been in the Dominican Republic asking, "Hey, Sarge, what's the matter with him?" as we stepped over a dead Marine with a sucking chest wound the Corpsman had just given up on. I looked the FNG right in the eye and said, "What's the matter, you never saw a dead Marine in the D.R.?" He got it then and transformed instantly from a salty D.R vet into a Vietnam FNG, eager to learn...
That Chopper pilot? Evidently, the round hit a strut or something and riccocheted up between his legs clipping the end of his penis. The doc's finished the circumcision and he had his Purple Heart. I heard that he once showed off his wound at the Officer's Club one night. Just hearsay, though. I didn't witness that.
2/1 and HMM-161 developed a real bond as we went through a lot together. From the debacle of Harvest Moon to Operation Hastings, I never heard of an instance where pilots from HMM-161 did not make every attempt to do whatever necessary to fly the requested missions. Be it medevac, insertion, extraction, re-supply, they were always there. Thanks to all of you for all you did for us. To this day, the sound of a helicopter overhead still makes the hair on my neck stand up as it takes me back in time...
The next day, I took off my boots to wring out my socks after wading through some streams. I discovered my left sock was soaked with blood. I found the source of the blood on my left shin and called for the doc. He tagged me as "WIA, unknown cause" and fixed it up with a bandage. I asked him what the tag was for and he told me I was going to the USS Repose for a few days. I tore the tag off and said "No thanks!" I put my boots back on, shouldered my radio, picked up my rifle and moved on down the trail.
Me...fording a stream on Operation New York, February, 1966
After my second tour, I was confused and didn't have a clue as to what it was all about. I had so many questions and doubts. I could find no one else to figure it out either. So I started taking college courses at night while teaching classes in Communications Chiefs school at MCRD, San Diego. I had heard that college was supposed to make you smarter. I hoped that I could find out some answers and at least put some of the demons to rest.
I got an Associates degree and was accepted for the Marine Corps Degree Completion program. I graduated in 1975 from San Diego State University with a BA in Speech Communications.
I wasn't any smarter and had found no answers, but at least I was asking better questions.
I still couldn't go to sleep sober and the nightmares continue to this day. I have figured out one thing. As young warriors have gone to battle down through the ages, it isn't necessarily the survivors who are the fortunate ones.
The horrors of war have created in me an incredibly strong faith that sustains me today. Only there can I find comfort.
In the 70's, I got involved in AMA amateur off-road and desert motorcycle racing during my off duty hours. Finished the "Barstow to Vegas" a couple of times and quit while I was ahead.
I had a couple of more WestPac tours for a total of seven trips across the pond during my 23 years. On April 30, 1983, I retired from the U.S. Marine Corps
I moved to the McAllen/Mission area of the Rio Grande valley to build homes with my dad. My incredible sense of timing rose to the fore as this was same period as the great Real Estate bust.
On the brighter side, I found Sande, my wife, my friend, my companion and soul mate for the last 15 years. She helps me through the nightmares. Sande has stories of her own.
Of French and American Indian descent, she has a private pilots license, is a former resident of Venezuela and Abu Dhabi, and speaks English, French, Arabic and Spanish (what a woman! She can say "Semper Fi" in four languages!) She is quite an accomplished artist with free hand designs in ceramics and is a gifted poet. She's fun and challenging to be around and good looking to boot.
13 years ago I went to work for Manitex, Inc., a Crane manufacturer. I started out "twisting wrenches" in Final Assembly, then moved inside to an opening in our Purchasing Department. From there, I went through parts service and sales administration to my present position in Sales Marketing Support. I advise, assist, review and approve Crane and Truck applications. Most of the time I am tied to the telephone or the computer. I do a lot of work in AutoCAD 14, Excel, Word, MAPICS and other software.
During this time we also raised registered Beefmaster cattle. When Manitex invited me to relocate with them to Georgetown, Texas in 1993, we decided that would be our excuse to get out of the cattle business.
We now live out in the country on 10 acres about 15 miles from Georgetown in central Texas. Below is a picture of our beautiful spread with the flag of our country prominently displayed.
Jim & Sande Bogue - Present day
We decided long ago that crowded sub-divisions were not for us. We are not anti-social. We love people and love to have visitors. We just prefer not to have close neighbors. The lack of normal city amenities such as fire and police support are more than compensated by the blissful solitude. Our kids and grandkids come to visit and marvel at how bright the stars are out here and how quiet and peaceful it is.
Sande loves to bake and uses a lot of pecans. So in the last two years we have planted over 70 of our own pecan trees. The deer and the heat are a constant threat to the trees, but most are doing fine. I can't wait to be out there picking pecans in 10 or 20 years. Stay tuned for the rest of that story.
Today I thank my lucky stars for all the good fortune that has been bestowed upon me. Most of all, I am humbled by the honor of having been able to serve with so many outstanding Marines and to have been a part of it all.
For what it's worth, the only advice I can offer is to find your faith and make your peace. That is the only true comfort you can depend on.
Also, master the computer so you can leap into the Information Age.