Cpl Lonnie O. Marshall
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: Cpl Marshall's daughter, Cindy Marshall, found The Mighty Ninth website and knew her Dad served with our unit. The notes below are taken from conversations with his daughter Cindy.
ONE OF THE EARLIEST TO ARRIVE FROM HAWAII
My dad did confirm going to Vietnam in November. He started out with the 13th artillery in Hawaii 1965, working on trucks. Self propelled track units. Tow went to track units so they needed truck drivers to tow the trucks and guns.
The 13th artillery switched to the 9th artillery. My dad was a part of operation Paul Revere at LZ ALPHA. 90% of his travel was via helicopter. But he arrived in a C-130 cargo plane. They had straps for personnel seating and my dad was instructed to stay in place. But he got out of it and slept on a 2 quarter ton truck that was flying with them, because it was warmer. They weren't supposed to get out of their seats, but as I've explained before, my dad wasn't a conformist, if you will.
My dad mentioned operation Paul Revere. He still to this day is really upset to hear that the president said the military was not in Cambodia. He said he was in Cambodia for an operation when the president made that statement. They were trying to stop the Vietnamese from going south but the Vietnamese went around them. There was a fight. He was also tasked to stop North Vietnam from the Ho Chi Minh trail and said he couldn't believe that the enemy actually had hospitals built underground in tunnels with ammunition. In one operation, they killed 600 Vietnamese and only lost 1 guy.
Building fox holes was home for him. When they got mortared, it became bunkers and sand bags. They chopped trees and carried them to bunkers for coverage. Monsoons season and mortars, he recalled, were awful. They fired almost every round they had to keep the Vietnamese off their Infantry units.
He also mentioned down time. He said there were 5 howitzers and 6 crews so 1 crew got to go to base camp for a week. He likened it to "Apocalypse Now". Where women would show up and guys got stupid and they'd send the women off in a helicopter. He also said there were movie nights where they'd sit on a bench and watch a projector film
My dad was friendly to blacks and minorities so being white, which gave him extra duties on digging holes for garbage, or dealing with 50 gal drum over a crap hole. He'd open the door, pour the sewer out, put diesel fuel and you know the rest.
Side note: My dad likened himself to minorities because he was white and he married a Mexican and had 3 kids. So he was dubbed the black sheep of his family. As you may know, back in the day, it wasn't acceptable
My dad did say one thing, that made no sense to me, but may have meaning to you. Do you ever recall figuring out how C-4 explosives, like clay, would help to light up and heat your ham, biscuits and lima beans?!
My dad was at Ft Sill and went to Vietnam from Hawaii. When I visit, I'll take a screenshot of his papers and send them to you.
thank you so much for reaching out to me. My dad was ready to go to the grave
with his experience until I told him I reached out to you. He started talking.
He also retired in the VA medical field in his late 60s
OUT IN A HOLE
asked again about the time he dug his hole and refused to get out. He laughed
and said there was this belief that the guys had a theory that you're likely to
die the 1st two months of being in or the last 2 two months of getting out. My
dad was told when he thought he was going home that he had to stay two
additional months so he dug a hole and spent his last 2 months in the hole and
would instruct the guys on what they needed to do during fire missions but
wouldn't get out of the bunker because he didn't want to die his last two months
of serving. Then the helicopter got him and he left everything behind.
wanted to clarify after asking my dad directly about prejudices and if he
experienced anything like that. He said he did not. But he made friends easily
with the African Americans because they were doing the same tasks. Basically he
said shit jobs. I asked if he got those jobs because of his poor attitude and he
said no one wanted to be there and me and one other guy got into trouble once
for being accused of sleeping while on watch. But he clarified that they weren't
sleeping. The Sergeant who came by was initially halted and asked for the
password, when he came back by a second time they didn't halt and password him
because they had just talked to him shortly before so they let him pass.