The Vietnam Marine Recon Patrol where actor Jimmy Stewart's stepson died

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by carpro, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. carpro

    carpro
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    http://www.historynet.com/jimmy-stewarts-stepson-ambushed-in-dmz.htm


    Jimmy Stewart’s Stepson Ambushed in DMZ


    War stories, as the adage goes, are all true and all false. The survivors of one patrol had been telling a mostly false version of this story for 31 years—not deliberately, but because each man’s personal survival strategy had repressed large parts of the traumatic memory. One thing that helped unlock those memories was a celebrity’s published account of the loss of his stepson, who had been one of their teammates (see end of story for a letter written by Jimmy Stewart about the loss of his son).

    When America first landed on the moon in July 1969, the world knew about it. But the previous month in Vietnam, when a U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance patrol code-named “American Beauty” fought for its life, nobody knew the whole story of the Marines’ bravery. And none of the survivors could tell it themselves.

    On June 8, 1969, those Marines were trapped in an ambush that claimed the life of actor Jimmy Stewart’s stepson, Marine 1st Lt. Ron McLean. The remaining five were pinned down for 24 hours by a dug-in NVA platoon. The resulting onslaught of automatic-weapons fire, grenades and 12 hours of close air support should have killed the team many times over.

    “We all expected to die on the hill,” said Bob Lake of Aitkin, Minn., who at 19 had been the assistant patrol leader. “We were in no man’s land, unknowingly dropped into a [1,200-member] enemy battalion, and [helicopter extraction from] the hilltop was the only way out.”

    The Marine Corps’ record of that patrol consists of a 29-line entry found in a July 10, 1969, command chronology. Although that history relates an account of the patrol by Major Charles W. Cobb Jr., the American Beauty survivors could not recognize their experience in his narrative. For the military, perhaps it was just another patrol that went bad. Recon, with a 40 percent casualty rate, is dangerous business
     
  2. carpro

    carpro
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    Thought a long time before I decided to share this true story. I knew one of these men pretty well. Went on several patrols with Roger See. Enjoy the story. It's all true.
     

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