KEVIN PATRICK BROOKS (Charlie Co 1/3, 1967-1968 Vietnam)
Kevin was a new 2nd LT, Artillery Forward Observer with A/1/12/3, when he arrived in Vietnam in May 1967. He was assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Bn, 3rd Marines which was on SLF-A at the time. Our prior Arty FO Billy West had been moved to another assignment after being wounded on Operation Beaver Cage-May 10, 1967. Capt. Reczek, the CO of Charlie Company, remembers the young LT as being anxious to call in his first fire mission. Capt Reczek said one day the opportunity to call in an Artillery mission happened, and LT Brooks , went to work. The Capt wanted a WP(White Phosphorus or Wooly Peter) Round fired first to see where it landed. I guess it went well, LT Brooks stayed with us. At the 2018 Reunion in Colorado Springs, Kevin who had continued his Marine Corps career and retired a Full Bird COL, was there. One night in the 1/3 Bunker, he was telling a small group of us, about the Fire mission he called in on Operation Cochise- Que Son Valley- Aug 17th, 1967. He called in the mission on the NVA positions, while a squad went out to recover some of our guys who had been in the field all day long. This was at dusk, and all went well. On October 11th, 1967 when Charlie Company was over-ran on Operation Medina, LT Brooks was in the CP group that was shot up bad. After the new Capt was wounded, Kevin did do a lot that morning. I know Kevin was with Charlie Company at A-3 and C-4, and called on a lot more Fire Missions. Think he was a 1st LT then. I had met Kevin a couple times through the years. He had talked of writing a Book about Operation Medina, but it di not happen. He was one of the Good Guys, that I served with. Early this year, Kevin, who lived in Brooklyn, New York, got the Covid-19 virus. He fought a good fight but passed on April 3, 2020. REST IN PEACE my Friend and Brother.
Don Bumgarner C/1/3 67-68,
JAMES RAYMOND COOPER (Charlie Co 1/3, 1967 Vietnam- KIA May 10, 1967 Operation Union/Beaver Cage in the Que Son Valley)
The following is a Letter written by Kenneth W Burkitt, Charlie Co 1/3 1967-68 Vietnam, which was left at Jim’s Headstone and Grave in Lawrence, Kansas in October 2014, I think. Ken had mentioned to me(Don Bumgarner) at the prior Reunion he wanted me to meet him in Lawrence, Kansas. I happened be in Lawrence, Kansas that weekend, we met. Ken drove from Mt Carmel, Illinois to Lawrence, and stayed with me at a friends house there. We (Ken and I) went to the cemetery the following morning. We found Jim’s grave in the Military Section. Ken read the letter to Jim, It was very emotional, as you can imagine, and the letter was attached to his Headstone. I’m glad that I was there with Ken, and we cried, hugged, and consoled one another. Ken said he wished he had been there on the 10th too, and I told he could have been killed too.