Vietnam War Memorial, Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, Triangle VA, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member La de Boheme
N 38° 32.570 W 077° 20.569
18S E 295819 N 4268648
Quick Description: A plaque at the Marine Corps Heritage Center honors India and Mike Companies of the 26th Marines who defended and held Hill 881S at Khe Sanh against overwhelming odds in 1968.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 4/22/2013 7:52:34 PM
Waymark Code: WMGY33
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member HANSENNI
Views: 3

Long Description:
Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the Marine Corps Heritage Center in Triangle, Virginia, near Quantico MCB sits on 23 acres and has a series of walkways with memorial bricks, commemorative benches, rally points, and monuments erected in honor of various Marine Corps units and organizations.

Among the memorials is a plaque dedicated to the India and Mike Companies of the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines. It is mounted on a memorial wall near the National Museum of the Marine Corps next to a plaque honoring the 26th Marines for their actions at the siege of Khe Sanh in 1968 which earned them the Presidential Unit Citation.

In January 1968, India Company under Capt. Bill Dabney was dug in at Hill 881S when Mike Co. was sent to watch the hill while India Co. went on reconnaissance. India Co. ran into an NVA battalion on their way to what would become the siege of Khe Sanh. In spite of the heavy mortar and rocket assaults and intense firefights that followed, India and Mike Co. held on to the hill for 2½ months until the NV abandoned the siege. (Read Capt. Dabney's account.)

The plaque is inscribed:

INDIA & MIKE COMPANIES
3RD BATTALION 26TH MARINE REGIMENT


[USMC emblem] [26th Marines emblem]

IN HONOR AND MEMORY OF THE GALLANTRY OF INDIA & MIKE COMPANIES, 3RD BN
26TH MARINE REGIMENT AND THEIR SUPPORTING UNITS, WHO DEFENDED HILL 881
SOUTH DURING THE BATTLE OF KHE SANH IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM FROM 21
JANUARY TO 14 APRIL 1968, AGAINST NUMERICALLY SUPERIOR ENEMY FORCES.

INDIA & MIKE COMPANIES AND THEIR SUPPORTING UNITS ON HILL 881 SOUTH,
WERE COMMANDED BY COLONEL (THEN CAPTAIN) WILLIAM H. DABNEY, WHO WAS
AWARDED THE NAVY CROSS FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM. COLONEL DABNEY
REPORTED TO "HEAVEN'S GATE" ON 15 FEBRUARY 2012.

INITIALLY HILL 881S MADE FOR CROWDED CONDITIONS WITH APPROXIMATELY 400 MARINES AND
CORPSMEN. IN ADDITION TO INDIA AND MIKE COMPANIES, THERE WERE TWO 81 MM MORTARS, TWO
105 MM RECOILESS RIFLES AND THREE 105 MM HOWITZERS FROM CHARLIE BTRY, 1ST BN, 13TH
MARINES. AT TIMES, CASUALTIES REDUCED THAT NUMBER TO ABOUT 250 MARINES AND CORPSMEN.

ENEMY SNIPERS, MACHINE GUNS, ARTILLERY, AND 120-MILLIMETER MORTARS RESPONDED TO
ANY DAYLIGHT MOVEMENT ON THEIR POSITIONS. IN SPITE OF DEEP ENTRENCHMENTS, THE TOTAL
CASUALTIES DURING THE SIEGE WERE CLOSE TO 100 PERCENT. HELICOPTERS WERE THE ONLY
SOURCE OF RESUPPLY, AND EACH SUCH MISSION BROUGHT DOWN A CAULDRON OF FIRE ON THE
LANDING ZONES. A SPECIAL BOND DEVELOPED BETWEEN THE MARINES ON HILL 881S AND THE
AIRCREWS OF HMM-364 AND HMM-262, WHO WERE THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF RESUPPLY AND
ONLY LINK WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD. DABNEY SAID HIS MARINES "KNEW THE PURPLE FOXES AND
OTHER HELO FOLKS ALSO CARED."

THEY WERE STRONG, TOUGH MEN OF "INDIA" AND "MIKE" COMPANIES, 3/26. SURROUNDED BY
THE COMMUNIST NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY (NVA), THEY DAILY RISKED LIFE AND LIMB FOR EACH
OTHER. THEY WERE SO TOUGH THEY TOOK THEIR R&R AT KHE SANH COMBAT BASE, AND THEY
IMPROVISED NOT ONLY TO SURVIVE, BUT ALSO TO LEAVE AN INDELIBLE MEMORY OF PAIN ON THOSE
ENEMIES WHO WOULD BE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO SURVIVE. THE MARINES TOOK AN UNRELENTING
AND BRUTAL POUNDING AND WITH COOL EFFICIENCY PROVIDED WHAT HELP THEY COULD TO OTHER
MARINES ALSO UNDER SIEGE AT KHE SANH FOUR MILES TO THE EAST. AND IN DOING SO, THEY
INSPIRED OTHERS FROM ALL U.S. FORCES PROVIDING SUPPORT IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER TO THE
BELEAGUERED GARRISON AT KHE SANH.

This commemorative plaque joins a monument dedicated to the Purple Foxes and Warriors of Hill 881S in 2004 and a monument idedicated to the 3/26 in 2008 in Semper Fi Park.

A display in the Vietnam gallery in the museum depicts the siege of Khe Sanh. An interactive experience allows the visitor to enter a Chinook that sounds and vibrates like the real thing and emerge into a firefight at Hill 881S. Admission to the museum and attractions is free.

Reference:

Placed by:: 26th Marines

Date Placed: Not listed

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