District Of Columbia








POSTED ON 5.27.2020
POSTED BY: Daniel H Gardner

Carl's company commander remembers

The following is an edited and transcribed portion of a letter dated March 25, 2020 written by Colonel Herbert E. Pierpan, USMC Retired. " . . . I remember Carl very well as I was first introduced to him when he was assigned as one of my Platoon Commanders when he became a member of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines which I happened to be Company Commander at the time.  During that time the 3rd Marine Division was operating solely in I Corps below and occasionally in the DMZ from the coast to the Cambodian Border with the 4th Marines and 1/4 (1st Battalion, 4th Marines) out of Vandegrift Combat Base along Route 9 just west of the Rock Pile.
Carl as a Platoon Commander is where I first got to meet and observe how good Carl was as a leader.  As time passed, I grew to rely on him more and more for advice on certain tactical matters and the overall welfare of his Marines . . . He seemed to rise above the other Company Platoon Commanders . . .  Battalion would always be inquiring and be looking for sharp Lieutenants to fill holes in their staff.  . . and would sometimes come to the Company Commanders requesting a certain Lieutenant by name, as they did concerning Carl and regardless of the resistance presented by me, Carl became a Battalion Staff Officer.
Shortly thereafter I was promoted Major and was moved into the Battalion S-3 (Operations) staff position.  As such I worked often with Carl as he had been assigned to the Battalion S-2 (Intelligence) staff position.  Carl would often be tasked to be the S-2 staff representative forward, that is in the field with the frontline companies and Battalion command group forward.  There, I got to know him even better . . . as the most current intelligence information he would provide was vital to planning and the execution of the Battalion’s operation plans.  Carl was a talented, flexible, ambitious, and productive . . . Leading up to the Argonne Operation the Battalion had been conducting company size operations . . . Sadly, to say Carl and Lt Col Sargent (1st Battalion’s Commanding Officer) both died no more than 3 to 4 feet in front of me while we were standing facing each other talking over the then critical tactical situation. . . With no warning, the first round of an enemy barrage of 82-millimeter rounds landed and detonated . . . let me say without being insensitive, they never knew what happened, death was instant. . . August 1969, I contacted (his mother to present a shadow box of his awards) "
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POSTED ON 5.25.2020
POSTED BY: Daniel H Gardner

Carl's BOC 8-68 platoon leader remembers

Now retired Colonel Andy Anderson USMC, then a young Captain in 1968 having just returned from combat in Vietnam served as Carl's Officer Basic School platoon leader. He remembers Carl this way. "My memory of Carl is that he was very conscientious and fully applied himself, always very positive and absorbing every facet of the TBS training syllabus. I don't have any anecdotes or "let me tell you about the time..." kind of tales to share because there weren't any with Carl. Just a damn good man with whom I would have been proud to serve. The world lost a good one much too early."

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POSTED ON 10.30.2018
POSTED BY: Dan Gardner

A heroic Marine officer

Carl's military medals and awards are the Bronze Star with Combat V, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Service Medal with 2 stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Frame, and the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Medal 1st Class with Palm and Frame
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POSTED ON 9.10.2018
POSTED BY: Dan Gardner

James Jones: A fellow officer remembers Carl.

James Jones of Cary NC was a classmate of Carl's at The Basic School Quantico VA and remembers seeing Carl near Danang in March 1969.

"Carl & myself were in the same Basic School Class (Hotel Company 8-68)at Quantico Va. I ran into him in Viet Nam, early March 1969. We met by accident at the 7th Engineer's Officer's Club just outside of Da Nang. He had just returned from R & R and was on his way back to his unit in Northern I Corp near the DMZ. We spent the evening "hoisting a few brews" before he departed. I found out in early April 1969 what had happened to him and many other Marines at the Fire Support Base up at the "Z" the night of March 21st. I remember Carl as a compassionate & caring individual who really believed in what he was doing, even after we had all come to realized that "our leaders",in Washington DC, wouldn't let us win the war. When speaking with Carl you could really tell that he truely cared for the Marines that were under his command. God bless you and the rest the Lt's. from Tbe Basic School, class of 8-68,(Hotel Company affectionately known as "Huss Company") who didn't make it back or those that did but would be "changed forever" by the experence. Semper Fi." Written Thursday, March 21, 2002.

Text provided by Carl's sister Betsy Hill
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POSTED ON 9.3.2018
POSTED BY: Dan Gardner

Two Marines in the shadow of war and family ties.

Carl, the Vietnam War and it's legacy has a new and unexpected  irony and loss for me.  You and I walked parallel paths in 1968 and 1969.  As young newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenants in the USMC  it is possible, without being aware of a family connection,  that we might have passed each other in O'Bannon Hall, classroom halls, the obstacle course,  the parade deck, or the chow line while attending The Basic School at Quantico.  You deployed to WESTPAC in September 1968.  I followed in January 1969.  Both of us assigned to infantry battalions in South Vietnam.  Your 1st Battalion, 4th Marines were constantly involved fighting back the NVA incursions through the DMZ and Laos into Quang Tri Province, while my 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines were engaged fending them and the Viet Cong off in Quang Nam Province just South and West of Danang.  On March 21, 1969, my 3rd platoon, Hotel Company, 1st Marines was operating South of Marble Mountain from a hostile area known as No Name Island and Boobytrap Alley.  That same day your 1st Battalion, 4th Marines secured the formerly abandoned FSB Argonne near the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail and you heroically lost your life.   Distantly we had  been on parallel paths and yet I didn't know of you nor you of me.  Now 50 years later, through a family connection that my wife Susan discovered,  I  met your sister Betsy and her husband Jimmy Hill.  Betsy and I had recently learned that we are 2nd cousins through our McCoy maternal great grandparents.  My  maternal grandmother Ada Estelle McCoy Gardner was the younger sister to your maternal grandmother Elizabeth Hyde McCoy Bragg.  When we all recently met for lunch on a beautiful Sunday in Northern VA  Betsy shared her memories of her family and your tragic combat death.  I could not help but think that I wished I had known you.  We apparently had much in common.  It is sadly apparent to me that even after 50 years, for those of us who survived the Vietnam War, the opportunity for feelings of loss and grief is still surprisingly available to every ancestry as family members seek their roots.  Both of us had the honor to serve our country as U S Marines.  We are brothers forever and McCoy cousins, beyond that.  May you continue to rest in peace knowing that you are still lovingly remembered by those you have touched personally and those who learn of your courageous service.  Semper Fidelis - Dan Gardner
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