TBS 1-67, B Company Memorial Presentations

February 10, 2019

 

Bob Lange has taken the lead for an ongoing B Company project to ensure that all B Company officers killed in action or in the line of duty continue to be honored and remembered by the universities they attended.  Presentation ceremonies at the officers' universities include the presentation of a TBS 1-67 Cruise Book, as pictured above.

Bob reports that when the pending presentations are complete, our Basic School class will have honored each of our 21 KIA/Combat Related/LOD losses at their respective university/college.

Pending

Norm Billipp

Jim Shea

Jerry Zimmer and Charlie Pigott

Al McLean

Completed

Denny Babers

Jesse Baker

Doug Byers

Tom Crew

Ray Daley

Bob Kuhlman

Matt McKnight

Earl Smith

Dick Johnson

Tom King

Cruise Books presented via mail:

Carl Long

Van Lemmond

A. Bayard Russ

Tom Ross

Walt Lubbe

Dick Morin

Randy Brundage

Norm Billipp

A Presentation for Norm is scheduled for April 6 at the University of Wisconsin NROTC annual spring formal. At that time, Andy Billipp and his brothers will present a Marine Mameluke Sword to the outstanding Marine graduate for this year, which is something the Billipp family has been doing since Norm was killed. Then Bob Rivers and Bob Lange will present a Memorial Cruise Book to the Unit in honor and memory of Norm. Al Bassett and Ron Hellbusch may also attend.

Jim Shea

On May 23, Andy Vaart and Tom Nequette will make the presentation of a a Memorial Cruise Book to Columbia University at the NY NROTC Consortium Graduation Ceremony in honor memory of Jim Shea. 

Jerry Zimmer and Charlie Pigott Cruise Book Presentations

Both Bob DeLuca and Bob Lange have been making plans with Brown University.  Bob DeLuca had a conference call with Joe Petrutti and Scott Somers, who are the class of 1969 president and chairman of the 50th reunion committee at Brown, respectively. As a part of the Commencement program on May 25 in Providence, they are putting on a Vietnam forum. They have committed to Bob that we can participate in that event to present the cruise book. The forum, which is limited to fifty minutes, will have three panelists: Joe, a Navy Reservist, an African American female class member who lost a brother in Vietnam, and a well-known war protester and Brown professor, David Kertzer. The topic of discussion is the impact of the war on people and society. The TBS 1-67 part will probably be being recognized from the panel to stand up in the audience and make the presentation to the Brown Vietnam Archives archivist. The forum has limited time and a set format, so despite their willingness to recognize TBS 1-67, this is the current plan. In any event, May 25 is firm!

Al McLean

At the end of January, Bob talked to Al McLean’s brother Peter. Peter was in touch with Harvard and was advised that Al has continued to be associated with the class of 1965 because that’s when he would’ve graduated had he continued straight through. But in fact Al withdrew after his junior year, enlisting then apparently joining the PLC program, then back to Harvard and received his degree in June 1966.  He was commissioned and joined us in TBS 1-67 at Quantico. 

With Al’s journey and commissioning confirmed, planning has begun for an appropriate Ceremony at Harvard. The presentation will occur during the Joint ROTC Commissioning Ceremony at Harvard on May 29.

Ray Daley

Expenses: On January 13, an email was sent to all TBS 1-67 B Company Members noting that the total cost for the Remembrance was $3100 for the Memorial Tree and Plaque, the Reception, the Book, and Programs; costs to be shared with USNA Class of '66. B Company donations were generous! Bob reported on February 7 a donation balance of $510 with only one pending debit of $582 still to go. The Class of '66 contribution is also pending. Thanks to B Company for once again stepping up to take care of a Brother. The request for contributions is now closed.

The Presentation: On December 15, 2018, in Memorial Hall at the Naval Academy, B Company's Ray Daley was honored at a joint B Company/USNA Class of 1966 Remembrance Ceremony. Ray's wife Nancy, their daughter and son, and high school senior grandson and Nancy's friend David O'Sullivan attended the Ceremony. The Ceremony included the presentation of a TBS 1-67 Cruise Book to the Naval Academy and the dedication and blessing of a River Birch Tree in honor of Ray which was planted on the Naval Academy grounds two days prior to the Ceremony. A plaque will be placed at the tree.

A Navy Color Guard from Ft. Meade and the Brass Quintet from the Naval Academy Band provided very nice support for the Ceremony.

Attending the Ceremony were the family, seven B Company members, eight Class of 1966 members, five Marine Officers from the Academy Marine Detachment, the Academy Special Events Officer, and five Midshipmen.

Bob Lange gave the introduction.  Also speaking at the Ceremony were General Carl Fulford, USMC (Ret.), Class of 1966 Class President, Colonel Jeff Smitherman, Senior Marine USNA, B Company's John (Ace) Astle, Roger Daniel, and Andy Vaart, and Ray's son Brian. Brian was born two months after Ray was killed.

Though it was a cold and rainy day, the family and a small contingent visited the tree site, near the Columbarium Area of the Naval Academy Cemetery, on the water's edge of Dorsey Creek where it flows into the Severn River. Nancy and family were very pleased with the site.

Following the Ceremony a reception was held at the Naval Academy Club. After the Reception there was a small dinner gathering for the family and B Company Members and Major Pete Benning and his wife. Pete is a V-22 pilot and the Operations Officer for the Academy Marine Detachment. He was instrumental in the planning for the Ceremony. The Senior Marine could not attend the dinner because he had a football recruiting dinner that night.

Program

Bob Lange introduction

Colonel Smitherman

General Fulford

Brian Daley

The Daley family

Entryway stairs into the Memorial Hall

Ray Daley Memorial Tree, Plaque below

Jesse Baker

Al Bassett organized a Presentation Ceremony at Clemson University on October 25 in honor and memory of Jesse Baker; the ceremony included a presentation of the The "Official" TBS 1-67 B Company Memorial Cruise Book 1966-2016 by Andy Vaart to the Clemson ROTC Cadet Corps

Al's remarks:

"We are here today to honor 2nd Lieutenant Jesse Rutledge Baker, USMC who was killed in action in Vietnam on August 18, 1967. Jesse grew up in Whitmire, SC and was a member of the Clemson Class of 1965. While Jesse was a student at Clemson, he was a member of the Army ROTC including two years in the Pershing Rifles. We are honored that Jesse’s brother Edgar and sister-in-law Lou are with us today.

On July 5, 1966, more than 180 newly commissioned Marine Lieutenants (including Jesse who had earned his commission through Officer Candidate School) began the 20-week course at The Basic School at Quantico, VA. That class included Andy Vaart and Chuck Vogt who are here today along with me.

Perhaps I should provide a bit of context on “The Basic School” or as it is commonly known by Marines, “TBS.” The basic unit of the Marine Corps is the infantry platoon. The Marine Corps has always believed that every officer, regardless of his/her military occupational specialty should be trained as an infantry platoon leader. This training builds camaraderie throughout the Corps.

I was privileged to be Jesse’s roommate during those 20 weeks at TBS. Because room and platoon assignments were made in alphabetic order, Jesse and I were inseparable – roommates, stood next to each other in formations, sat next to each other in classes, etc. Of all the roommates Jesse could draw, he got the one man in the class who was a graduate of the University of South Carolina. Out of curiosity, I went back to see who won the 1966 Clemson vs. Carolina football game – on November 26th (two days after we completed The Basic School) Clemson defeated Carolina 35-10.

During our time at The Basic School, we not only learned the skills and tactics necessary to serve as Marine Officers in ground combat, or effectively support those operations, but we also focused on leadership skills including our responsibility for those who would be under our command in high risk operations and who would look to us in some instances for their very survival.

There are many things I could say in honoring Jesse, but our time is short. Since all of you are in training to become officers in the US Army, I want to comment on Jesse’s leadership in combat which is an excellent example for anyone who aspires to lead others in one of our military services. During the spring and summer of 1967, the engineer platoon that Jesse commanded was engaged in building a bridge over the Vinh Dinh River south of Da Nang. The platoon was the frequent target of enemy sniper fire. Andy Vaart who is here with us today was an infantry officer in that area at the same time and can attest to the hostile environment in which Jesse and his men were operating. Due to the heat, Jesse’s men often worked without shirts and at times without flack vests. Jesse always wore a white tee shirt so he would draw any sniper fire away from others in his platoon and give the platoon’s machine gunner an opportunity to spot the muzzle flashes and return fire. On one occasion, one of Jesse’s men was shot by a sniper. Jesse immediately exposed himself to enemy fire in an effort to get the wounded Marine out of the open area. Despite Jesse’s efforts for which he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Marine died. Over and over, Jesse earned the admiration and respect of the men he led in combat. If you go to the Scroll of Honor section of the Clemson University web site, you will find tributes by those who served in combat with Jesse.

On August 18, 1967, Jesse was killed in action when the jeep in which he was riding drove over a land mine.

In 2016, many of the surviving members of our Basic School Class gathered at Quantico, VA to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. During that celebration, we honored the 21 members of our class who were Killed in Action or Died in the Line of Duty. Today, we wish to present to the Army ROTC Unit a copy of the “Cruise Book” published following the Anniversary to commemorate the members of our class including Jesse. But, before we make that presentation, Andy Vaart who was the editor of our “Cruise Book” has a few comments."

Andy Vaart's presentation remarks:

"Thank you, Al, Colonel, and the cadets of Clemson.

We are here to present this book, "The 'Official' TBS 1-67, B Company Cruise Book, 1966-2016." 

Let me explain that a "cruise book" is a product of long tradition in the Naval service. In a force of ships that tended to go on long deployments overseas, sometimes for two years or more, most crews began building albums of the experience. Included were photographs, news clippings, and writings of crew members.  Each book became an informal record of that cruise. Many ships’ wardrooms have collections of these books on library shelves.

Ours is such a book, but it is dedicated to a cruise that has progressed now for more than 50 years. In those 20 weeks together, the B Company crew formed bonds that would last all this time. And beyond those 20 weeks and, whether we stayed in the Corps beyond our initial commitments, the book makes clear how important that time was to our futures. 

In every way the bonds we formed then the embodiment of the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis--always faithful.

The ingredients of those bonds included:

 - The certainty of our going into war--the course had just been shortened to get us into action sooner;

 - The unique character of our group--we were largely composed of NROTC graduates who had chosen to become Marines. In many ways this experience gave us a perspective like the one you will have, a perspective that encompasses the many other experiences you will discover in your life in Clemson.

 - We possessed the credo that we would serve our country and constitution, irrespective of the challenges presented by an increasingly divided civilian community, such as the one we faced in 1966.

We brought with us 180 free, yet disciplined spirits; we knew we were going to war, and we trained with intensity for that purpose.

But somehow we knew when nonsense was nonsense and we would play with it. 

For example, in many seemingly endless--and apparently pointless--marches, we would break out singing our theme song, "The Teddy Bear's Picnic." One wag in my platoon even prepared a small manual on the proper carrying of notebooks while in formation on the way to class (close order drill for notebooks).

We, of course, broke up after graduation:

 - a third of us would go into infantry 

 - a third would go into aviation and the others into other fields, Jesse into combat engineering. 

Thirty years later we would find ourselves being pulled together again, thanks to the dogged efforts of two members who exploited the wonders of the new internet to pull together the first of multiple reunions, out of which this book and many rekindled friendships grew. 

With that introduction, let me read the dedication letter contained in the book, written by our most senior member, Mike Wholley, who retired from the Marine Corps as its Judge Advocate General."

After reading:

"And in that spirit, the members of B Company present this book to Jesse Baker’s Clemson Family."

 

Al Bassett

LTC Todd Crawford & Clemson Army ROTC following presentation 

This is a link to the Clemson University Corps Scroll of Honor for Jesse.

Tom Crew

Tom Thompson organized a Memorial Cruise Book presentation to the Northwestern University NROTC Unit in memory of Tom Crew. The presentation included Ed Michael at Northwestern on November 19. Tom Crew died in 2007 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside California. Bob Lange contacted Capt. Christopher Adams, USN, the C.O. of the NROTC unit. The M.O.I. is Capt. Adam North. The Northwestern University unit is now combined with the one at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, so the officers alternate sites. Capt Adams was enthusiastic about receiving the Cruise Book and described where it would be displayed. The Northwestern University NROTC unit is at 617 Haven St, Evanston, Il 60208

Ed Michael and Tom Thompson

Bob Kuhlman

On September 18, Jim Hulsey presented our cruise book in honor of Bob Kuhlman to the Tulane NROTC unit at a battalion formation with all the midshipmen and NROTC staff in attendance. (There will son be a new TBS167.com webpage with photos of this and other presentations.

Larry Gerlach was honored during the Ole Miss 2018 Homecoming Weekend October 5-7.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Alumni Association is honoring seven distinguished University of Mississippi alumni with its highest annual awards as part of Homecoming 2018. Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2018 are: Thad Cochran (BA 59, JD 65) of Oxford; Howard L. Gerlach (BBA 66, MBA 77) of Fairfax, VA; see news.olemiss.edu

During the weekend the NROTC Battalion had a Homecoming Event on Saturday. During that event, Larry presented the Battalion with a copy of the B Company Reunion Cruise Book in honor of and in memory of Denny Babers.

A B Company Memorial Cruise Book Presentation in honor and memory of Earl Smith occurred on October 17 at the NROTC Unit at Oregon State University. The Book was presented to the Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) and his class of Marine Students at the beginning of a class. It was a brief but important Ceremony.  Rich Hodory, Earl's classmate at Oregon State, coordinated the Ceremony and  presented the Book.

Bob Lange confirmed another October presentation for Doug Byers:  Capt Travis Horner, Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln received the TBS 1-67 book on October 1. Bob also sent Doug's family a copy of the delivery letter to the MOI.

Capt Horner confirmed he would present the book to the Battalion; it would then be circulated around the battalion before being placed in the Admiral Peterson Library at the NROTC unit.

Matt McKnight

Andy Vaart helped to to recognize deceased class member Matthew McKnight at Auburn and to find his lost officer's sword.   

Andy sent a report on the the March 29 ceremony for Matthew McKnight at Auburn High School

Andy's description and invitation to the event:

"Matt will be separately honored at a ceremony recognizing East Alabama Vietnam Veterans at Auburn High School with the presentation of a sketch portrait to the Auburn University Marine Officer Instructor, who will display it in a place of honor in the NROTC wardroom. (29 March, 1800)

I know at least a couple of us will be able to attend--I will go down, as a continuation of this project, which began with my visit in February for another, though similar, reason--the recognition of a Marine Captain Bob Hubbard, an Auburn NROTC grad. I also expect to have Dick Hulslander with me and possibly Jim Hulsey, up from Louisiana.

Unfortunately, as things stand, our Auburn grads will not be able to make it.

Perhaps most importantly, however--through Bob Lange's good offices--Matt's sister, Isobel Anderson, will be coming up from Florida for the event. We are planning a lunch and tour of the Auburn NROTC for her before the event on the evening of the 29th.