Voices of Veterans: David Marion

By: Andy Conner Email
By: Andy Conner Email

In the summer of 1968, David Marion of Bryan began his one-year tour in Vietnam with the US Army.

"I was US Army. I was an Army advisor, with Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. I was assigned to the Mekong Delta about 50 miles south from Saigon on the south China sea."

"We were taking the bad guys out of the area, defeating them, pushing them back, then trying to get the local people to take over their own hamlets. This is what we did, very successfully, in the Mekong Delta."

Marion considers what he was doing in Vietnam to be much like what the US armed forces are doing in Afghanistan today.

"What we were doing in the '60's with the Vietnamese population out in the Mekong Delta, is the same thing that's going on with the hamlets over in Afghanistan. Today, those people are called military training and transition unit, whereas we were called an advisor team."

During his tour, Marion particularly recalls the night of February 2nd 1969, where an outpost he was stationed came under attack by the Viet Cong.

"We were constructing a hamlet in a hamlet area out to push the V-C further out and once we did, we secured the area, by building a P-F outpost...Well, at 1:15 in the morning, Charlie came calling and he came with about a reinforced battallion. We had about 70 or 80 men for duty in that R-F company and I had 26 men in the outpost. The naval intelligence told us that there was about 450-500 V-C that had massed and assembled out in front of us."

"We sent out the call that we were under attack, in contact and we needed help...and this one particular unit, answered the call and they came forward, down the river, off the river for about 6 clicks up a canal to close the range so they could get to where the target was."

"They fired everything they had and the first rounds they brought to bear on the attack that was coming up our right flank, apparently hit right in the front part of the attack and maybe killed the leader because the people out there that we could see from the illumination that was being fired, they just kind of scattered."

"But that was the morning of February 3rd...and after that the 246 company, Vietnamese Regoinal Force, they were all my good buddies from then on. Because, we had been there. And as we say in the advisor detachment: 'battle buddy'..."

After coming home, David Marion joined the American Legion, and today he's still an active member, serving as the funeral chairman for Post 159 in Bryan.

"The American Legion motto is: "Still Serving America," and I believe that there is a place and a reason that we can do things to help the families of the current soldiers to be here for the veterans that need assistance and to be with the widows and the people that have gone on to service. And primarily to try to be of help and guidance to our children."

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