Letter: As another proud Marine ‘loser,’ yes, I’d risk it all again

Posted 9/16/20

To the editor:

September 6, 1967 – 50 some-odd years ago today – my Marine company was overrun by elements of the entire North Vietnamese (NVA) 324B Division, sucking us into a maw of …

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Letter: As another proud Marine ‘loser,’ yes, I’d risk it all again

Posted

To the editor:

September 6, 1967 – 50 some-odd years ago today – my Marine company was overrun by elements of the entire North Vietnamese (NVA) 324B Division, sucking us into a maw of death by the Ben Hai River dividing North and South Vietnam.  Hours later we fought our way out, with courage and sheer force of will – well, that, and putting our M-16s on single shot and aiming carefully to save rounds.

Night fell, but the next day we were trapped on an open ridge and hit with a firestorm of rockets, artillery, and mortars. By the end of the day, what little was left of the company stumbled into the Marine artillery outpost at Con Thien. Most of the company was gone, all were wounded, and maybe 12 of us out of 250 walked the path to the outpost that night.

I came later to oppose the war, joining John Kerry and others, throwing my Purple Heart and other medals on the Nixon White House lawn, then going off to March for peace, with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Quakers, lovers, friends, and others.

Whether that endless night at Con Thien 53 years ago was worth it or not, we thought it was, we believed it was, so we behaved as Marines, as Americans, willing to shed our blood, our lives, but never our honor, for the sake of our nation and its peoples – and the idea that peoples of all colors and sexes are created equal.

But do you think for one second that I’d risk my own blood and life again for those who’ve been subjugated and terrorized in America for 400 years?

You bet your sweet ass I would, as would every “loser” Marine I’ve ever known.

Peter Fossel

Little Compton

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.