Note in the picture the guy standing on top of the pallet of C-Rations hooking it up, that is one of the duties of a Facman. While stationed atop Hill 950 (overlooking Khe Sanh) as their Facman, I was hooking up a 'Water Buffalo' (only water source for hill 950) to a CH-53 when I experienced a scare I shan't ever forget. Hill 950 had 2 LZs a small one at the very top of the hill and a larger one (for resupply) on a finger going down one flank. The big LZ was situated so as to have two sides bordered by cliffs, steep, high cliffs. Going over the side was sure death. After I had hooked up and jumped down from the top of the water buffalo, I noticed that the chopper had drifted from over the load, to being directly over me, as he lifted the load off the ground the now suspended water buffalo began to swing directly at me, my only evasive move, was to jump into the barbed wire hung along the edge of the cliff, fortunately I weighed only 130 lbs and the wire supported me and kept me from a fall to my death. On another occasion, after hooking up an empty cargo net (used to carry 5 gallon plastic jugs of 'Hotel 20' H2O/water) for return to the rear, my feet became entangled in the cargo net as the chopper started rising before I was clear, I just barely scurried out of it before it lifted off. So as you can see, even the mundane FAC functions had its dangers.
CH-53 Taking on an external load at LZ Stud (Vandergriff Combat Base)
Water Buffalo (300 gallon capacity)
I was a member of 1st Bn 4th Marines.
Nickname 'China Marines'
1st Battalion, 4th Marines was originally activated in April 1911 and first saw combat action in November of 1916, in the Dominican Republic. In 1924, the battalion returned to its home base in San Diego, CA. From February 1927 to November 1941, the battalion was forward deployed for service in China. This service earned the battalion the title “China Marines”, and started the practice of integrating the Chinese dragon into the unit crest. In November 1941, the battalion redeployed from China to the Philippines. During World War II, its Marines and Sailors served in support of combat operations on Corregidor, Guadalcanal, Guam, and Okinawa. In the spring of 1965 the battalion deployed once again, for service in support of combat operations in South Vietnam. From 1965 to 1969, the battalion engaged in numerous conventional and counter-insurgency operations. These operations included, Operation Prairie, Operation Prairie III, Operation Prairie IV, Operation Beacon Hill, Operation Desoto, Operation Deckhouse, Operation Kentucky, Operation Purple Martin and Operation Napoleon Saline II. In 1977, the battalion moved to Twentynine Palms, CA and remained there until 1988. In January of 1989, the battalion was directed to move to Camp Pendleton, for service with the 1st Marine Regiment. In August 1990, the battalion deployed aboard ship to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In the following decade, it executed numerous deployments at sea, conducting operations in places such as Southwest Asia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Somalia. From 2003 to 2009, the battalion executed numerous tours of duty in Iraq, executing combat operations in Nasiriyah, Al Kut, Bagdad, Najaf, Al Qaim, and Fallujah. Over the past four years, it has deployed in support of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and is currently serving as the Ground Combat Element in support of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
USMC recruits with India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, utilize teamwork to climb over an obstacle during the Crucible on Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 15, 2017.