The photo on the cover of the August issue was taken in the spring of 1965, northwest of Da Nang. The first person in front is Sgt. Robert Taglione. He was my squad leader for eight months prior to Vietnam and after entering Vietnam. We were with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. Several battalions went to Vietnam in the spring of 1965 as the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
The man off to the side is Sgt. Karl G. Taylor, who was my squad leader after Sgt. Taglione left to join up with another outfit.
Sgt. Taglione was killed on Operation Starlite in August 1965. Sgt. Taylor was my squad leader for about three weeks or more. He went back to Vietnam for a second time.
Sgt. Taylor was KIA Dec. 8, 1968, on Operation Meade River. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Nixon.
I am a military historian and a major military collector. In March I happened to be wandering through the magazine rack in our local Walmart and noticed your Vietnam magazine (April 2018 issue). I had never seen this before.
Your cover story was about Operation Pegasus and the 50th anniversary of this event [to break the communist siege of the Marine base] at Khe Sanh (by John McGuire). My bother Bud was in this battle with the 1st Air Cavalry Division’s D Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment. I have much of his collection and knew some of the history, so I threw the magazine in my cart to look at while I went through the store. As I was walking along shopping, I opened up the article and started to flip through the pages and turned to Page 25. To my incredible surprise, there was a picture of my brother hiking down from the landing zone in the elephant grass! I could not believe it! In your photo, he is the second in line closest to the photographer and carrying the mortar tube.
This has turned into quite a story in Idaho where Bud lives, and believe me, you have sold a tremendous amount of magazines because of your great article.
The story about “stealing valor” brings back a similar memory. On my first tour in Vietnam, a few enlisted men were sent on an exchange program with our Navy counterparts. Upon the completion of this training program, the participants were informed that they were nominated for the Joint Service Commendation Medal. An officer who had recently arrived and was now assigned to that section managed to somehow get included on the list of those men to be cited. Several weeks later, he proudly stood in the ceremony and accepted a medal for something he had not done. Complaints did no good, as “the Army never makes mistakes,” and the officer, who had lost all respect among the men, was soon sent to another unit, but he kept his unearned medal.
Michael A. Wertz