Leo Buddy Buckholdt

Private First Class
VMO-2, MAG-16, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
28 January 1946 - 16 June 1966
Santa Cruz, CA
Panel 08E Line 051



Leo Buddy Buckholdt
Photo courtesy of Buddy's sister-in-law,
Virginia Buckholdt

USMC Combat Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Leo Buddy Buckholdt

Door Gunner

As you ran to the door of waiting helicopters a Marine covered your moves and did his best to make sure you made it on board.

The rattle of the machine gun and waving of arms was a welcome sight for those of us in 1st Recon Bn as we loaded to leave a hot LZ.

Door gunners and crew chiefs were very special to us, our time with them brief, but our thoughts go back to many of them today - 35 yrs later.

We lost Buddy on June 16th trying to move our men off Hill 488.
You will remain in the door of our minds till we meet again on the other side...

A memorial initiated by a fellow Marine,
Randy Kendall

Virtual Wall Note

The battle on 16 June 1966 on Hill 488 (Nui Vu) involved a full battalion of North Vietnamese Army regulars assaulting 18 men of the 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Recon Battalion, led by Staff Sergeant Jimmie Earl Howard. The Recon Marines had established an observation post atop Nui Vu in order to identify and prosecute by remote fire VC/NVA forces operating in the mountains west of Chu Lai.

The operation was sufficiently effective to get the NVA commander's attention and sufficiently dangerous for him to commit a fresh battalion to eradicate the Marines. He failed.

The NVA assault on Hill 488 began in late afternoon and continued through the night. The beleagued Marines were assisted by Marine and Air Force helicopter and fixed wing air support, but it was sheer courage and determination that permitted the Marines to hold until morning. Charlie 1/5 Marines were airlifted onto the reverse slope of Hill 488 and relieved the Recon Marines. Of the 18 men in the Recon Platoon, 6 died and 12 were wounded. Two men of Charlie 1/5 Marines and one each from VMO-2 and VMO-6 (Marine UH-1 squadrons) died. One Medal of Honor (Staff Sergeant Howard), 4 Navy Crosses, and 13 Silver Stars were awarded.

Immediately after the battle, Captain F. J. West, USMCR, interviewed men from Howard's platoon, Charlie 1/5, airmen from the squadrons which supported Howard, and others. In 1967 the History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, published his account of the fight on Hill 488. Captain West's account is available on The Virtual Wall at

HILL 488

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a fellow Marine from 1st Recon Bn,
Randy Kendall
17 Sep 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 11/30/2002