Ramiro CardenasLance Corporal
MIKE CO, 3RD BN, 1ST MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
08 January 1947 - 27 February 1968
Panel 41E Line 048
The database page for Ramiro Cardenas
Ram and I came in-country in the same truck and on the very same day in 1967. He was a friendly person and we struck up a friendship almost immediately. We both were from the midwest, Illinois and Ohio, and had a passion for baseball. I later found out from his friends from East Aurora High School how very talented you were including a good dancer, which I'm sure you would have never told us for fear of a bit of razzing by your fellow Marines. You were a great combat Marine and moved through the ranks quickly becoming your platoon's radio operator. It was doubly hard on you in heat and humidity and the cold monsoon rains to carry the radio but you never complained. We both grew as old salts in Mike 3/1 and survived many difficult battles. One of the worst for your platoon was on 1/31/68 in the village of Mai Xai Thi. Many of my comrades in 1st and yours in 2nd died that day and we considered ourselves once again lucky to be alive. We spent some happy times drinking and eating at China Beach before we went north to some of the worst battles in the entire Vietnam War Tet Offensive 1968. We were near the DMZ and North Vietnam most of December through April.
I remember the night before the big battle at Mai Xai Thi West after dark coming to visit you in a blinding rain storm. As we huddled under a poncho in a muddy foxhole we discussed that of the original 23 Marines that came with us that day many months before in 1967 only 4 of us remained in-country. The others either were killed or severely wounded. I shared my thoughts of doubt and a loss of hope of making it home even though we had less than 6 weeks on a 13 month tour. I remember your words still to this day when you reassured me by saying "Snooks, the odds are great that we will make it. Only four of us left - somebody has to make it through an entire tour, why not us?". I left that hole that night feeling good about myself and believing we would make it because of the time you took for an "old" combat friend. I'm sure looking back you had as many doubts as I did but you put your feelings aside to make me feel good.
The next day as the battle developed my radio operator told me that you were on the radio telling the Corpsman where you were located because you were hit with artillery shrapnel. I was relieved when I heard this because I knew it did not sound serious but a wound that would put you in a hospital safe from death and you would not be coming back to Mike 3/1 because of your short time left. I had a smile on my face and had already begun making plans to come visit you in Illinois when I got home.
That next night when I got a chance to speak with your platoon commander and I asked him about your million dollar wound he said "Snooks, Ram died". I don't remember what I said - I do remember that I walked out into the night into a rainstorm and never felt a drop on me. From that moment on I was a changed person forever. I missed you and still do ... your smile, your warm way about you, your big and caring heart are some things I will carry with me for the rest of my life until we meet again. I have met many of your friends from the neighborhood and high school through something called the internet. They still speak and think and miss you often as I do. Another of your classmates, Richard Garlick, also was killed in our company. I'm sure you knew he was from your high school but I never knew the connection until recently even though I remember him with our company. He is not forgotten either by his friends nor the Marines of Mike 3/1.Your classmates continue to remember you both as they meet for their reunions, and we at Mike Company do as well during ours.
Until we all meet again, my friend, keep a place near you for all of us in heaven. We will be looking for you when we arrive. Give Richard our warmest regards too.
"A MAN IS NEVER DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN"
You and Richard and the many others that died will live as long as long as one of us continues to breathe our Mother Earth's air.
God bless, luv to you Ram. Semper Fi.
From a fellow Marine and friend,
REMEMBEREDby a High School friend from 1966,
E-Mail will be forwarded by the
A Note from The Virtual WallMike 3/1 Marines lost two men on 27 Feb 1968:
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
a fellow Marine and friend,
Brian (Snooks) Strasser
5 Jul 2004
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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 07/10/2004