First, please accept my thanks and gratitude for the work you do to maintain The Virtual Wall as a tribute to those who have fought and died for the cause of our United States of America, and their families.
In an effort to assist you with the accuracy of your specific information regarding my brother, Ric, please see the attachments that:
1. Show that he was also posthumously awarded a Bronze Star.
2. Show that Ric died in combat in Vietnam
Please note that the original copy of the first letter regarding Ric's posthumous awards is addressed to his wife, my sister-in-law at the time. The second letter regarding his location at time of death is original letter sent to my parents.
- - Ralph E. Crane, Brother, February 8, 2015
The following memo was received by his parents after Ric's death.
The After Action Report (AAR) for the 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division for that period shows the contacts that took the lives of 9 men from the 9th Infantry Division that day. The report on page 21 shows:
k. 1 thru 2 March1968
(1) General. After a two day stand down (28 and 29 February). The Brigade continued operation CORNOADo XI south of the RACH CAN THO river, In accordance with frag order 2 to OPORD 18-68. The Marine River Force's (MRF) Mission was to conduct riverine, search and sweep operations in CAI RANG District to locate, fix and destroy enemy elements in zone,
(2) At 0500 hours, the 3-47th Infantry and 3-60th Infantry embarked on ATC's [Armored Troop Carriers-Waterborne] in preparation for movement into the AO. Both battalions depated the Marine River Base (MRB) at 0545 hours. The 3-47th Infantry (-) conducted beach landings at 0655 hours vicinity WS811042 to WS817047 with no enemy Contact. The 3-60th Infantry (-) conducted their beach landings in the vicinity WS824058 at 0700 hours; C/3-60th Infantry beached 15 minutes earlier in the same location. All beaching operations were made without any enemy contact; both battalions upon beaching commenced their search and sweep operations north
in zone. Elements of each battalion encountered sporadic engagements with small arms fire during their sweep operations. Later in the afternoon, both battalions were engaged in moderate to heavy contact. Artillery gunships and air strikes were employed to support of units in contact.
(a) At 1515 hours, B/3-47th Infantry in the vicinity of WS792078 was engaged from several (8-10) positions with heavy volumes of small arms and automatic weapons fire. Both Alpha and Charlie 3-47th Infantry were employed to reinforce Bravo Company. Charlie Company established contact while moving toward Bravo
Company 3-47th's Infantry's west flank. Alpha Company made contact while maneuvering from vicinity of WS802070 toward WS806078. The enemy contact continued into the evening hours and terminated at 2100 hours. The battalion then assumed its night defensive position. During this engagement the 3-47th infantry sustained two US Killed by Hostile Activity (KHA) and 22 Wounded by Hostile Activity (WHA). Seven VC were KIA by body count when found the following day.
(b) The 3-60th Infantry encountered light to moderate contact during their sweep operations. The battalion found seven VC KIA and two AK 47 rifles during the Initial search operations. Later during the day Alpha and Charlie Companies 3-60th Infantry moved toward vicinity WS794077 to support elements of the 3-47th Infantry. At 1655 hours Charlie Company 3-60th Infantry engaged and killed five VC in the vicinity of WS805080. Alpha 3-60th Infantry was engaged In the vicinity of WS801085 from three sides resulting in one US KHA (unit commander). Elements of the battalion continued their operations with moderate contact receiving automatic weapons and small arm fire until 2000 hours. The battalion then assumed its night defensive position. The battalion's operation resulted in three US KHA, nine WHA and one WNHA; enemy losses were 12 VC KIA (BC).
The 9 men who died in Operation Coronado XI during the period February 29 to March 2nd 1968 were:
- A Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry
- B Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry
- C Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry
- E Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry
- Headquarters and HQ Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry
- A Company, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry
- C Company, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry
CPL Robert 'Ric' Irving Crane was survived by his mother, Bessie M . Crane (1923-2000), his father, Leslie Irving Crane (1916-2007) (US Army, WWII), oldest brother, James Leslie Crane (US Army in the 60s at Fort Ord and Turkey); younger brother, Thomas Jeffrey Crane, (US Army), and youngest Brother, Fred Russell Crane (US Army in the 70s). His maternal Grandfather, James R. Thompson, was a Colonel in the Army.
Ric is buried in Halcumb Cemetery, Montgomery Creek, California.
- - The Virtual Wall, March 5, 2015