Gary Eugene Elford
Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
Newport, Oregon
October 14, 1947 to October 30, 1965
GARY E ELFORD is on the Wall at Panel 3E, Line 5

Combat Action Ribbon

29 Sep 2001

Dear Brother,

As we approach another passing of that day when you left us, I find myself reading all of your letters, to me, to mom, to our grandparents; and then the letters from your buddy who was hurt with you; and your commander; and then all of those letters from headquarters. They are all I have of you. And reading them, the memories flood back and fill me with such a sense of loss. It was only yesterday that we were boys, innocent, and full of life, and expectation of what the future would hold for us, in spite of any obstacle. Where would you be today, what would you be doing?

After all of these years, I still miss you: I miss not having Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and summers together ... of being with you and knowing that person who would have been your wife, and those children you would have had. I miss you not knowing my wife, my son. I miss not having you to talk with, especially now as we are old, and can look back on our lives.

You were a wonderful boy and young man, and the promise of who you would have become is broken. The loss is felt by so many of us. Your laughter and sense of humor are silenced, now. And the world is lessened by your absence.There is too much to say, but a piece of it is here. Know that you are remembered, that you are loved, and that you are not forgotten.

I say I love you now, though as young men we did not know how to say it then, dear brother.


23 Mar 2007

Grief reaches across the world to get me,
sadness carries me across seas and countries
to your grave, my brother,
to offer the only gift I still can give you---

From his brother,
Duane Kimbrow
E-mail address is not available.

31 Aug 2001


by his friends and family.

A memorial from his aunt,
Mary Jean Bearden
(Deceased Dec 2005)


A Note from The Virtual Wall

On the evening of 27-28 October 1965 the VC struck the newly built Marble Mountain helicopter facility on the Tiensha Peninsula and the Chu Lai SATS field. In the two attacks the VC caused considerable damage to aircraft parked on the flight lines, killed three Marines and wounded 91 others - but left 32 dead, 4 wounded, and 4 captured behind.

Two days after the airfield attacks, the Viet Cong attempted another probe of the Marine defenses, not at the Danang base areas but against the defensive perimeter on Hill 22, south of the Tuy Loan River. There were 154 men on Hill 22, primarily from Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.

The action began shortly after midnight on 30 October when 10 to 15 VC walked into an Alpha 1/1 squad ambush about a kilometer south of the hill. The Marines opened fire and killed three of the enemy, but were unable to notify their company commander of the contact due to a radio failure. All was quiet for about two hours, when a larger force enveloped the Marine squad, killing three and wounding six.

Immediately afterwards Hill 22 and a separate position two kilometers to the west manned by Mike Company, 3/4 Marines, came under mortar fire. The Mike 3/4 position suffered one Marine killed and two wounded, but direct fire from a 3rd Tank Battalion M48 tank silenced the mortar. At Hill 22 some 300-400 VC attacked the Marine positions from the northwest. Enemy troops, supported by two recoilless rifles, were able to destroy three defensive bunkers and an ONTOS (a tracked recoilless rifle vehicle) and penetrated about a third of the northwestern perimeter.

The Marines rallied and were able to eject the VC, restoring the perimeter by 0330. By the time three UH-34s landed munitions and a 13-man squad from C/1/1 on the hill at 0345 the VC had withdrawn and the fighting was reduced to sporadic exchanges of fire. During their withdrawal the VC removed a considerable number of their dead and wounded, but left 47 dead and one wounded within the Alpha 1/1 perimeter.

The attacks on the ambush squad, Mike 3/4, and Hill 22 resulted in the deaths of 15 Marines and one sailor, with 45 others wounded. The American dead were

  • A Co, 3rd Engineer Bn:
    • Cpl Robert S. Ruch, Bethlehem, PA
    • Pfc Seymour P. Sadberry, Boston, MA
    • Pvt Ronald V. Bacca, Magna, UT

  • A Co, 1st Bn, 1st Marines:
    • Sgt Frank A. Gagliardo, Deer Park, NY *
    • Sgt Marcos Hernandez, El Paso, TX
    • Cpl Richard A. Cesar, Corydon, IA
    • HN Gerald L. Feltner, Carroll, IA
    • Cpl Philip M. Sens, Newark, OH
    • Cpl Dennis Smith, Columbus, OH
    • LCpl Robert P. Jordan, New York, NY
    • LCpl Harold H. Schock, Mamaroneck, NY *
    • LCpl Richard D. Sharp, Dayton, OH
    • Pfc Richard A. Crawford, Godfrey, IL *
    • Pfc Gary E. Elford, Newport, OR
    • Pfc Rayes C. Flores, Abilene, TX

  • H&S Co, 1st Bn, 1st Marines:
    • Cpl Grant L. Clark, Pocatello, ID
LCpl Jordan and Pfc Elford were killed at the ambush site, but the identity of the third man is not known. Further, we know that one of the three men marked with an asterisk actually was the Mike 3/4 Marine killed in the mortar attack on their position - but we do not know which one.

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