Bobby Frank Galbreath

VMO-6, MAG-36, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
01 December 1930 - 16 February 1968
Amarillo, TX
Panel 39E Line 059

Navy Cross

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Bobby F Galbreath

The database page for Bobby Frank Galbreath

29 Sep 2002

The Virtual Wall staff rarely sponsors a memorial to men that we did not personally know. On this day, however, we are sponsoring five of them ... for five Marines who died while trying to recover a 3rd Force Recon Company patrol force that was engaged with a far superior enemy force.

Four of the Marines were aircrewmen with Marine Observation Squadron 6; the fifth was a radioman with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.

Although the circumstances of their deaths is spelled out in some detail on the Box Score Memorial (linked below), Captain Bobby Galbreath was the pilot-in-command of a UH-1E gunship. He and his crew made a desperate attempt to extract three Box Score team members who were surrounded by North Vietnamese Army regulars.

Captain Galbreath and his crew died in the attempt, but Galbreath was awarded the Navy Cross for trying to rescue his fellows. The Citation sets forth the circumstances:

Citation for the


awarded to

Captain Bobby Frank Gilreath
United States Marine Corps

For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Pilot with Marine Observation Squadron SIX, in the Republic of Vietnam on 16 February 1968. Captain Galbreath launched as wingman in a flight of two armed UH-1E helicopters diverted to support the emergency extraction of an eight man reconnaissance team which was heavily engaged with a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force six miles northwest of Dong Ha. Arriving over the designated area, he immediately initiated his attack and made repeated strafing runs on the enemy positions. Although five Marines had been recovered, subsequent attempts to rescue the remaining men failed due to a heavy volume of ground fire which had seriously damaged three helicopters. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Captain Galbreath volunteered to evacuate the surrounded men. Fully aware of the extreme danger to himself and his crew, he unhesitatingly commenced his approach, but was forced to abandon the landing when his aircraft sustained several hits. Completely disregarding his own safety, he initiated his second approach and skillfully maneuvered his aircraft through the hostile fire into the landing zone. Ignoring the intense fire which was striking his aircraft, he remained in the fire swept area while the men embarked. Lifting from the hazardous zone, his helicopter was struck by a burst of enemy fire and crashed, mortally wounding Captain Galbreath. By his courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty, he inspired all who served with him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

The Box Score Patrol

The events surrounding the Box Score patrol's engagement and the efforts to extract the team are a glowing example of Marine heroism under fire and were recognized as such at the time. Five of eight Box Score Team members, four aircrewmen from VMO-6, and one infantryman from Bravo 1/4 Marines died on 16 February 1968 and a number of others were wounded. The actions of the men involved in the engagement were recognized by one Medal of Honor, three Navy Crosses, five Silver Stars, and two Bronze Stars.

The Virtual Wall takes pride in honoring the Americans who died in the Box Score engagement, and through them the men who survived. Details of the engagement are published on the

Box Score Memorial Page

The following Marines are honored on The Virtual Wall:

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
The Virtual Wall staff. 
29 Sep 2002

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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 09/29/2002