Charles Harold PerkinsGunnery Sergeant
K CO, 3RD BN, 26TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
22 September 1934 - 17 May 1968
New York, New York
Panel 62E Line 009
The database page for Charles Harold Perkins
I am looking for anyone who was with Gunnery Sergeant Charles H. ("Chuck") Perkins in January or February 1968 until he was wounded and subsequently died on the USS REPOSE. Chuck was in Kilo Company 3/26 on Hill 861 and his Captain was Snead. Chuck and I were going to get married in Hawaii when he was on leave and his death devastated me. I would love any information that anyone has or anyone that knew him. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , my name is Barbara.
A Note from The Virtual WallHills 861, 881 North, and 881 South formed the mountain complex immediately northwest of the Khe Sanh Combat Base and were the scene of the famous "Hill Fights' in 1967. While the Commanding General, 3rd Marine Amphibious Force, didn't wish to hold Khe Sanh, his superior (Army General Westmoreland, Commander Military Assistance Command Vietnam) did want to hold the Khe Sanh area in hopes of drawing the North Vietnamese Army into a set-piece battle which would - in Westmoreland's view - lead to destruction of the NVA forces.
This divergence of strategic objectives led to a peculiar situation throughout 1967 - the Marines would clear the 861/881 hill complex and withdraw, whereupon the NVA would reoccupy the hills and the cycle would repeat. Toward the end of 1967 CG 3rd MAF was decisively overruled, a decision which led to the well-known siege of Khe Sanh. By the time CG 3rd MAF abandoned his plan to withdraw from the Khe Sanh Combat Base the NVA were in place to force the battle that General Westmoreland wanted.
It was in this context - the NVA determined to besiege Khe Sanh in hopes of a Dien Bien Phu-like debacle, Westmoreland equally determined to pin and destroy the surrounding NVA forces by use of air and artillery - that the second round of fierce battles began in late 1967 and early 1968 ... and once again Hills 861, 881N, and 881S became contested ground.
When the storm broke on the night of 20/21 January 1968 Kilo 3/26 was defending the high ground on Hill 861. Just after midnight Kilo 3/26 was attacked from the northwest - the side of Hill 861 facing away from the artillery emplaced at Khe Sanh. By the time the NVA withdrew at dawn, Kilo 3/26 had 4 dead and 11 wounded - and the battle of Khe Sanh had begun in earnest.
Since Kilo 3/26 was the first unit hit in the NVA's Khe Sahn offensive and remained heavily involved throughout the siege, Gunnery Sergeant Perkins could have been wounded at any time on or after 21 January 1968. One report indicates he was wounded nearly two months before his death - that is, in the last half of February. What is clear is that he was involved in some of the heaviest fighting of the Vietnam War.
Gunnery Sergeant Perkins was a career Marine and no doubt earned decorations and awards beyond those shown at the top of this memorial - but The Virtual Wall has no way to identify them and can display only those we know he received by virtue of his known service in Vietnam.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009