Francis Steven Rhoades
Private
F CO, 2ND BN, 7TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
Elmer, New Jersey
January 19, 1950 to September 19, 1968
FRANCIS S RHOADES is on the Wall at Panel W43, Line 41

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A student at Bridgeton High School, Rhoades worked at the Centerton Golf Club in New Jersey prior to his enlistment. He was survived by his parents.

Francis, the son of Erwin F. Rhoades and Helen H. Rhoades of Elmer NJ, enlisted in the US Marine Corps on January 31, 1968 in Philadelphia PA. He arrived in Vietnam on July 28, was assigned for duty Company F, Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7 BLT), 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB).

In September 1968, his unit was assigned to OPERATION DODGE CITY AREA which covered the period from 15 September 1968 until 22 September 1968. DODGE CITY was an area of Dien Ban District in Quang Nam Province and known by the Marines as infested by the VC and NVA. On the evening of 14 September, the BLT was ordered to prepare two companies for insertion nto an operation in the DODGE CITY area at first light on 15 September to assist a Task Force of the 51st ARV N Regiment reinforced with a Ranger Group and 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines who were in heavey contact with a sizeable enemy force. Company "F" and Company "H" with a small command group constituted the force to be employed.

The mission was to link up with and replace the 3/7th Marines and use the 2/7 BLT to find, fix, and destroy the enemy in the Area of Operations. A link up and sweep took place from the 15th through the morning of the 18th when the 3/7 was withdrawn and BLT 2/7 moved into position to support the 51st ARVN, who were still in heavy contact.

On September 19, at first light Company F sent small units forward across the railway berm where they had had been inserted the pervious afternoon to establish OP's (Observation Posts) past a tree line 250 meters in front of the BLT's defensive lines near the Nan Son village complex. When the Marines reached within 15 meters the tree line they came under heavy fire by an enemy force. Mounting the frontal attack towards the NVA protected in bunkers, holes and trenches was difficult and costly, as the enemy cut down the advancing Marines with automatic weapons, RPG's (Rocket Propelled Grenades) and mortars. Enemy fire was also directed from the flanks, Company F casualties mounted with forward movement stalled.

His men being decimated, LtCol Watson deployed Company G and H on the flanks and the reserve Company E advanced forward to replace the decimated Company F to press the attack on the enemy force and allow the casualties to be evacuated. By late afternoon the assaulting Marine units were withdrawn to the railroad berm and supporting arms engaged the enemy troops in their fortifications. The day proved a costly one for the Marines with 17 men dead, one would later die of his wounds and another thirty eight wounded.

The Marine Corps casualties from this event were:

Private Francis Steven Rhoades is buried in Olivet Methodist Cemetery, Pittsgrove, Salem County, New Jersey. His plot is at Section G, Lot 10.

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Rhoades's name is listed on the Russell G Garrison Memorial Park monument in Woodstown, New Jersey. Below are the photos of Park sign and 2012 Re-dedicated Memorial Stone with new names added.

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The Russell G. Garrison Memorial Park is located in Woodstown, New Jersey. It was originally dedicated to local Vietnam veterans from the community who passed away during the war. The memorial was small, unnoticeable, neglected, and looked uninviting.

According to Councilman Joe Hiles, the monument was installed in the late 1960s, along with a single flag pole. Since then, only two names, Garrison and Marvin L. Watson, were engraved on the monument.

The Girl Scouts thought the veterans deserved more respect and care than shown in photo at their website. See story, photos, and videos here.

The Girl Scouts needed a silver project to do and thought this was the perfect opportunity for expanding the memorial, and improving the landscaping to spice it up a bit.

On October 31, 2012, the Girl Scouts had completed the work on sprucing up the monument grounds and placing the new monument. Read full story and see photos here.

On November 12, 2012, a re-dedication ceremony was held for the recently beautified Russell G. Garrison Memorial Park. Local Girl Scouts Meagan Kirsch, Natalie Williams, and Gabby Scardino, revealed the newly added names to the Russell G. Garrison Memorial Park monument. Read full story and see photos here.

The names engraved on the monument now include:

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