Charles Peter SearlesLance Corporal
B CO, 7TH MOTOR TRANS BN, 1ST FORCE SVC RGT
United States Marine Corps
05 November 1947 - 04 July 1968
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The database page for Charles Peter Searles
I met Chuck after I came from a grunt outfit, the 1/3 Marines. We became best friends and we were going to rotate home together on July 19, 1968. On July 2, I was a machine-gunner on a convoy going to An Hoa in the "Arizona" area south of Danang. We made it back and on July 4, another supply convoy was going south to An Hoa. Chuck was the gunner and I was going with him as an extra man.
Before we left, the Captain came and made me get off the truck because we were both too short. He wasn't going to let Chuck go either, but since I had gone on the previous convoy, he let Chuck go. Leaving a base camp, the lead truck broke down and Chuck's gun truck took the lead. The enemy hit the convoy moments later and Chuck and the driver were killed, the driver by a grenade and Chuck by enemy fire. The Captain had saved my life, but I've always felt I should have been on the truck with Chuck.
Chuck was a great Marine, quiet and serious, but he also liked to laugh and did have a good sense of humor. There isn't a day since that I don't think of him, and he will be forever young in my mind. I often wonder what his future would have held if he had made it home. I will miss him always and always consider him a hero.
Chuck and I met in Vietnam in September or October 1967. We were in the same platoon and the same squad and the same hooch. We became good friends almost right away; we rode on convoys together at different times, we were the point fireteam on night patrols around our perimeter from late January 68 to early May 68.
We went on R&R to Hong Kong together and had a GREAT time and we became closer friends. We often talked about getting out and heading down the Pacific Coast Highway when Chuck got home. I got out in late May of 68, and he was to follow a couple or so months later.
Chuck and I never spoke after I left Vietnam. I heard what happened in leters from Dennis Latham and JD Rumsey. To this day I think about Chuck on every fourth of July. Chuck was a good Marine and I was proud to have been with him. I miss what may have been a life-long friendship. He will always be in my memory as a good friend. SEMPER FI, CHUCK
Paul C. Sutherland
A Note from The Virtual WallThe 1st Marine Division's Command Chronology for July 1968 contains the following entry:
"4 July: At 1805, the lead vehicle of a 7th Motors convoy was hit by a command detonated mine and the convoy then received small arms fire and approximately 20 60mm [mortar] rounds from grid square AT9255, resulting in 2 USMC KIA and 2 USMC WIA (minor). A M/3/1 [M Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines] reaction force checked the area with negative results and the convoy proceeded to Hill 73."The two Marines killed in the ambush were LCpl Charles P. Searles and LCpl David R. Nelson of Hutchinson, Kansas.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 May 2007
Last updated 08/10/2009