Colben Benjamin Stokes, JrPrivate First Class
H&S CO, 1ST MP BN, 1ST FORCE SVC RGT, 1ST FORCE SVC RGT
United States Marine Corps
11 April 1946 - 30 January 1968
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The database page for Colben Benjamin Stokes, Jr
Pfc Colben B. Stokes, Jr, was in a Reaction Platoon from 1st MP Bn during the Tet Offensive of 1968. While near Ap Bon in a blocking position the platoon came under a heavy amount of small arms fire as well as grenades from a numerically larger enemy force. With complete disregard for his safety Pfc Stokes was exposed to hostile fire on many occasions in order to assist his injured fallen Marines. He also gave life saving treatment to the unit's Corpsman. He then crawled towards 1stLt John Edward Manning, his Platoon Commander, who was mortally wounded and he too became mortally wounded. For his actions on the morning of 30 Jan 1968 Stokes was posthumously given the rank of L/Cpl and awarded the Silver Star by the President of the United States.
A Note from The Virtual WallThe TET offensive at Danang began with a rocket attack on the air base itself as well as attacks on outlying military positions. The 1st MP Bn was responsible for ground defense of the Danang and Marble Mountain air bases as well as establishing two quick reaction platoons made up of headquarters personnel. "1968: The Definitive Year" contains the following regarding an early morning attack at Hoa Vang Village, just south of Danang, where the I Corps headquarters compound was located:
"[The Commanding Officer of 1st MP Bn] agreed that they would deploy one of the battalion's two reserve provisional Quick Reaction platoons composed of headquarters personnel. This platoon under First Lieutenant John E. Manning departed the airbase about 0415 and arrived in the blocking positions about 0515. ...
The 1st MP Bn Command Chronology contains the following entry for 30 January 1968:
"f. H&S Co. reaction platoons assisted by elements from Maintenance Bn while moving into blocking positions south of I Corps Headquarters made heavy contact with VC/NVA Units and the resulting fire fight lasted approximately 2-1/2 hours. 1st MP Bn casualties 2 KIA and 6 WlA, enemy casualties not officially known as bodies were taken to I Corps Headquarters by RVN Units operating in the same area; tentative results 30 VC/NVA KIA's, 24 VC/NVA POW's and several weapons and items of equipment seized."
The two Marines from H&S Company, 1st MP Bn, were 1stLt Manning and Pfc Colben B. Stokes.
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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