Robert Larry StudardsLance Corporal
KILO CO, 3RD BN, 5TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
19 December 1944 - 24 July 1966
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The database page for Robert Larry Studards
Larry was the only son and only child of Helen and Robert Studards, my aunt and uncle. My dear aunt still grieves for him.
Larry left behind Grandma and Grandpa Jurczyk, many aunts and uncles, cousins he knew and loved, and one cousin he never met, me. He is missed greatly.
The following is the last letter written by Lance Corporal Robert Larry Studards to his parents, Helen and Bob, before the assault that took his life. This is for you, Aunt Helen, Larry's mom.
From his cousin,
A Note from The Virtual WallIn July 1966 the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines provided the bulk of Battalion Landing Team 3/5. On 16 July the BLT was put ashore for operations in the eastern part of Quang Tri Province (Op DECKHOUSE II), but on the 18th it was reassigned to Op HASTINGS in the western portion of the Province. Elements of BLT 3/5 air-assaulted into LZ CROW in the mountains northwest of Cam Lo beginning at 0800 18 July.
These elements were the first US forces to operate in the area, which comprised three valleys divided by ridgelines reaching to altitudes exceeding 1000 feet above sea level. Although there was little hard intelligence with respect to the enemy's strength or exact location, the 364B NVA Division was known to be in the area. The initial landings at LZ CROW (Mike 3/5) were actively opposed, proving the enemy was present in force and apparently determined to fight.
However, that didn't happen - during the first four days, 3/5's contacts with enemy troops were limited to small unit encounters with enemy elements which seemed to fall into two categories - those assigned to fight delaying tactics and those which had been cut off from their parent units. The nature of the operation changed on 22 July when Mike 3/5 took on an NVA force defending what appeared to be a battalion staging area. Fourteen Marines and one sailor were killed in action ejecting the NVA from the bunkered area.
On 24 July India 3/5 was moving along the ridgeline of Hill 362 ("Razorback Ridge") when it came under point-blank attack by NVA forces concealed in heavy jungle. Kilo 3/5 was directed to join on Mike 3/5 but while approaching from the southeast encountered a bunkered NVA force. Both companies withdrew slightly while air and artillery struck the enemy areas. At the same time Lima 3/5 had a sharp encounter with a third force.
By nightfall the Marines had formed defensive perimeters and were prepared for a night attack - but the NVA satisfied themselves with mortar and sniper fire. At sunrise on 25 July the Marines resumed their advance but met little or no resistance - the NVA had withdrawn into the Demilitarized Zone, safely beyond the Marines' reach.
BLT 3/5 completed its withdrawal from the area on 30 July. During the 12 days of the operation they had located and destroyed eight major NVA staging areas, captured or destroyed large quantities of arms and supplies, killed over 300 NVA soldiers, and captured 7 NVA. The operation was completed at considerable cost - 53 Marines and sailors killed in action or died of wounds, and another 162 wounded in action. Twenty-eight of the American dead were from the actions on Razorback Ridge on 26 July:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 06 Jan 2008
Last updated 08/10/2009