Richard Allen WagnerPrivate First Class
M CO, 3RD BN, 1ST MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
06 January 1948 - 05 March 1966
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The database page for Richard Allen Wagner
Richard was killed at Quang Ngai, Vietnam. He was a member of Mike Company of the 7th Marine Division deployed to take a hill (#50) northwest of Quang Ngai. The landing zone was in the middle of the rice paddies and surrounded by Hills 97, 85 and 50. The operation was called "Operation Utah", and the particulars of the battle can be viewed at http://www.mikeco31.com/Stories/operationutah.html.
Much of the information comes from the book "Semper Fi Vietnam" by Edward F. Murphy and from Headquarters Marine Corps publication "Marine Operations in Vietnam".
Richard was very proud to be a Marine, and we were so proud of him. He holds a special place in my heart as my first born. Losing a child is like losing a part of yourself forever. God Bless all our military men and women.
From Richard Wagner's Loving Mother
A Note from The Virtual WallOperation UTAH was a joint Marine-ARVN operation aimed at cornering and destroying the 21st NVA Regiment and attached VC units located in Quang Ngai Province about 7 miles northwest of Quang Ngai City. The concept of operations had 4 USMC battalions, 3 ARVN Airborne battalions, and an ARVN Ranger Battalion forming a cordon around the area and moving inwards against the NVA troops.
On 04 March 1966 the ARVN Airborne troops and the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines were air-assaulted into several landing zones near Chau Ngai (3), east of Hill 50. 2/7 lost 43 men killed in a vicious action which lasted until after sundown; at that point the NVA disengaged, leaving 140 bodies on the field while apparently withdrawing toward Chau Ngai village - but the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines had established blocking positions along the NVA's likely withdrawal routes and were themselves intending to advance against Chau Ngai.
On 05 March the 3/1 Marines engaged elements of the 21st NVA Regiment in an 8 hour battle. Quoting from the 3/1 Command Chronology for March 1966, the NVA troops
"occupied classic defensive positions, were well-armed and equipped, and defended occupied positions in strength."Enemy resistance slackened with nightfall and when the Marines began again after daybreak on 06 March they found the NVA had withdrawn. The position turned out to be an extensive tunnel and underground bunker complex for the NVA 21st Regiment. The action on 05 March cost the Marines 48 dead; the NVA left 102 bodies on the field and appeared to have carried as many more with them as they retreated.
Mike 3/1 had sixteen of the Americans killed in action on 05 March:
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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