Vietnam War Memorial, Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, Triangle VA, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member La de Boheme
N 38° 32.570 W 077° 20.568
18S E 295821 N 4268648
Quick Description: A plaque at the Marine Corps Heritage Center honors the 26th Marines who defended and held the combat base at Khe Sanh against overwhelming odds in 1968.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 4/20/2013 8:22:07 PM
Waymark Code: WMGXJ2
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member HANSENNI
Views: 7

Long Description:
Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the Marine Corps Heritage Center in Triangle, Virginia, near Quantico MCB sits on 23 acres and has a series of walkways with memorial bricks, commemorative benches, rally points, and monuments erected in honor of various Marine Corps units and organizations.

Among the memorials is a plaque dedicated to the 26th Marine Regiment. In 1966, the 26th, 3rd Battalion, reinforced by the 9th Marines, 1st Battalion and a battalion of South Vietnamese Rangers, was assigned the job of defending the combat base at Khe Sanh. 6000 troops successfully held the base against repeated assaults from 20,000 North Vietnamese for over two months before the enemy finally withdrew. (For a more detailed account of the siege at Khe Sanh, see the account at History.com.) For their accomplishment, Pres. Lyndon Johnson awarded the 26th the Presidential Unit Citation.

The plaque is mounted on a memorial wall near the National Museum of the Marine Corps. It is inscribed:

26TH MARINE REGIMENT

[USMC emblem] [26th Marines emblem]

IN HONOR AND MEMORY OF THE DEFENDERS IF THE KHE SANH COMBAT BASE IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM FROM
20 JANUARY TO 01 APRIL 1968, DURING THIS PERIOD THE 26TH MARINES AND THEIR SUPPORTING UNIT, HELD
THE VITAL BASE AND POSITIONS ON HILLS 881, 861, 861A, 558 AND 950, ALTHOUGH OPPOSED BY NUMERICALLY
SUPERIOR FORCES.

THE KHE SANH COMBAT BASE WAS COMMANDED BY COLONEL DAVID E. LOWNDS, COMMANDING OFFICER 26TH
MARINE REGIMENT. FOR HIS ACTIONS, COLONEL LOWNDS WAS AWARDED THE NAVY CROSS. AS ALL GOOD
MARINES DO, THE "LION OF KHE SANH" REPORTED FOR DUTY ON "HEAVEN'S SCENE," ON AUGUST 31, 2011.

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TAKES PLEASURE IN PRESENTING THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION TO:

TWENTY-SIXTH MARINES (REINFORCED),
THIRD MARINE DIVISION (REINFORCED)

FOR SERVICE AS SET FORTH IN THE FOLLOWING

CITATION:
FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM IN ACTION AGAINST NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY FORCES DURING THE BATTLE
FOR KHE SANH IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM FROM 20 JANUARY TO 01 APRIL 1968. THROUGHOUT THIS PERIOD,
THE 26TH MARINES (REINFORCED) WAS ASSIGNED THE MISSION OF HOLDING THE VITAL KHE SANH COMBAT BASE
AND POSITIONS HILLS 881, 861, 861A, 558 AND 950, WHICH DOMINATED STRATEGIC ENEMY APPROACH
ROUTES INTO NORTHERN I CORPS. THE 26TH MARINES WAS OPPOSED BY NUMERICALLY SUPERIOR FORCES-TWO
NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY DIVISIONS STRONGLY REINFORCED WITH ARTILLERY, TANK, ANTI-AIRCRAFT
ARTILLERY AND ROCKET UNITS. THE ENEMY DEPLOYED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SHORT LINES OF
COMMUNICATIONS, RUGGED MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN, JUNGLE AND ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, WAS
DETERMINED TO DESTROY THE KHE SANH COMBAT BASE IN CONJUNCTION WITH LARGE SCALE OFFENSIVE
OPERATIONS IN THE TWO NORTHERN PROVINCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM. THE 26TH MARINES,
OCCUPYING A SMALL BUT CRITICAL AREA, WAS DAILY SUBJECTED TO HUNDRED OF ROUNDS OF INTENSIVE
ARTILLERY, MORTAR AND ROCKET FIRE. IN ADDITION, FIERCE GROUND ATTACKS WERE CONDUCTED BY THE
ENEMY IN AN EFFORT TO PENETRATE THE FRIENDLY POSITIONS. DESPITE OVERWHELMING ODDS, THE 26TH
MARINES REMAINED RESOLUTE AND DETERMINED, MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY OF ITS POSITIONS AND
INFLICTING HEAVY LOSSES ON THE ENEMY. WHEN MONSOON WEATHER GREATLY REDUCED AIR SUPPORT AND
COMPOUNDED THE PROBLEMS OF AERIAL RE-SUPPLY, THE MEN OF THE 26TH MARINES STOOD DEFIANTLY FIRM,
SUSTAINED BY THEIR OWN PROFESSIONAL ESPRIT AND HIGH SENSE OF DUTY. THROUGH THEIR INDOMITABLE
WILL, STAUNCH ENDURANCE, AND RESOLUTE COURAGE, THE 26TH MARINES CONTRIBUTED SUBSTANTIALLY TO
THE FAILURE OF THE VIET CONG AND NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY WINTER/SPRING OFFENSIVE. THE ENEMY
FORCES WERE DENIED THE MILITARY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL VICTORY THEY SO DESPERATELY SOUGHT. BY THEIR
GALLANT FIGHTING SPIRIT AND THEIR COUNTLESS INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF HEROISM, THE MEN OF THE 26TH
MARINES (REINFORCED) ESTABLISHED A RECORD OF ILLUSTRIOUS COURAGE AND DETERMINATION IN KEEPING
WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE MARINE CORPS AND THE UNITED STATES NAVAL SERVICE.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

This commemorative plaque joins a monument in Semper Fi Park that was dedicated to the 3/26 in 2008.

A display in the Vietnam gallery in the museum depicts the siege of Khe Sanh. An interactive experience allows the visitor to enter a Chinook that sounds and vibrates like the real thing and emerge into a firefight at Hill 881. Admission to the museum and attractions is free.

Reference:

Placed by:: 26th Marines

Date Placed: Not listed

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petendot visited Vietnam War Memorial, Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, Triangle VA, USA 9/27/2021 petendot visited it