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Then and Now
Pictures submitted by Roland Marchand
81mm Mortars, H&S Co, 1st Bn, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
in and around Que-son Valley, Hoi-An, Phu-Bai/Phu-Loc
Vietnam May 1, 1967 - Jan. 12, 1968
Roland "Pegleg" Marchand
Here I am on my trike last year for "RUN FOR THE WALL." www.rftw.org . This year I will be doing the Southern Route and hopefully be able to visit with some of you back there if that's ok with everyone
The experiences I've been through to get where I am today.
To all 1/5/1 Marines:
Joining the Marine Corps at 17 yrs. old and going over the big lake to Vietnam in May, 1967 until the day I was hit Jan, 1968 that alone was a life that seemed to last a lifetime.
Coming home from Vietnam with a Artificial Leg and all the other medical and mental problems at the end of 1968 was a culture shock for sure. Facing family and friends was a experience I sometimes find hard to understand even today. I had to adjust to being handicapped, feeling I knew more things about the world around me than did my friends and family members. When I found out they did not understand me and looked at me in a different light ( yes you do know what they are thinking ) I decided then I would never talk about that War again.
Hey the party scene was my world and anyone in that world made me feel wanted. So for the next 15 years I did everything under the sun (Drugs and Alcohol) with the knowledge that I was not long for this life and what didn't catch me in Nam would surely catch up to me in the world. Later I started to realize that I was going no where fast and losing my family at the same time. After much thought and turning to a higher power, God showed me that Roland was important and what I experienced was a part of a plan that has brought me to who I am today.
After doing a lot of volunteer work with Handicapped Adults and Children I still felt there was something I need to do to heal the deep wounds I buried so many years ago. In 2003 I found out about a ride Vietnam Vet's do every year across the United States on their motorcycles. I found out it was started by Vietnam Vet's, I thought yes, here is something I relate to, riding motorcycles and doing it with other Vietnam Vet's who knew what I was feeling.
As time grew closer I knew there was something different in these guys who had gone to The Wall in D.C. I got a call one day from a guy (Jim "Jumper" Baraga) who said he was in the Army Paratroopers in Vietnam and wanted to come to my house to show me a VHS of Run For The Wall www.rftw.org I said Ok, and thought, alright a ride across the Country on a motorcycle with other Vet's who also rode, I said, I'm in. Little did I know that day my whole life was going to turn in such a way I would have bet the farm 38 Years ago you would have not gotten me to do this more less help people who were worst off then I ever was.
Well not only was it a ride for the issue of POW/MIA's but also was a ride for every Vet who needed to deal with the demons of the past, the 60's, the life styles of America and last but not least the Vietnam War. You can say it was a Healing Well Over-Due .
When I left May 18, 2003 from Ontario, Ca. for this journey across America I started to feel a purpose in this Mission. As we crossed this Great Country the feelings of rejection, misunderstandings, and all the rumors of lies from the past became more clear. I realized what we did as boys years ago in Vietnam made us the men we are today. The crying the hugging the Welcome Home Signs and the people across this Great Country telling us we were good, we were Americans and thanked us for our service and for the Freedom they have today, I realized then I was HOME and nobody or anything could ever take that away from me again.
In 2005 again the spirit and pride of being a Marine told me "Roland it is time again" I knew this was the total sum of everything that started that Cold Monday Morning in 1966 at the Induction Center in Los Angeles, Ca. Going across the United States for the second straight year opened my eyes to the needs my Brothers and Sisters who have served and who are serving need to be told that they to are good, outstanding Americans and we appreciate what they have sacrificed and Welcomed them Home also.
Well here it is 2006 and I'm getting ready to do Run For The Wall for the third straight year, but now with a pride of letting everyone know we still have Heroes in Foreign Lands that are still waiting for us to bring them home. The Mission of ( RFTW ) is to inform the Government we will not let it die till all POW/MIA's are Home.
Today I'm involved with the needs of all who have served and are serving today. By serving them, maybe I can make a difference in their lives. Its not a "pride look at me thing" it's a dream we all had when we got back from our time in Nam, that never happened. It's time we stand up to what we hold so dear to our hearts the respect and honor we, who served, should had gotten years ago knowing we were willing to pay the ultimate price for the Freedom that all Americans have today. Because of that Pride and Freedom I have, I began serving on the Riverside Memorial Honor Guard "Semper-Fi," Riverside National Cemetery, RFTW, Patriot Guard, www.patriotguard.org , visit wounded Marines coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and drive the D.A.V. Van at Loma Linda V.A. Medical Center in Loma Linda, Ca. to transport Veterans who have no way to get to the V.A. for their doctors appointments.
I wanted to share this life changing experience with all my Brothers from 1/5 and anyone else who reads this Website to show that we can make a difference and never let another Generation of fine Men and Women who serve be Forgotten Again.
Welcome Home my Brothers and Sisters and may God touch you in a way that you too can see you are special and can make a difference in all things you have learned from being fine Soldiers yourselves.
Your Brother Always,
Roland "Pegleg" Marchand
SEMPER-FI-----ALWAYS FAITHFUL-----NEVER FORGET
Does anyone know who these guys are?
Please tell us if you do.
Roland Marchand - Phu-Bai/Phu-Loc
Roland Marchand - Phu-Bai/Phu-Loc
I always talked about my 56 Chevy I had at home and the Surfing I did in Southern Cal during the Sixties. Sometimes that rings a bell for some guys.
The four pictures with guys on mules and these four are still in Hoi-An. This is what we did when we were cleaning the Guns. Racing the Mules, picking up C-Rats or Ammo. After we would clean the guns and right before stand down every evening.
These three pictures with the one little one, that's the Gun that had the two Short Rounds one evening when it was raining. The two Short rounds Landed in one of the Mortar tents Killing one Marine and injuring 5 or six others. I was just going on watch on that Gun to fire H&I's. The guys on the gun had let the powder charges get wet while it was raining that night. (Like it didn't rain every night HA! HA! ) Boy I remember what a mess it was with Medivacs flying in and getting everyone out of the Tents. This was in Hoi-An also.
This picture is of two guys hanging out by the Tanks and Tracks in back of Hoi-An base.
The next four pictures are at Hoi-An. Getting cleaned up after going out on Patrol. When a Company or Platoon went on a Op usually one or two 81's Mortars would go out as an Attachment. Again I don't know their names.
The next three pictures are of some Marines sitting down and kicking back listening to a record Album of some Motown Music after coming back from an Op in the Bush. These were taken at Hoi-An Base Camp.
Here we are leaving Hoi-An the day after the Rocks took over the Base. The pictures are us going up north, can't remember the Hwy. All I know it was a long trip.
These three pictures were taken as we pushed up north toward Phu-Loc/Phu-Bi. I don't remember the name of the bridge, but it was damaged pretty well by the NVA.
TWO OF THIRTY WESTERN UNIONS MY PARENTS RECEIVED WHEN I WAS HIT !!!!!!!!!!!!
I have all the Western Union Telegrams the Marine Corps sent to my parents. Here are two of them the one talks about the area I was hit. Maybe some guys there would remember. Everything happened so fast I would love to hear what was my reaction and what happened during that time.
Vietnam Memorial Rose Garden
Alta Loma High School
I spoke at this school in Alta Loma on Veterans Day 2005 for 7 brothers killed in Nam. Had dinner with their Families. The "Run For The Wall" has really helped me get past some of the ghosts and scares of mental and physical Pain.
Here is a picture of me in the middle and two other Vietnam Vet Marines at a "Patriot Guard Riders" get together