Rick Materna's Photos
Vietnam '67-'70

My background:  I fought with Golf 2/3, 3rd Marine Div. in Vietnam in 1969 up on the DMZ. We operated out of the “Rock Pile”, and I spent a lot of time on “Mutters Ridge” and the “Razor Back”, and the southern portion of the DMZ.  Got the 0600 wake up call w/ NVA mortars at Con Tien.   When the 3rd MARDIV pulled out in late October, 1969, I was then sent to Charlie Company, 1/5, 1st Mar Div.  We operated in an area known as the Arizona Territory. In true Marine Corps tradition, when the 3rd was being pulled out I was supposed to go to DI school for PI, however, a funny thing happened, 1st MARDIV was short NCO's w/ combat experience, thus I was privileged to serve with some of the finest Marines I know.

I arrived in Da Nang on July 3/4th, 1969 - went to the transit barracks and experienced my first incoming rocket attack - to this day I enjoy the symbolism of the 4th of July, however, I never go near fireworks. It took every thing in me to go to any fireworks with the kids when they were growing up. My original enlistment was for two years, May 1967-69, which I spent on Sea Duty w/ the USS Little Rock (CLG4), now home ported in Buffalo, NY, Naval Park, however, being an "outstanding" Marine, I shipped over to go to Vietnam.  For those of you that have fond memories of your Sr. Drill Inst., I met mine when I reported to Golf 2/3, he was on his second tour, and had just returned from R&R, he was with Fox 2/3.  About a month later we were supporting FOX when they got hit hard at night by the NVA, and he took shrapnel from an RPG in his right arm, just about tore it off, they kept him alive and medivaced him out in the morning and were able to save his arm. I took my one and only “scratch” and that was a bayonet wound in the groin, (talk about “one-hung-low”).  I went from L/Cpl to Staff Sgt. in six months.

 

Semper Fi

Rick "Mat" Materna

 

          

Me in Dress Blues, Gaeta, Italy, Marine Corps Ball, Nov 1968

Nov 10, 1969

Front, left to right: Wayne "Duke" Taylor, Sgt. "Water Bull" Martin, Jerry Morgan, Lt. Mike "Koolade Kid" Galyean.
Back, left to right: Frank Young, "Short Round" Mike Mauger, Gary Welch, Cruz, Rick "Sgt. Mat" Materna.
Far back: Doc. Larry "Doc Sue" Perkins (between Mauger and Welch).

 

Dress Blues; You have the caption – in true Marine Corps tradition, I always look at those two photos taken a year apart. The one I took in '69 which Mike sent to you, on that day we had returned from a patrol, and I gotten some clean utilities and washed the mud off of me, monsoons were coming in, and we were living in mud. On that particular day, we went through a ville, and one of the guys and heard a sound in a bunker, and discovered a boy who was about 10 years old(?), his legs had been shattered. Some one had been feeding him to try and keep him alive, however, maggots were keeping his legs “clean” and keeping him alive.  Doc Raynes and Doc Sue (Larry Perkins) , rapped him up in a parachute and carried him back to our “pause”. Battalion finally got a chopper in to take him out; there is no doubt that he lost both legs.

 

     

Martin (Marty) Berry – with the skull – Marty and some of the guys “collected” skulls, up north on the DMZ it was “ears” – go figure.  Marty was in 60 mortars.  One night he wanted to go on night ambush with us.   I agreed to take him along; point man has movement, there are several bodies in the area, you can more than smell them, so we go down, Marty put his hand out in front to balance and break his drop and it goes under a bush. It's wet and mushy, yes it's the remains of some VC/NVA's skull and brains, Marty pulls his hand out, looks at it in the dark twilight, looks at me, shakes his hand, and I signal to stay quiet.  To my knowledge, that was the last night act Marty went on.

Marty now spends most of his time in Vietnam .  His first landlord, that he rented his apartment from, was a former VC, who fought in the Arizona , and took him back to AnHoa.

Photo #2 – Marty with the “Gunny” - “Gunny” was physically the shortest Marine in the Corps –tough as “nails” but more than fair – he was an inspiration to all of us.

           

Hill 65 – late April '69 waiting for a chopper.  Front – Dewey “Pappy” Mays he, was 26(?), to his left, Lou Caruso (?), directly behind, "Kit" Carson Fagan, on the hill, Doc Sue, (Larry Perkins)Photo credit Dewey Mays.
Hill55 or 65? – think Doc Sue took the photo, I slammed his head down when I saw what he was doing.

           

Arizona – me on the left, “fighting weight – lean and mean” all of 140 lbs?, and Danny Montigny, end of the monsoon season, and we were “drying-out”, trying to get some sun on the body.

 

 

Letter from Bob Devoll, he was a fire team leader, his team was on point, went to check with his point man, took a step forward to check a compass bearing, and set off a mortar round, 21 December 1969, Liberty Bridge.  He lost both legs, and sent this note to let us know he made it.
Lives in Montana today and doesn't know the word “quit”. He has been a model for all of us over the years.

                        

“Pappy” Dewey Mays sent me copies of the Thanksgiving Day menu, Nov. 1969.  Battalion had pulled us back to Hill 65 for a rest, by the time we hummed in there wasn't much left, but they did what they could.  I ate “turkey” C-rats that day. Its the thought that counts

                 

Coming off Charlie Ridge in the background.

 
That was 2nd Plt, on our way up Charlie Ridge.

               

The one photo w/ the 500 lb bomb was taken while I had a squad on patrol, and we found a small base/training camp.  Peters, the enginer, was later  wounded about two weeks later.  Engineers – we were on patrol and came across this camp, the VC/NVA had skied, but you could feel the “eyeballs clicking” on you as we went through it, came up with some good intel which led the company to a much larger base.  Blew the bomb, and then back prepped with arty.

 

 

Polished brass and spit shined boots.

This is the only photo I have of the DMZ – Mutters Ridge, we had had contact and this was an air strike. I had about two dozen photos fro the Rock Pile, Mutters ridge and The Razor Back that were destroyed. Photo by “Kit Carson” Fagan.

 
Rick Materna - Out in the Arizona
 
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Left standing:  Mike Mauger
Right standing: Danny Montigne - guns
Seated: Between the two - "Red" Reese - guns

 
Rick Pitorak - Arty FO  (Died 1994 ALS)

 
Lt Mike "Koolade Kid" Galyean
Coming down Charlie Ridge - December 1969

 
Body Count

 
November 1969
No food re-supply for a week and we were eating local chickens.
 
Rick Materna - Platoon Sergeant
Coming down Charlie Ridge - December 1969.

 

 
Digging in on Hill 65.   We went up Charlie Ridge 1 Dec 1969, from Hill 65. We up there for about two weeks.   Of course it was monsoon season and we were wet the entire time.  That was a very wet and long walk.

 

 

South Vietnam Paper Money, National Bank of Viet Nam, 500 Nam Tram Dong 1969.

Viet Cong ID Paper

Cincinatti Reunion

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