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From a recent Lima 3/5 Newsletter:

We our Band of Brothers…

Properly, this Memorial is for the Marines and Corpsmen who will never see this dedication to their service.

Side by side we stood by the Marines who led as we followed: through rice patties,villages, Hue City, and the jungles in the mountains.

I will visit this site one day, stand proud, perhaps shed a tear and know…We were Lima 3/5 and will always be.

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Dedication Date – Memorial Day, 2018

Mark Your Calendar

5th Marines Vietnam Memorial Dedication
Memorial Day, 2018 – Monday, May 28, 2018

Due to recently evolving circumstances in the War Against ISIL and Terror in the Middle East, The Fighting Fifth Marines have just “landed” once again in Iraq for a 12-month deployment as Regimental Combat Team – 5. Commanding Officer Colonel Ken Kassner and his Command Group Marines are now deployed, and back in the fight once again.

In light of Col. Kassner’s extended deployment and his desire to attend the Dedication for the 5th Marines Vietnam Memorial, the dedication date has been set for Memorial Day, 2018.

The original plan targeted the next Marine Corps Birthday, November 10, 2016, for the dedication. The decision to move the dedication to May 28, 2018, offers other benefits:

  • The 5th Marines will have returned from their deployment, and the Memorial Team certainly wants “our” Marines with us at the Dedication.
  • Col. Kassner is committed to making this Memorial dream a reality, and has provided critical assistance helping our request work its way through the Chain of Command.
  • Further, we have received a significant amount of Marine feedback that maybe the Marine Corps birthday would not be a good time for a monument dedication anywhere aboard Camp Pendleton because of all the birthday activities going on at that time.
  • And finally, six additional months for fund-raising and organizing a truly memorable Memorial Dedication event.
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The Vietnam War

On March 5, 1966, 5th Marines deployed to the Republic of Vietnam.

They remained in Vietnam for the next five years, fighting at Rung Sat, Chu Lai, Phu Loc, Hue, Que Son Valley, An Hoa, Tam Kỳ and Da Nang. The 5th Marines finally left Vietnam in April 1971.

In 2003, former 5th Marine sniper-turned-Vietnam War author, John J. Culbertson, documented in 13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam, the stories of 5th Marine Regiment marksmen who, as the publisher describes,

“fought with bolt rifles and bounties on their heads during the fiercest combat of the war, from 1967 through the Tet battle for Hue in early 1968.”

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5th Marines Monuments at Camp San Mateo

In June 2013, Marines serving with 5th Marine Regiment gathered for the regiment’s Operation Enduring Freedom Memorial Dedication ceremony. More than a hundred Marines, veterans and Gold Star Mothers gathered at the San Mateo Memorial Garden to join the regiment at the ceremony. The names of the Marines and sailors who fought and died serving with a 5th Marines battalion or under Regimental Combat Team 5 in Afghanistan are etched into the 7-ton, granite memorial. The 7-foot tall, 8-foot, 4-inch wide memorial was created in Barre, Vt., and traveled to Camp Pendleton in a 10-day journey where it was escorted every mile of the trip by Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle club that strongly supports service members by welcoming them home from deployments. Etched into the bottom of the memorial stone are the words, “FALLEN BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN.”

The memorial honors Marines and sailors who served with 5th Marines or under Regimental Combat Team 5 who died in Afghanistan.

In early December 2007, 5th Marines dedicated a memorial for the 221 men killed in Iraq. The names include those of seven Army soldiers attached to the regiment. A group of Orange County residents formed a group called the 5th Marine Regiment Memorial fund in early 2007 and raised more than $72,000 to pay for the memorial. Modeled after barriers in Iraq to help prevent car and truck bombings, the memorial carries an inscription at the top reading “Fallen and Never Forgotten,” and one at the bottom reading “Freedom Fighter Fallen Warrior.”

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The Site – Camp San Mateo Memorial Garden

Camp Pendleton, CA – The 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, visits the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment Memorial during a tour of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, CA, on May 19, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mallory S. VanderSchans)

The Camp San Mateo Memorial Garden is the site of the future Vietnam War Memorial Monument. Existing memorials at the site include – Korean War, World War I, World War II, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

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Who are the 5th Marines?

Marines with 5th Marine Regiment are presented the French Fourragere during a ceremony aboard the Camp San Mateo parade deck here, Oct. 23, 2013. The regiment is one of two Marine Corps regiments authorized to wear the Fourragere for heroic actions during World War I. The ceremony emphasizes the Marines’ commitment to the rich history of the Fighting Fifth. – 1st Marine Division, Cpl. James Gulliver

The 5th Marine Regiment based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California is the most highly decorated regiment in the Marine Corps.  The regiment falls under the command of the 1st Marine Division and the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF).

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