During the Vietnam era, members of the 1st Marine Division Band were deployed for a 13 month period from 1968-1969. During the daytime, the Band played concerts for the men at the outposts and camps, Changes of Command ceremonies, locals at Vietnamese villages, wounded soldiers recovering from battle, and memorial services for soldiers who had died. At night, we would put our instruments on one side of the rehearsal tent, pick up the four machine guns and other weapons on the other side of the tent, and head out to the 500 yards of hilltop overlooking the 1st Marine Division Headquarters we were responsible for defending. 

Late in the night of February 22-23, 1969, members of a North Vietnamese platoon crawled through the grass and were practically within our eleven two-man foxholes before we could even see them. It became mostly hand to hand combat. The enemy finally retreated after about an hour, leaving three bandsmen killed and four wounded. The band accounted for nineteen enemy dead, and we saw blood trails that indicated they had dragged off an undetermined number of their wounded. A few days later the band played the Memorial Service for our musicians killed, as well as a few other Marines who had been killed further down the line on the hill top.


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