Today, 5/7/2011 is the anniversary of the landing of the First Marine Brigade, Third Marine Division at Chu Lai, S. Vietnam. It is also the day I spoke for the very first time to the younger sister of a fellow United States Marine (Ivan Ray Smith) who died at Chu Lai, 46 years ago, cut down by a sniper’s bullet. I have hunted for his family ever since 1965. I have kept a candle lit for both him and for another Marine buddy who died at Hue.
I sat on the phone this morning with tears streaming speaking with someone I’ve searched for, for over 46 years and shared with her the details of Smitty’s (Ivan’s) last moments alive.
Smitty, and others, walk with me in close memory every day from waking to falling asleep.
Today, I found some peace. Today, something healed a bit, not that it will ever be completely healed, but part of the scars were cleansed from my soul.
Thank you, fellow United States Marine and Veteran of the 5/7/65 landing, Bill Nourse for bringing United States Marine Ivan Ray Smith’s younger sister, Sherry Heagy, and I together on the phone. Thank you for helping bring to an end a search of 46 years. Thank you for helping to heal all three of us. Now my job tonight is to contact several of my friends who made that landing with us so many years ago this night and say, “Where were you on 5/7/1965?” Semper Fi to any Marine who reads this and Welcome Home to all fellow Vietnam Vets.