A Friendly Fire Causalty
Which Was Not Our Fault
Paying Our Respects to the Marines
By Bill Kindt

It is interesting that so many knew about the Marine casualty. It was a Marine Long Range Patrol out of Con Thien. The information I received from the patrol debriefing was that one of the Marines stood up to watch the round explode and he was killed by shell fragments. Jim Barnes (Battalion CO) and I violated our own rule by both of us riding together in a chopper to Con Thien to talk to the Marines. We particularly wanted them to know we deeply regretted the death and we also wanted to tell them that the bursting radius of the 175 shell was 300 meters. As soon as we landed at Con Thien, the helicopter departed, and Jim Barnes headed for the command bunker and I headed for the perimeter to talk to the men. Before we hardly got out of sight of each other, the area was covered by incoming motor rounds and I thought Jim had been in one of the explosions. However he had just made it to the bunker and all was well. We were glad that we had made the trip and felt we had maintained a very good relationship with the Marines. Who can forget those whispered fire missions and the desperate need for artillery fire and we were the only ones, in many cases, that could provide it. What a battalion!!

Bill Kindt (Battalion XO) HHB 67-68

NOTE: Other reports indicated that the Marine did not hear the "Splash" warning, and was standing up when the round impacted.