View Full Version : Former Recon Marines reunite as brothers at K-Bay

09-10-03, 06:09 AM
Former Recon Marines reunite as brothers at K-Bay
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification Number: 20039915399
Story by Lance Cpl. Monroe F. Seigle

MCB HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii(August 26, 2003) -- Marines who have served in Force Reconnaissance have some stories to tell that usually involve some pretty gruesome scenes in combat zones.

Although many of them would rather put those memories behind them, they are still bound by a strong brotherhood with their fellow Marines who share those same memories.

It was a beautiful Hawaiian day aboard MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, when 55 retired, civilian and veteran Marines who honorably served in Force Reconnaissance units came together August 26 for a chance to reunite with their brethren to enjoy a little "quality entertainment."

To kick off the day, Marines from the Provost Marshals Office aboard MCB Hawaii put on a three-part simultaneous capabilities demonstration.

The military working dogs that sniff out danger on a daily basis showed their bite was bigger than their bark when an MP, dressed in a bite-proof suit, was chased down and taken to the ground by a military working dog within seconds after the dog handlers order to attack. The military dog handler's explained to the Force Reconnaissance Marines the procedures involved in training the dogs and showed them how the dogs are controlled.

"We used just the working dogs when we were in Vietnam," said Allen Bierlien, a veteran of the Vietnam War who served in 5th Force Reconnaissance out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. "I remember those dogs could sniff out just about anything. We relied on them just like we did other Marines."

Not only did the military policeman show off some of the finest working dogs in the military, they also gave the veterans a first-hand look at all the equipment used by the Special Reaction Team. The veterans also viewed a live demonstration of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

The veterans and their spouses watched bodies fly as the Marines showed off their warfighting skills, demonstrating kicks and punches along with a variety of counteractive maneuvers.

The action was not over yet. The veterans and their families then moved indoors to the Indoor Simulator Marksmanship Training center and received a chance to fire current weapons used by Marines with a simulated live-fire.

After enjoying chicken and steak hot off the grill, prepared by the civilian Marines of the Game Warden Department, Force Recon Marine from the Military Police Department was presented an award by another Marine who served with distinction.

Sergeant Adam Black, a military working dog handler with the Military Police Department, earned the title of "Marine of 2002 the Year" for MCB Hawaii. He was presented a presented a poster-sized print of a painting entitled "Ripley at the Bridge" by the legendary Marine Corps artist, Col. Charles Waterhouse. The Marine selected to present the signed print to Black was Col. John Ripley, USMC Ret., who was awarded the Navy Cross for single-handedly destroying the bridge at Dong Ha on Easter Sunday, 1972, thus thwarting a major offensive by the North Vietnamese Army. The painting depicts Ripley moving into position to set explosives under the bridge as shots from NVA artillery explode around him.

"It's one of the greatest honors to be a Marine," said Black. "However, when a Marine with so much history behind him, such as Col. Ripley, personally tells you that you are an outstanding Marine and presents you with an award, it becomes more than an honor, it's something you will cherish for the rest of your life."

The visitors then went to the 4th Force Reconnaissance Company area. There, Marines of the 1st and 4th Force Recon provided static displays of today's Recon equipment and answered questions about whether and how Force Recon procedures had changed over the years.

Throughout the visit to MCB Hawaii, which ended with a stop to the Pacific War Memorial, the FRA Marines agreed it was good to be back with their "brothers," with whom they had stood side-by-side in the heat of battle.

"These are the same faces I saw when I was fighting in the trenches of Vietnam," said veteran Allen Paul. "A lot of us fought side-by-side, there, and regardless of how much time passes or how old we may become, we remember each other like those times were just yesterday."


Sergeant Adam Black, a military dog handler with the Military Police Department, was presented a signed poster sized print of a painting entitled "Ripley at the Bridge" by Col. John Ripley, USMC Ret, a member of the Force Reconnaissance Association, for being Marine of the Year for 2002.
Photo by: Sgt. Joseph A. Lee