Dominican Republic Crisis
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  1. #1

    Dominican Republic Crisis

    Does anyone recall the Dominican Republic Crisis? It seems that whenever I mention this on one seems to recall it.


  2. #2
    I was in the Dom Rep. was with arty we were the first troops ashore

  3. #3
    gerry d you can contact me at

  4. #4


    27 April 1965
    Following a coup and fighting, HMM-264 evacuates 556 American citizens to U. S. warships off the coast.

    28 April 1965
    Elements of BLT 3/6 goes ashore by helicopter to guard U. S. Embassy and protect American lives in the city of Santo Domingo. The remainder of the BLT lands the next day.

    30 April 1965
    Two Marines are killed in street fighting as BLT 3/6 seeks to clear part of the city of Dominican fighters.

    1 May 1985
    4th MEB begins arriving by sea and air from North Carolina. It brings the total Marine Force in country to over 5,500 men. Another Marine is killed and three wounded.

    3 May 1965
    The Marine Detachment of Newport News goes ashore to reinforce 3/6. It is the first ship's Detachment to land in a combat role since 1945.

    25 May 1965
    U. S. mediation leads to a truce between Dominican Factions. Marines Units begin departing the next day.



  5. #5
    Guest Free Member
    First Bn, 8th Marines under LtCol Ed Danowitz was part of the 4th MEB.

    We were based on a college campus in Santo Domingo and were part of the perimeter defense of the International (Embassys)Zone.

  6. #6
    Thanks to all of you for your replies. I was beginning to think that this crisis never happened. I was stationed in Norfolk at the time with a Marine Detachment at Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Forces (Maj.Gen Thompkins was the commander). Since I had a logistic MOS, I was immediately sent to the war room to assist in supplies and troop movements. We were suppost to deploy to the region, (were all mounted-out) and at the last minute (as the drifter stated) it was over.

    I have mentioned this crisis to my civilian buddies, but it seems very few knew about it.

    Thanks for all the information.


  7. #7
    Hello Gerry and everyone. I'm glad that I found this post because for many years I felt the same way. I was a clerk (0141) with Hq Co, Hq Bn, at 2nd Mar Div, and toward the end of the Marine involvement in Santo Domingo Lt. May, myself, a Corporal at the time, and a PFC who was our interperter, went down to review the claims that were coming in against the actions of the Marines from the civilians on the Island. Uncle Sam pays for all claims against it caused by it's members of the Armed Forces.

    I had just gotten back from a 2 1/2 year stint as a Marine Security Guard at the American Embassy in Seoul, Korea - living high on the hog - as they say. Anyway, they put the PFC and myself up in an old, what must have been quite a beautiful hotel in it's hey day, but now somewhat delapadated place. There were no more rooms available so they put the PFC and myself out on a balcony in sleeping bags. They put the Lt. over in another hotel where the officers were staying. After one night of this nonsense I went over to the American Embassy and introduced myself to the NCOIC of that detachment and he got me and the PFC our own apartment somewhere in the city. By that time other Marines had come in to assist the Marine Security Guards at the Embassy.

    For the next few weeks the three of use went around town and investigated the claims being made. Some of them were legit and others were not. For example, one old farmer told us that the Marines had landed a few days before his daughter was about to be married that weekend and he claimed that the Marines broke into his garage and took all of his booze. There were all kinds of empty beer and liquor bottles all over the ground. We figured that sounded something like the Marines would probably do so we allowed his claim to go through. Another old man told us that the Marines had shot up his kitchen stove and when we went out to investigate it we found that the stove was an old rusted out piece of junk and we shot this claim down.

    Every night we could hear the machine gun and other types of mortar fire going on all around the city but by this times the Marines had moved on and the Army was in charge for most of it. This was the first time I had ever had any dealing with the Army. One morning I had to go over to a local school and check in with some Army Sargeant about something and when I got there I heard this Army Sgt say to some Army Private - "grab a boom and sweep up that area." The Private said to him: "F" you Sarge, do it yourself." The Sgt said something back to him like "A.......le" and then the Sgt grabbed the boom and swept it up himself. I could just imagine if some PVT had said that to a Marine Corporal or Sergeant.

    On the way back to Camp Lejeune they would not let me bring back my straw "sombarro" and machete back into the country. Lt. May was able to get the machette back for me. I still have it.

    For this operation I qualified for the National Defense Service Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

    Over the years I've looked for articles in Leatherneck and other publications about our actions in DomRep and have seen very few. I'm just happy I found this site and the several articles about the Marines in the Dominican Republic.

    Semper Fi!!!

    Jule Spohn - Sgt - USMC -1960/66

  8. #8
    Knew a few Marines who were there. Know a Army Capt. with the Air Born who was there. He was and is a friend of my family. Told me about going down in the sewers after the bad boys. Fire fights in the sewers sounds like no fun for me.

  9. #9

    Dominican Republic Crisis

    Thanks to all of your recent replies. It's good to know that I was not living a dream (nightmare).


  10. #10
    Hi guys. Here is what I had written in my diary dated June 28, 1965 - Monday - Departed Cherry Point at 0700 on a C130. Landed one hour and forty minutes later at Charleston, SC Departed Charleston for GTMO. Lt May is pessimistic about seeing any action in Santo Domingo. For myself, I disagree with him. Landed at GTMO and are now headed for the Dominican Republic. Should be there in approximately 30 minutes. Landed safely in the Dominican Republic. Road from the airport to the hotel was dirty, the city is dirty. Saw many men, women, and children, riding donkeys. Am staying at the Hotel Jaragua with all Army enlisted men. What a hole. Have to sleep on the balcony - no rooms available. Living conditions are pretty bad. Hotel is located in a nice residential area. At the end of the street is a barricade and the rebels control the other side of the barricade. The Brazilians are on guard at the barricade. The street is located right on the bay. There are approximately six ships in the bay. The weather is hot and muggy. At one time I guess the hotel was pretty nice. Supper was lousey and I had to borrow someone's mess kit. I also had to borrow an air mattress to sleep on. Now I have to look for a place to take a shower.

  11. #11
    Hello again guys. Here are some more notes from my diary from July of 1965:

    July 3, 1965 - Saturday - Work is coming along better than we expected. if it continues like this we may be finished by next weekend.

    July 4, 1965 - Sunday - Went to Embassy Marine House. Really had a good time.

    July 5, 1965 - Monday - Moved to Embassy Marine House. Heard about three mortar shots in the distance. This am some soldier discharged his .45 in the lobby of the Jaragua - no one hurt.

    July 6, 1965 - Tuesday - About 2230 heard a pretty large fire-fight - M60's and mortars. Have not heard any details as of yet. Heard some shooting during the night.

    July 13, 1965 - Tuesday - While working this afternoon, we heard a commotion in the hallway of the Lieutenant's hotel. Apparently some officer was cracking up and was banging on a door.

    July 14, 1965 - Wednesday - Only worked three hours this morning. Went to the "New" Marine House - What a place - Really large - was the Spanish Ambassador's house at one time.

    July 15, 1965 - Thursday - Went to see the Bob Hope show with Jerry Colona. Pretty good. Movie camera did not work properly - was I ****ed off.

    July 18, 1965 - Sunday - Went to a beach-party put on by the American Embassy folks. Had a flat tire on the way out and again on the way back. Almost got shot by a sentry at the bridge. Real good party. Roasted two pigs. (I have an 8mm video of this beach party). Heard some machine gun fire during the night.

    July 19, 1965 - Monday - heard about six to ten mortar rounds around 2130.

    July 21, 1965 - Wednesday - Departed at 0030 and headed for Pope AFB. Arrived at Pope AFB at 0530. A vehicle from Camp Lejeune was there to meet me. Customs officer took my machete but an Air Force MP returned it to me.

    Not sure of the date, but one evening a Dominican driver in a jeep was taking me and two other Marines out to "get laid" somewhere out in the country side. At one point I heard a voice coming from the side of the road saying "ALTO" - "HALT." The driver didn't hear it and kept driving. Again, I heard the voice saying "ALTO" and I heard a machine gun being engaged. I yelled to the driver to hit the " brakes." He did - just in time. The guard on the side of the road was just about to open up on us with his machine gun. He spoke with our driver in Spanish and wanted to know what we were doing out there and where were we going. The driver told him that he was taking us out ot "get laid." The guard then told the driver exactly where to take us and "all was well." WHEEEEEW!!! That was close.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by GerryD View Post
    Does anyone recall the Dominican Republic Crisis? It seems that whenever I mention this on one seems to recall it.

    I do remember being there with 1/8. We were some of the first Marines ashore and took 9 KIA before we even drew live ammo!

  13. #13
    I was there in the Dominican Republic back in April 65. I was a Corpsman attached to the 10th Marines at that time. We were located up in the burbs there on a couple of empty lots with many homes around us. We were about 3 blocks from some hotel which was the command center.

  14. #14
    Hey, another Corpsman here.... I was with the 10th Marines down there.

  15. #15
    I was there with the 10th Marines as a Navy Corpsman. I was on the USS Wood County on the cruise at the time when we had made that landing.

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