Film shot by R. J. Del Vecchio during his service as a Marine cameraman in Vietnam documents his own service and various aspects of the broader context of the war. Footage includes: Marine patrols, soldiers shaving and cleaning weapons, travel with sentry dogs, airlifted supplies.
R. J. Del Vecchio Collection
John C. Arick, originally from Washington, D.C., served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1962 until 1992 and retired a Brigadier General. He is a 1962 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. John served two tours in Southeast Asia. During the first, from 1966 to 1967, he was stationed at the Ky Ha helicopter base north of Chu Lai with the Marine Observation Squadron (VMO) 6, Marine Air Group (MAG) 36, 1st Marine Air Wing (MAW) and was a UH-1E pilot flying fire support, escort, MedEvac, utility, and tactical air control missions. He took part in Operations HASTINGS, BEAVER CAGE, among others. During his second tour, from 1970 to 1971, John was first stationed near Marble Mountain Air Facility with the III Marine Amphibious Force (MAF) headquarters in the G-3 section, then with the 1st MAW at Danang in the G-3 section, and finally with the Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron (HML) 367 at Marble Mountain Air Facility. During his entire second tour, he flew the AH-1G Cobra with HML 367. In total, John flew in excess of 1,540 hours in Southeast Asia.
John Thomas “Tom” Esslinger, originally from Ephrata, Pennsylvannia served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966 until 1970. Tom went to Vietnam in September 1967 and served with India Company and Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, and operated out of Camp Evans. In December 1967, his unit was sent to Khe Sanh where it eventually occuppied Hill 881 South during the 77-day seige. After Khe Sanh, from April to July 1968, Tom, as CO of India Co., operated out of Quang Tri City and then west of Da Nang running various missions. In early August, he was made Assistant S-3 with the 3/26 Marines and served in that capacity until completing his 13-month tour in October 1968.
Coporal Walter Rupp recounts his experiences in Vietnam, including being wounded in a helicopter crash and by Viet Cong fire. Rupp received two Purpple Hearts and the Bronze Star.