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HMM-164 School/Vietnam

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  • HMM-164 School/Vietnam

    Phil Rodgers <>

    Would you please send this out to all the HMM-164 email members and put on the NOTAM posting. Thank you.
    Phil R.

    Fellow Squadron Mates
    Please read the attached reply from "Doc" Dave Gillis to one of our Squadron Mates concerning questions on the HMM-164 School Project.
    I think this answers any doubts as to why we are trying to "Accomplish this Mission".
    Please get the word out.
    Semper Fi
    Phil Rodgers
    HMM-164 Squadron Coordinator

    Subj: RE: HMM-164 School/Vietnam
    Date: 6/22/05 12:18:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time
    Received from Internet: click here for more information


    My apologies for the delayed response?I have been attending a family reunion and Father?s Day celebration in Oregon and just returned home less than one hour ago. While checking the email backlog upon my return tonight, I read yours and want to answer your questions as quickly and as fully as I can. I am happy to tell you that the school we are raising money to build in Vietnam is, in my mind, a continuation of the work HMM-164 did in Vietnam, as the plaque that will be displayed at the school upon completion, will attest to. The school will be dedicated to the Marines, corpsmen and flight surgeons who served with HMM-164 in Vietnam.

    Let me give you a little background, from a very personal perspective, on my participation and motivation with this project. As a ?wet-behind-the-ears? Navy doctor finishing his internship at Philadelphia Naval Hospital, I skipped leave and travel time to go immediately into flight surgeon school in Pensacola, FL and requested assignment with a Marine helicopter squadron. For years I had wanted to be a flight surgeon on an aircraft carrier, but, realized I would be seeing my aircrew depart on their missions every day and then see them return?but never be able to experience what they were experiencing, so a Marine helicopter squadron, ?in country,? was the clear answer for me. While in country I flew a number of missions of various types, re-supply, troop insertion, medevac, admin, SAR, etc. But ?civic action? was also part of our mission, and the squadron supported me in holding a village sick call two afternoon each week, first at the convent just north of Marble Mountain, and then in the little village nestled in the Marble Mountains. Various members of the squadron regularly accompanied me and the other medical personnel and provided security and support. During the weeks we were at Dong Ha, the Vietnamese sick call was less formal, but continued to be well received.

    In the village of Non Nuoc, where our major village sick call was held in a bombed out building (the building had been a barber shop and the Viet Cong blasted it, and it was unused prior to our sick call). HMM-164 squadron personnel gave up their day off and we put a roof on the building, shuttered the windows and painted the walls. We also rebuilt a school room for young kids. In a show of good will, we distributed to each child a box of bubble bath, sent by well-intentioned Americans, I still chuckle about that, as I never saw a bathtub in the little village, so I don?t know how the bubble bath was used!

    So, the construction of the school house and the work that DOVE Fund (Development of Vietnam Endeavors) does in building medical facilities and schools provides an opportunity for us to continue our good work begun while we all served in Vietnam. No, it is not an apology for having worked and fought for democracy and freedom in Vietnam, it is not a commentary on how well-executed our national policy was, but it is a proud continuation of the personal efforts of the brave Marines that I and other medical folks were privileged to be a part of. I want this school to be a living monument to those ideals and those sacrifices, a monument that is shared by this new generation of Vietnamese as well as our brothers in the Corps?a living monument, continuing the work we began in 1966 with HMM-164. DOVE Fund has kindly honored my request for a school located in an area that HMM-164 operated in during 1966-1967, and I think it is fitting that the ?Rockpile? is visible from the school construction site.

    The USMC and my squadron mates have given me much. I honor my squadron mates of HMM-164. While I also served with the Marines (HMH-772, Det A) during the Gulf War, and with the 1st FSSG in Iraq during the current conflict (I think I was the oldest one there), nothing was as formative and lasting in my life as my shared experience with HMM-164 in Vietnam. It would be great if you could join us again in making this tribute to our fellow Marines live on, not only here in the US, but in a growing number of minds being educated through Marine generosity and sacrifice today. While my donation was made with a request that it not be disclosed, I will tell you I have donated $20,000 to this effort, which tells you how much I value the project. I have seen the little children?s faces, scrubbed and clean, and eager to learn in Vietnam in years past and in Iraq in 2003, and I want them all to learn that US Marines are not only giants in combat, but kind and generous giants at heart, and when we sow freedom, we see the harvest through, no matter how long the winters.

    Wayne, I look forward to seeing you when we return to Vietnam. Thank you for your consideration of this project, regardless of what you decide is your best course of action.

    Semper Fi
    Dave Gillis
    David B. Gillis MD PhD MPH
    Clinical Systems Development
    Wyle Laboratories, Life Sciences
    1290 Hercules Avenue, Suite 120
    Houston, TX 77058-2769
    281 461-2617

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []
    Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2005 9:37 AM
    To: Gillis, David;
    Subject: HMM-164 School/Vietnam

    Dave &Mary
    Would you please answer Wayne's concerns regarding the HMM-164 Vietnam School Project.
    Thank you.
    Phil Rodgers
    HMM-164 Squadron Coordinator

    Subj: Fwd:Re: HMM-164 School
    Date: 6/16/05 1:00:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time
    Received from Internet: click here for more information

    Phil: I am forwarding an e-mail that I received from Wayne Petri and copied you on my response so that you will be up to speed in the event he contacts you. I will call you after I return stateside on August 15. Semper Fi! John
    this is wayne petri. i must of erased your other email. i think that one may of had an 800 number to contact you.
    as i said i stayed in for 22 years. i guess i would need to know, how the idea of the school was concieved. i would not donate any money if we are admitting fault in any way to the war. i went when my country called, write or wrong, and i don't feel guilty about anything. i guess i would need to know that the vietnamese, are not publisizing our gift, as an exceptance, of fault.
    i get a retirement check, from the marine corps. i also get a disability check from the v.a. i need to know that the marine corps and the government, are on board with us, in this endeavor.
    as i said when i emailed you. if everything checks out, i would donate. for the 3,000.00 dollars. do we have to pay our way to viet nam, or is travel included, in the donation? or i guess i'm asking what is included?
    i have two kids in college. i would not be able to get you the entire amount until december? is that exceptable or not?
    if i am satisfied with your answers, and i donate. i would probably donate, the full amount. what is the goal, and how much has been reached? and how much do we have to have, to go forward, with the project?
    i will be interested, in your reply. hope you do have a toal free, number! thanks!!
    semper fi

  • #2
    -----Forwarded Message-----
    From: Wayne Karlin <>
    Sent: Jun 20, 2005 3:50 PM
    Subject: Re: HMM-164 School

    Hi John
    I'm just back from Vietnam. We had a good visit to the site, and had a good interview with Hoang Nam and some of the others in the village. Marc Steiner should be calling you and Fred and some of the others in the next few weeks to set up interviews and finish the story. Hopefully, it will generate many funds.
    Among other things on the trip, I also spoke with the US military attache at the embassy in Hanoi. He is a Marine major and is very interested in the project and I hope can be of help to us.
    Going to Quang Tri, seeing the backdrop of those hills and mountains behind the village, brought back a lot of memories--when I flew gunner with HMM-164, I was on Operation Hastings (and did some missions from Khe Sanh as well, which we also visited on this trip). I remember it hazily these days, but one picture that remains in my mind too vividly are images from one, or maybe more, medevacs--the broken and dead we pulled out of those hills. The whole area is heavy with both our history and sacrifices, and those of the Vietnamese--the ground is still seeded with unexploded ordnance (over 30% of injuries in the Cam Lo district are still from landmines and shells) and Agent Orange--in short, a highly significant place to build a school for a generation that will be raised in peace. I'm honored to be a part of the effort.
    Talk to you soon.

    >>> "johnborman" <> 06/01/05 10:24 PM >>>
    Marines, Corpsmen and Flight Surgeons of HMM-164:
    I spoke earlier today with Fred Grimm, Chair of the D.O.V.E. Board, and was advised that the Board has approved the construction of the Cam Thanh Commune Elementary School with the "Marines, Corpsmen and Flight Surgeons of HMM-164" as the Major Donor. The Board has requested that we continue with our fundraising, but that the construction of the school will begin so that we can do the dedication in late April of next year. Hopefully, all or most of you will be present for the dedication. As I write this, Wayne Karlin (former S-1 clerk of HMM-164) is on his way to Vietnam along with producers of National Public Radio to do an on-site story about our school. I expect that the publicity associated with this trip, along with an appeal that Phil Rodgers will be making with Col. Watson, along with an appeal to NASA by "Doc" Gillis, along with my appeal to the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Minnesota on June 14, along with a possible appeal
    to the U.S.M.C. Combat Helicopter Association will result in the raising of the additional funds needed to fully fund the school. Wayne has just donated $800.00 in royalty proceeds from his book. Phil's initial appeal to the HMM-164 Association resulted in almost $500.00 of funds. I would like to do a follow-up appeal to the Association whereby the same offer made to Larry Hacker, Phil and others that a donation of $3,000.00 will entitle the donor to join us in Vietnam next year for the dedication is made to all members of the Association. I do believe that all of these actions taken together will put us over the top. Fred Grimm will keep me apprised of our progress, but you should not hesitate to contact him at 1-800-463-1706 if you have any questions or concerns. This will be particularly important between June 20 and August 15, because I will be in Australia and Africa during that time and may not have ready access to e-mail. From now until
    June 20, do not hesitate to contact me. Meanwhile, proceed to accomplish the mission! Semper Fi! John Borman