Brummel, Joel (JSB), 1st Platoon

Brummel, Joel (JSB), 1st Platoon

Patty, my wife, and I were married on 6-17-1967 and I reported into TBS July 1967. Patty was a school teacher when I met her. She is retired now, but still volunteers as an aid for kindergarten in the Parkville, MO area.

We have two children, Heidi & Heather. Heidi and her husband Kurt, live in Rogers, Arkansas on Beaver Lake. Kurt is a loan officer for Arvest Bank. Heidi is a pricing specialist for Miller / Coors. Heather and her husband, Doug, live in Boulder, Colorado. Heather is a senior scientist for Aglent. She has her Phd in biochemistry. Doug is a computer programmer and has worked for E-Bay & Telesa. He is currently a principal in a computer startup.

I served in Viet Nam from January 2, 1968 until January 31, 1969. During that period I had the following positions: Platoon Commander, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Div. Company Commander, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Div. Assistant Operations Officer (G-3), 7th Marines Regiment, 1st Marine Div. (Secondary Duty) Platoon Commander, Scout Snipers, 7th Marines

My first duty station was An Hoa, the industrial complex of South Viet Nam. Initially I was in charge of a road sweep from An Hoa to Liberty Bridge (there was no bridge). We would encounter 25 -100 mines on the road daily.

In March of 1968 I contracted malaria. (Yes, I faithfully took my malaria pills). I was medivaced to Da Nang with a temperature of 104° F. They worked on me for about 6 hours and finally got the fever to break. From Da Nang, they flew me out to the hospital ship “Repose”. From there they shipped me to the Naval Hospital in Yoksuka, Japan. I spent 3 weeks there. My bed was next to Captain Christmas, who led the assault on Que.

When I got back to my unit, I found out that Captain Charles (Chuck) Robb was my company commander. I was his XO. Every time we left the wire as a company, Chuck would get a call on the radio to go back to Division for admin work and I took over as company commander.

There was one exception and that was Operation Mameluke Thrust which was a battalion night raid into Arizona Valley. My platoon got the honors of being lead platoon that entailed a night river crossing. After crossing the river, we had to sneak through a huge rice field and then hang a left and cut through a village as a blocking force. We were supposed to link up with the 25th Marines, but they never made it. I didn’t lose a Marine that night.

I was given command of Lima Company after I made Captain. We were assigned to saturation night patrols in the rocket belt around Da Nang. After being in the bush for 8 months, I was assigned to a staff job as the Assistant G-3, 7th Marines. A secondary duty was platoon commander of scout snipers, 7th Marines.

After Viet Nam I was assigned as Assistant G-3 upon arrival at Camp Lejune. 2nd Battalion was getting ready to deploy for a Carib Cruise. We toured the entire Carib and had numerous ports of call. About half way thru the cruise, there was a labor riot on the island of Curacao. Curacao is off the coast of Venezuela between the islands of Aruba and Bonaire for you diving enthusiast. There were several hundred US and European citizens hole up in the major hotels on Curacao. It got to the point where we had the entire Battalion up on the flight deck and issued live ammo. The helicopters were on the flight deck and winding up. We had already inserted a recon team onto the island. We sat there until about 10:00 am when we were told to stand down. After being at sea for 4 months we headed for home only to run into a hurricane.

That is another whole story.

Bruner, Ken (KHB), 1st Platoon

Bruner, Ken (KHB), 1st Platoon

Raised in Central Illinois and Northern Virginia, he was active in Boy Scouts earning Life Scout rank and the God and Country ribbon, worked as a Camp Waterfront Counselor and played trumpet in his high-school band. After graduation from Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro Va. he entered The American Univ. in Washington DC, was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, earned a B.S. in Business Administration and was commissioned a 2d Lt. in the US Marine Corps. Following officers’ basic and fixed-wing pilot training in Florida, Mississippi and Kingsville Texas, Ken was assigned to posts in North Carolina, Japan and Viet Nam where he flew over 100 combat missions in A-6 Intruder aircraft. Reassigned to El Toro California, he met and married his treasured wife Carolyn 39 years ago; they have two children and now five grandchildren; two in S. California and three in the Houston area. During that time, he earned his MS in Systems Management from USC.

He proudly served 23 years in the Corps with numerous operational and command leadership posts in Virginia, California and Japan until retiring as a Lt. Colonel from his last posting as the command Inspector for the 3d Marine Air Wing in S. California and Arizona. His awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross; seven Strike/Flight and one Individual award of the Air Medal for valor in combat; the Meritorious Service Medal; Navy Achievement and Commendation Medals and numerous service, deployment and campaign decorations.

Entering civilian public service, Ken served the governing board in Orange County CA, advising on legislation as staff chief for the board chairman and became active in numerous non-profits including Scouting, American Cancer Society and several environmental/land conservation organizations and as Chairman of a major city Planning Commission.

Active in church work throughout his military career and beyond, his experience includes service on church boards for three congregations as ordained Elder and Deacon, teaching adult and youth Sunday school, as a lay chaplain and as a worship leader/preacher for ten years of annual cowboy gatherings. In Kerrville he was a board member for Hill Country Cares; Central Kerrville Development Corporation and his neighborhood Homeowners Association in addition to volunteering at Schreiner University. Ken is currently Chairman for the Texas Hills District, BSA serving a four county area and over 750 Scouts of all ages. Prior to the opening of The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center he was hired as their first Program Director, holding that position for over a year before accepting appointment as Executive Operations Director for First United Methodist Church of Kerrville where he has served since 2011.

A member of the National and United Methodist Associations for Church administration, he is currently a Certified Lay Speaker, member of the Hill Country Emmaus Community and United Methodist Men at Kerrville First, and a member of the new Rio Texas Conference Finance & Administration Council.

Budd, Paul (PDB), 1st Platoon

Budd, Paul (PDB), 1st Platoon

Upon graduation from TBS in November of 1967, I attended artillery school at Fort Sill, OK, and then went to Vietnam in March or April of 1968. There I was assigned to Mike Battery (155 mm self propelled), 4th Battalion, 12th Marines, with which I served for about seven months and was deployed in Dong Ha, Camp Carrol and the Rock Pile. My final months in Vietnam were spent at the 3rd Marine Division FSCC (fire support coordination center) in Dong Ha. I returned to “the World” in June of 1969.

After leave at home in Kansas, I was assigned to Marine Barracks Guam, where I served as Company Exec and Company CO of Company D, at the Naval Magazine. I was discharged in June of 1971 and attended Law School at the University of Kansas, graduating in 1974.

Since then I have practiced law in Omaha, Nebraska, Dallas, Texas, and Arkansas, and have lived in Minnesota and Alabama. I am currently retired in Seale, AL (East Central Alabama, near Columbus, GA and Fort Benning).

I am married to Joan McLendon Budd, who is from Alabama, and we have one child, a son who is in his final year of law school at the University of Kansas.

Thanks to you and all the others who have taken time to put this reunion together. I look forward to seeing you in Fredericksburg. Semper Fi!

Burkhart, Joseph J (Joe / Joseph), 1st Platoon

Burkhart, Joseph J (Joe / Joseph), 1st Platoon

28 June 1943 – 20 May 1995
Interred: Tampa, FL 33618

Joseph John Burkhart (Joe) was born on 28 June 1943.  He worked with his father at their Stone Quarry Shop in Bedford, Indiana.  He joined the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class (PLC Jr/Sr) Program in May 1962 while enrolled at Indiana University – Bloomington (IU-B). He was a swimmer/diver, and a Center for Intermural Football at IU-B.  He chose the PLC option because there was “esprit de corps” a sense of pride, friendship and togetherness.  Joe earned a BA in German from IU-B.  On the morning of 28 May 1965 he attended his military commencement commissioning ceremony, and later that day married Susan K. Buzzard who he met at IU-B. He got a two-year deferment from the USMC to work on his graduate degree, teaching German and Psychology at Portage High School in Indiana.  Although Joe did not receive his MS in Secondary Education from IU-B before reporting to the Basic School in June 1967, he later conferred his MS degree in June 1970, three months after his release from the Marine Corps.

Joe reported to Basic School Class 1-68 Alpha Company, 1st Platoon in Quantico in June of 1967.  He graduated on 22 Nov 1967, received orders for West PAC, and was assigned to 3/9 as an 03 infantry officer. He was deployed to Vietnam, receiving a Navy commendation medal for his Heroic Achievement while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company L/3/9. Joe’s platoon was moved to Dong Ha where he was an S-4 until he returned to state side.  Joe was assigned to Camp Lejeune, NC, where his wife Susan gave birth to their only child, Kirsten Kay on 24 Oct 69.

Capt Burkhart chose to pursue his career in education and thus was honorably discharged Aug 1971. He taught German and coached swimming at Huntington North HS.  He went on to be a principal in Goshen, Elkhart, and Edinburgh, Indiana before finally deciding to move to Florida in 1978. There he worked as an insurance agent for almost twenty years. Joe was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 1994. He suffered from two bouts of congestive heart failure in 1995 and succumbed to complications from Amyloidosis on 20 May 1995.  His health problems were attributed to exposure to Agent Orange. Joe is interred in Tampa, FL.

USMC Resume:
PEBD 04 May 1962; HoR: Bedford, IN; DoR 2nd Lt 29 Jun 65.
The Basic School Class 1-68 Alpha Company, 1st Platoon, Jun-Nov 1967
Vietnam: 3/9 H&S CO, Bn S-4; Jan 68 to 22 Jan 69
Reported to Camp Lejeune, NC. Jan 1969 March 1970
Released from active duty: USMC 29 June ’65 to 17 March ’70

Personal Reflections about Joe Burkhart:

From Joe’s wife Susan, 13 Apr 2015: “Then came basic school at Quantico in June of 1967 where the days began and ended at the BOQ.  Those of us that dropped our men off who lived off base would sit in our cars and wait 3-5 hours while they did night training. The woman that stayed always found something to talk about and this made for some lasting memories.

Joe was so mad that he survived Vietnam but yet he could not beat this deadly disease. He cleaned his guns every day until he died trying to think of a way to survive this early death. He always told my daughter, “You have to learn how to do it yourself; I’m not always going to be here to help you.” Our daughter has many of his traits and reminds her kids that she was raised by a Marine, so there will be no fear, no whining, and you will succeed at all you do.”

From Rod Arena, 8 Apr 2015: “Yes I remember Joe Burkhart from both 1stPlt 1-68 and 3/9 in 1968.  We both joined 3/9 CP located initially in Dong Ha but was operating in Northern I Corps for our entire tour.  He was assigned to H&SCo, on the Bn staff as the S-4A, probably because he was one of those 1stLts in our class, and I went to Co M as a PltCmdr.  During the following weeks and months our paths didn’t often cross but when they did I remember him frequently accompanying the resupply helo lifts to the field and taking a great deal of pride in pushing the beans, bullets, and band-aids out to the troops.  Checking the 3/9 Command Chronology website shows that Joe was CO, H&SCo 11-31 July 1968 and then as the Bn S-4 from Aug 1968 to 22 Jan 1969 when he rotated home as a Captain.  My best to Susan and daughter. S/F Rod”

Burton, Ron (RLB), 1st Platoon

Burton, Ron (RLB), 1st Platoon

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and went on to attend Ohio State University on an NROTC scholarship. I selected a Marine option with the intent of becoming a jet pilot. I graduated in June 1967, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, got married to my wife of 47 years, Karen, and reported into Basic School. When I learned I had a 99% chance of becoming a helicopter pilot if I went aviation, I changed my plans to Supply, since it offered the best experience for the business world, where I planned to be in the future.

I got in country in March 1968, and reported to FLSG-Bravo in Dong Ha. After a couple of months, I was assigned to command a supply outpost at LZ Stud (later to called Vandergrift Combat Base), on Rt. 9 near Ca Lu, on the way to Khe Sahn. After a short period of time, I was assigned the billet as the S-4 with the 2nd Combined Action Group in DaNang, and served with that group until I left country in April 1969. My next and last duty station was at Marine Barracks, 8th and I, in Washington, DC. I was the Supply Officer for the Marine Corps Institute, and for one summer was the Adjutant on the parade staff, and was considered for but didn’t get a position as an aide to the Commandant. As an aside, I served there with Peter Pace and James L. Jones, both going on to become well known generals. While stationed there, I received my Captain’s promotion, earned a Master’s Degree in Science Administration from George Washington University, and our first son, Jason, was born. I resigned my commission in November 1971.

My first job in the business world was in management in the paper industry in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I learned within the year that leading union workers who hated their jobs bore no resemblance to leading Marines. One thing, among many things, that I learned in the Corps is that situations are fluid and you need to be able to change. With that in mind, I made a major career change into dentistry. I moved the family to Savannah, Georgia in 1973, where my second son, Joshua, was born and I later got into dental school. I graduated with a doctorate degree in dentistry from The Medical College of Georgia in 1978, went into private practice in Marietta, Georgia where I worked until retirement in 2013. My son, Joshua, became a dentist and took over the practice where his brother also works.

Throughout this twisting journey, I have, in retrospect, seen that the Lord above has had a hand in all that happened to me, protecting me when I did the stupid stuff, and leading me every step of the way into dentistry and my accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

On a final note–one day, while practicing my dentistry, along comes a patient that after a few questions and amazed answers turns out to be a fellow TBS member—Dave Raper. We have laughed about this and done our share of reminiscing, and over the years he has become a true friend and brother in Christ.

Buzney, Don (DJB), 1st Platoon

Buzney, Don (DJB), 1st Platoon

Former US Marine officer, Vietnam combat veteran, active in veterans affairs, Don does commercial voice-overs ( and was emcee for the Opening Ceremony for the New York City Veterans Day Parade, 2000 through 2010.

At the invitation of the “9/11” families, he recited his composition, “’9/11/2001” at the site of the World Trade Center tragedy, New York City, for the Second Ground Zero Closing Ceremony, June 2, 2002.

He has written two original screenplays, “Mail Call – Jenny’s Story” and “Casino Tribe”. In 2008, Don was invited to emcee the New York premiere of “Taking Chance” starring Kevin Bacon, at the HBO Corporate office.

Don hosts “The Veterans Corner”, Rutgers University Radio, WRSU-88.7 FM (, a weekly, live FM radio program, honoring America’s military and the veteran’s community.

Guests on “The Veterans Corner”, have included:

  • US Marine Major, Lauren Schulz, Office of US Marine Corps Communication, Headquarters USMC.
  • New York Mets Hall of Fame Pitcher, Tom Seaver
  • Major General John A. Toolan, Commanding General of the 2nd MarDiv (called in from Helmand Province, Afghanistan.)
  • US Army Captain, Michael Brabner (called in from Kunar Province, Afghanistan.)
  • Keith Little, Navajo Code Talker and Iwo Jima survivor (called in from Window Rock, Arizona.)
  • Bill Nelson, Chairman and CEO of HBO, US Army, Vietnam combat veteran.
  • Marsh Carter, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, former US Marine, Vietnam combat veteran.
  • Sal Cassano, 9/11 First Responder and Fire Commissioner of the City of New York
  • New Jersey Senator, Jennifer Beck and US Representatives, Leonard Lance and Scott Garrett.

Other credits include:

  • Military history reading, for the veterans at the NJ Menlo Park Veterans Home, 2015.
  • Invited to recite, “The Veteran” at the New York City Veterans Day Parade, November, 2014.
  • Voice-over for 85th Anniversary celebration video, for Valley Forge Military Academy, March, 2013.
  • Organizer and emcee for Navajo Code Talker, Iwo Jima sculpture presentation ceremony – New York City, November 11, 2012.
  • Invited by US Navy-Public Affairs to narrate “The Veterans Corner” in connection with Fleet Week, New York City, May, 2012.
  • Voice over for SS United States Conservancy, promo video, “Save the SS United States”, February, 2012.
  • Emcee for Citi Bank’s “Veteran Family Appreciation Day” featuring Hall of Fame pitcher, Tom Seaver, New York City, November 11, 2011
  • Emcee for HBO Reception to honor the “Navajo Code Talkers”, HBO Corporate Theater, New York City, November 10, 2011.
  • In-person appearance on Fox TV’s “Good Day, Street Talk”, Saturday, November 5th, 2011 to promote the Navajo Code Talkers.
  • Voice promo for National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, WKGLP, Gallup, New Mexico, January 2011.
  • Emcee for the “Skyline Salute to our Troops” sponsored by “Hope for the Warrior Project” in honor of servicemen and women wounded in the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts, held in connection with New York City Fleet Week – May 2010.
  • On air interview with Lou Dobbs, CNN- Lou Dobbs Tonight’, featuring the Navajo Code Talkers, Nov 2009.
  • On air interview, Chuck Scarborough, NBC news anchor “New York Nightly News at 7PM” Nov, 2009, featuring the Navajo Code Talkers.
  • In partnership with HBO, coordinated Navajo Code Talker participation in 2009, New York City, Veterans Day parade, November, 2009.
  • Voice-over for closing segment for Quantico Marine Band’s performance at the Virginia Arts Festival, May, 2009.
  • Emcee for the “Friends of Vietnam Veterans Plaza”, annual luncheon, held at the Metropolitan Club, New York City, with guests of honor, Arnold Fisher, Chairman of the “Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund” and Ray Kelley, Police Commissioner of the City of New York – May, 2009.
  • Emcee for 2008 “Thank You for Serving” preview, HBO Corporate Offices, New York, New York, May, 2008.
  • Recited “The Veteran” for the US Marine Band concert for “In Remembrance” at the World Financial Center, New York City, November, 2008.

Don has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources, from Loyola University, Chicago and spent twenty five years as a human resources executive in the gaming industry. Born in Ohio, raised in Venezuela, he speaks Spanish fluently.

Casey, Robert Brian (Brian), 1st Platoon

Casey, Robert Brian (Brian), 1st Platoon

13 May 1944 – 26 August 1969
Long Island Nat’l Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY 11735

First Lieutenant Robert Brian Casey from Idaho Falls, Idaho was killed in an aircraft accident during A6 Intruder training at Cherry Point MCAS on 26 August 1969.

Robert Brian Casey “Brian” was born 13 May 1944 in Westerly, Rhode Island to Robert Ambrose Casey and Dorothy Louise Coyle. Brian had three younger siblings: brother Edward Coyle Casey and sisters, Janice A. Casey and Kathleen M. Casey. Brian’s father was a lifelong employee of the General Dynamics – Electric Boat Division and his job required him to move the family twice. The family moved from Rhode Island to Saratoga Springs, NY in 1953 and then on to Idaho Falls, ID in 1962. Brian attended and graduated from St. Peter’s Academy High School in Saratoga Springs. He lettered in football, baseball, and basketball. He was co-captain of the football team during his junior and senior years.

Brian was offered football scholarships from both Notre Dame and the University of Idaho. He selected the University of Idaho because it was closer to his family in Idaho Falls. After the first year of football, Brian had to abandon football and his scholarship due to a knee injury. He applied for and received an NROTC scholarship and put in four more years at U of Idaho obtaining a BA in English and Physical Education. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity for 5 years. Having been an NROTC with Marine option, Brian would most likely have attended the 6-week Bulldog PLC at Quantico, VA in the summer of 1966. In order to earn extra money, Brian would work on the potato farms in Idaho.

At graduation in June 1967, Brian accepted his Regular commission as a 2nd Lieutenant and was off to The Officers Basic School (TBS), Class 1-68, Alpha Company, 1st Platoon. At the conclusion of TBS, Brian went to NAS Pensacola, Florida for flight school in the jet pipeline.

In a turn of fate, Brian was killed in an A-6A accident flying out of MCAS Cherry Point, NC. The following news article describes the accident:

From the Idaho State Journal, 29 Aug 1969: “Cherry Point, NC. (AP) – An Idaho Falls man has been killed in the crash of an A6A Intruder jet near Kinston, 40 miles west of Cherry Point. The Marine air station at Cherry Point said he was 1stLt Robert B. Casey. The crash occurred Wednesday, but identification was not released until late Thursday. Casey was the pilot. The copilot, 1stLt Russell W. Albright, Delmar, NY was reported in satisfactory condition today with a broken leg and other injuries.”

From Report on A6-Intruder accidents: “26 August 1969: Student pilot was performing SPLIT “S” from 20,000 feet. At a point when it was apparent the aircraft would not safely pull out, instructor pilot ejected and immediately thereafter student pilot ejected. Student pilot ejected too low. Chute did not fully deploy and he suffered fatal injuries. Instructor suffered serious injuries.”

Brian was interred at the Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York. Long Island National Cemetery was chosen because it is close to Brian’s greater family roots of Westerly, RI and Saratoga Springs, NY.

USMC Resume:
The Basic School Class 1-68 Alpha Company, 1st Platoon, Jun-Nov 1967
Pensacola FL Flight School – Jet pipeline
MCAS Cherry Point – A-6 Squadron

Personal Reflections about Brian Casey:

A recollection from Mike Barretti: “Dave [Baker] and Brian [Casey] were in my wedding party on November 26, 1967. Both of them, along with four other of my TBS “friends” Shanghaied me the night before the wedding, and I recall it was Dave and Ken Bruner who were the ring leaders. Dave became a favorite of my sister in law at the wedding, and they danced most of the night. However, Dave had a serious girlfriend at the time, whose name, regrettably, I don’t recall, because they were talking marriage after Dave finished flight training. I lost touch with both guys shortly after, as we went our separate ways, but heard about Brian’s death. Ironically, I didn’t know about Dave’s passing until I saw it in the info circulated for the reunion. Really sad about both of them.”