Ganter, William James (Bill, Roc), 2nd Platoon

Ganter, William James (Bill, Roc), 2nd Platoon

13 January 1946 – 3 August 2007
Richmond, KY 40475

 Lt. Col. William James Ganter, Jr. (Ret.) was born January 13, 1946, in Oil City, PA, to Agnes Fiala Ganter Harvey and the William James Ganter. He had once sister, Barbara, and three brothers, Michael, Harry and Jeffrey. Bill married Sandra Kehler and they had a daughter, Rachel Elaine. He earned his MBA from Rutgers University. He was a regional sales manager for ROI RAM Optical Instrumentation, a U. S. Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient of Vietnam and Desert Storm and a retired Colonel of the U. S. Army. He was a member of the BPOE Lodge # 776 of Washington, PA, the VFW Post # 2071 of Pennsylvania, the American Legion Post # 0179 of New Jersey. In addition he was a volunteer fireman. Bill passed away on August 3, 2007 at the age of 61.

Bill Ganter was Medevac’d to a Japan hospital with a through knee wound. That is where Bill met Sandra, a USAF nurse who outranked him. After rehab he went back in country.

Bill got out of the MC, went to graduate school at Rutgers (MBA), and joined the Nat’l Guard/Army Reserve. Recalled to active duty Desert Storm, he retired from the Army in 1990.

USMC Resume:
The Basic School Class 1-68 Alpha Company, 2nd Platoon, Jun-Nov 1967

Personal Reflections about Bill Ganter:

Gates, Albert Henry Jr. (Al), 2nd Platoon

Gates, Albert Henry Jr. (Al), 2nd Platoon

1 September 1943 – 7 March 1970
Courts of the Missing, MIA Mem, HI 96813

Captain Albert Henry Gates Jr. of East Greenbush, New York was a member of the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263, Marine Air Group 15, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. On 7 March 1970, he was aircraft commander of a CH-46D flying near Da Nang, South Vietnam, when the aircraft crashed into the water killing him. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. Captain Albert Henry Gates, Jr. is honored on Panel 13W, Row 92 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Personal Reflections about Al Gates:

From Brian O’Neil, HMM-263 Helo Pilot, 19 Apr 2015:  Captain Al Gates joined Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263 (HMM-263) at Marble Mountain Air Facility in Vietnam the end of 1969. This was Al’s first combat tour. As a Captain Al was senior in rank to the “salty” Lieutenants who he flew with as a copilot for his first few months in country. As one of those “salty” Lieutenants I had the opportunity to fly with Al often and get to know him and his abilities.

Al proved to be a Marine who cared about all people. He took care of the flight crews and was concerned about their well-being and put their welfare above his own. His quiet leadership provided a calming influence on those around him. In the air Al was expected to excel, and he did. Al was with me on a day in which we took a lot of ground fire and numerous rounds hit the aircraft, with one round coming through the cockpit and striking a hydraulic line spewing hydraulic fluid all over him. Al maintained his calm composure and handled the situation like the professional he was.

From Ray Norton, TBS 1-68, 4th Platoon, 12 Apr 2015:  I recall that Al had grown a pilot’s mustache.  It was always neatly groomed and apparently in exact compliance with the Regulations.  Al was one squared away Marine.  It was an honor to be a Basic School Classmate and a member of his Vietnam combat unit, HMM 161 call sign Cattle Call.

From Randy Crew, TBS 1-68, 2nd Platoon, 31 Mar 2015:  There were six of us—four Marines and two Navy Ensigns. Our call sign was “Bearcat 60” but I never knew why. Maybe our instructor, a Navy A-1 driver who had recently been based aboard an aircraft carrier in the Tonkin Gulf, had graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1960. He may have even played football for Cincinnati. He looked the part—six feet tall, thick, bulldog jowls. He wasn’t a bad guy but he wasn’t there to cut us any slack either. Our lives were in his hands, carrier landings in a T-28C were dangerous, and he didn’t intend to lose any of us to stupid mistakes. So from our small ready room in a shack by the legendary old WWII Navy base west of Pensacola known as “Bloody Barin Field,” he laid down the law. We would be on time, we would have our procedures memorized, and we would know the taxiways and runways like the inside of our garage back home. No time would be wasted wandering around on the wrong taxiways. He would lead us out the first day then it was up to us to find a leader for each of the following days.

The following day came and from the podium in front of the blackboard, Bearcat Lead asked who wanted to be the leader that day. I looked at the floor. I was on time, I had the procedures memorized, I knew the T-28C well from earlier training, but that damn Barin Field was a maze of taxiways and runways—all of them with faded and crumbling lines and markings and numbers that had been there since the early ’40s. Even the buildings on the base sat abandoned and crumbling away in the Alabama sunshine. Except for our little shack on our one little spot of activity on one of the old flight lines, Barin Field was a ghost town. So with four different old WWII runways, each with two directions to take off and land from, plus a couple of different ways to get to each runway, I sat with my five Bearcat 60 mates and waited. Al Gates raised his hand.

And lead he did. He got us on the right taxiway, then the right runway, then into the air for an hour of touch-and-go simulated carrier landings. And someone else volunteered the next day. I took my turn but by then I was confident I wouldn’t screw it up. Al had that confidence from the get-go.

After the first week, we six pilots of Bearcat 60 had our act together and we had the swagger to prove it. Tracy Gates, Al’s wife, had even sewn Clark Gable style flying scarves for each of us and had embroidered them with “Bearcat 60.” To even further enhance our look, I had made “Bearcat 60” nametags of us to wear on our flightsuits. In the vernacular of the times, we were “shit hot.” The result was a graduation day of dramatic but accident free carrier landings on the USS Lexington and a post-mission debrief from our gruff but now smiling Bearcat Lead at a Pensacola bar. And Al Gates had led the way.

Born Albert Henry Gates, Jr., on 1 September, 1943, Al was the oldest of three children born to Albert and Shirley Gates of Greenbush, NY. He graduated from Cornell University on 13 June, 1966, with a degree in Agriculture and Life Sciences. He also received a reserve commission in the Marine Corps from the Cornell NROTC program with a Pay Entry Base Date of 13 June, 1966. He immediately entered graduate school at Cornell where he finished in June, 1967, with an MBA. He met Ellen “Tracy” Pulver at Cornell when he was a senior and she was a freshman. As there were three girls on her dorm floor named Ellen, thus making it difficult to call a given Ellen to the phone, she told them to just call her “Tracy,” the pen name she had used on her poetry in high school. The name stuck. Al and Tracy married immediately after Al graduated in 1967. After TBS, they moved to Pensacola for flight school where they became God-parents to Dick and Sandi Averitt’s first child, Dawn. After receiving his wings, Al was assigned to transition training in the CH-46 at New River, NC.

In a recent email, Dick Averitt (1st Platoon, TBS 1-68 and one of Al’s closest friends) picks up the story:

“At Pensacola, Al and Tracy had become dear friends to both Sandi and me. After we got our wings, we drove through Atlanta to New River in tandem, trained in the H-46 together, then reported in at HMM-162 in Marble Mountain.

“Our squadron was composed of 3 majors, one captain and about 40 lieutenants.   Gates was the one captain, because he had taken a year to get his master’s degree.  We went aboard the helicopter carrier (I can’t remember the name) and bunked together in a 4 man room.  We were destined for Okinawa (allegedly the first unit withdrawn from Vietnam under Nixon) when I woke him one morning to tell him he was a new father. [Editor note: The child was a son they named Albert.]

“It was also aboard ship when he got called back to Vietnam.  Ironically, I wanted to go back and he didn’t.  We tried to switch, but they wanted a captain.

“I called Tracy from Okinawa to tell her Al had gone down over the water on a cover mission for brass in another helo. She had already been notified that he was missing.” [End of Averitt Narrative]

The “cover mission” Dick referred to is also known as a “chase mission.” A “heavy” is a Colonel or General and the chase bird is there to rescue him if the Huey flying the heavy were to go down.

The following is a personal narrative posted on the Popasmoke web site by a pilot named Martin. He identified himself as one of Al’s HMM-263 squadron mates and a member of the accident board that investigated the Gates/Kimura crash:

“Originally I [Martin] was scheduled to fly co-pilot with Al Gates that day. The frag order was for a 46 to chase a Huey that was coming down from up north. The Huey was carrying a heavy who was attending some sort of change of command ceremony in the Da Nang area. K.K. Kimura had only recently reported in and was a very junior co-pilot. He was scheduled to fly co-pilot with Paul Sniffin who had the Recon mission.

“The WX was really bad that morning, almost zero/zero, and all launches were holding. K.K. and I played a little Acey-Deucey while waiting for things to clear up a bit. While we sat at the A-Doo board, the Ops Officer, Maj. Toben came in, looked at the schedules board and directed the ODO to switch K.K. and me. Since I was the more experienced co-pilot, he thought I should be on Recon instead of what was basically a milk-run VIP chase.

“After several hours, the WX improved somewhat and the Recon package launched out. After an uneventful day of routine inserts and extracts, we recovered back at Marble around 1700-1800. While I was post-flighting the a/c one of the crew chiefs came up and asked me if I had heard that his bird had gone down in the water, killing the entire crew. When I asked who was flying it he said it was Capt. Gates and Lt. Kimura. As it turned out, one of the gunners survived. Basically, all we found out came from his account. He told us that they were flying in “really bad” WX, chasing the Huey when they went inadvertent IFR and crashed into the water about 500 yards off the beach. I don’t recall the exact location, but it seems to me that it was north of Da Nang. He also told us that even though he couldn’t be sure, he thought he remembered a loud noise coming from the rear of the a/c and both pilots looking back into the cabin just before impact.

“The surviving gunner was picked up by a Vietnamese fisherman, who took him to the beach, dropped him off and then just left, apparently unconcerned with helping him any further. About a week later, KK’s remains washed up on the beach down by Chu Lai. To the best of my knowledge, the other three were never recovered.

“I was appointed to the investigating board and tasked with looking into contributing factors. My comments indicated that the most significant factor was sending an inexperienced crew (Gates had only recently made HAC with very little in-country H2P time) out in unsatisfactory weather to fly an unnecessary mission.” [End of Martin Narrative]

Al Gates is listed as KIA on March 7th, 1970. His body was not recovered.

I remember Al had legs like tree trunks. He was not a poster Marine in PT shorts, but he didn’t need to be. He had other gifts. I can still see him seated at a card table in the ready room at Barin Field in his sage-gray cotton flightsuit with cards in his hands and a starched and blocked utility cover pushed to the back of his head. The game was Hearts or maybe Bridge. Dick Averitt and Bob Chiesa are seated with him. A Navy guy may be the 4th. We were young men then, living the dream. And we had swagger.

Randy Crew, TBS 1-68, 2nd Platoon

Postscript: Ellen “Tracy” Gates remarried in 1973 to David Lee Brower, a Navy F-14 pilot stationed at San Diego. Young Albert Henry Gates III became Albert Gates Brower and quickly took to his new father. Tracy and Dave had two more boys then they adopted a Chinese girl to complete their family. In 1981 Tracy finished her degree in Textile and Apparel at San Diego State University. Young Al graduated from Cal Berkley and is now on staff at the University of Washington designing computer programs for the Engineering Department. He is married with one child, a daughter named Aria. Tracy says Aria is really smart like her father and grandfather Gates. I can tell you—if she’s really smart like her grandfather Gates, she’s really, really smart.   Tracy and Dave, as well as Al and his family, all live in the Seattle, WA, area.

Getgood, Fraser (GFG), 2nd Platoon

Getgood, Fraser (GFG), 2nd Platoon

My wife Jackie and I have four children (Daughter and Son + two step-daughters). Two are in the military: Son is a LtCol, F-22 pilot in the USAF (I know, the Air Force, but at least he is a pilot), and a step-daughter is a LCdr, medical doctor, in the USN. Our children have given us six wonderful grandchildren.

Following TBS, I reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training. 18 months later I reported to MCAS Cherry Point, where I rented a place with TBS class-mate Brian Casey, as we went through our transition training in the A-6A Intruder. Brian was killed in an aircraft accident during this time. I served with VMA(AW)-121, VMA(AW)-533, and a few months as the Air Liaison Officer with 1st Bn. 9th Marines, before spending three years as a flight instructor in VT-26 in Beeville, Texas. After my tour with Naval Air Training Command, it was back to Quantico for AWS and a reunion of sorts with some of our TBS classmates.

After AWS I was assigned to MAG-14 and VMA(AW)-121 at Cherry Point for a few years, then back to Quantico where I was on the staff at TBS. After my tour on the TBS staff I was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division, 9th MAB, Command & Staff College, Defense Intelligence Agency, Hq. II MAF as the G-2, and finally as the G-2 for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

After I retired from the USMC I entered my second 22 year long career, in public education. Surviving the initial shock of working in the civilian world, I greatly enjoyed working with middle school students; and assisting secondary school teachers, especially in the areas of science and technology.

Having never lost my love of flying, I completed building an experimental aircraft in 2004. I have enjoyed taking numerous trips in the plane from Florida to Alaska and points in between. We live in an air park, so I can walk out the back door to the hangar, start up the plane and taxi to the runway and take off. A very nice community, especially if you enjoy flying. One of my current projects is restoring a 1951 Ford pick-up truck. There is always something to do, I do enjoy my retirement.

Gibson, Carl Reed (Carl), 2nd Platoon

Gibson, Carl Reed (Carl), 2nd Platoon

31 May 1945 – 30 April 1968
Univ of VA Confederate Cemetery, VA 22903

Carl Reed Gibson was KIA on 30 Apr 1968 in the Battle of Dai Do.

Second Lieutenant Carl Reed Gibson was born on 31 May 1945 in Washington D.C. to Dr. and Mrs. Robert Carl Gibson. Dr. Gibson was Director of Instruction in the Albemarle County School System in the late 50’s and early 60’s and was head of the Department of Education at George Mason College in Fairfax. Carl graduated from Radford High School in 1963 and entered the University of Virginia where he was a member of the soccer team, circulation manager of the Cavalier Daily newspaper, and on the Dean’s List. He was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, majored in Foreign Affairs, and attended UVa on a Navy ROTC Scholarship. When he graduated in 1967 he was commander of the Navy ROTC Drill Team and the Drum and Bugle Corps, which he was credited with organizing and training according to Major M. E. Morris, the 1967 Marine Officer Instructor at UVa. Gibson was rated the top man in the battalion in ability and performance, and at his commissioning ceremony on 3 June 1967 he was presented a special leadership award – a Marine Officer’s Sword – in “recognition of his demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities and his many contributions which helped foster esprit de corps in the midshipman battalion.”

After graduation 2Lt Gibson was sent to The Basic School at Quantico, VA and later to Artillery Officers School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Carl married Sallie Anne Guerrant of Charlottesville on March 12 1968. She was a second year student at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton.

Carl arrived in Vietnam on 18 April 1968 and was a 0801 artillery Forward Observer with the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force. He served in support of BLT (Battalion Landing Team) 2/4. “The Battle of Dai Do was known as Tet II and involved three Regiments/major elements of the 320th NVA Division which was trying to overrun the major supply bases at Dong Ha and Quang Tri. Success would have undermined the entire DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) defenses” according to the Commanding Officer of BLT 2/4, then Lt. Col William Weise. “Second Lieutenant Gibson participated and died in the Battle of Dai Do as an artillery FO providing much needed artillery fire support for the Marine infantrymen.” Carl passed away on 30 April 1968 and is buried in the UVa Confederate Cemetery on the grounds at UVa in Charlottesville.

USMC Resume:
TBS Class 1-68 Alpha Company, 2nd Platoon June-Nov 1967
Artillery Officers School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Vietnam 18 April 1968 – 30 April 1968, 0801 artillery Forward Observer
3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, III MAF
Awarded the Purple Heart.

Personal Reflections about Carl Gibson:

From Jules Seldon: “The Magnificent Bastards – The Joint Army-Marine Defense of Dong Ha, 1968″, by Keith Nolan, 1994. This is one of the books in my library I have read many times, and it’s still available in paperback. A number of our Classmates were in the battle, and are written about or referenced in the book: Peter Acley (WIA), John Basel (WIA), Michael Cecil, and Carl Gibson (KIA).”

From Sallie Herling: “I first met Carl on a blind date when he was a student at the University of Virginia. Ever since that date, Carl and I were together. We had four years together before his death. Everything he did, he went at with great enthusiasm. His happiness was contagious and we had many great times together. We got married not long before he left for Vietnam and were expecting a baby. Even though he had to leave he looked forward to returning and seeing our child. Tragically, he was killed a few weeks after arriving in Vietnam. Our daughter, Elizabeth, never got to know him. She was raised with lots of love by my second husband, Bill Herling.  Bill and I later had a daughter, Bryce. Elizabeth now has her own child, John, who reminds me so much of Carl. Bryce has two daughters so we have three wonderful grandchildren. Elizabeth and I take John back to Virginia to see Carl’s mother and his sister as often as we can. Thank you for tracking me down and inviting me to your reunion. I hope you all have a great time together!”

From Karen Brakken (sister):: “The loss still cuts so deep. I don’t even remember a time when Carl wasn’t my hero. Thanks for your efforts to find us, and for what you are doing.”

Gies, Jack (JFG), 2nd Platoon

Gies, Jack (JFG), 2nd Platoon

I joined Platoon Leaders Class program on advice of an acquaintance who was a PLC member with forearms of a weightlifter. He said that it was a tough outfit. Roger that. After visiting the local Marine Reserve Unit in 1962 at age 19, I stepped off a bus later that summer to drill sergeant greetings at Camp Upshur, Quantico, Va. I revisited the Quantico experience at Camp Barrett in 1964, & again in 1967 as member of 2nd Platoon, A company, TBS 1-68.

The MOS was 6701 – air intercept controller. The first duty station was MACS-1, 3rd MAW, Yuma, Az, with training assignments at Naval FATC, San Diego & 29 Palms, CA. During this assignment Janice Horvath Gies became my bride & we witnessed the birth of our first son. We have four children.

My second duty was MACS-4, 1st MAW, Da Nang, RVN. Although flown into the combat zone quickly by commercial aircraft, I returned a year later on a slow naval vessel with tracked vehicles in its hull. I didn’t mind. I disembarked a landing craft for the second time in my career (the first was Little Creek), just south of San Clemente. With possessions on the back & wet to the thigh, my second & last beach assault represented the first wave of Nixon’s pullout. We encountered no resistance. My last duty was MACG-28, 2nd MAW, Cherry Point, NC.

I graduated the University of Detroit & Gannon College with degrees in mathematics which lead to a post-USMC career as an Actuary. I worked in the financial services industry in a variety of settings including Vice President & Actuary with a large insurer, Chief Actuary at a regulatory agency, Senior Consultant with a national accounting firm, & most recently sole proprietor of my own consultancy/advisory firm. I am retired now.

Our four children (John, Ken, Elizabeth & Patrick) are ages 45 to 40 with careers spanning Senior VP Sales/Marketing with a large insurer, an Owner of a Vintage Auto Services firm, a Physician MD, & a Specialized Software Engineer. They have given us ten grandchildren, the oldest of which enters college this year. The youngest is five years old. We are blessed.

A lot happened in RVN. As someone said, it was a bloody place. In April 1969 I had recently arrived when I encountered the business end of an M-14. We anticipated fire from outside the wire, not from within. A marine was attempting to settle a score with an NCO. The perp suffered serious wounds but survived. Several NCO’s were wounded. My bunkmate was killed. A Captain, he had less than 50 days left in country. His name is on the Wall. I recovered from wounds at the Naval Hospital on Guam & returned to duty after two months.

I am very proud of service in the Corps. I don’t talk about it & prefer not to be thanked for it, but I do expect respect for it. Defending the Homeland is every citizen’s responsibility even though some of us are asked to be closer to the rampart than others. I remember the comment of the young staff sergeant at one of our schools. It must have been TBS. While surveying the platoon in a quiet moment between tasks he stated that he wished to go to where the action was & “get a fist-full of metals”. Sometimes things get lost in translation, but in this case I remember no bravado. He simply made a statement. – Perhaps realizing he revealed more than intended, he followed with the rueful note that this probably was something we (Lieutenants) did not understand. We understood. I think that vintage recruiting poster had it right. Tell It To The Marines.

Gleisberg, Bob (REG), 2nd Platoon

Gleisberg, Bob (REG), 2nd Platoon
Robert Gleisberg -Twitter photo

Twitter photo Robert Gleisberg “Camo”

Robert Gleisberg “Camo”
Pacific View Charter School – Oceanside, CA (PVCS) Board of Trustees:
Bob was born and raised in Seward, Nebraska. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from The University of Nebraska. Bob was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, U.S.M.C., and was an Amphibian Tractor Platoon Commander in Vietnam and Hawaii. He was a Certified Navy S.C.U.B.A/USMC Water Survival Instructor, Naval Aviator “Huey” Pilot and graduated from the Department of Defense Professional Military Comptroller School. Bob retired as Assistant Chief of Staff Comptroller in 1989 with 23 years of service. Bob’s community service includes, but is not limited to Community Education and Development Officer for Pacific Marine Credit Union; Board of Directors, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce; San Diego/North County Humane Society Merger Oversight Committee Member.

Greenfield, Charles (CAG), 2nd Platoon

Greenfield, Charles (CAG), 2nd Platoon

I graduated from Vanderbilt in June of 1967 and reported to TBS in late June or early July. After TBS, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton from January through early June of 1968. My tour in RVN started in late June of 1968 and my RTD was July 17, 1969. From June through November of 1968, I was a platoon leader in Fox Company, Second Battalion, Third Marine Regiment. From January through July 17, 1969, I was Headquarters Company Commandant for the Third Marine Regiment. For most of that time the Headquarters Company was located in Dong Ha. I reported to the MCRD at Parris Island, SC in August of 1969 and served as a Series Commander until my release from active duty in March of 1970.

Moved from Parris Island to Atlanta (my hometown) and began my studies at the Graduate School of Business at Georgia State University in March of 1970. Worked during the day and attended classes at night. Graduated with an MBA in 1973.

Moved from Atlanta to Gainesville, GA in 1972 and worked for the Georgia Mountains Regional Planning and Development Commission from 1972 to 1975. This organization provided assistance to local governments throughout eleven counties in northeast Georgia.

Moved from Gainesville, GA to Washington, DC in September of 1975 and worked for the U. S. Department of Agriculture for five years. I lived about two and one-half years in Washington and worked for the Rural Development Service. Subsequently, I worked for the Farmers Home Administration for a year and one-half in McDonough, GA and one year in Albany, NY. I primarily worked in rural housing loans for the Farmers Home Administration.

Moved back to Atlanta in September of 1980 and worked for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development until I retired in July of 2012. For most of that time, I was a Community Planning and Development Representative and worked with the State of Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs and Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties and the Cities of Columbus, Macon, Savannah and Warner Robins to implement their community development programs. I have lived in Sandy Springs (a suburb of Atlanta) since 1981 and have attended Holy Innocents Episcopal Church.