Thomas Joseph Bayes
Private First Class
G CO, 2ND BN, 26TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
Bayside, New York
November 01, 1948 to April 07, 1968
THOMAS J BAYES is on the Wall at Panel 48E, Line 38

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Combat Action Ribbon
 

 
29 Aug 2005

Tommy was a great guy, and in my book a Hero. You will be missed, my Hero friend. Rest in peace.

Bill Friaglia
novafish@optonline.net


 

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In Apr 1968 the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines, was holding Hills 558 and 861A west of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. On 06 Apr Golf 2/26 was tasked with patrolling a north-south ridgeline about 2 kilometers west of Hill 558. The company departed the Hill 558 position at 0700 and approached the crest at about 1100. Before reaching the crest of the ridge Golf 2/26 came under heavy enemy fire and was held in place through the afternoon but were withdrawn to Hill 558 before sundown. Golf 2/26 brought out their wounded and two of their dead, but were forced to leave six Marines on the battlefield. Air and artillery strikes were called in to cover the Marines' withdrawal.

The Commanding Officer of 2/26 proposed, and the Regimental Commander approved, a two-pronged assault of the ridgeline for 07 May. Fox 2/26 departed Hill 558 well before first light in order to arrive at a line of departure north of the ridgeline. Golf 2/26 departed Hill 558 at first light in hopes of distracting the enemy from Fox 2/26's movement and to position for an assault from the east side of the ridge.

Although the attack was planned for 1200, circumstances prevented the two companies from getting into position before 1400. On commencement, Golf was attacking into the enemy's line while Fox's flanking attack from the north was able to roll up their line. The northern two-thirds of the enemy position was captured, with the NVA withdrawing toward the southern end of the ridge. At that point, Fox was strung out along several hundred meters of the ridgeline and Golf was not able to complete an uphill assault against the southern end of the ridgeline before nightfall. Although 2/26 wanted to leave both companies in position through the night, permission was refused and once again the two companies withdrew to Hill 558, again forced to leave some of their dead behind. Once again, air and artillery fires blanketed the ridgeline.

A battalion attack was planned for 10 Apr and executed as scheduled. When the Marines reached the top of the ridgeline they met no resistance - the NVA had abandoned their positions and retreated into the jungles to the west.

What began as a patrol action had ended up as a major action which cost the lives of 26 Marines and sailors:

Golf 2/26, 06 May:

  • Cpl Herman A. Lohman, Twin Falls, ID
  • Cpl Edward A. McGrath, Astoria, NY
  • HM3 Russell W. Scarborough, Dunnellon, FL
  • Cpl James M. Trimble, Eureka, CA (BNR)
  • LCpl Manuel V. Romero, San Antonio, TX
  • Pfc Edward U. Masters, Winter Haven, FL
  • Pfc Anthony J. Pepper, Richmond, VA (BNR)
  • Pfc Robert G. Piazza, Merrick, NY

Fox and Golf 2/26, 07 May:

  • Company unknown:
    • Pfc Rickey J. Marson, Pampa, TX

  • Fox 2/26:
    • Sgt Edwin D. Connell, Hickory, NC
    • LCpl James R. Wells, Garden City, GA
    • LCpl Gilbert Wiley, New York, NY
    • Pfc Melvin L. Dolby, Osceola Mills, PA
    • Pfc Clifton Moses, Whitwell, TN
    • Pfc James D. Richardson, New Orleans, LA
    • Pfc Gilbert L. Zerbst, St Ignatius, MT
    • Pvt John F. Quattlebaum, Detroit, MI

  • Golf 2/26:
    • Cpl Artis W. Meadows, Atlanta, GA
    • LCpl Eugene M. Johnson, Baltimore, MD
    • LCpl John M. Snyder, Webster Groves, MO
    • LCpl William L. Yohn, Fresno, CA
    • Pfc Gilbert J. Adame, Colton, CA
    • Pfc Thomas J. Bayes, Bayside, NY
    • Pfc Allan J. Gaines, Tuscaloosa, AL

  • H&S 2/26:
    • LCpl Lionel R. Crase, Missoula, MT
    • HN Roger M. Nelson, Sioux Falls, SD
With two exceptions the bodies of the Marines left behind on 06 and 07 Apr were recovered. Cpl James M. Trimble (Eureka, CA) and Pfc Anthony J. Pepper (Richmond, VA), both of whom were known to have been killed in action on the 6th, could not be found. Their remains have not been recovered.

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