Denver Joseph BerkheimerLance Corporal
B CO, 1ST BN, 4TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
28 April 1947 - 22 May 1968
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The database page for Denver Joseph Berkheimer
Gone but still remembered. We relived your R and R visit to Okinawa. Rest in peace.
Tom and Bobbie
A Note from The Virtual WallAn early-morning patrol by India Company, 3/3 Marines, came across a company-sized NVA unit near the destroyed hamlet of Lao Son near Con Thien. Some of the NVA soldiers were still sleeping, others were going about their morning routine - and all were disturbed when India 3/3 attacked their encampment. It was soon clear that India needed reinforcements, and the CG 3rd MarDiv undertook to provide them. Lima 3/3 was sent to help India, which was attacking to the south, and the 1/4 Marines were directed to send two companies with tank support eastward along the trace to take the NVA units from their rear. Elements of the 1/9 and 3/9 Marines were directed to establish blocking positions to east and west of the engagement in order to cordon the area.
The 1/4 Operations Log for 22 May says the 1/4 contingent departed 1245, with Bravo 1/4 and a tank element in the lead and Alpha 1/4 in trace. A deliberate engagement by Bravo 1/4 began at 1610; Alpha moved to assist. The NVA, caught between 1/4 to the south and 3/3 to the north, seemed to become confused and lost heavily to supporting air and artillery fires - but they didn't stop fighting.
At nightfall the two 1/4 companies withdrew slightly and established an NDP. At that point Alpha 1/4 had 2 KIA and 7 WIA; Bravo 12 KIA (6 known KIAs could not be recovered on the 22nd), 19 WIA, and 2 MIA. The 3/3 elements had fared better; India 3/3 lost two men killed, while both India and Lima had a number of wounded.
Both elements resumed the assault on 23 May. The 1/4 Marines encountered little resistance and had only 5 WIA. Alpha 1/4 was able to find and recover the bodies of the 8 members of Bravo not recovered on the 22nd (6 KIA, 2 MIA). The NVA repeatedly were caught in the open and supporting arms fires took a heavy toll. Most of the surviving NVA were moving north in an effort to gain sanctuary in the Demilitarized Zone a few kilometers away - but had to evade the 3/3 Marines, who were still moving south. By late afternoon the area was cleared of live NVA, but 3/3 had lost seven more men.
Although 1/9 and 3/9 established blocking positions as ordered they were not actively involved in the engagements and suffered no KIAs/DoWs.
Several hundred NVA bodies were strewn over the area, most killed by air and artillery fires, and a wealth of equipment and supplies was captured - but the two-pronged attack had cost the lives of 25 Marines:
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11 Feb 2001
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 03/10/2006