Mark Stephen BlackPrivate First Class
K CO, 3RD BN, 9TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
07 November 1947 - 30 March 1966
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The database page for Mark Stephen Black
Mark was killed In Quang Nam province in an ambush while on a search and destroy mission.
I was a high school classmate of Mark's. He may not have known me personally, but I have known about him since I returned from VietNam in 1969. Mark has the distinction of being the first of my classmates to serve and die in VietNam. I found his name on the VietNam Memorial in Washington DC. I have mentioned his service often. May he rest in peace.
Steven R. Simpson
Mark and I were neighbors, classmates, and hung out together before he enlisted in the Marines. I was shocked to hear of his death. I joined the Army 3 weeks later and went off to Vietnam to avenge him. I wound up doing 3 tours in Vietnam and 21 years in the Army. I often thought of Mark in those days and still do. He will always be 18 years old in my mind's eye. Peace to you, my friend.
For the family, friends, classmates and Marines buddies of PFC Mark S. Black:
I've provided a brief history of his life in the Marines. Who am I? ... just a neighbor ... a somewhat older friend ... a mentor, maybe ... watched out for him during our football games at the corner of Stevens and Van Giesen in Richland ... just someone who wanted to remember his bravery and sacrifice by adding something to a solitary name on the Wall.
Mark enlisted in the Marines November 18th, 1964, eleven days after his seventeenth birthday, and shortly after beginning his junior year at Columbia High School, Richland, Washington. On June 30th, 1965 Mark's unit sailed from San Diego to Okinawa, then to Vietnam, arriving Da Nang on August 15th, 1965. Initially, 3/9's mission was to defend Da Nang Air Base. Starting in late Sept they moved southwest of Da Nang, taking over for 2/9. After more than 2 months of intense operations in that area 3/9 once again took over the defense of Da Nang Air Base.
December 1965 and January 1966 were relatively quiet for Mark and the 3rd Battalion/9th Marines. On February 16th, 1966 3/9 removed from Da Nang Air Base, and relieved 1/9 in the field. Operating primarily east of the Song Vinh Dien, combat got more intense during February and March 1965 for Mark's unit. On March 29th all 3/9 companies except Kilo began Operation Alabama. Mark's company was assigned to Operation Golden Fleece, which was designed to prevent the VC from stealing rice from local farmers. It was during a March 29th night patrol while on Operation Golden Fleece that PFC Mark S. Black, age 18, detonated a booby trap.
After 5 years of researching Mark's life in the USMC I had lost hope that I would find someone who was in the same outfit. Unbeknownst to me, Mark's best friend in K/3/9, PFC Joe Kennick, was also looking for information about his best friend, "Blackie." Miraculously our paths crossed! Joe only knew him as "Blackie" ... he wanted very much to know his full name so he could pay tribute to him at the Wall. At 9:45 pm that night Joe, who was in the rear of the squad, heard an explosion; Mark was down. Joe ran to help him and was with him until a helicopter evacuated him to the hospital at Da Nang. According to the letter Capt. Bob Brooks wrote to Mark's mother, at 2:45 pm on March 30th, 1966, Mark passed away.
I received a note from another Marine was said he was on the same patrol that night, was wounded during a separate explosion, and was in the hospital bed next to Mark. We are working on corroborating this information.
Anyone who wants a full copy of the documentation I've assembled please contact me.
[The efforts of Major General James N. Mattis, USMC (1968 graduate of Richland High School) should not go unnoticed. While at the Pentagon Gen. Mattis's staff copied and sent me many documents about PFC Mark Black's tour of duty in Vietnam and the circumstances surrounding his death.]
I just returned from a visit to the "MOVING WALL" on display in West Richland, Washington.
I went there in honor of a classmate who volunteered to defend the freedom of many who never met him:
Mark S. Black
I went there to honor his memory because I knew of no other way. I remember how many of our fellow countrymen disgraced themselves as they protested the war in the 60s and 70s, calling those serving in our military "war mongers."
Mark and the others who served were not "war mongers." He and they served nobly.
It isn't much, but I wanted to thank you, Mark, and all the others who served and did what they could to preserve and promote our freedom and that of others around the world.
For those who made it back home alive,
From a High School classmate,
Mark S. Black is my brother-in-law. Mark was killed just 3 months before his oldest brother (Jon K. Black) and I (Marie) were married on July 2, 1966. This was 40 years ago.
Over the past forty years Jon has viewed most of the movies made about that time - looking to see if he could spot his brother Mark.
After their mother (Betty Webster) passed away Jon and I now have all the letters Mark sent home and the pictures from the couple of years he was there. The letters, I have read a few times - in reading them you have a 16 year old boy become a fighter in a war - which he wrote in a number of his last letters - to his mom and to Jon.
Jon and I named our first son in memory of his fallen brother MARK. Our Mark is now 37 with a family of his own ... three children, Ryan James, age 18; Brittney Nicole, 16; and Austin Kent, 12.
This is our way of extending MARK S BLACK.
From his sister-in-law,
Mark and I were friends from elementary school on. I guess we bonded because we often felt like we didn't "fit in" anywhere. He was SO determined to enlist in the Marines when he turned 17. Some of us tried to talk him out of it; we were afraid we'd lose him in Vietnam. Turns out our fears were justified. He was a good Marine and I'm proud to have been his friend. I think of him often, visit his grave, remember his freckles, his smile, and the sound of his voice.
Rest in peace, Mark "Blackie" Black.
From a friend,
A Note from The Virtual WallThe photo at the top of the page was obtained from the Faces from the Wall . Taken in 1966 near Da Nang, Mark Black is on the left with a buddy, Joe Kennick, on the right. Kennick was with him and spoke with "Blackie" just before he was evacuated to the hospital the night of 29 Mar 1966.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
Marie A. Black
1200 Fairview Lane, Montesano, Wa. 98563
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 May 1998
Last updated 01/09/2007