Charles Grey Costin

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
28 February 1950 - 01 November 1968
Warsaw, NC
Panel 40W Line 073


Charles G Costin

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Charles Grey Costin

26 Nov 2002

Charles G. Costin and I were in the same unit in Vietnam. I think he was the only one in the unit that was younger than I was. When we met in August ‘68, we had both been in country about 5 months. I had been assigned as a platoon medic in a 4.2” mortar platoon and when it was reassigned to another artillery battalion, I was transferred to C Btry 8/6th FA where I met Charles Costin.

Costin and I shared a bunker in base camp (actually a buried Conex container ). I was the battery medic and he was a cook and “night baker”. When he would bake hot yeast rolls at night, he would come wake me up when they were done about 3 am. We would open a can of jelly, butter and just sit there and eat hot rolls until we were stuffed. That was a real treat, since most of the time we didn’t get fresh rolls and never got them while they were hot.

The good times in base camp would soon end. We began going to the field, one fire support base after the other. The battery was moving within range of infantry patrols around the Cambodian border. We moved to FSB Rita in October ’68, just northeast of Tay Ninh in the “fish hook” area near the Cambodian border. I was the battery medic and Charles was one of the cooks. Cooking became a part time job for him and medic became my full time job.

As the threat of ground attacks worsened, our commander moved six of our 50 cal. machine guns to bunkers on the perimeter. Charles volunteered to man one of the 50 cals at night. Charles Costin and Ronnie Courtney were on the perimeter alongside the APC’s of the 1/4 Cav and the infantry of the 26th Infantry. An overwhelming ground attack by specially trained “sappers” breached the northwest perimeter at 0300 on 1 Nov 68. Costin and Courtney bravely manned their positions until their position received a direct hit by a rocket propelled grenade. They were both mortally wounded. There was nothing I could do for them. They died before we could even get them to the aid station for evacuation.

After 30 years, I visited the Costin family in Warsaw, North Carolina. His parents had long since passed away but his older brother and I spent the day together. This photo is proudly displayed in the VFW Post in Warsaw. The land that the VFW sits on was donated to the VFW by the Costin family.

I am proud to have served with this brave young soldier, killed at age 18. I wish he had lived long enough for me to get to know him better. Rest in Peace, Charles Costin.

Mack Easley

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Fire Support Base Rita, located near the Cambodian border in the "Fishhook" area, had been established to block NVA infiltration from Cambodia into South Vietnam. On 01 Nov 68 it was occupied by units of 8th Bn, 6th Arty; B Troop, 1/4th Cavalry; and 1st Bn, 26th Infantry.

Just after 0300 on the morning of 01 Nov 1968, FSB Rita came under attack by North Vietnamese Army units. At the outset, the base was subjected to heavy mortar, artillery, and RPG attack, followed by a "human wave" assault against the northwestern defensive perimeter. Sappers and enemy infantry penetrated the perimeter, resulting in fighting within the northwestern section of FSB Rita. The artillery commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles C Rogers, rallied his men and beat back the initial assault. A second massed assault followed, and again LTC Rogers led a successful defense. As dawn broke a third massed attack was launched. Rogers, now with three serious wounds, no longer was able to physically lead his men but continued to direct the defense and once again the NVA were repulsed. The battle continued until about 0800, when increasing air support forced the NVA to break off the attack and retreat across the border to sanctuary in Cambodia.

While one Medal of Honor (LTC Rogers, 8/6 Arty) and one Distinguished Service Cross (SP4 Lester Williams, 8/6 Arty, posthumous) were won that morning, the attack cost the lives of twelve American soldiers:

  • C Battery, 8/6 Arty:
  • B Trp, 1/4 Cav:
    • SP4 Michael P Alongi, Jr, Elmwood Park IL
    • SP4 Wayne K Laine, Walnut Creek CA
    • SP4 Marvin N Propson, Hilbert WI (buried St. John's Cemetery, St. John, WI)

  • 1/26 Inf:
    • Sgt Thomas W Bayonet, A Co, St Petersburg FL
    • Sgt James M Ciupinski, B Co, Chicago IL (medic)
    • PFC James E Martin, B Co, Portland, OR

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Mack Easley 
26 Nov 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 09/21/2003