Frank Doezema, JrSpecialist Four
ADVISORY TEAM 3, MACV ADVISORS
Army of the United States
12 February 1948 - 31 January 1968
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The database page for Frank Doezema, Jr
Frank was one of the bravest of the brave. He didn't have to be where he was when the NVA struck the MACV compound. He was just completing a tour in the Thua Thien Tactical Operations Center and should have been safe in his quarters. Instead, he discovered an unmanned guard tower and from that location, he engaged the attackers head on with nothing more than his personal weapon. It was largely due to his heroism that the compound was never penetrated by the enemy, but I doubt that anyone will ever know the real extent of his involvement in the defense of his buddies. I for one will never forget him.
From a former fellow Advisor with MACV.
"There was heavy fighting to our left next to Colonel George O. Adkisson's quarters. Colonel Adkisson was the commanding officer of MACV Advisory Team 3. Our bunker got a message that Specialist Frank Doezema was in the tower, spraying machine-gun fire at the police station that the enemy had overrun earlier. As Doezema was firing at the NVA, an explosion blew off the lower part of his legs. His place at the machine gun was taken by another soldier, and Doezema was taken to the MACV dispensary. A medevac chopper was called in to evacuate him to Phu Bai, but the enemy snipers prevented the Huey from landing. I learned later that Doezema bled to death."
Although he had less than two weeks till "DEROS", Frank did what real heros do: he acted automatically to do the right thing, he saw a need and filled it (an empty defensive position), no question of whether it was his job, how "short" he was or if he was in danger.
Those many of us who owe our lives to him and others like him can never forget
"There is no greater gift than man can give,
Frank was anxious to go home, drive his dad's tractor, milk cows, and get married. I am sure there are cows in Heaven.
I still owe you, Frank.
I was the adjutant for MACV Team 3 and was privileged to have stayed in the compound which still had the bullet holes in 1970 to show respect for what Frank did in 1968 ... shows that in Vietnam there were no REMFs, just guys who did what they had to do ... guts comes in many MOS'es ...
Note: "MOS" is Military Occupational Specialty
To the Memory of Frank:
I did not know Frank. My father did. He was the Marine in charge of the 12 man security detachment assigned to the MACV Compound. He is also the man that I sense feels a great burden of responsibility for Frank. My father has never talked about his experience in Viet Nam. Of course, I have never really asked about it. It wasn't until recently with the war in Iraq, and my feelings of patriotism that I began to wonder what role my father played in the Viet Nam War. Knowing that the memories could be painful, I have been only asking small bits of information at a time, and trying to piece together the rest. I just today got back home to Houston from a trip to Camp Pendleton with a friend who was reassigned back home in Houston. My friend had an appointment and needed to finalize some paperwork. I was along to help drive.
While on base I wanted to find some sort of memento to bring back for my dad. At the bookstore, the manager found a book on the Battle for Hue. The manager was very interested in what my father had done, but I myself didn't know any details. He also printed for me a manual titled "Lessons Learned, Operation 'Hue City'", which he explained to me was given to every Marine before being deployed for service. It describes the severity and significance of the battle. I had no idea.
After unpacking my bags, I sat down and read the manual. Before I began the book I wanted to know specifics on my dad's service. So I finally asked him detailed questions. He explained to me that his detachment was responsible for the security of the advisors and the MACV Compound. Being short-handed with only 12 men in his detachment, one thing my father did was assign posts to all of the enlisted men (advisers' assistants) in case of any sort of attack on the compound, and he also trained them in the use of arms. Many of these assistants had administrative duties, and surprisingly some had never even fired a weapon. For the role that he played, I began to feel as if my dad deserved some sort of recognition. He also told me a couple of stories that seemed to be on the lighter side of the situation.
He also told me the story of what happened when the attack started. He told me how he ran up to the tower where a Marine named Michlin was stationed. The next person to get up there was an Army guy named Frank Doezema, whom my dad had assigned to that post, and then another Marine named Bobby Hull, and then some other guys. They had a couple of M-16s, a B.A.R., and a .30 caliber machine gun. My dad told me how he had trained Frank to use the .30 cal, but that Frank had never fired it before. Then he told me that Frank got hit by a rocket and died. He didn't say anything else so I left it at that.
Still curious I got on the internet and did a search for Hue and MACV. The first page I pulled up was titled "Hue, MACV Compound, The Frank Doezema Compound". I couldn't believe it. From what little my dad had just told me, I assumed that Frank was someone who didn't deserve such an honor. So I went back to my dad and told him what I had found. He said that he wasn't surprised. "Because of whose assistant he was?", I asked. "No. Because he deserved it.", he said. "I thought you said he had never even fired the weapon?", I asked. That's when his face changed and I could see the pain in his eyes. His responses became delayed as he seemed to be holding back tears. "He had never fired it before. But he got to shoot it." He told me that Frank was the first other person there, and that he knew what he had to do. He said that they were using the B.A.R., their service weapons, and M-16's. He said that the tower had gotten hit twice already by rockets. Each time it knocked everyone unconscious, but no serious injuries. Frank was bugging my dad to fire the .30 cal, but because he had never done so and the severity of the attack, Dad wouldn't let him. My dad could no longer hold back the tears. He said after about 3 hours of Frank's expressed desire to use the .30 cal, he finally let him. "He was only on it for about 60 seconds, [long, long pause] but he got to shoot it." Not only could I feel the pain (I was already in tears myself by this point), but I sensed the most tremendous feeling of guilt. The third rocket to hit the tower was a direct hit on the gun rendering it useless and having unspeakable consequences on Frank, which my father reluctantly described in detail. He said from that point Frank didn't ask for anything. Whenever he was conscious, Frank spent his time praying for the others to make it out of there alive. My father said, and I agree, that Frank Doezema is deserving of the honors that he received. My father is Arthur "Bob" Robertson. If anyone knows my father or was there please e-mail me.
From the son of the Marine who was in charge that fateful night,
My name is Michael Mishler. I was at the time Corporal Mishler, assigned to 3rd Marines, Marine Security.
On January 31st 1968 Post #2 of the MACV compound was my post. That was the tower that Frank Doezema died in. It was not an unmanned position, I know because I was there.
When Frank got there, it was manned by me, Corporal Robertson, and another Marine named Hall, who was a driver for a Colonel.
We took three rounds, not to mention multiple small arms fire. One of the rounds blew off the roof, the second one blew a hole in the floor, and the third one seriously injured Frank and wounded all the rest of us.
Frank certainly deserves the medal he received, but I take offense at the post being called an unmanned one, because I was there manning it before Frank came to the tower.
If Frank had not shown up, I would've been the one behind the machine gun. Frank said it was his gun so I gave it over to him. A short time later, he was dead... It could have been me.
Robertson and I were never awarded any medals besides a Purple Heart, because Robertson and I were the two ranking Marines from that detachment and never wrote each other up, we were just doing our job.
It is true, the main attacking force came at that position and we defended it.
I've always felt guilty that Frank Doezema died in that tower, if he had not said the gun was his, I would've been the one who died. I owe him my life.
I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I am a United States Marine and did not desert my post.
From a friend,
When TET 1968 hit I was in the MACV Compound on the first floor of the main building, nearest to the tower Frank was in. I was an Army Captain, G-2 Air Advisor to the 1st ARVN DIV and back-up advisor to the Division Recon Company. When the first rockets and mortars hit we all took our assigned posts for what turned out to be three plus weeks of, to say the least, interesting times. During a lull after the initial ground attack I had a chance to go to the area in front of Frank's tower and I was stunned to see a dozen or so dead NVA sappers, all carrying numerous half pound blocks of what appeared to be TNT. Apparently they were going to go room to room tossing one or more blocks of TNT into each room. They would have made it too if it weren't for Frank and the other guys with him.
Every year I make a substantial contribution in Frank's name to a major local charity and I have raised my only child, Margaret, now 18 years old, to understand that if it weren't for Frank she wouldn't be alive and that she needs to understand that. She tells me from time to time, "Dad, I was thinking of Frank today."
I went on to be WIA four times in Hue and Cho Lon during TET but my enduring memory was watching Frank save our lives.
John C. Doherty
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
a former fellow Advisor with MACV.
E-Mail address not available
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 19 Feb 2001
Last updated 08/16/2007