Cecil Howard Humphrey, Jr
United States Marine Corps
Madison, Indiana
November 08, 1946 to May 31, 1968
CECIL H HUMPHREY Jr is on the Wall at Panel W62, Line 11

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Cecil H Humphrey
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Ambush at Hill 512
W-SW of Ca Lu Airfield
(May 31 - June 1, 1968)

Information from the Marine Command Chronology Report for the period 1 May - 31 May 1968 shows the Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1), continued under the operational control (OPCON) of the 4th Marine Regiment. Operations during the period were aimed at securing Route #9 and adjacent areas within the area of operations. During this period, enemy contact consisted of chance encounters with small groups of NVA and mining and booby trap events. NVA ambushes initiated by command detonated directional mines took a heavy toll.

Moderate contacts by BLT 3/1 combat patrols during the first 3 weeks of the month indicated that enemy units of up to company size were operating in the area North of Route #9. For the last week of the month, the enemy displayed a greater capacity to deliver supporting mortar and automatic weapons fire indicating that larger units, up to battalion size were being deployed.

Intelligence reports indicated that the 9th Regiment, 304th NVA Division and the 8th Battalion, 29th NVA Regiment had been reported operating between Ca Lu and Khe Sanh. Although not confirmed, it was believed the BLT was in contact with elements of these units. During the month, nine separate rocket attacks were launched against Ca Lu Combat Base and one large attack against LSA Cameo just north of Ca Lu.

On the 31st, a platoon of Company M was ambushed by one of these NVA units, sustaining moderate casualties. Another platoon was committed and additional casualties were sustained from enemy accurate and continuous mortar fire.

The Marine incident reports show that initally, at 1050 hours, at grid XD960454, while on patrol, the platoon set off 2 improvised explosive devices, received automatic weapons fire, and took incoming 60mm mortar fire. They called in artillery support to take out the mortar site. As a result of this initial contact, 2 Marines were killed and 2 were medevaced. Another platoon was inserted to assist the first platoon that made contact.

According to the 2240 hours summary incident report, as of 1900 hours, the units were now fighting at grid XD957455. They continued to maintain pressure on the enemy positions and had retrieved their casualties. Heavy 82mm and 60mm mortar fire had continued throughout the day. The marines estimated that an enemy squad was still in a bunker being supported by mortars. More supporting arms were being brought in for the platoons. At this time, the Marines reported 6 killed and 28 wounded.

At 0625 hours, 1 June, the unit, having moved from their previous night time position, reported that at 0300 hours, they moved through the enemy position to retrieve casualties but had no contact with the enemy. The Marines began withdrawal to a landing zone to evacuate casualties. During their withdrawal, the platoons called in supporting artillery fire at 0430 hours while at XD961451. During the fire for effect to cover their movement out of the area, rounds fell short on the platoon's position. PFC Saunders was killed and 9 other Marines received minor wounds. The total killed from 31 May and 1 June action were 9 killed and 37 wounded. .

The nine men from Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines who died as a result of the ambush at Hill 512 were:

Indiana area newspapers, on June 4, 1968 reported the deaths of 5 or 8 men from the Hoosier state. The articles similarly reported:

8 Hoosiers Listed Dead In Vietnam

The Associated Press or United Press International - - WASHINGTON - - The Defense Department Monday listed eight Hoosiers among 205 American casualties in connection with the Vietnam fighting. Seven were Marines and one was an Army man. The latest fatalities increased Indiana's toll of battle deaths in the war to 674.

The Marines listed as killed in action were Cpl. John E. Flaskamp, son of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Flaskamp, 1448 E: Terrace Ave., Indianapolis; Cpl. Cecil H. Humphrey Jr., husband of Mrs. Cecil H. Humphrey Jr., 309 E. .Fifth St., Madison; Lance Cpl. Michael S. Smith, husband of Mrs. Michael S. Smith, 618 W. Oak St., Mitchell; Pfc. Chester Briscoe Jr., cousin of Mrs. Mary Cartwright, 512 Lincoln Ave., Apt. 51, Evansville; Pfc. Larry Jones son, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Henry, 4321 27th Place, Gary; Pfc. Pedro A. Rodriguez, son of Mrs. Viola S. Medellin, 112 West 8th Ave, Gary and Pvt. Donald P. Schuck, son of Mrs. Luella S. Schuck, RR 4, Brookville. Army 2nd Lt. Ronald L. Frazer, son of Major and Mrs. Lloyd D. Frazer, 1122 Harmony Lane, Jeffersonville, was removed from the missing in action list and confirmed Monday and added to the list of dead from hostile action.

Corporal Humphrey was survived by his wife, Mary E Humphrey, his mother, Mrs. Jessie Lee Sarver (later aka Jess Lee (Meeks) Humphrey, Madison, and his father, Cecil H Humphrey, Sr, Algiers Louisiana according to LCPL Humphrey's record of emergency data. He was also survived by five brothers: Gary Nolan Humphrey (1948-2012), Steve and Mike Humphrey, all of Madison, Ronnie Humphrey of Milton, Kentucky and Tony Humphrey of LaGrange; three step-sisters: Nellie Sue Hensley of Kentucky, and Teresa Hilderbrand and Vickie Vasquez, both of Madison; four step-brothers: Donald Sarver of Madison, Levi Hensley, Ray Hensley and David Gordon, all of Kentucky. Lance Corporal Cecil Howard Humphrey is buried in Monroe Cemetery, Jefferson County, Madison, Indiana.

Photo above of Cecil in uniform provided by Tom Clark, Teacher, Lake Central High School and Students, Saint John, Indiana

- - The Virtual Wall, September 4, 2014

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