Michael Mackie O'Brien

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
23 February 1949 - 01 May 1968
Big Spring, Texas
Panel 53E Line 043


Michael M O'Brien

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael Mackie O'Brien

12 Oct 2004

Mackie enlisted in the Marine Corps from his home town in Big Spring, Texas. He was killed in a rocket/mortar attack on May 1, 1968 in Quang Tri. He is remember by the Big Spring Memorial in Big Spring, Texas and the Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Midland, Texas. May his sacrifice not be forgotten.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In late April 1968 it became apparent that the North Vietnamese Army was again moving across the DMZ into the area north of Dong Ha. On 29 April the ARVN 2nd Infantry Regiment sent its 1st and 4th Battalions in a pincer movement to locate and engage NVA units around An Binh. "Task Force Robbie", consisting of Delta 1/9 Marines reinforced with tanks from Alpha 3rd Tanks, was sent to relieve building pressure on the ARVN's southern flank.

"Robbie" ran into trouble at Cam Vu, about 5,000 meters west of An Binh, where a North Vietnamese blocking force was waiting for them. After taking 10 dead and 22 wounded in a six hour fight against a clearly superior force, "Robbie" broke off the contact and withdrew. The ARVN forces had absorbed 17 dead and 47 wounded, could not link up, and also withdrew.

At this point the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, was brought into the fight, advancing toward Cam Vu. India 3/9 was the first to make contact, encountering an "L"-shaped ambush just north of Cam Vu. As 3/9's other three companies deployed in support of India, the NVA broke contact and withdrew under cover of artillery fire from within and north of the DMZ.

The fighting around Cam Vu was paralleled by the engagement of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, with elements of the 325th NVA Division at Dai Do some 5 miles to northeast of Cam Vu. These engagements - the 2nd ARVN Infantry, 1/9, and 3/9 at Cam Vu and 2/4 at Dai Do - were the opening engagements in what became known as the Battle of Dong Ha.

While the Cam Vu fights cost the North Vietnamese at least 197 dead, Allied losses also were high:

  • 1st Bn, 9th Marines - 10 dead
  • 3rd Bn, 9th Marines - 36 dead
  • 1st and 4th Bns, 2nd ARVN Infantry - 17 dead
Eight of the dead were from Mike 3/9:
  • Sgt Barry L. Frazier, Jersey Shore, PA
  • Cpl James R. Hammonds, Evergreen, AL
  • LCpl James M. Christie, Augusta, GA
  • LCpl Amie J. Duran, Delta, CO
  • Pfc Robert S. Hoskins, Morgantown, WV
  • Pfc Donald E. Hunter, South Fork, PA
  • Pfc Dennis R. Mason, Cushing, OK
  • Pfc Michael M. O'Brien, Big Spring, TX

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009