Les "Bone" Herring, 
the man behind Force Recon webpage has passed away 
due to lung cancer on the 7th of July 2011. 
We will greatly miss him, 
Les, may you rest in peace.

Our warrior brother has passed on. His spirit lives in all of us who have been inspired by knowing one of the greatest Marines to wear the uniform. From training exercises to actual combat missions Les was at the forefront of all the action possible by a Force Recon Marine. One hell of an Airborne, SCUBA Diving, Pathfinder, Ranger who together with our Special Forces warrior brothers we had the honor and privilege of working side by side with at the A-Camps in Vietnam.  
Ray Rossi, 1st Force Recon, Vietnam

1st. Force Reconnaissance Co.
RVN 1964-1965

Their primary missions were to conduct pre-assault reconnaissance for
amphibious landing forces, this included conducting hydro graphic surveys of
proposed landing sites and including hinterland recon to determine ability
of egress from the beach head inland for troops and equipment. The other
primary mission was to conduct deep reconnaissance into hostile territory
and report on enemy locations, routes of communication, strength, equipment,

Their secondary missions included direct action activities such as combat patrols,
search and destroy, demolition and operations with other units.

The 1st Force Reconnaissance Company at Camp Delmar, and Camp Pendleton California and consisted of 6 reconnaissance platoons. 
One platoon every 13 months was rotated
 to Okinawa to support the 3rd Marine Division and  
to provide pre-assault beach reconnaissance and post assault deep recon

A Force Recon Platoons consisted of 16 Marines, 
1 officer, 
1 senior NCO, 
1 parachute rigger, 
1 dive NCO, 
3  reconnaissance teams of 4 Marines each


Cpl Les Herring  was a Team leader  with Sub Unit 1,  1st. Force Reconnaissance Co, 
back in the mid 60's.

 My platoon, Sub Unit 1 arrived in Okinawa in November 1964 and conducted training operations until December 1964 when we boarded a small destroyer specifically designed to carry Marine Recon and Navy UDT/SEAL teams to areas of operation. After spending Christmas day in Subic Bay, in the Philippines we sailed to southern Thailand to conduct recon patrols. 
Each of our 4 man teams had 1 Thai Marine attached as interpreter. After completing those operations we arrived in Vietnam and began conducting operations for the planned Marine amphibious landings that would beginning in March 1965.
 We began attachments to SF A-Teams in May 1965 and conducted recon and combat patrols in the  I Corps. We operated mainly  from  Da Nang, Phu Bai, Chu Lai, Gia Vuc and Kham Duc

May 1965: Sub Unit 1 platoon attached to Gia Vuc


Sgt Herman P. (Val) Vialpando

Cpl L.R. "Bone" Herring




 Myself on the left and Dave Klehn
 A-113, crossing the Song Re
 and heading back into Gia Vuc 
after a patrol southwest of the camp

SFC Bob Gifford with the cigarette and
Sgt. H P Vialpando,

"Val was an outstanding Marine, Ranger qualified as I was, also, a good friend, a real professional. Val was also a sport parachutist enthusiast and he was killed on a jump in 1975 due to a malfunction."  Les Herring (Force Recon)

The two top photos are thanks
 to Dave Klehn (A-113) , the other photos thanks to Les Herring (Force Recon). 

They may have been taken during the same patrol?


November 1965: 2nd platoon attached to A-106 at Ba To.

A combine patrol from Ba To was attacked on the night of the 16 December, with catastrophic result, three Marines a SF Sgt and 10 CIDG were killed.
The three Marines were  Cpl. R.S. Joy, Moore and  R. Sisson. The aftermath was recorded in the I CTZ MOBILE STRIKE FORCE - MOPSUMS DECEMBER 1965
"The third Nung Company conducted refresher training from 1 through 15 December and was committed on a reaction mission at Camp Bato on 16 December. At 0430 17 December the company departed Camp Bato to retrieve the bodies of American and CIDG dead located approximately 6 kilometers east of Camp Bato. This operation was aborted just short of the objective area on the basis of new intelligence on the situation in the objective area. On 21 December 2 Nung platoons reinforced with elements of the weapons platoon acted as security for the force of CIDG, USSF and USMC personnel in to the objective area and secured the area while the combined force retrieved the bodies of CIDG and US personnel. The Nung Force then acted as security for the combined force and returned it to Camp Bato." courtesy of  Steve Sherman from Radix Press, After Action reports are available for the I, II, III,  IV Mike Force, use link

December 1965: 3rd platoon attached to A-107 at Tra Bong

The rest of the Force Recon Company (5 platoons) arrived in RVN in June '65.

1st Force Reconnaissance Company  November 1964- December 1965

Commanding Officer Cpt D.W. "Dave" Whittingham                Deceased 1977
Platoon  Sgt Gy/Sgt R.W. " Rocky" Burke,                          Deceased
replaced by S/Sgt A. Mobley May 65
Parachute Rigger Cpl D.W "Jaw" Robinson
Diving NCO Cpl C.K.  "Rat" Thieman                        Deceased 1975 


Team leader Sgt H.P. "Val" Vialpando                         Deceased 1975
Asst Tm Ldr Cpl L.H. Merrell                                 KIA RVN 23/04/65
Radio Operator Cpl D.M. Taylor
Scout Cpl J.M. "Pappy" Boersma
Team leader Sgt J.E Giles                                              Deceased 2002
Asst Tm Ldr Cpl W.A. Frank
Radio Operator Cpl R.E. Kindseth                Deceased 31th October 2010
Scout Cpl  M.W. "Iron Mike" Paget 
Team leader Cpl L.R. "Bone" Herring            Deceased 7th July 2011
Asst Tm Ldr Cpl A.P. "Habu" Rodriguez
Radio Operator Cpl L.G. "Linus" Clark
Scout Cpl J.J."CheChe's" Brown


Our first unit KIA was on the  23rd of April 1965 when seven of us  were ambushed while landing  for a recon patrol at a small beach at the confluence of the Son Bon Tran river  in  South Vietnam, Cpl L.H. Merrell was killed as well two sailors from our escort boat.

The rest of the Force Recon Company (5 platoons) arrived in RVN in June '65.

Additional information on the 23rd April 1965 ambush, thanks to Jim Baker, former USN TM2

The two sailors killed were:
Richard Henry Langford, EN2  USS Bexar TAD to USS Cook APD 130
William Ralph Fuhrman, TM3, USS Cook APD 130
Bill Fuhrman was the gunner on your boat, was credited with saving Marines lives and lost his.  Petty Officer Fuhrman received the Silver Star for his actions in extracting this patrol and deserves to be mentioned by name.
Engineman 2nd Class was keeping the boat running and returning fire and deserves to be mentioned by name. 


Bellow is an extract from I CTZ MOBILE STRIKE FORCE - MOPSUMS MAY 1965

"Twenty-five Marines of the 3rd Marine Division Force Reconnaissance have been assigned to
"A" detachments in I CTZ for specific operations
as observers."
courtesy of  Steve Sherman from Radix Press, After Action reports are available for the I, II, III,  IV Mike Force, use link

Force Recon at Gia Vuc see Commo Bunker display 2007

Les Herring, 
photo taken at a high power rifle match while serving with the 12th SFGA

Force Recon News

FRA 2008 photo report by Les Herring

1stSgt.(ret) Dean Riggs, Mike Brown, Ray Rossi

Dean Riggs, Les Herring, Mike Brown

1stSgt.(ret) Pat Teague, Les Herring

Dennis Taylor , Les Herring, 
JJ Brown, SgtMaj.(ret) Tom Bachta

Raymond Stanley Joy, Jr
United States Marine Corps
19 October 1942 - 16 December 1965
Abernathy, Texas
Panel 04E Line 018
Link to the virtualwall

"These are photos I took in September of Stan Joy's grave site.
He is one of the 3 Marines KIA on patrol from BaTo. I attended his funeral in late December '65 when I returned from RVN. They were killed the day I left. I never did know where he was buried as they did not bury him at the time of the funeral.
After much searching on internet, phone calls, etc.

I found him."

Les Herring


Stan Joy.jpg

Letter received on the 29th of January 2009

just watched the" trailer' from the HBO special, "Taking Chance". It reminded me, that often, those who lose their lives on the field of battle are all to often just numbers, not people, people who had real lives, family, friends, wives, sweethearts, fathers, husbands, etc.
During my tour in Vietnam, February-December 1965, only four Force Recon Marines were KIA, Cpl. Lowell H. Merrell, Cpl. R. S. Joy, Cpl.Sisson, Cpl. Moore. Later, forty more would be killed in action.
I attended the funerals of Cpl. Raymond Stanley"Stan" Joy in December 1965 and S/Sgt. Nevitt D. "BuddyBuddy" Davis in September 1967.
So now, it is 42 years since my last attended funeral, but the loss of Stan, Nevitt, and others still haunt me, still cause me pain, still evoke tears because I miss them, their love of living life each day, daring to tempt death in training as well as combat. Men who loved life, the excitement, the possibilities. They smiled, they laughed, they groaned, they sweated, they hurt, but always finished the day with heads held high, chest out, standing tall.Men ready and willing to answer any call of their country, Men who loved America, totally devoted, totally loyal, totally patriotic. Indeed, we should and we do thank God for such men.

Let us, who live on, let us celebrate their lives every day. Let us carry on in a manner they would wish. Let us also apply our thanks, our gratitude, our respect, our love for those who have fought and died since Vietnam, in Granada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the myriad of other far off lands where Americans are serving our great Republic.
None of those gave their life for their country, instead, they fought for their life to their last breath carrying out their assigned mission and leading or attempting to protect their fellow Marines. Marines do not die for their country, they make enemies die for their country. Marines fight for their country but first and foremost, 
their fellow Marines.

So, I raise a glass and toast all I have mentioned and those who will follow. God bless you, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas.
Les "Bone" Herring

 All information and photos thanks to Les Herring , 
Cpl, 1st. Force Reconnaissance Co.  RVN 1965
SSGT, Co. A 1st Bn. 12th , SFGA

Front row, from Left 
Tom Campbell on left, Les Herring, Phil Bradfield


Go to the Green Beret website

 Steve Sherman the  archivist for 
 the Special Forces and Special Operations Associations  
 Need your help!