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Interesting Facts about the 3rd Battalion, 27th Marines & the 27th Marine Regiment

  • The 27th Marines was the last Marine Corps Regiment to deploy to Vietnam during the war.


  • The 27th Marines was the first Marine Regiment to fly directly into a combat zone (although elements of the 1st Battalion were at sea and arrived by ship).


  • The 27th Marines was comprised of over 50 % non-infantry MOS Marines upon deployment to Vietnam.


  • The 27th Marines was deployed for the shortest stay in Vietnam of any other Marine regiment (7 months).


  • The 27th Marines was the first Marine regiment to return to CONUS during the war (September 1968).


  • Over 2,000 Purple hearts were awarded to the members of the 27th Marine Regiment (nearly 10 wounded per day in combat).


  • The 27th Marine Regiment suffered 245 killed in action during the seven month deployment (nearly 175 with 3/27 alone).


  • 3/27’s PFC Roy Maddux Jr. (India Co) was the first 3/27 Marine in Vietnam to be killed in action, on 28 February 1968.


  • The 27th Marines was credited with killing nearly 2,000 enemy soldiers.


  • The 27th Marines fought in WW II with the 5th Marine Division and in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division.


  • During WW II, while fighting in their only battle of the war on Iwo Jima, the 27th Marines lost 566 killed and 1,703 wounded in action.  Five members (including one Navy Corpsman) were awarded the Medal of Honor during the fight for the Island.


  • The two biggest battles in the history of the 27th Marines occurred on islands:  Iwo Jima Island-WWII and Go Noi Island-Vietnam.


  • The 27th Marines landed on Iwo Jima on 19 February 1945 and 3/27 arrived in Vietnam from 17-19 February 1968, nearly 23 years exactly to the date.


  • The CO of the 3rd Bn., 27th Marines was Donn Robertson during WW II and Major General Robertson was also the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam during 3/27’s deployment.  When the 27th Marines returned to Camp Pendleton, Maj Gen Robertson was the Commander of the 5th Marine Division. Therefore  once again  the 27th Marine Regiment served under his command. .


  • 3/27’s PFC Robert C. Burke (India Co) was the youngest Vietnam veteran to receive the Medal of Honor (posthumously) during the war (18 years/6months).  His MOS was auto mechanic but he died as a machine gunner.


  • Another 3/27 Marine, PFC Dewayne Williams (India Co) received the Medal of Honor posthumously, just after 3/27 retuned to CONUS, while assigned to 2/1 on 18 September 1968 in the Riviera Area.  He jumped on a grenade after being shot, saving the lives of several other Marines.


  • 3/27’s Lance Corporal Patrick E. Sinclair (Kilo Co) was the youngest Marine in Vietnam to die,  aged  just 17 years/8months, to non hostile causes (drowning).  He had forged his birth certificate and joined the Marines at just 16 years of age. According to family members he had wanted to be a Marine since he was 5 years old.


  • 3/27’s Corporal Richard Buchanan (Mike Co) and Private Charles Yordy ( Kilo Co.) received the Navy Cross for bravery on the same (24 May 1968) date (unusual, but  not unique).  They ran across each other during the battle and according to Buchanan, they exchanged a few heated words.  Just eight days earlier on 16 May, Navy Corpsman Robert Casey of G/2/7 and 2nd Lieutenant Paul Cobb of A/1/7, while fighting alongside I/3/27 on Go Noi Island, were both killed and also awarded Navy Crosses.  Fortunately, Buchanan and Yordy survived to personally receive their awards.


  • 3/27’s Phillip Wyatt (India Co-KIA 28 May 1968) was one of 31 brother combinations who were both killed in Vietnam.  His brother Robert died in 1967.


  • 3/27’s Lieutenant Colonel Tullis Woodham Jr. was the only infantry battalion commander that commanded a battalion during its entire Vietnam involvement.


  • 3/27’s Captain John Ernest was the CO of Lima Company before deployment, during Vietnam and after returning to CONUS.


  • During the initial phase of Operation Allenbrook, 3/27’s India Co was OP CON to the 7th Marines, where on 15-17 May, the Marine group on Go Noi Island consisted of Golf Co 2/7, Alpha Co 1/7, India Co 3/27, one platoon from Lima Co 3/7, all under the command of 3/7.  This piece-meal comprised of  four components of separate battalions fought bravely  in two major and bloody battles on 16 and 17 May 1968.This piecemeal unit comprised of 4 separate battalions  fought bravely in two major and bloody  battles on 16 and 17 May."                                              

  • According to 3/7’s CO, Lt Col. Roger Barnard, on 16 May the Marines called in 52-54 aircraft sorties, the largest amount ever utilized on a single target in Vietnam up to that date.


  • During 17-28 May 1968, 3/27 earned the Presidential Unit Citation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation  for fighting during Operation Allenbrook.  What is not commonly known is that India Co also earned a second MUC for being attached to the 7th Marines from 13-17 May.


  • 3/27 executed the retrieval and extraction of the first OV-10 shot down in Vietnam during July 1968 on Go Noi Island (Operation Allen Brook, Phase II).


  • During 3/27’s first full month in Vietnam (March 1968) 136 were wounded and 6 were killed in action (nearly 10% of the battalion’s entire strength).  The 1st Marine Division, concerned about the large number of booby trap casualties that 3/27 was incurring,  sent up a Major from Saigon to investigate the situation.  Vindicating 3/27 in his final report, he stated that the 3/27's TAOR had a higher percentage of booby trap saturation than any other sector in the history of land warfare. 


  • During August 1968, the last full month that 3/27 was in Vietnam, 60 Marines were wounded and 9 were killed.

       A number of booby trap casualties that 3/27 was sustaining, "The TAOR of 3/2hrmy Major, who was sent  to investigate         the large number of booby trap casualties that 3/27 was sustaining, "The TAOR of 3/27 had the highest number of                 booby traps than any other sector in the history of land we." 

  • The 27th Marines received one of the few parades given to Vietnam Veterans during the war (given by the city of San Diego, CA in September 1968).


  • The first 3/27 Vietnam reunion was held at Marty’s Valley Inn in Oceanside, CA in 1974/75 with 75-100 in attendance, comprised mainly of Officers and Staff NCO’s who had retired in the Camp Pendleton/Southern California area.


  • The first ‘modern day era’ 3/27 Vietnam reunion was held in 1987 with just two Marines (Ray Allison and Joe Thomas) and they have continued to be held and have grown in numbers ever since.  There have also been numerous regional and individual company reunions held over the last 20 + years.

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