A new memorial for the 5th Marine Regiment of the Vietnam War was opened at Camp Pendleton on Memorial Day, giving closure to thousands of veterans and their families.
Also known as the Fighting 5th, the 5th Marine Regiment endured some of the toughest combat and environmental scenarios throughout the Vietnam War. They were deployed on March 5, 1966, after which they stayed in Vietnam for more than five fears. In 2003, one of the 5th Marine Regiment’s soldiers, John Culbertson, published a book in which he detailed the challenges faced by the Marines. According to Culbertson, the Marines fought with bolt rifles during the fiercest combat of the Vietnam War.
Like many regiments, though, the 5th Marine Regiment has been largely forgotten over time. But it appears that they now have a permanent memorial at Camp Pendleton. The new memorial features the name, rank and date of death of all 2,706 Marines from the 5th Marine Regiment that died during the Vietnam War.
When speaking about the new memorial, Lt. Steve Colwell explained that these men had answered the call of duty to serve and protect their country. They traveled more than 10,000 miles to fight in some of the harshest conditions, only to make the ultimate sacrifice.
“In the 60s, they raised their hand and they answered the call of duty when 16 million of their peers stepped sideways or backwards,” said Lt. Steve Colwell in an interview with Fox News. “They put on a pack and went 10,000 miles away from home. They fought in rice paddies and jungles and monsoons and terrible conditions and they gave all they had and all they would ever have.”
Colwell is actually responsible for the new memorial’s creation. Along with the help of other Vietnam veterans, Colwell encouraged officials to create a memorial for the 5h Marine Regiment, which is now finished as Camp Pendleton. Colwell, who was a former platoon leader, says that even after all these years, he still reflects on the pain and hardship of the Vietnam War.
Although Memorial Day is now ever, we should continue to honor and appreciate all our country’s military veterans. Freedom is something that most of us take for granted. It’s not until our freedom is taken away or threatened that we realize how precious is truly it is. And if it weren’t for the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, perhaps we wouldn’t have this freedom.