Saturday, October 31, 2015

Battle of Cam Lo--(02/02/68)--Meritorious Unit Citation


1.    In accordance with the provisions of references (a) and (b), it is recommended that the following units be awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation with Bronze letter "V" for especially meritorious combat performance in connection with an extremely heavy enemy attack on their isolated position at Cam Lo District Headquarters on 2 February 1968.
        a.    First Squad, us First Platoon, "D" Company, First Battalion, Fourth Marines
        b.    Third Squad, First Platoon, "D" Company, First Battalion, Fourth Marines
        c.    First Squad, Third Platoon, "E" Company, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines
2.    The above mentioned units were under the command of Second Lieutenant Michael O STICK, 0102306/0302/9940 USMC during the attack.  At approximately 0215 on the morning of 2 February 1968, the above mentioned composite platoon came under extremely heavy enemy attack by 82mm mortars followed by a ground attack by an estimated two North Vietnamese companies.  The initial mortar attack consisted of 100-150 rounds, there was lots of explosions going off - like the movies, all you could smell was gun power rounds which fell within the Combined Action Company perimeter and resulted in the death of one Army officer and the wounding of two ARVN and two Marine personnel.  During the ground attack which continued for fully four hours, on the above mentioned composite platoon, the physical defenses of the perimeter were almost completely destroyed by Bangalore torpedoes and RPG fire.  The bunkers near the blown wire were attacked with RPG's, heavy machine gun and small arms fire.  At no time was the enemy allowed to set foot within the perimeter.  The Marines in these squads fought literally to the last round of ammunition, then resupplied by carrying ammunition from abandoned Popular Forces positions under intense small arms fire.  Approximately 80% of the Marines in the composite platoon became casualties during the battle.  The furious intensity of this action and the courage, determination and devotion to duty of those Marines is graphically demonstrated by the fact that every helmet and every 'flack' jacket was either torn or dented by fragmentation or bullets.  A total of 144 enemy bodies were counted when the sun rose and the enemy broke contact and attempt to flee the area.  This action denied the enemy a major political/psychological objective in their present winter/spring offensive.
3.    The courage and aggressiveness displayed by all members of the composite platoon was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service.  Special recognition of the distinguished and valorous achievement of the units involved in this action appears to warrant the award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
4.    This award is for direct participation in combat operations and the Combat Distinguishing Device is recommended.


Battle of Cam Lo (02/02/68)--After Action Report Filed by 2nd Lt MO Stick


"At approximately 020215H, CAC Hq. vicinity YD 129579 started receiving incoming 82mm mortars (initial volley of about 100-150 rounds).  This was followed by a ground attack utilizing RPG's, RR, and small arms.  The initial RPG rounds penetrated the main CAC, COC area killing the sub-sector advisor (Major Payne), two ARVN personnel, wounding two other USMC personnel, and destroying all radios except one.  Capt R. L. McMaken USA assumed command of the compound and adjusted artillery to box the position in.  The 1/40th then provided immediate support.  A call then by Capt McMaken at approximately 0220 notified Quang Tri that they were under heavy ground attack and that a Spooky was needed.  The attack seemed to come from three directions - mainly from the south, west and northeast.  The Spooky arrived in the general vicinity in good time but could not get orientated to the position until about 0430H.  In the interim period artillery illumination was adjusted from Cam Lo (4.2") and Dong Ha (155mm), there were approximately three rows of wire around the compound and in two areas there were enemy personnel who make it into the third row of wire, but were cut down before they could penetrate burn that surrounded the compound.  25 NVA bodies were counted at the in front of my bunker to the right northwest corner and approximately 15 bodies at the northeast corner.  Also of interest was the fact that the NVA had dug prone positions about one foot in depth at the northeast salient, the two quad .50's present at the compound were hit by RPG's or RR within 20 minutes of the first incoming. we found pools of blood and that's about all we found of the men manning the quad 50's  Enemy contact was furious until approximately 020615H at which time the contact was limited to scattered small arms fire.  Due to the tre---iourous fighting at the compound and the extreme accuracy of the friendly artillery the enemy was forced to withdraw.  A reaction force composed of two platoons and two dusters from 2/9 was dispatched to aid the CAC Hqtrs and arrived at approx 020630H.  The reaction force then swept to the north of the CAC Hqtrs position, but south of the Song Cam Lo River.  This succeeded in actually trapping some of the enemy as they were making their escape across the river.  Captain McKight in charge of 2/9 reaction force claimed that 8 confirmed and 2 prisoners from this separate action.  A reaction force from Don Ha consisting of 3 tanks, two Dusters, two Quad 50's and approx 100 troops left Dong Ha at 020600H and arrived in the CAC Hqtrs at approx 0730H.  Upon moving in the compound it was learned that a bulk of the enemy forces withdrew to the southeast and northwest, the reaction force from Dong Ha was quickly organized and swept around the perimeter to the south and north of the perimeter.  The quick aggressive, follow-up action accounted for the collection of the large number of POW's and prevented the enemy from reacting in the immediate vicinity.  A list of the cumulative losses as of 021500H included the following: 2 USMC KIA, 1 USA KIA, 81 NVA (conf), 22 Detainees, 42 IWC, 13 CSWC, 18 USMC WIA (Medevac)"--


2nd Lt MO Stick--Battle of Cam Lo--Feb 02, 1968--



"Dusk fell early thanks to overcast skies on February 1, and an assortment of U.S. Marines and soldiers and Vietnamese PF troops found themselves spending the night together inside the Cam Lo headquarters compound.  The Marine force consisted of the under strength platoon of Company D, 1/4, led by 2nd Lt. Michael O. Steck and Staff Sgt. Donald K. Sellers, and the headquarters element of the Combined Action Company (CAC), commanded by Captain Peter Haines.  Making their home for the night in the compound's motor pool area was a mine sweep team from the 11th Engineers, consisting of some Marine combat engineers and their infantry security, along with two quad 50's (trucks mounted with four .50-caliber machine guns each", in this case using 2.5-ton Army trucks.  In addition, an under strength squad from Company E, 2/9, had wondered into the compound at dusk, also seeking a safe haven for the night..."


2nd Lt Michael O. Stick--Silver Star

Michael O. Stick

Home of record: Harrisburg Pennsylvania


Silver Star

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Second Lieutenant Michael O. Stick (MCSN: 0-102306), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company D, First Battalion, Fourth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. During the early morning hours on 2 February 1968, the Cam Lo District Headquarters came under heavy artillery, mortar and recoilless rifle fire followed by a well coordinated ground attack by a numerically superior enemy force. In the initial moments of the fire fight, Second Lieutenant Stick immediately rushed to the forward portion of the defensive perimeter to evaluate the tactical situation and direct his men. Realizing the urgency of the situation, he radioed a request for illumination and artillery fire which he skillfully adjusted upon the advancing enemy. As the attackers launched a fierce ground assault, Second Lieutenant Stick, accompanied by a radioman and a grenadier, fearlessly exposed himself to the intense enemy fire as he climbed to the top of a forty-foot observation tower in order to more effectively observe the enemy's movements and direct his men in the defense of the compound. Although suffering from a fragmentation wound in his hip, he resolutely remained in his precarious position and continued to direct artillery fire and shout instructions to the personnel along the defensive perimeter. His superb leadership and selfless actions throughout the five-hour battle inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in repulsing the attackers, accounting for 144 enemy confirmed killed, 100 probable killed, the capture of thirty-eight soldiers and the confiscation of numerous weapons and items of equipment. By his determined fighting spirit, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty, Second Lieutenant Stick upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: February 2, 1968

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Company: Company D

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 4th Marines

Division: 3d Marine Division (Rein.), FMF