Military Monday: PFC Carroll James Hebert
The year was 1966. Private First Class Carroll James Hebert was a very proud Marine. He’d only been in the Corps for little more than a year, serving as a Reservist, when he was killed in action during a small arms ground battle in hostile territory. He was hit in the neck and instantly killed. The combat area was in the province of Quang Nam, in Military Region 1, of South Vietnam. PFC Hebert was serving with “G” Company, 2nd Battalion, 5TH MARINES, 1ST MAR DIV, III MAF, United States Marine Corps from his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana.
For his valor he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Gold Star Medals. His body was recovered and is buried next to his parents in Lafayette’s Calvary Cemetery. Carroll was only 21 years of age and single. He was born on September 7, 1945 and died on November 29, 1966 in Tam Kỳ, Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). PFC Hebert’s Service Number is 2172437.
I was only 12 years old when I attended his funeral. He is my father’s baby brother. I will never forget that day.
Historically, the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines is an Infantry battalion that is headquartered in Camp Pendleton, in Southern California. According to their website, the battalion “conducts expeditionary, combined-arms, and mechanized operations in order to support theater engagement plans and contingency operations.”
The battalion was formed in 1914 to keep the peace in the Dominican Republic and Haiti during political unrest. They were soon on their way to France to join their brothers in World War I and were twice awarded the French “Croix de guerre” with Palm. To this day, members of the Battalion wear the French “Fourragere” representing this award.
The 2/5 Infantry battalion, consisting of between 800 and 1,200 Marines, is the most highly decorated battalion in the Marine Corps. Their motto, “Retreat, Hell!”, comes from the French trenches of World War I, when a Marine officer named Lloyd W. Williams was ordered to retreat and replied, “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!”
The battalion has seen combat in World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. It has been deployed many times to support troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom and continues to serve in the War on Terror. It has been the subject of movies such as “Full Metal Jacket”, and has been portrayed in books, such as “The Corps”, who served during the Battle of Guadalcanal.
In April 1966, the Battalion deployed to the Republic of Vietnam and served there until 1971. During this time, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines participated in combat operations at Hue City, in 1968, and was one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the entire Vietnam War (1959-1975). They also fought heavily in Que Son, Phu Bai, Dong Ha, and Phu Loc.
CARROLL J HEBERT is on the Wall at Panel 12E Line 129. Details can be found at Find A Grave Memorial# 17363762.
May his sacrifice not be forgotten.