The following Empty Chairs sit at the table which is the life of Greg "Doc" Lutes, a Cap Vet:
I was a Navy Corpsman who served with the 2nd Combined Action Group, 4th Combined Action Company, Combined Action Platoons 2-4-3, 2-4-2, 2-4-1 and 2-4-6 in Quan Hieu Nohn/Quan Dien Ban Districts, RVN (70-71).
This is a list of some of my friends:
DAANE, DOUGLAS J. HM3 USN. He came to the CAP Program in April of 1970. I broke him in to his CAP duties. He was very good with the children in the Hamlets. A very caring individual. He was killed on 1 Jun 70.
PERSELY, RICKY E. PFC USMC. He was the "Gun-Man" M60 gunner, who I became friends with when I came down from 3rd CAG. He was a "Bush wise" Marine that taught me the gun. We used to rotate our weapons in our Cap unit. I was very close to him. He was killed on 1 Jun 70.
WILLIS, GLENN LEE LCPL USMC. He was a Marine rifleman and becoming a "shorttimer" when he was killed on 1 Jun 70.
JERGENSON, RICKEY L. PFC USMC. He was an FNG to the Caps. He was from Texas. He was killed on 1 Jun 70.
GIEGEL, JAMES L. LCPL USMC/GOSSELIN(GOOSE), ROBERT J. LCPL USMC/ and SCOTT, ROBERT E. CPL USMC were killed when they were ambushed on a trail. SCOTTY took over as the assistant corpsman for Cap 2-4-1 because our attrition rate for Corpsmen was high. He was damn good. He thought that he might want to go into medicine when he got back to "the world". He took out two VC sappers before he succumbed to AK and bayonet wounds.
All three died on 26 May 70.
HANDERHAN, PAUL W. LCPL USMC. Was our Assistant Actual. He was killed when myself and two other Marines got hit at the "Orchard". I am the only one to return to the Caps. He was killed on 25 April 70.
FISHER, ARTHUR SGT USMC. Was originally from Great Britain. He was an Actual that was killed on "Bad Guys Island" when him and Cap 2-4-5 hit the shit. We reacted for his Cap. Later I had to identify what was left of his body. I can still recall his deep Cockney accent. He died on 20 Nov 70.
JUSTICE, DON M. CPL USMC. Was an Actual for Cap 2-4-5 that was also killed on "Bad Guys Island". He died on 7 Sept 70. Art Fisher replaced him as Actual. Don was a "shorttimer".
PYLE, JERRY W. LTC USAF. Was "Lopez Control". Flew a OV2 spotter plane. He saved the lives of a 4 man day patrol from Cap 2-4-2 when he spotted Charlie outflanking the patrol from the air. He took out 2 VC before they brought him down. We reacted and had a running gunfight with Charlie and recovered the LTC's body. I hope his family was awarded some kind of decoration from the Air Force other than the Heart. He was a brave man. He was killed on 11 May 70.
WEBBER, JAMES T. PFC USMC: A new kid on the block. Very likeable kid from the "Great White North". Cap 2-4-3. He took a M79 grenade round to the head from "The Phantom Blooper"(VC) at "The Alamo". He was killed on the 28 Jun 70.
KELLEY(KILLER KELLEY), MAHLON L. SGT USMC. A Cap Actual that last worked out of Hoa Vang District. He was a legend to us in the later Caps. Been in the Cap program continously since 67. Charlie had a hell of a "Bounty" on his head. A very soft spoken Marine, but you could see in his eyes he had been there too long. He was ending his last extension and was told he had to go home, that he couldn't extend again. The "official records" states that he tripped a booby-trapped LAAW and was killed. What we heard and was told by a Cpl in his Cap 2-7-9 was that he was showing the new Actual around the AO when one of the Marines who was carrying a LAAW bumped it against a grave stone. It went off killing him and 2 others. We believe the Cpl. I last saw Kelley a couple of days before he was killed in CAG HQ's trying to fight his orders home. He wanted to stay. At least Charlie was never able to collect on the "Bounty". He was killed on the 8 Jun 70.
ROE HOPSON. He was the actual for Cap 2-4-2. I saw him at CACO 2-4 compound. I was there one morning to be medically resupplied. He was there to discuss Cap business with Lt. Johnson, our CO. Later as I was leaving for my Cap, I saw him getting ready to go back to his unit. I asked him how his cap was doing and we started to talk about the Cap mission. He made a profound statement that was buried in my brain for many years, only to be rewakened by a post another Cap Marine had made on alt.war.vietnam just a few days ago. He said, " You know, Doc, that no matter who wins this war, we lose." A few weeks later he was killed when Cap 2-4-2 was destroyed. KIA: 1 Jun 1970.
To my Marines and to the Colonel. I will sum it up in two words: