Vietnam War Memorial
2:00 p.m. on Sunday,
October 27, 2002 at Veterans Memorial Park
to the Memory of
Thomas J. Holden
Michael J. Macarell
[Story & photos] [Photos Group 2]
[Proclamation][Acknowledgments][Record Story Oct. 24, 2003]
Robert Patrick Gandil
Co. E, 2nd Battalion
1st Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
Class of 61.
married in Nov. 1965 to a Hasbrouck Hts girl, class if 64. In less than two months,
he answered his Countrys call and left for Parris Island, South Carolina in early
January. From Boot Camp to his arrival in Vietnam, Robert probably had no more than two to
four weeks leave to say good-bye to his family. While in training, his wife joined him and
lived in a trailer, outside Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. When Robert left for Schools
Battalion and then Staging Battalion, his wife returned to Hasbrouck Heights to be with
her family and wait for word from her husband.
While on patrol in the vicinity of La Tho Bac (3) Hamlet, Quang Nam Province in search for
the body of his close friend, Bobs third platoon engaged in a firefight with
elements of the Viet Cong. During this confrontation Bob was mortally wounded by small
arms fire and was instantly killed. As stated in a letter to Bobs parents, Capt. T.
M. Pratt, company commander, wrote, "Your son was held in high esteem by his fellow
Marines and he will be keenly missed by all who knew him. He was an outstanding Marine and
a credit to his Country and Corps". In all his correspondence to his family, Bob
never complained and never let on the difficulty or the dangers of the War. Instead, he
requested the family send him candy to distribute to the children of this war torn land.
KIA Sunday, 18
December 1966, Quang Nam, 23 yrs old
Purple Heart (Posthumously)
survived by his wife of 12 months, both parents, a brother and three sisters.
Thomas James Holden
1st LT, U.S.M.C.
Co. H, 2nd Battalion
3rd Marine Regiment
1st Platoon Commander
Co. G, 2/3
H.S., Rutherford Class of 59, earned nine varsity letters
Academy, Class of 64
Played in the
1964 Cotton Bowl for the National Championship vs. Texas as the starting linebacker.
Accounted for 12 unassisted tackles. The quarterback of that team was Roger Staubach.
Quantico, VA, The Basic School
for the Quantico Marines and earned "All-Marine" honors
Allegheny - awarded Silver Star, Purple Heart
promoted to Exec. Officer of Golf Co.
While his former
1st platoon was pinned down by heavy volume of automatic weapons fire, 1st
Lt. Holden led 3rd platoon to aid the 1st, against the wishes of the
Company C.O. Lt. Holden conspicuously exposed himself to enemy fire while directing 3rd
Platoons base of fire. Upon learning that the 1st Platoon Commander and
Sergeant were wounded, Lt. Holden took over command to extract the 1st Platoon.
While attempting to gain superiority and attack the enemy, Lt. Holden, fell mortally
wounded by a single round through his heart.
KIA Saturday, 22
October 1966, AN HOA, 25 yrs old
Awarded a second
Silver Star (Posthumously), Purple Heart (Posthumously)
The following is
an excerpt from a letter written by one of Holdens Naval Academy classmates to a
young Marine officer in 1997. The young officer was the son of Holdens Naval Academy
"I was with Tom when he decided to become an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He
knew that war was coming in Vietnam and he rightfully felt that he would best be able to
serve his country and the Corps as an infantry platoon commander. Once in combat, he
proved the wisdom of that decision. Tom was an inspired combat leader one of the
best. His men loved him. Your letter inspired me to reread the documents that chronicled
his courage and leadership under fire during his 10 months in Vietnam. In doing so, I was
deeply moved. In the true sense, Tom Holden was a man of honor, of courage and of
/s/ C. C. Krulak, General, U.S.M.C., Commandant of the Marine Corps
survived by his father
Michael Joseph Macarell
3rd Plt., Co. C, 4th Battalion,
31st Infantry Regiment
196th Light Infantry Brigade
H.S., Class of 64
soldiers unanimously agree that Mike never complained and never shirked his responsibility
or tried to get out of work. He was always ready, willing and able. Mikes favorite
saying, "Let it ride", was unanimously adopted as the Third Platoon motto. As
told to me by his sister, Louise, "Mike was very easy-going, friendly and always
happy-go-lucky. My sister, Phyllis, and I wanted him to go to Canada, but Mike would have
none of that talk, saying that he was an American and would proudly serve his country. He
was so positive that he would come back to us. In all his letters, he would never complain
and would always end by saying, Ill see you next year ".
On this fateful day, while on routine patrol, Mikes fire team was moved forward and
Mike assumed point. A short while later, he exited a line of bamboo and tall grass into a
clearing. After traversing the clearing for about 100 meters, he bent down to fill his
canteen in a small stream. Immediately, automatic weapons fire from a well-planed ambush
opened up and wounded Mike in the stomach. While he lay there, seriously wounded, the rest
of his fire team sought cover and agonized on how to retrieve Mike. Two of them proceeded
over a small dike and grabbed Mike by the arms, dragging him back to cover. Automatic fire
hit both of Mikes would-be rescuers in the legs and one of the bullets pierced
Mikes head, killing him. As the balance of the Third Platoon came to the aid of
their comrades, a familiar battle cry could be heard by those who were pinned down
"Let It Ride".
KIA Sunday, 13
November 1966, Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin Mountain) III Corp, 20 yrs old
Star with V for Valor (Posthumously), Purple Heart (Posthumously)
Mike was engaged
to be married when he was killed. He was survived by his father and two sisters.