Quotes about the Mayaguez Incident

Return to the Media index

Being a Truck Driver I (Larry Barnet) have had a lot of opportunity to hear a lot of great quotes related  to May, 15 1975. Here are some of my favorites. If you have one that you would like added send us a line.  Lbarnet777@aol.com 

Told by Capt. Jim Davis at Gunny Mac's funeral, referencing the final withdrawl from West Beach. -- "Gunny I don't think we're gonna get to have that beer in Subic." Gunny's response "Thats what I like about you Jim your always thinkin about the important shit."


Col Johnson Commander of Ground Forces during his after action debrief.  -- "I have seen some squad leadering in the sky before but this beats all I've ever seen."


Capt. Jim Davis. -- "When you got your elbows in the sand and your feet in the water you don't own much real estate."


Lt. Mike Cicere. -- "We started handing out grenades like popcorn"


Lt. Harry T. Williams. -- "I took a nap"




Lt. Dick Keith's when he thought the chopper was going down on the way back to Utapo. (in fact they were headed towards the Coral Sea.) -- "Yeah, this is about right considering how our day has been going. Now we're going swimming"


GYSGT Francis A. McGowin. -- "One of my young Marines from years before rose to the rank of Major in the intelligence field. While at III MAF, he decided to look at the top secret Koh Tang file. It no longer exsists. Everything including opinions, conclusions, and blame has been destroyed."


RM2 Eddie (EJ) Oswalt. From the Wilson Squawk Box Recordings. -- "I'm gonna smoke a cigarette."


Lt. John (Cool Hand) Lucas. -- Shortly after the crash of K-23 on the East Beach Lucas made contact with Cricket and was trying to give them the position of the downed Marines.     To which Cricket sharply replied -- "Get off the net we're trying to find a downed chopper with Marines."


Courtesy of Edd Protho. -- "When you're up to your ass in alligators, its often difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the damn swamp." - Unknown


The next 2 are from:  A Very Short War, The Mayaguez and the Battle of Koh Tang by John F. Guilmartin, Jr. (Flew 119 combat missions over Southeast Asia as an Air Force helicopter pilot)

“The bedrocks on which all rested was the ability of the marines on the ground to quickly organize themselves and respond to an unanticipated tactical situation”. pg#153

“The problem was resolved and catastrophe averted not by superior high-level communications but in spite of them. It was done by subordinate commanders, junior officers, and NCOs acting on their own initiative in response to the demands of the tactical situation, employing a general awareness of strategic objectives and policy goals. They did what they had to do to insure the survival for their fellows and the preservation of national honor. It was to them that success was due”. pg#156


One day, a long time ago, you and your Brothers in Arms made history. You truly walked with giants.  Keep that memory faithful and be true to your Brothers and Yourself.
Semper Fi        Francis McGowin S-2 Officer 2/9 May 75