John F. McCullagh

Silver Star - 3,648 Points (09/28/1954 / Flushing)

The Mayaguez Incident - Poem by John F. McCullagh

Look and find our names upon The Wall,
Hargrove, Hall and Marshall were our names.
We were three men that were left behind,
three Marines still owed honorable graves.

Marines took back the hijacked Mayaguez
and recovered all her crewmen safe and well
But while our mission accomplished its objective
The Ninth Marines were ferried into hell.

The helicopters took us to the island,
Koh Tang, in the Southern China sea
The Khmer Rouge were dug in on the island
prepared for an assault from air or sea.

They say it was a failure of Intelligence-
The crew of The Mayaguez was moved before
The 2nd battalion forces first were landed
Upon that hostile beach, that deadly shore

Lieutenant Col. Randall Austin was commanding
Our perimeter was shrinking by the hour
Our landing force had taken heavy losses
Some died upon the beach, more drowned offshore.

It happened in perimeter reduction
we three men were forgotten in our hole.
When Helicopters flew the rest to safety
We were left behind on the atoll.

Some say we died that day, some say after
Reports are we were tortured and then killed.
Some claim we were forgotten by our nation.
But our names are on The Wall- you never will.

Look and find our names upon The Wall,
Hargrove, Hall and Marshall were our names.
We were three men that were left behind,
three Marines still owed honorable graves.


On May 15,1975, two weeks after the last Americans fled Saigon, the men of the fourth
and Ninth Marines were ordered to retake the U.S.S. Mayaguez and rescue her crew. The
ship had been seized by elements of the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. It was mistakenly
believed that the crew were being held hostage on Koh Tang Island, Cambodia. While
the 4th Marines Delta Company successfully boarded and retook the Mayaguez, the ninth
Marines were landing on the beach at Koh Tang. Officially, the second battalion of the
Ninth Marine Regiment lost 18 dead,41 wounded and three MIA. In addition 7 of 8
assault helicopters that took part in the original assault were destroyed.
This last battle of the Vietnam War era was a tragedy of errors. The Marines were sent to
rescue crewmen who were no longer on the Island. The crew was rescued elsewhere. The
Khmer Rouge troops on the Island were expecting an attack by the Viet Cong as the
island was the subject of a territorial dispute. The marines were sent in, based on faulty
intelligence, against a force whose strength and dispositions had been badly
underestimated by our leaders. The fire fight on the Island was so fierce that the dead
had to be left where they had fallen.
Lance Corporal John N. Hargrove, PFC Gary L Hall and Danny G. Marshall’s names
appear on panel 1W lines 130-131 of the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C. They
are the last combat fatalities of the Vietnam conflict. Not all heroes are buried in
Arlington Cemetery


Comments about The Mayaguez Incident by John F. McCullagh

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Saturday, February 6, 2010



[Report Error]