Panel 9E, Line 59
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This is a letter from Tom Gainer to Phillip's mother, returning his dog tags..see picture above.
February 12, 2002
Mrs. Myra Pierce
Dear Mrs. Pierce:
By way of an introduction, this is Tom Gainer; I served with your son Phillip in the Marine Corps in Vietnam and recently spoke with you regarding the return of his dog tag. I had known Phillip since early in the year of 1966 when we first met at Camp Pendleton when the company and battalion were forming up.
Phillip and I were in the same squad and platoon together, the 3rd. We were known as the ď3rd heardĒ by the rest of the company. Phillip and I went on liberty together a couple of times with some other guys while we were in the Philippines, Japan and Okinawa and shared a few beers and a few laughs. I do remember that we often shared a smoke or two when one of us was out of cigarettes and we often swapped our C Rations around. He was the sort of Marine who always, when he could, wear his cover (hat) sort of pushed back on his head, rather than down in front as it should be. He was a good man and a very decent person. I wish there was more I could share with you, but itís been so long ago that itís difficult to remember a lot of the details regarding the good or bad times we had together.
He was a good, strong Marine, easy going, with a sense of purpose and a dry sense of humor, someone you could count on and well liked by everyone. I donít recall talking with him the day he was killed. I did see him briefly right before the ambush and we may have exchanged a couple of words as we always did. I certainly remember the circumstances under which he was killed, but I feel those details would only bring you renewed pain, and that is certainly the last thing I want to do.
All of us who served with your son and who came home have not and will not ever forget him or others of our company who did not. They and their loved ones will always hold a very special place in our hearts and in the hearts of all Marines, for we as Marines are brothers and we are all part of a family. And you Mrs. Pierce, like your son, are also part of the Marine Corps family now and forever.
I remember when the company had itís first reunion after 30 years in 1996 in Washington DC. Your son and the others in our company were remembered and forever will be remembered with a moment of silent prayer for them and for their families. As each of us touched their names on The Wall we each reflected on times long ago and the brothers we lost.
I sincerely hope the enclosed will bring you some peace, some good memories and some closure after these many years. If there is anything you need or questions you have, please do not hesitate to contact me. From your Marine Corps family and the men who served with your son, Semper Fi.