Mike Company               

Third Battalion, Fifth Marines

RVN, 1966 -1971
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Sam Cole Jr.

samcole1x1.jpg (5568 bytes)

Jerry Lomax remembers Sam Cole in the following tribute.

Sam was really well liked by everybody. He was the kind of Marine everybody could depend on when that time came. He was with the M-60 machine gun crew of Mike Company. The picture was made about 1 week before he was killed in the mountains at Hai Van Pass just to his right background.

On May 7, 1968, Mike Company, 3/5, 1st Marine Division, left on a reconnaisance mission in the mountains above Lanco Bridge at Hai Van Pass. We were told that we weren't expecting any trouble, so just relax. Mike Company had a pretty rough climb because the mountain was steep. In spite of the struggle, it was one of the prettiest places I had ever seen. The company spent the night next to a mountain stream that looked more like the Rockies or Smokies. It was so much unlike the scenery of Vietnam, that the mind easily wandered away to home. It was enjoyable.

On May 8, the "relaxation" ended with AK-47s and machine guns being fired at us. Mike Company was ambushed coming up a marked trail in the center of our column. I did not see Sam all day on the 8th. On May 9, in the morning after 11:00 a. m., Sam came up to my thick tree where I was taking cover after being shot in the arm. Sam was okay even though he had been knicked by a bullet. He came up to see how I was doing. I told him that I was fine even though I lost a lot of blood. He said that he was feeling a little dizzy so he just laid down on a moderate slope close to the tree. I remember that I told him to lay where I was because of the protection from the tree and the incoming fire was more than sporadic. He said he was okay and he lay on his back about 10 yards from where I was. He said the slope would give him protection because of the angle he was, besides the fire was from behind, not in front. I called out to him every so often, he never answered, and I thought he was just asleep because we had all had very little sleep. So many guys were being brought in from being wounded or killed from the mess around us, my mind switched to helping take care of these guys. We had already had many casualties from earlier that day. Later, I remember someone came up to me and said Cole was dead. I was shocked, because he was still just 10 yards from me. Sam had caught a bullet square between the eyes. There was practically no blood, with a neat, little hole. This proved that Mike Company was basically surrounded in a horseshoe type area. He still had his arms behind his head as if he was still asleep. He must have been shot not long after he lay down. Today, I wish that I had checked on him sooner, or at least made him get behind that tree. My mind was just concentrating on helping those who were brought to the area.

Sam will be remembered always, because he was one of us. God rest his soul.