Profile: Al Santos; KIA, 2nd Plt, Mike Co., 4
September 1967, Operation Swift
During the summer of '67, 3/5's CP was on Hill 20-something, somewhere
between Tam Ky and DaNang. This was before we all moved to Thang Bien which
was just several miles south of Da Nang. During that period, when 3/5 wasn't
in the field, you all supported the perimeter for four 155 Howitzers of
Whiskey Battery 2/11. It was during this period I met LCpl Al Santos. We
spent a lot of time just talking. During one of our earlier conversations, I
discovered he knew and had been a partner of one of my best friends, a kid
that grew up across the hall from me in the same apartment building on
Chicago's westside. My intent is to share those few memories about Al, that I
can recall. Perhaps in the future someone else can add to this.
Al joined the Corps in '64. He spent sometime in Hawaii, prior to shipping
out for his first Nam tour. Yes, Al was one of those privileged few who had
two tours. He spent his first tour in 2/4 with a good friend of mine, John
Daley. After that tour Al returned to Camp Pendleton and was assigned to
MCB. He and John spent several months in the MPss, often working the main
gate or the brig. I believe in September of '66 Al was blessed with orders
back to Nam. I'm not sure if he spent the earlier part of this 2nd tour with
3/5. However, he was with Mike from May '67 until his death.
We use to talk a lot about back home nothing more specific then "I can't wait
to get the hell out of here type stuff," and about our antics when on
liberty etc.. He was just a regular guy like the rest of us.
The last time we spoke, in late August, we were anxious about going home. We
both had about 30 days left on our tour. We were going to be home the first
week in October. Al was killed on Operation Swift, 4 Sept '67, three weeks
before he was to go home for good after two tours.
Sgt. Mike Hayes
Fox & Whiskey 2/11
PS: John Daley died in '72 as a civilian. The result of Nam injuries.