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Do you know this man?

You should.

Colonel John Ripley as a Captain in Vietnam.

In an interview, he said: "The idea that I would be able to even finish the job before the enemy got me was ludicrous. When you know you're not gonna make it, a wonderful thing happens: You stop being cluttered by the feeling that you're going to save your butt."

The man is John W. Ripley, Colonel, USMC.  He passed away this last week.  He was a holder of the Navy Cross (and arguably, I think, it should have been a Medal of Honor, but we weren't giving those out as the government was desperate to depart Vietnam and didn't need any heroes like that to fire the imagination, thank you very much).

He's the man who blew up the bridge at Dong-Ha, putting a severe crimp in the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive of 1972.  And he didn't just leisurely wander up to an already-prepped bridge, wire up the terminals on the blasting machine and shout "Fire in the hole!" as he twisted and pushed the plunger.  No, he prepped and wired the bridge, dangling underneath it - under fire.  That's where the quote above comes from.

I should note that in addition to his Navy Cross, he wore the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and had two Bronze Stars with "V" for valor.

If you'd to know more about battle at Dong-Ha, go visit the Anti-Chomskyan Redoubt and read, "Ripley at the Bridge"

Hear Colonel Ripley tell the story himself, in the USNI's "American's at War" series.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam for Colonel John Ripley, USMC, holder of the Navy Cross.


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A Marine hero and the first Marine inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame, Colonel John Ripley passed away in his sleep this weekend. Many of you probably don't know who John Ripley is. That is due, agreeing with John Read More

16 Comments

Guarding Heavan's Gates now....
Rest in peace, Col. Ripley.
 
Picked up the book by accident while I was working in Beijing this past year.  That was as close to an unbelieveable a story as I've ever read.  And it wasn't like he just went out once to wire the damn thing because he "had" to. 
OT but on the same war, if I don't do anything else, I want to find cronkite's grave and piss on it.
 
 A hard core man, and after the military he still had the guts to serve in higher education!
May the angels guard his family as well as he guarded our nation. I will raise a glass of Bushmill's Irish Whiskey AND a glass of Glenlivet Nadurra Single Malt Scotch in his honor tonight!

And tomorrow I will vote to honor his sacrifices so we could continue to be free!

Alan Briley, RN
Paratrooper, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
82nd Airborne Division, United States Army
 
Please don't take this the wrong way, but for some time now I have been thinking of a memorial for Jane and Walter  when they are laid to rest. I know a lot of Vets don't think much of them. But hear me out, I would like to a short monument placed on there graves with the dates they were in Vietnam. Not to big and it should tilt off to the side just a bit. I'm thinking a gold plated tube. Perhaps two and a half foot tall and six inches across.

I know a lot of old vets will make the trip to ther graves to pay there respects and it would be a great relief to use a gold plated piss tube.

JMHO

Martin
 
Ripley's actions would have been amazing if he had just made *one* trip to wire up the bridge. He did it a dozen times. He earned the MoH -- it just wasn't awarded to him.

The two companies of South Vietnamese Marines covering him fought to the last man.

No interpreters needed at Fiddler's Green -- everybody there understands each other perfectly...
 

Heroes don't come any bigger, braver, or more deserving of our honor and recognition than Major Ripley.

He truly earned the MOH for his deeds.

God bless him and his family.
 

 
I read this one.  Sometimes the best stories are true.  Amazing he lived through it really, I think he's amazed too.  May he rest in peace.


 
A  American hero, may he rest in peace and may God bless his family.
 

I read about him last night and was embarassed to admit that I'd never heard that story, until he died.  What a man. 

 
OOps..and I started to post this story a second time because I didn't scroll down far enough.  My bad.

May the only bridges he has to cross be the single foot bridge over the quiet stream just before the main field at Fiddler's Green.
 
When I saw the pic, I knew I'd seen it before. When I read the quote above the fold, I thought "Oh yeah, that's the Marine that blew the bridge".

A true Marines' Marine.

Rest in Peace, Warrior.

I don't believe Marines go to Fiddlers Green. Our tribe gets Gate Guard duty and perimeter patrol.

Semper Fi.
 
Dude, you *have* to be shi**en me.  Your lot *pass* on the Slop Chute Bar and Grill?  In what parallel universe do you live?

Manila John Basilone probably has a seat right next to the taps.

There's plenty of time for the rest.

Oh, sure, some of you may get drafted up to deal with Demons and Devils and other gatecrashers, but most of ya are bidin' your time at the Green.
 
Mr. John, sir:

Those of the USMC that make the transfer over to the non-corporeal state are tasked with Consular Guard at the main HQ, as well as all stations of diplomatic importance in the outer reaches.

There is also the main gate that must be guarded, and all potential routs of ingress. Perimeter patrols must be maintained at full strength at all times.

Then there's the select few of the few and proud, like our *Quad Body Marine who's honored in this thread. Their duty assignment tends to consist of  recon and interdiction missions into the lower depths of the deep dark pit.

Someone's gotta provide the security and over-watch for the Eternal Party for the stout hearts that have made the transition to the unphysical existence.

Semper Fi was never intended as just a cool slogan, dontcha know?

*A Quad Body denotes full training with Reconnaissance Marines, Army Rangers, Army Airborne, and British Royal Marines. (Definition provided by Corporal Seamus at Blackfive.)

 

Sorry, forgot to add:

I have it on good authority that Manila John is actually standing eternal duty as the NCOIC of the machine gun emplacement covering the most likely avenues of approach in the COP forward of the Main Gate.

 
Libation duly spilled, here. Hmm, in the song it says they're cops in Heaven. Not that I'll ever know....
 
Some personal recollections from LtCol P at OPFOR.