Ray Earley

Ray (Naquonabe) EarleyRay (Naquonabe) Earley is a Native American from the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota, USA.

Ray served in the United States Marine Corps from October 1963 to February 1968. His service included two tours of service in Vietnam: the first in 1965 with Headquarters, 9th M.E.B. and the second in 1967-1968 with Bravo Company, 1st Motor Transport Battalion


1967… Bravo Company. 1st Motors were west of Quang Tri snug in our minefield motor pool, in support of 1st Marines. By this time, two “Bouncing Bettys” had been set off with no casualties to any; we wuz lucky.

Those of us who made the resupply runs to the line company heard the grunts speaking of how quiet “I” Corps had become, making some of the “short timers” nervous. One of them expressed himself by yelling out, “We is gonna be in the shit soon; I kin smell it comin’…”

Some spirits were had by members of Bravo Company. This seemed to me to not help their attitude as they just sat sullen; most recalling Christmases past in their homes. Some had received packages, others had cut a tree, decorating it and hanging it in their maintenance hootch.

Christmas ever, I caught guard duty. We had a 50 Caliber sandbagged in atop the water tower located over at Regiment; cold and wet sitting atop this 60 foot tower.

At midnight I was looking north towards the airstrip when I noticed a few popup flares going up. “Oh! Oh!” I thought. All at once the whole sky was lit by mortar and arty flares along with red tracers being fired into the night sky.

I stood up, forgetting my cold, wet misery, and, turning in a circle, I could see as far south as down to Phu Bai Evans. They were doing the same – it was the greatest fireworks display I had ever seen. As JD* (John Denver) woulda said, “Far Out…”

A New Years spectacle followed.

January 30, 1968 – Hue

It was the Tet. Some of the 1st Motors were in Hue in support of 1/1 and 2/5. Some trucks were used to medevac wounded grunts to Phu Bai. I heard a familiar voice shouting, “Dun told you all we gonna be in the shit!”

After 35 years, I sit thinking of that Christmas; we need some fireworks…!!!

Wishing you and yours a good New Year.

Semper Fi…!