U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam
When First Lieutenant Paul W. Bush of Greenville arrived in Vietnam during April, 1967, he was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines at Khe Sanh, just south of the border with North Vietnam.
During the summer of 1967, Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army units began a massive buildup of forces in the area. For 77 days, the base was under constant attack by North Vietnamese ground forces, mortar, and artillery attacks. Enemy forces completely surrounded the camp.
Because the Command Chronologies of the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines have been published, we can read detailed accounts of what occurred during that entire time period. Take, for example, 22 March 1968. It lists 74 items for that one day, ranging from hundreds of rounds of incoming rockets, artillery, and mortar fire, to the filling of 50 sandbags.
Each entry is identified by time and serial number:
0003 hours (12:03 a.m.) – Serial number 1 – Company B rec’d two 82mm mortar rounds from azimuth 152
0010 – 2 – Co. B received one artillery round from 152
0047 – 3 – Co. B received one artillery round from 245
0620 – 8 – LP (listening post) 1 has returned
1310 – 24 – WIA report: shrapnel, right arm left leg, non serious
1637 – 31 – man hit his head on nail while entering bunker
2040 – 49 – all LPs have departed
2350 – 68 – Rec’d unknown number of incoming artillery and rockets, including direct hit on C Co. command post. Unknown amount of friendly WIA and KIA at this time. Final spot report will follow.
2350 – 74 – Progress report: 1. Completed construction of wall for FDC bunker. 2. Continued work on comm. personnel bunker. 3. Improved H&S office. 4. Worked on two living bunkers.
For the friends and family of First Lieutenant Paul W. Bush, including his new wife Patty, the only item that matters is item 68: the direct hit on C Company’s command post. The after-action report tells that the it killed three Marines. One of them was Lt. Bush. Another hit in the second platoon area killed two more Marines.
“He was a really bright guy,” said his brother, James Busch. “He graduated from Thiel in 1966 magna cum laude. He joined the Marines because he knew he was going to be drafted.”
On the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel 45E Line 54