Vietnam veteran Bob Haseman highlights Memorial Day ceremony in Helena

CURT SYNNESS For the Independent Record

Three years ago, on the 50th anniversary of what might be considered the benchmark of his service in Vietnam, Marine Bob Haseman returned to Southeast Asia to the same jungle area where as a 21-year-old lieutenant he had served as a platoon commander.

“We operated out of firebases placed on dominant hilltops,” Haseman, now 73, told the group of about 65 people gathered for the American Legion’s Lewis and Clark Post 2 Memorial Day ceremony on Monday. “The firebases were usually manned by a 40-man platoon or a company with about 120 Marines. The one firebase that stands out was FSB Russell, 3 miles below the DMZ.

“When I was there in September 1969 my company was preparing Russell to be destroyed and abandoned because the Marines were soon to be withdrawn. On Sept. 21, Marine engineers came to Russell to set explosive charges in all the bunkers intending to blow up the base after we evacuated.”

But a cigarette was tossed into a fuel pit, a fire started, and the hill began to explode. Fifteen Marines were injured and four were killed.

People are also reading…

View Source