L/CPL Robert J. Slattery, Det #206, "SCUTTLEBUTT NEWS", Apr 2022 - #4
ALPHA CO. 1/1 - APRIL 1968

It is early April of 1968 and Alpha Co. 1/1 resupplied boarded trucks to transport us up to Khe Sanh to relieve the 26th Marines on the Hills of Khe Sanh.

We got as far as Dong Ha and then the Rock Pile and set up on the Hill tops overlooking the Base and Airfield. We climbed to the top of the Hill and I don't recall how high but is was high and exhausting to get to the top.

We would go down the hill every morning, noon and supper time for hot chow so we didn't have to eat C - Rats. Thinking back now it was dumb because by the you got back up the Hill you were hungry again and ate the C-Rats anyway.

I remember we would run patrols along the Highway and be escorted by a tank. We would hitch a ride on the tank instead of walking and one day we took some small arms fire while on the tank. The tank commander appear and told us to get off the tank they had to get out of there because we were taking fire. We all looked at each other and cracked up laughing thinking "are you shittin' me, your inside a ton of metal and we're on top exposed and you want to run away". We refused to get off and there was nothing the tank commander could do.

It must have been the middle to late April when we finally boarded trucks and left Dong Ha headed up Highway 9 to Khe Sanh. When we reached Khe Sanh Alpha Co was assigned to Hill 861 and 861A. My platoon and squad were on 861 while first Platoon with Eddie Neas was on 861A. During our three (3) months stay on Hill 861, 1st and 2nd Platoons would rotate between locations.

It was on Hill 861A were Cpl. Eddie Neas received his Third (3rd) and final Purple Heart and was evacuated out of Khe Sanh never to return. He told me years later that he spent the rest of his Tour out of harm's way.

We were shelled regularly by the enemy and men were killed and wounded but we stayed on the Hill and ran patrols everyday to the adjacent hills to find the Mortar squad that were lobbing the shells at us.

The Company CO Ray Smith got tired of the shelling and sent us out with orders to find and silence and destroy the mortars. We did just that. We went out and hid and waited for the enemy mortar team to arrive and when they least expected it we pounced on them and silenced the tube then destroyed it using incendiary grenades. The plan worked for awhile but then the bastards came back with long range mortars or rockets that proved harder to find and destroy some we did others not much.

We would stay on this hill for three (3) months without a shower or change of clothes. We didn't the stench because we all smelled the same and the enemy could smell us because we smelled just like them.

Junior Vice Commandant

Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act 2021

Members of MCL Slattery and any other 100 % Service-Connected Disabled Veterans whose dependents are receiving VA Chapter 35 Dependents Education Benefits. November 30, 2021, the Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act was signed into law. This legislation enables those dependents who are receiving Chapter 35 DEA Education benefits to attend any state Institution that is out of state at the in-state tuition rate without having to be a resident. It effectively establishes only the in-state tuition rate to be charged for those specific dependents.

For many veterans’ dependents, this opens the door to attend any State or Public University at the in-state tuition rate and not have to pay the out of State Tuition rate. For many families with college age students, the out of state rate charged has for years limited choices of which schools application was submitted to. Some Universities have out of state tuition mark ups as high as 7 times the in-state rate for those that live there. No longer will Veterans’ Dependents that Qualify and received Chapter 35 Benefits have to worry about the cost or residency attached for that rate. The Law becomes effective August of 2022 for the Fall Semester.

To refresh what Chapter 35 is; The Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) program provides VA education benefits, including tuition, housing and book stipends, to the children or spouse of a servicemember who is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, died while on active duty prior to 9/11, or dies as a result of a service-connected disability.

I have attached an explanation of the Law. I was informed of this through My Gulf War Veterans Group. Please pass it on to Veterans you come in contact with, who are 100% P&T Service Connected and have dependents eligible for DEA Chapter 35. (see next page)

Stanley Zon
L/Cpl. Robert J Slattery Detachment, # 206, Marine Corps League