Sowell, Jimmie, Sgt

 Service Photo 
 Service Details
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Current Service Status
USMC Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Current/Last Primary MOS
0231-Intelligence Specialist
Current/Last MOSGroup
Previously Held MOS
0300-Basic Infantryman
Primary Unit
1966-1967, 0231, 1st Bn, 1st Marine Regiment (1/1), 1st Marine Regiment
Service Years
1965 - 1967
Official/Unofficial USMC Certificates
Certificate of Commendation
Cold War Certificate



 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

US Marines Corps Honorable Discharge Cold War Medal Vietnam Veteran 50th Commemoration Cold War

 Military Association Memberships
Post 259Chapter 106
  2003, American Legion, Post 259 (Member at Large) (Paradise, California) [Verified]
  2017, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 106 (Member ) (Paradise, California)

 Photo Album   (More...

Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)/Operation Liberty I
Start Year
End Year

During June 1966, three Marine infantry regiments (eight battalions) were based in areas surrounding Da Nang, located roughly, in the center of the I Corps Tactical Zone. Major General Wood B. Kyle commanded the Third Marine Division.

The First Marine Regiment, commanded by Colonel Bryan B. Mitchell, arrived at Da Nang from Chu Lai and was assigned to the eastern flank.

The 3d Marines, under the command of Col Harold A. Hayes, was placed west of the Yen River, south of Da Nang.

The 9th Marines, fresh from Golden Fleece operations (protecting locally grown rice) and County Fairs (pacification operations), was commanded by Col Edwin H. Simmons.

The regiment's area of operation covered 257 square miles and consisted of 27 villages, 150 hamlets and more than 88,000 civilians. Included in this zone of responsibility was the An Hoa industrial complex.

As the 9th Marines patrolled, contact with the enemy increased. Intense but short encounters were common. The Viet Cong would "hit and git."

The three regiments would join in Operation Liberty, which began on June 7, 1966.

The Viet Cong had grown daring. They were part of the R-20 battalion. During late May, Lieutenant Colonel William F. Doehler's 1st Bn, 9th Marines made contact with the enemy near the Yen River. Companies A and C (1/9), accompanied by M-48 tanks and supported by air and artillery, responded.

During the daylong battle, 53 enemy were killed, probably more. However, bodies had "disappeared," and a body count could not be made. Doehler lost a dozen Marines killed, and another 31 were wounded.

Col Simmons realized that his regiment's significant contacts with the enemy were all initiated by the VC. They picked the time and place to battle the Marines. During May, the 9th Marines killed 270 while suffering 75 dead and 328 wounded. More than half of the Marine casualties were caused by enemy mines and booby traps.

Col Simmons rearranged the enemy's schedule. His Marines would perform more search and clear operations, including cordons and searches of every hamlet in the zone.

As the Marines began Operation Liberty, LtCol Van D. "Ding Dong" Bell Jr. (1/1) and his command group climbed aboard three Ontos. South of the Marble Mountain Air Facility, Bell's vehicle ran out of gas. The area was definitely "unfriendly," and soon enemy rounds were impacting into the zone temporarily occupied by LtCol Bell's command section.

Bell ordered reinforcements from his Co B, supported by amtracs and tanks. The armored vehicles roared and rolled to the rescue, and 11 VC bodies and a number of weapons were later found.

As Operation Liberty progressed, the enemy remained concealed, using sniper fire and mines against the advancing and probing Marines. Captain Carl Reckewell's F/2/9 patrolled unknowingly into a large enemy minefield near the La Tho River. Two Marines were killed; 21 were wounded.

As those casualties were being evacuated, another four or five explosions occurred. The adjacent elephant grass caught fire, but there were no other casualties there. The "Fox" Co Marines were withdrawn from the minefield, and Marine artillery pounded the vacated area. Numerous secondary explosions were heard and observed.

Operation Liberty was not one of the "big" operations, but it did clear the area south of Da Nang of organized enemy resistance, and two weeks later, Marine engineers celebrated the opening of "Liberty Road" which wandered south from Da Nang to the industrial complex of An Hoa.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
To Year
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
Personal Memories
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
Bn Scouts Tent
Buddies in Vietnam
Sowell in Okinawa

  58 Also There at This Battle:
  • Acosta, Frank, GySgt
  • Barnhart, Glenn, Pvt, (1963-1967)
  • Beckley, Louis, LCpl, (1965-1969)
  • Bianchino, Mike, MSgt, (1956-1987)
  • Bickerton, John, Sgt, (1965-1974)
  • Black, Terry, Sgt, (1964-1968)
  • Brooks, Kenneth, HM3, (1959-1967)
  • Camil, Scott, Sgt, (1965-1969)
  • Crawford, Duane, Maj, (1953-1979)
  • Denicola, Anthony, Cpl, (1963-1967)
  • Flatebo, Gary, Cpl, (1965-1969)
  • Fraser, Mike, PFC, (1963-1967)
  • Garcia, Martin, Cpl, (1965-1969)
  • Halverson, Lee, Capt, (1965-1989)
  • Huddleston, Thomas, SSgt, (1962-1969)
  • Jenkins, Charles, Sgt, (1965-1971)
  • Kuzmick, Kenneth, HM3, (1963-1967)
  • Messick, Brent, Cpl, (1965-1967)
  • Randall, Bruce, LCpl, (1964-1969)
  • Siegfried, Clifford, Sgt, (1964-1969)
  • Simington, Robert, Sgt, (1964-1967)
  • Triano, Bernie, Cpl, (1963-1967)
  • Turner, Mark, Sgt, (1964-1971)
  • Walker, Michael, Cpl, (1964-1967)
  • Ward, Thomas E., Cpl, (1964-1968)
  • Wolanzyk, Joseph, Sgt, (1964-1968)
  • Woods, Dana, Sgt, (1963-1967)
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