Bellis, Edson, Sgt

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USMC Veteran
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2531-Field Radio Operator
0169-Admin Chief
Primary Unit
1966-1967, 2531, Hotel Co, 2nd Bn, 3rd Marine Regiment (2/3)
Service Years
1965 - 1969
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Golden Dragon Certificate
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Order of the Spanish Main Certificate
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Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)/Operation Buffalo
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Operation Buffalo (2–14 July 1967) was an operation of the Vietnam War that took place in the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone, around Con Thien.

2 July

On the morning of 2 July Alpha and Bravo Companies, 1st Battalion 9th Marines made their way up north on Highway 561 and secured a crossroad as their first objective. As they went further north between Gia Binh and An Kha, near a place called "The Market Place", they made contact with the elements of the NVA 90th Regiment when sniper fire began to break out, enemy fire intensified as efforts were made by the 3rd Platoon to suppress it.

The NVA used flamethrowers in combat for the first time setting fire to hedgerows along Highway 561 forcing the Marines out into the open, exposing them to artillery, mortar and small arms fire, causing heavy casualties on A and B Companies and prevented them from linking up. B Company Headquarters was wiped out when a single NVA artillery round exploded within the command group. The company commander, Capt. Sterling K. Coates, two platoon leaders, the radio operator, forward observer and several others were killed.

Airstrikes disrupted NVA attempts to "hug" the 1st Platoon, eventually allowing the 1st Platoon and the battered 2nd Platoon to link up. 1/9's commander, LtCol Richard Schening, sent out a small rescue force involving C and D Companies supported by four tanks.[3] Using helicopter and tank fire to disperse enemy troops, D Company was able to secure a helicopter landing zone for the evacuation of casualties. C Company then continued to move north under heavy fire to rescue what was left of the two Companies.

Out of nearly 400 Marines, the two Companies suffered 84 killed, 190 wounded and 9 missing making this the worst one-day loss for the Marines in Vietnam. Only 27 Marines from B/1/9 and about 90 from A/1/9 were fit for duty after the first day.

3–5 July

On 3 July a USAF observer spotted more than 100 NVA soldiers moving south from positions north of Con Thien, Battery E, 3/12 Marines fired on them killing 75 men.
On the morning of 4 July, following 12 hours of preparatory airstrikes, 3/9 Marines supported by Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/3 Marines attacked towards the Marketplace ambush site to recover the bodies of those killed on 2 July.

3/9 Marines met heavy resistsance from the NVA southwest of the Marketplace and by the end of the day had suffered 15 dead and 33 wounded, while BLT 1/3 suffered 11 wounded.

On 5 July the Marines operating north of Con Thien came under artillery and mortar fire, but there was little ground contact and the Marines were able to collect the dead from the 2 July fighting. In the afternoon NVA soldiers were seen 3 km northeast of Con Thien and artillery and tactical air strikes were called in resulting in an estimated 200 NVA killed.

6–7 July

On the morning of 6 July BLT 2/3 ran into an NVA force north of Con Thien and killed 35 NVA for the loss of 5 killed and 25 wounded. Company A 9th Marines reinforced by the survivors of Company C and a detachment of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion moved northeast of Con Thien and established a forward fighting position. By the afternoon 1/3 and 2/3 Marines were stopped by NVA artillery fire and an aerial observer reported that 400 NVA soldiers had crossed the Ben Hai River and were heading towards the two Battalions. The NVA force was unaware of the presence of Company A 9th Marines who were able to ambush the NVA force, the NVA quickly reorganized and attacked Company A, but were unable to penetrate their lines and Marine artillery fire effectively boxed in the defending Marines.

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Last Updated:
Jul 2, 2016
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  344 Also There at This Battle:
  • Adair, Dave, Cpl, (1964-1968)
  • Aldrich, Stanley, HM2, (1966-1970)
  • Ambos, Richard, 1stSgt, (1964-1995)
  • Avalos, Prisciliano, Sgt
  • Bacon, Roger, SSgt, (1966-1972)
  • Baker, Charlie, Cpl, (1965-1969)
  • Barclay, Robert, Capt, (1966-1969)
  • Bauer, Jon, Sgt, (1965-1969)
  • Beamon, Johnnie, Sgt, (1965-1971)
  • Bennett, Brad, Sgt, (1965-1969)
  • Benton, Phillip, SSgt, (1961-1968)
  • BENZENHOEFER, RONALD, Sgt, (1964-1968)
  • Bickerton, John, Sgt, (1965-1974)
  • Brown, Thomas, Cpl, (1964-1968)
  • Bruno, Bob, Cpl, (1964-1968)
  • Bryant, David, Sgt, (1966-1969)
  • Bryant, George, Sgt
  • Bumgarner, Don, LCpl, (1966-1968)
  • Buttaro, Philip, SSgt, (1965-1988)
  • Calvert, Scott, Cpl, (1966-1968)
  • Camacho, Richard, Cpl, (1966-1968)
  • Cammack, Robert/Bobby, Cpl, (1966-1970)
  • Carter, Aaron, Cpl, (1965-1971)
  • Clapp, James, LCpl, (1966-1968)
  • Connelly, Joseph, LCpl, (1966-1969)
  • Cooke, William, Sgt, (1964-1972)
  • Curtis, James, Cpl, (1966-1977)
  • Daley, Jame, Sgt, (1966-1969)
  • Davis, Edward, SSgt, (1966-1971)
  • Davis, Gerald, Sgt, (1965-1974)
  • Davis, Shelton, GySgt, (1966-1986)
  • Deibler, Tony, Sgt, (1966-1972)
  • Deifer, Gerald, Cpl, (1966-1968)
  • DeMeo, Thomas, Sgt, (1965-1969)
  • DeMers, Jim, Sgt, (1964-1968)
  • DePope, John, HMCS, (1965-1985)
  • Dickson, Patrick, LCpl, (1966-1974)
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