USMC, 1st Radio Battalion, Vietnam Veterans

     History - 1st Radio Battalion
1943 - 1973

Compiled and Edited by 1st Lt. Thomas Hunnicutt (USMC Retired)

  1. Historic Military Lineage Reference Sources
  2. 2d Radio Intelligence Platoon - 14 June 1943
  3. 2nd Radio Separate Intelligence Platoon 20 October 1944
  4. 1st Radio Company - 15 September 1958
  5. 1st Composite Radio Company - 8 September 1959
  6. 1st Radio Battalion - 14 July 1964

1st Radio Battalion, FMF (Historic Military Lineage) Reference Sources 

Lt. Colonel Palmer "Pete" Brown (USMC Retired)
Colonel James L. McIntire, Jr. (USMC Retired)
Colonel James R. Quisenberry (USMC Retired)
Colonel John K. Hyatt, Jr. (USMC Retired)
MGySgt. Bernard A. Shorkey (USMC Retired)
Judge John H. Maynard (World War II RIP)
Lt. Colonel James S. Rayburn (USMC Retired)
Colonel Carl W. Kachaukas (USMC Retired)
Vietnam War Dictionary by James Olson
The Battle of Okinawa by Masahide Ota
Historical Encyclopedia of the United States Marine Corps by Harry A. Gailey
Marine Corps Book of Lists by Albert A. Nofi
Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller by Burke Davis
MCCA News Letters (Issues Fall 1990 Vol. 1 No. 1; Winter 1990-91 Vol. 1 No. 2)
The United States Marine Corps Radio Intelligence Platoons of World War II by Colonel James L. McIntire, Jr. (unpublished)
Radio Intelligence Platoon Booklet by Judge John Maynard (unpublished)


 2nd Radio Intelligence Platoon - 14 June 1943

The 2nd Radio Intelligence Platoon was activated on June 14, 1943 at Camp Linda Vista, Camp Elliott, California, located a few miles north of MCRD, San Diego, California. The unit commanders were as follows: 

1st Lt. Marcus J. Couts 09112/0200 USMC June 14, 1943 – May 5, 1944
2nd Lt. Walter C. Smith 010462/0225 USMC May 6, 1944 – January 27, 1945
2nd Lt. Jack Evans 043139/0225 USMC February 28, 1945 – March 8, 1945
Capt. Marcus J. Couts 09112/0225 USMC May 28, 1945 – September 28, 1945

Unit Honors 

American Campaign Streamer

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with three Bronze Stars -

  1. Defense of Guadalcanal
  2. Consolidation of Solomon Islands
  3. Wester Carolines Operation
World War II Victory Streamer - 

Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with One Bronze Star

  1. December 1, 1943 to September 1944 (while assigned to the Signal Battalion, III Marine Amphibious Corps)
  2. June 14, 1943 to September 2, 1945 (as component of Naval Communications Intelligence Organization)

World War II Wounded and Killed in Action
 (September 20-23, 1944 Peleliu Island ‘Palau Group’, Carolina Islands)

Wounded in Action

Name  (MOS)
Keith K.. Bean (776 High Speed Intercept Operator)
Carter D. Bucy (405 Administration)
Edward W. Clark (641 Telephoneman)
Glenn C. Erwin (641 Telephoneman)
Julius f. Harder (739 High Speed Intercept Operator)
John H. Maynard (766 High Speed Radio Operator)
H. Riffle (unknown)
Killed in Action
World War II Search
Name Service No. (MOS) DOD
PFC. William J. Hughes Jr. 00500585 (unknown) 23 September 1944
Cpl. Josephe A. Prete   00440073 (739 Intercept Operator) 20 September 1944
Cpl. Stephen J. Weber 00454532 (unknown) 20 September 1944


June 14, 1943 Activated and designated 2nd Radio Intelligence Platoon.

December 1943 Relocated to Pacific Theater.

January 1944 Participated in the Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal.)

July 31, 1944 Reassigned to the 1st Marine Division, FMF.

August 1944 Relocated to the Carolina Islands.

September 1944 Participated in the Battle of Peleliu Island -

During the Battle of Peleliu Island, the 1st Marine Division, FMF lost over fifty percent of their infantry strength and the 2nd RI Platoon also took a heavy hit with three marines being killed and eight wounded. According to then Colonel Chesty Puller communicators were dying bravely as they mounted their attack against a well-fortified Japanese force. His unit lost some 76 percent as compare to 50 plus percent in the other two attacking Infantry Regiments.

Judge John Maynard informed me that the Marines of his unit were wounded at the same time. They had been assigned to help in off loading equipment and supplies near the beach area. Working parties of this type are normal when things get hot and heavy and when marines are dying in large numbers even especially trained marines find they are also riflemen. Then Colonel Chesty Puller said there were no cooks or bakers during the Battle of Peleliu, just Marine riflemen.

I had noticed on two different documents that I was reviewing that the date for the wounded marines was September 20th, while the date for those killed in action was September 22nd. Since Judge Maynard had been one of them I asked for an explanation of what happened and he in fact cleared it up. It appears they all got hit at the same time and two of them died at that time, but one of the wounded died a few days later aboard the hospital ship. Some how all of the KIAs were listed as being killed on that same date, which was September 22, 1944. Maynard went on to say those wounded, including himself, were taken back to the Soloman Islands and recouped on the Island of Pavuvu, which was in the Russell Island Group about fifty miles north of Guadalcanal.


 2nd Radio Separate Intelligence Platoon 20 October 1944

October 20, 1944 Redesignated 2nd Separate Radio Intelligence Platoon.

November 1944 Relocated back to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory.

March 8, 1945 Deactivated while still in Hawaii Territory.

May 24, 1945 Reactivated at Wahiawa, Hawaii Territory.

September 28, 1945 Deactivated in Hawaii Territory -

The personnel were assigned to other Radio Intercept Platoons, which were located in Naval Radio Stations in Guam and in China. They remained there during part of the early China Occupation, and most of them returned to the United States near the end of January and February 1946.


 1st Radio Company - 15 September 1958

September 15, 1958 Reactivated at Camp Smith, Territory of Hawaii as the 1st Radio Company.

June 1959 Relocated from Camp Smith to Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Air Station.


 1st Composite Radio Company - 8 September 1959

September 8, 1959 Redesignated as 1st Composite Radio Company.

January 2, 1962 Deployed to Pleiku, South Vietnam as Detachment One under the command of then Captain John K. Hyatt, Jr.

September 17, 1963 Redesignated as 1st Radio Company, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.


 1st Radio Battalion - 14 July 1964

July 14, 1964 Redesignated as 1st Radio Battalion, FMF at Kaneohe Bay under the command of then Major Henry Vod der Heyde.

February 1967 Deployed to Danang, South Vietnam as Sub-Unit One.

March 1, 1969 Sub-Unit one merged into 1st Radio Battalion, FMF, Camp Horn, Danang, South Vietnam

October 1970 Elements (Sub-Unit 2) assisted US Army unit in Udorn, Thailand. An Army Unit Commendation was authorized.

April 1971 Redeployed to Marine Corps Station, Kaneohe, Hawaii.

April 1971 Sub-Unit 2, 1st Radio Battalion deactivated and merged back into 1st Radio Battalion, FMF, Kaneohe, Hawaii.

Major L. K. Russell was in command of Sub-Unit 2 and Lt. Colonel Ed Resnick was the 1st Radio Battalion Commander. Shortly thereafter, date unknown, Lt. Colonel John K. Hyatt, Jr. took command.

April 1972 Elements returned to South Vietnam in support of the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Miller abroad the U.S.S Blue Ridge and other naval ships. Several members were authorized the Combat Action Ribbon during this period.

April 1975 Elements participated in evacuations in Southeast Asia.

May 1975 Elements participated in the recovery of the SS Mayaguaez.

Additional Unit Awards and Honors

Navy Unit commendation - 31 October 1968 to 31 July 1969 for support of twenty-five major combat operations in Republic of Vietnam.

Navy Meritorious Unit commendations -

  1. 1 August 1969 – 9 March 1970 for Combat Operations Pinestone Canyon, Iroquouis Grove, Arlington Canyon, Idaho Canyon, Georgia Tar, Fulton Square, and Durham Peak in support of Vadnergrift Combat Base, Dong Ha Mountain and Dong Ha Combat Base, Con Theien, Hill 327, Hill 37, Hill 55, An Hoa and Danang.
  2. 10 March 1970 to 3 April 1971 for Combat Operations Imperial lake, Pickens Forest, Catawaba Falls, Tulare Falls and Upshur Stream.

Vietnam Service Streamer with two Silver Stars –

  1. 1969 – 1970
  2. 1970 – 1971
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer – 1969 – 1970

National Defense Service Streamer – 1969 – 1970

Army Meritorious Unit Commendation – Elements of 1st Radio Battalion, FMF serving with the 7th Radio Research Field Station, Udorn, Thailand (November 11, 1970 – February 26, 1971).

Philippine Presidential Unit Commendation –
Elements of the 1st Radio Battalion, FMF serving with the 9th MAB during July 21, 1972 – August 15, 1972.

In Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Magazine dated February 2003 it was noted that the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Covers Vietnam for two periods -

  1. July 1, 1958 – July 3, 1968
  2. April 29-30, 1975 (Operation Frequent Wind)
Interestingly, the 1st Radio Battalion Marines who served with the 9th MAB did not receive this award. For that matter they did not receive any unit commendation from the United States or the Navy or Marine Corps Headquarters. While some of the member did receive the Philippine commendation many of them did not. I am not adding as a personal complaint, but I do know the work and effort of those who served during 1972 with the 9th MAB that they are deserving of more than a handshake.Therefore, in honor of whose who served with the 1st Radio Battalion Detachment I offer the following:

For Awards Not Given

The members 1st Radio Battalion, FMF detachment that served with the 9th MAB from April 1972 and on into the fall (date not known) perform their duty in a manner befitting the legacy they had inherited. I personally never worked with a more dedicated and profession unit whom put forth a unique efforts upon their very arrival and thereby, producing invaluable information for the outset of their deployment. During this period they continued to provide critical tactical intelligence in support of the 9th MAB, the Naval Forces and the South Vietnamese Army during a critical period in the history of this war. They supported the following combat operations during this period:

Operation Linebacker 1 - March 30, 1972 – October 22, 1972
During Linebacker 1 three North Vietnamese Army Divisions (NVA) crossed the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) invading South Vietnam. Some 120,000 NVA regulars with 200 armored vehicles had moved into what marines had called I-Corps. While history has recorded that over the next xxx Marine air squadrons deployed to several staging bases and the navy carrier support doubled. This was a critical period of Marine Corps history and yet, the 1st Radio Battalion personnel receive no such awards they deserved for they had indeed played a key element in providing tactical intelligence in a timely fashion never before witnessed in the history of radio intelligence support during the initial period and on into the war. Still further, this was in spite of being told Vietnam was over and not worry about going back…it’s a done deal, which proved to be wrong. Therefore, this unit did not receive the accolades they so rightfully deserve. THUS, I SALUTE EACH OF YOU FOR AN OUTSTANDING JOB FOR YOU DESERVE NO LESS!!!

  1. Operation Song Than 1 – May 1972
  2. Operation Song Than 2 – June 1972
I could not locate any information on Operation Song Than 1 and 2 based on my limited book collection and means of collecting such data, but the above operations are said to be a part of the ground elements of the South Vietnamese Army units who were engaged in the ground fighting. Yet, the support of the 9th MAB was also directed in this effort as well as evacuation from Phu Bai.

The Vietnam Killed in Action List


Captain James Westley Ayers 2502, 26 May 1967
Cpl. Stephen Lee Traughber 2575, 10 September 1967
LCpl. Larry Allan Jones 2571, 24 April 1968
Sgt. Paul Jay Kingery 2571, 13 May 1968
MGySgt. Edward Reynold Storm 2578, 28 December 1969
Sgt. Larry Wade Duke 2571, 10 March 1970
Sgt. Robert Hrisoulis 2571, 21 January 1971

After Vietnam

Lt. Colonel John K. Hyatt, Jr. was relieved by Lt. Colonel Carl W. Kachaukas in mid 1973. Thus, they have continued to train hard and move on by modernizing both its equipment and its training. And thus, from the humble beginnings of a platoon size to a company and then to battalion level we have seen a unique part of military history formed. Our legacy was handed to us by the pioneers of another day, and likewise we passed it on to a new generation that will take this unit into even greater heights.

Thus, today we can take pride that others have put forth an effort to reach out to all our former members and to reclaim the past for the future. The 1st Radio Battalion Internet Web Page is like no other and our hats are off and special thanks goes out to Rick Swan for his dedication and foresight. Therefore, for those I know and for those I am just becoming aquatinted with…let us support his efforts for he has accomplished a unique way of pulling us together as a collective source of historic information.

God bless and Semper Fi,

Tom Hunnicutt