The 5th Marine Regiment, known as the 5th Marines, stands as one of the most storied fighting units of Americans at war. It first saw combat in the First World War when it helped stop a German offensive at Belleau Wood in France, where thousands of Marines are buried, mute testimony of the vicious fighting. It spearheaded America’s first offensive campaign in the Pacific at Guadalcanal in 1942. It endured a brutal winter and massive Chinese Army attack at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea in 1950.
The 5th Marines spent five years in Vietnam between 1966–71, much of that time based in a small, remote village called An Hoa in the province of Quang Nam in central South Vietnam. Serving as one of three infantry regiments of the 1st Marine Division (1st MarDiv), along with the 1st and 7th Marines, the 5th Marines at An Hoa were the closest Marine unit to North Vietnamese Army (NVA) units infiltrating Vietnam from Laos, home to the network of roads known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The regiment’s mission was to find, fix, and destroy the NVA
as it attempted to attack Da Nang, a major city in the province and, more importantly, the Da Nang Air Base, a major NVA target and, at the time, the busiest airfield in the world.
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About the Author
Barry Broman dropped out of college in 1962 to work for a year as a photographer for the Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, with assignments in South Vietnam and Cambodia. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1967 and at the same time was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He went on active duty in 1968 after receiving a Master of Arts in Southeast Asian studies at the University of Washington.
Broman served as a platoon commander and company executive officer with Company H, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, in Vietnam for seven months in 1969. He then served in 1st Marine Division’s G-5 (civil affairs) and extended his Vietnam tour by six months. Part of his extension was spent as U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, liaison officer in Thailand.
Promoted to captain, he served as the Camp Pendleton, CA, press officer and then commanded Company H, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines. He joined the Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1971 and served for 25 years. He has written/photographed 15 books and produced nine documentary films. He lives with his wife Betty Jane in Kirkland, WA.