Rhodes Scholar Leads Marines into Vietnam | The Buddy I'll Never Forget | Karl Marlantes | AARP

May 19, 2019

when you're really afraid was just before you got into a fight because you could think about you can see the choppers coming and wheeling off the next one come and it felt like this train going off a cliff because I knew that the next time I'd step off that chopper these beats be fire I was born in Astoria Oregon which was a fishing town then and soils the football players when they graduated would disappear south someplace called San Diego Marine Corps Recruiting Depot when they would come back they had this swagger they would walk up the main street of the town three inches taller and I swear their shoulders were four inches wider and here I'm 17 I won't like I want some of that whatever that is I want that when I was at Yale I joined a program which the Marines had and it was called put two leaders class the summers I would go to Quantico Virginia where we did boot camp and all of the stuff when you get your degree you get your commission when I got my degree from Yale I got a road scholarship and I thought well they'll never let me go they're short some junior officers so I wrote a letter to the Marine Corps and got got an answer back pretty quick yeah we're very proud of you it's a great scholarship go ahead we'll catch you later off I went to Oxford in 1967 after about three or four weeks there I started to feel guilty my little high school of you know a couple hundred boys we lost five killed in Vietnam and Here I am sort of in the pub's drinking beer with the girls having a wonderful time do you fight in a war that you really don't agree with but I had sworn an oath to defend the Constitution so it was a totally perfect conflict of two valid moral choices and that's the worst kind I decided to write a letter to the Marines and just said that I wanted to go on active duty the Marines did not waste any time I was an infantry platoon commander in Vietnam when its full strength 43 Marines and as a platoon commander your job is to organize these people to complete missions take the hill to the raid do the patrol and defend an artillery unit radio operator is enormous important to a young officer you're always on that radience he's with you day and night constantly and it's a dangerous job because they're antennas waving and the enemy knows that that's the one you want to shoot because the officers right next to him Charles Thomas I think he was 19 I had been there months before I got there so it's much more savvy than I was and and I'd start to make up an order in Thomas ooh sir do you ever think about no and of course I thought its kids right you know in the beginning he was a he was like an adviser to me we've been together several months and we were on a very difficult operation was monsoon were really high in the mountains you've been out wet for days and it's cold I came down with a really bad case of hypothermia we all do it kills you I couldn't stop shivering violently and Thomas just took me down to the ground and hugged me and just wrapped himself around me but this day I get choked up about that then he saved my life just hugging me he was intelligent good solid marine so I made him a squad leader they choppered us and the letters rich it was very important for controlling under the access in delaio sent back to palm tree we were given the order to engage that enemy unit the next morning I knew that there was only one escape route for the enemy I told Thomas of the set of an ambush around the left flank of where we were so that when we pushed the NVA off the hill and wanted him there with the machine gun to kill arrested my blood was up and I started shouting at me get in position you gotta get running they're going now you got and so he left this cover of the jungle to move faster and I can remember seeing the three RPGs that hit the squad and so they were killed and I went through his pockets there was a letter from his mother that said don't you worry you're gonna be home in just a couple of weeks oh okay I mean I carried that guilt for decades now that's part of the problem with combat you do sometimes make horrible mistakes you're really young and you make mistakes and you live with them but I think back on war I have enormous sadness the absolute loss the loss of health the loss of innocence the loss of friends you can sort of justify it if you think that all that loss was done for a noble purpose I think I would like to have people take away from these stories is you have to learn when you're older do not let it take you over and talking about it is huge right now I'm alive so I'm gonna try and be more present


  • Reply AARP May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    AARP salutes all veterans who have served our great country, thank you for all you have sacrificed:

  • Reply Joe Candelaria May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Couldnt here the talking when the piano music started!

  • Reply Mark Lewis May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Never leave cover?

  • Reply Sacred Raisin Cakes May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I read Matterhorn twice. One of the best books ever written.

    It epitomizes the strength, agony and unease of Vietnam. Its poetic.

  • Reply dan casey May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Karl . . . . I'm a Vietnam Vet (two deployments). If Thomas could speak to you he would tell you not to feel guilt. He would thank you for those things you gave him that you may not be aware of now.

  • Reply John Crazy May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    what a noble purpose!! not many privileged men like this one!!

  • Reply lotsofsnow2 May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    this man is the best of humanity

  • Reply Edwin Salas May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for sharing God bless our troops

  • Reply Michael R Annis May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    An excellent bit of film. Thank you for your service. Did you go back to your scholarship?

  • Reply Solid Snake_93 May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I'm proud of the Marines!

  • Reply LARRY MCCONEGHY May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    If you never forget them & tell people about them they never lose there place in life! For You & them after them? They live on in ways that some get? & some will never get! Never forget them!

  • Reply Lee Poskey May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Colossians 3.17

    "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

  • Reply motaki701 May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Even if you disagree politically, we as a nation have a duty to honor our veterans and fallen warriors,. Because without them, our freedom would be nothing but a distant memory.

  • Reply DougM Hirsch May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    RTO Charles Wayne Thomas. Panel/Line:30W, 50 Rest easy, Charles. You will never to be forgotten. You will always to be honored.

  • Reply Douglas Stewart May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Vietnam was a shameful and devastating period in our nations history and no one-NO ONE deserves "reparations" more than the men and women who served there and are still alive!! MAGA!!

  • Reply Dusty Scrolls May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    R.I.P Charles Thomas.

  • Reply martynursell May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Thank you for sharing your โค๏ธ,God bless you my friend. I too am a British army vet. This is the life of loyalty and love for our brothers in combat,I send you my peace and love. We stand together.
    Pastor Martyn. Infantry, British army.

  • Reply paula cochran May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    What holy cow he wasn't a Navy seal thought those guys were the only ones who fought

  • Reply mkelebay May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    That moment at 4:00 is heart-wrenching as you hear him choke up, you know Thomas isn't going to make it by the end of the video.

  • Reply Thor Valiant May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am


  • Reply Richard n Amber Kearney May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    My father was rick Kearney, Elmer, holler at me plz if u knew him

  • Reply Kevin Westcott May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    God bless you brother

  • Reply Passionate Patriot May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Very many of us were rhodes scholars,Mensa members,and educated people. The pussies didn't go.

  • Reply Andrew Dow May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    This guy is incredibly good looking for his age.

  • Reply oldjaguar May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I cried reading Matterhorn

  • Reply MG Gailitis May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I once had the pleasure of spending an evening with Karl on his book tour in Toronto. My friend Jen was his publicist and she invited me to dinner with him. I had just finished reading Matterhorn and she knew I would be excited to meet him. Karl exudes kindness, and it is a shame so many people like him were subjected to a completely unnecessary slaughter.

  • Reply Jason Shelton May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    You should like turn the music down or get people that can talk decently loud

  • Reply digg are May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Rule numberv1, alway's give your enemy a path if retreat! Thanks

  • Reply Stephen Cockett May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Karl – the combatting of totalitarian and mass murdering marxist communism – IS INDEED – the most noble cause of our time.
    It will continue to be so until bankster globalism is erradicated forever.

  • Reply Mark Otter May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    1:53…she looks like a wonderful sweet memory.

  • Reply Marco Benitez May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Lt Karl Marlantes there is way can I tall to you?

  • Reply Migs Humble May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    How dare you say Vietnam was all lose. That's insulting to me and this great country. There were some big corps and individuals who made a lot of money. Didn't lose a dime. At ease soldier.
    B.S. aside, I felt the pain in your story and cannot imagine what you guys went thru. They don't make men like that anymore. Complaining, following, fags. no offense?? Negative!! Offense

  • Reply Teo Karjalainen May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Singer Akon at 3:04

  • Reply Mkultra90 R May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    All wars are bankers wars don't forget that people

  • Reply thejtd21 May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    As a young man I just cant decide what truly is worth more. The Duty or the loss.

  • Reply Migfra Danmark May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    The Vietnamnese people gave USA a lesson in not to invade other countries.. But they still kept doing it, cause afterall its not the old rich people who are going to war, its the young stupid people like this guy. His constitutional rights?! Fuck that, what about the humans right in Vietnam?! Alot of Evil people has been on Yale University. Maybe hes a friend of Bush? The terrorist.

  • Reply Mike Angel May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Glad you made it home.

  • Reply Marcus Aetius May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    It never fails to surprise me how many normally intelligent people can get convinced they are doing their โ€œduty โ€œ by fighting in a foreign land that is no threat to them.

  • Reply Jeremy Vaughn May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I wanna say thank you to all Of our military veterans for what they've done to make our lifes Better

  • Reply Nico Man May 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Freedom comes with a
    Price, the blood of our Warriors.

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