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War Stories

Bac Ha's Orphanage Christmas - Dec 68

LTC McGowan, CW2 Russell Mattison and CPT Garrett Marcinkowski mentioned.



Vol 3 - No 52 - 23 Dec 1968

Santa Is A Cavalryman To Children From Bac Ha's Catholic Orphanage

On Christmas Eve the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, will celebrate with 100 Vietnamese children - all orphans from the Vietnam War between the ages of 4 and 6.

The men of the 3/4 Horse Squadron, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. McGowan, realize that one of the major battles in Vietnam today is achieving mutual understanding between Americans and the Vietnamese people.

For this reason, last September, Command Sergeant Major Wilbur T. Duggins, Vine Grove, Ky., the Squadron's top enlisted man, initiated a plan to celebrate Christmas with the local Bac Ha orphanage. The cavalry troopers donated hundreds of dollars to the purchase of presents for these children.

This money was sent home to Duggins' wife in Vine Grove, Ky., and the family of Captain Garrett Marcinkowski of Cohasset, Mass. Through the Waiting Wives Club of Vine Grove and business associates of Marcinkowski's mother, over 100 presents were bought, wrapped and shipped to Vietnam. In addition, much clothing and candy was sent.

On Christmas Eve the story of Christ's birth will be explained by interpreters attached to the squadron. The Division band will fill the air with Christmas carols.

Then Santa Claus will drop out of the sky in one of the squadron's helicopter gunships. Each of the 100 orphans will receive a gift from Santa Claus as well as plenty of candy, cake and ice cream.
The Christmas spirit will be alive this year even on the battlefields of Vietnam.


Mattison1SANTA - CW2 Russell Mattison of Mountain Lake, Minn., dons the white beard and the red and white togs of Kris Kringle as he distributes Christmas gifts to the children from the Catholic orphanage in Bac Ha.




GREETINGS - Santa cheers up a young girl obviously engrossed in the cake and ice cream provided at the Christmas party in the 3/4 Cavalry Enlisted Men's Club.