This is a copy of Lt.Col Kings draft of his speech made 02 June 2000. It is presented here as it was received without editing.
Good Morning and thank you for participating in this great day for the Battalion.
General Nash, reminds me quite often that Reconnaissance Marines are the "silent professionals" performing to a higher standards . He often reminds me to keep raising the bar in regards to those standards.
Sir, we have and will continue.
We have raised the bar and will continue to improve. There have been some growing pains and issues. (pt gear, helmets, and motorcycles come to mind). However, I'd like to give report of where we stand:
Last year we had 3 full platoons of Recon, today we have 6 and a Det with CARAT.
Retention: Our extension rate for Sergeants and below is %. The Division goal for first term reenlistment is 26%, our Bn is at %.
Maintenance: Our overall readiness has averaged 98.5% over the past 6 months.
We have built a Maintenance Management program that is working.
We finally passed our PRI/FRI.
Buildings and Grounds: We have taken 4 condemned buildings and built office spaces and classrooms. All self - help.
We have recovered our boat assets and stood up a Boathouse.
We are about half way through our first local BRC course with 11 students.
We have done all this and supported MEF and Division in UFL, Pacific Impact, and Cobra Gold. Deployed to Korea twice, Iwakuni, the Phillipines, Thailand, Indonesia, Maylaysia, and conducted numerous on-island training exercises.
As described earlier 3d Recon Bnís lineage is long and strong. We have worked hard to build a Battalion worthy of the 3d Recon Bn lineage.
Sir, each day we will dedicate ourselves to improving the record of 3d Recon Bn.
The title 3d Recon Bn has special significance in the Marine Corps. As you heard 3d Recon Bn was formed in WWII. During Vietnam the unit was highly decorated with 4 Medals of Honor, 13 Navy Crosses, and 73 Silver Stars awarded to Marines and Sailors. Several months ago Capt Galvin introduced me to a book titled "Never Without Heroes". I have read this book several times and encouraged the Bn to read this book and others in order to understand their lineage. "Never Without Heroes" describes the courage and dedication to duty that 3d Reconnaissance Bn. Marines and Sailors have displayed. The book also talks about the 3d Recon Bn Association, an association of 3d Recon Bn Marines who were in action during Vietnam. When the message was published establishing 3d Recon Bn again, I sent notes to the 3d Recon Bn Association and the Force Recon Association. I thought these Marines would want to know that the colors would fly again. The response to my note was incredible. I have received over 50 notes from members of 3d Recon Battalion. I told General Nash once that when the CMC approved the Bn that they would hear a cheer in DC from Okinawa, I think that there was a greater cheer from these heroes who established the 3d Recon Bn reputation. There was one response that struck deep and I would like to read that to you, the dedication and courage described in this account establishes how high that bar needs to be for this Battalion.
My name is Cpl. Dennis M. Soldner, USMC, Retired. I formerly served in Vietnam during 1968 / 1969 as a member of the 1st Platoon, 2nd Squad, Charlie ("C") Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion. Our Team designation was 1C2 and I would like to take a few moments of your time and share with you the significance of 2 June and the Battalions Reactivation means to myself and the former members of Team 1C2, Call Sign: Fire Raider.
Late in the afternoon of 1 June 1969, a composite team of (7) ReconMarines and (1) Recon Corpsmen were inserted onto an abandoned Fire Support Base 2 1/2 miles south of DMZ. The insertion point was onto Hill 484, name of the ridgeline where the hill was located was called "Mutters Ridge".At 0250 hours on 2 June 1969 the Team's position was assaulted by enemy sappers who utilized grenades, satchel charges, Machine Guns, and supporting arms to cause the team to suffer total casualties during the initial assault. All the team members fought valiantly as our Corpsman would go from wounded team member to wounded team member. The team utilized small arms and all available supporting arms, repeatedly stopping and holding the enemy at bay for approximately 1 1/2 hours. At approximately 0420 hours of 2 June 1969 a Marine CH-46 swept down under the cover of Gunships to extract our decimated team. All eight (8) members were extracted, unfortunately one of our teammates Cpl. Jackie Lee Blankenship who was our Primary Radioman would later die on 23 June 1969 of his wounds suffered that night. Three members of the team would later be awarded Silver Stars for their actions on 2 June 1969. They were the Patrol Leader Sgt. Thomas E. Shainline (2nd Award), the Point / Assistant Patrol Leader Cpl. Dennis M. Soldner, and the 2nd Point Sgt. Thomas L. Henning.
There is much History, Honor, and Tradition which has been bestowed upon the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion by its former members. As a proud former member of a unit that served with distinction because of the men who served in it, I am happy that the torch we once carried is to be lit once again and passed to men who I am sure will do the same when called upon.Unfortunately, I cannot attend the ceremony but will be there in spirit.
Cpl. Dennis M. Soldner, USMC, Retired
This sentiment has been echoed from about 50 others.
Meeting the 3d Recon Bn standard will require us to truly be the silent professionals and is the foundation for our performance standard. During March while we were in Korea we talked about what it takes to truly wear the title of Recon Marine. While there I wrote a vision for what 3d Recon Bn must be:
3d Reconnaissance Battalion is home to a special breed of Marine, a Reconnaissance Marine. Reconnaissance Marines are the only Marines who are distinguished with a special title.
This title was earned on the battlefields where the 3d Reconnaissance Battalionís lineage was created with courage, sacrifice, honor, and commitment to the unit. It is maintained today by training for mission accomplishment in the most dangerous and demanding conditions. It is demonstrated by daily professionalism and conduct that earns the Battalionís title.
title and lineage demands professionalism and commitment from every Sailor and
Marine in the Battalion.
EARN THE RIGHT!
Earn the Right to be a member of 3d Recon Bn.