A postscript is attached to this piece.

13 April 2002


The Saga Of LCpl. David V. Nuño, USMC


Major Anthony F. Milavic, United States Marine Corps, (Retired)


The Marine Corps Pantheon echoes with names such as Lt. Gen. "Chesty" Puller, GySgt. Dan Daly, and Gen. Ray Davis. I suggest that one more name be added: LCpl. David V. Nuño. No he didn't earn five Navy Crosses or two Medals of Honor or at least one of every medal available to a Marine. I'm not even sure he was ever awarded as much as a Good Conduct Medal. But, as those other Marines did when danger appeared and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, he attacked. LCpl. Nuño chose to act even though he was not armed and those around him did nothing and wanted him to do nothing. Within seconds of engagement, he sustained a life-threatening wound; yet, LCpl. Nuño continued to struggle "tooth and nail" until he stood alone on the field of conflict. His singularly bold and tenacious action left his fellow Marines in awe and captured the admiration of senior leadership thousands of miles away in the Pentagon.


As he lay convalescing from his wounds in the hospital, members of the Office of the Secretary of the Navy embraced this lance corporal from Hq. Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines by wearing T-shirts emblazoned with, "FREE LCPL NUÑO."  It appeared that he was facing disciplinary action for an act that should have been applauded and not punished. So, they brought the instrument of peaceful demonstration from the streets of Washington, D.C. to the halls of the Pentagon. Unfortunately, that extraordinary action failed to bring him the recognition he deserved for few remember this Marine warrior today. Learn more of his saga in the official Marine Corps Casualty Report quoted, in part, below and join in reinvigorating the effort started by the Office of the Secretary of the Navy to now "FREE LCPL NUÑO" from obscurity:



260810Z SEP 86

FM CG FIRST MARDIV

TO CMC WASHINGTON DC


SUBJ: PERSONNEL CASUALTY REPORT (REPORT SYMBOL MC-3040-02)


1. NUNO, DAVID V.


14. 1800, 260925 ACORN MOUNTAIN MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, 29 PALMS, CA


15. A GROUP OF MARINES SPIED A MOJAVE RATTLE SNAKE UNDER A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE WHEREUPON THEY WERE TOLD TO STAY AWAY FROM IT. SPECIFICALLY, LCPL NUNO WAS GIVEN A DIRECT ORDER BY HIS BTRY CMDR NOT TO PLAY WITH THE SNAKE WHEREUPON HE PROCEEDED TO GRAB THE MOJAVE RATTLE SNAKE AND WAS BITTEN ON THE RIGHT HAND. SNM [Subject Named Marine] THEN BIT THE SNAKE'S HEAD OFF . . .



You "Snake Eaters" from Marine Reconnaissance and Army Special Forces stand at attention and recognize the "Live-Snake Eater!"



Semper LCpl. David V. Nuño, USMC,



Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)


                                          
----POSTSCRIPT----

23 May 2006

I was the Commanding Officer of Hotel Battery 3/11 when this event with L/Cpl Nuno occurred.  CWO 4 Ron Welch was the survey officer for 3/11 at the time Nuno engaged the rattlesnake.  The snake in question was inside the headquarters battery CP area.  CWO Welch had observed Nuno messing with the snake, he told Nuno to leave the snake alone and went to get a shovel to pick the snake up and remove it to a position outside the CP area.  When CWO Welch returned with the shovel, Nuno had already engaged the snake, was bitten by the snake on his right hand and returned the favor to the snake by picking it up and biting the snake back by biting the snake's head off.  By the time Nuno was evacuated to Palm Springs Desert Hospital, his head was the size of a basketball.


Well, the rest of the story [above] is accurate.  HOWEVER!


 However, headquarters battery had conducted a piss test before deploying to 29 Palms.  And yes, L/Cpl Nuno had pissed positive for cocaine from the piss test.  Upon recovering from the snake bite, L/Cpl Nuno was court martialed for pissing positive and summarily reduced to Pvt and discharged from the Marine Corps.


 R/


Cliff


Clifford M. Simmons

MAGTF Staff Training Program (MSTP)

Exercise Design Division Head