23 October 2000

Republic Of Korea (ROK) Marine Justice

Roger Haddix 
Colonel, United States Marine Corps, (Retired)

 As I recall it was early in the morning in December 1968 in Danang.  There
 had been a small  wreck at the West Danang Air Base gate to Freedom Hill,
 between a ROK Marine jeep and a U.S. vehicle of some type.  The ROK Marine
 driver was pissed off and drew his .45 auto and was waving it around.  One
 of the US Marine sentries from the 1st MP Bn was talking to him to get him
 to put the weapon away and settle down.  In anger the ROK slammed his weapon
 down on the counter and it went off.  No one noticed the other US Marine MP was
 behind the counter when the shot went off.  Since he had been controlling
 traffic up to that point, traffic snarled and that's when his buddy noticed
 he was no longer directing traffic.  A quick look behind the counter
 revealed that the Marine had been shot in the face with the errant .45
 When the ROK Marine realized what he'd done, he jumped in his jeep and
 hauled buggy back to the ROK compound.
 Enter Major Flaherty and 1st Lt. Haddix of Charlie Company, 1st MP Bn.  The
 major was the CO of Charlie Company and I was his XO.  He was quickly
 designated the IO of the Marine MPs death.  I accompanied the Major on the
 detail to gather the facts.  Late in the day of the shooting after
 interviewing the Marine MP and other witness and going to Graves
 Registration to review the autopsy results of the deceased Marine, we
 traveled to the ROK compound to talk to the ROK Marine commander in hopes of
 identifying the ROK Marine and perhaps getting a statement from him.
 After we had been greeted by the ROK Marine commander and stated our
 purpose, which he was cognizant of and anticipated our arrival, he stated
 (through an interpreter) that the matter had been dealt with and he was
 sorry for the incident.  When we asked if we could talk to the ROK Marine
 shooter, our attention was directed up the hill near a tree line, next to a
 drill field where the entire unit was conducting karate practice.  Near the
 drill field stood a tall pole from which hung the body of a ROK Marine.  We
 were told that the offending ROK Marine had been executed for killing the            
 US Marine.  So concluded the investigation.
 No wonder the VC and NVA were terrified of them. Their worst fear was    
 being captured by the ROK Marines.