Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Documentary Film,Guest Blogs,Khe Sanh,Marines,Meet the Men,Vietnam War

March 22, 2012

Meet the Men of Bravo!–Frank McCauley

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Bravo! Marine Frank McCauley introduces himself.

I was born in Boston, MA, but raised in San Diego from the age of 10. I was 17 when I enlisted in the Marines, had just turned 18 in December, and arrived in Vietnam in mid-February.

Frank McCauley as a young Marine

There, I was a machine gunner stationed along the perimeter of the base, just inside of the smoldering garbage pit. I learned early on that if you wanted to avoid stirring the latrine barrels while the burning diesel fuel turned it to crust, look busy; field strip the machine gun down to a blanket of nothing but pieces. It looks daunting and they were uncomfortable asking me to leave that blanket of parts to go stir shit. Yippee!!

I have always been interested in working on and fixing old cars and classics. My current project is a ‘38 Ford Deuce Coupe that is in remarkable condition, but a ways from driving down the road at this point. If you were to ask my wife, she’d say it’s a piece of junk that I’ll never finish.

I have also spent a great deal of time, lately, on a 1990 Jeep Wrangler which I brought back to life. It is nearly bullet-proof, road worthy and fun to drive.

Frank McCauley at his interview in San Antonio, TX for Bravo!

I also enjoy going on trips on my motorcycle, being alone with only my thoughts to keep me company. I’ve never enjoyed being a part of a group. I am very much a loner and enjoy being in charge of my own destinations and time schedule; it avoids conflicts.

Frank McCauley’s interview riveted our attention in the film both when he described arriving at Khe Sanh during the siege and while in the midst of a fire fight, suddenly recalling his time at the rifle range on Camp Pendleton.

  1. Ken: I thoroughly enjoy reading the snapshot portraits of the men of Bravo. Thank you for featuring them on the blog

    Comment by Betty Plevney — March 22, 2012 @ 6:38 am
  2. Thanks, Betty, for your interest in these men. It seems to add a human side to all this killing and mayhem which we homo sapiens are so prolific.

    Comment by admin — March 22, 2012 @ 6:44 am
  3. Frank: I liked how you transitioned from the past to the present using a blanket full of machine guns parts as the segue into fixing old cars. In an instant, I could see this young man’s life fast forward to today. But the killer line of your story was the very last phrase following the semicolon. The breath of the entire story was suddenly squeezed out of it in one hard exhale. And in an instant, I was back in the past living the life of the young Marine then hurtled forward through the ensuing years after discharge until I arrived again in the present, breathless, a bit bedraggled, but with my feet firmly planted in the present.

    Comment by Betty Plevney — March 22, 2012 @ 6:46 am
  4. The move from parts of one kind to parts of another creates a lot of irony. I thought Frank does a good job of telling us a lot about his war experience without telling us a lot.

    Comment by admin — March 22, 2012 @ 7:25 am
  5. I’ve been lucky enough to know Frank since the early 1980’s..Frank let 2 of my friends and I live at his house in San Diego for a couple of years just because we knew his cousin. We had very sporadic contact for the better part of 30 years. We took a road trip from Boston to Texas to see Frank in 2012 and it was like we had seen him just the month before. I have a picture, sitting on my shelf that shows his motorcycle and part of his ‘38 Ford Deuce Coupe, which he’s had since the 80’s. His lovely wife Linda is absolutely right..Frank will never finish that car.But that’s okay..A guy like Frank, who did what his country asked of him, right or wrong, can choose to rebuild a car or just hang on to it..He earned that right at Khe Sahn..Frank B. McCauley is a great American.

    Comment by Brian King — January 31, 2015 @ 7:59 pm
  6. I want to thank you for your service.

    Comment by Agnes Heithecker — September 7, 2021 @ 5:50 pm

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