Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Posts Tagged ‘Officer Candidate School’

Documentary Film,Guest Blogs,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

February 8, 2012

On Friendship and Memory and Communications

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In today’s entry, we get insight into how communication between Marines, between friends, between people of all stripes adds texture and meaning to history. Below is a series of e-mails between Ken Pipes, Commanding Officer of Bravo Company during the Siege of Khe Sanh, and his old friend and comrade, Dr. Larry Farrell. Ken Pipes and Larry went into Marine Corps OCS together and have stayed in touch for over fifty years.

In a message dated January 30, 2012, Dr. Farrell writes, in part, about his son, Sean, graduating from Marine Corps Officer Candidate School:

To Family and Friends,

Family day for OCC (Officer Candidate Class) 209 will be at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Friday March 30, 2012. Graduation and Commissioning is the next day, Saturday March 31, 2012.If you are planning on going or would like to go please call us first.


Ken Pipes responded to Dr. Farrell’s e-mail with the following message:

Larry my brother–on graduation day–tell Sean that on that day 44 years ago–Bravo Company 1/26 decimated a reinforced NVA Battalion–the 66th of the 304th “Iron” Division–in the process, the entire Staff of the NVA battalion was killed. Thus “Pay Back.” Tell him for me and Bravo Company–SEMPER FIDELIS!


Dr. Larry Farrell responded with the following e-mail he sent to a larger group of recipients:

I wanted to pass along this special email from my brother Marine Ken Pipes. As some of you already know, Ken and I went into the Marine Corps about the same time out of Fresno State (also fraternity brothers). We were in Quantico (TBS) and the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, during the same time periods. In 1963 or 1964 our paths again crossed in Iwakuni, Japan (home of the 1st Marine Air Wing) after I had come back from Vietnam.

Ken was Bravo Company Commander of the 1st Battalion 26th Marines at Khe Sanh, December 1967 through March 1968. This Company was made up with people like Steve Wiese who Sue and I recently met at a powerful documentary film showing in Santa Rosa, California. They were in continuous combat for 77 days in an epic struggle against overwhelming odds. Steve and Ken are lucky to be alive.

Ken’s message is powerful and poignant to us because of the aligning of these dates.  On this date, Ken led (and Steve participated in) the only recorded bayonet charge of the Vietnam War: “Pay Back.”  Ken was seriously wounded in the chest and took a bullet through his helmet but like Steve, he survived. Ken was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor. God Bless you Ken–God Bless you Steve–God Bless Bravo Company. Your deeds are recorded in Marine Corps History forever–SEMPER FIDELIS!

Larry and Sue