Alexander Kearney Ward
Captain, United States Marine Corps
Date of Birth: 12/27/1940
Date of Casualty: 2/16/1968
Home of Record: ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND
Branch of Service: MARINE CORPS
Casualty Country: SOUTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: QUANG TRI
NOTE: Captain Ward was the son of Rear Admiral
Norvell G. Ward, United States Navy.
This is my account of the battle on Valentine's Ridge, which started on 14 February 1968 and continued to 15 February 1968. In this report there has been input from the Battalion Surgeon, first platoon commander, first & second platoon members, S-3 reports and family of the KIA.
We left Ca Lu on 13 February 1968 for what was soon to be known as Valentine's Ridge. This is a small 200-meter hill approximately one mile west of Ca Lu combat base and 8 miles east of Khe Sanh combat base. The coordinate is XD990445 to XD978455 running North and South terminating at the Quang Tri River. At 1600 on 14 February 1968 all three platoons and the command group started up the side of this hill with first platoon on the southern flank (nearest the river).
Shortly after part of first platoon left the groomed trail second and third platoon received 50cal. machinegun, automatic weapon and mortar fire. We received rocket, mortar and small arms fire wounding several men. At this time we were isolated from part of our platoon (first) and could not see second or third. Our actions involved calling in fighter jets, destroying a rocket launching position, caring for the wounded, and securing our area.
Contact was lost with the command group early in the battle. They had taken a direct hit killing our CO, XO and Chief Corpsman, Captain Ward, Lieutenant Reese and HM2 Goss. Under the leadership of our platoon commander, Lieutenant John Holladay, we moved off the hill and to a secure location on Route 9 wailing for reinforcements and tending to the wounded.
At 0200 on 15 February 68 first platoon moved down Route 9 towards Ca Lu collecting men separated from second and third platoons and meeting up with India company. What was left of first platoon made it back to Ca Lu at 0300 hours. At daybreak I took 8mm pictures of fighter jets dropping high explosives and napalm on Valentine's Ridge.
India and Kilo companies moved off the ridge by the end of that day with a loss of 11 Marines and many wounded. This is part of the story about that day and each has his own. I wanted to tie together all that lost their life and to say that I'm sorry for them and there families. The names below are the ones that I have researched and believe to be correct.
Captain Alexander Ward