CHARLES S. "CHUCK" GAEDE
Patriot, Chapter 1919
Marine Corps, Vietnam
Charles S. Gaede was born in Olney, Illinois in 1944 and he grew up on a
farm in Edwards County near West Salem.
In his first five school years, he was one of four students in his
class in Shelby School, a one-room country school.
He moved up, attending the West Salem School through 9th grade, and
then Edwards County High School in Albion, where he graduated with the class
He enrolled in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in October
1964 joined the Marine Corps Platoon Leader Course.
He graduated from the university in January 1967, was commissioned
Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve on February 10, 1967, and
entered active duty May 31st.
He completed Basic School in November and was assigned to the Infantry.
He had graduated in the top ten percent of the class, and was
augmented to the Regular Marine Corps.
He was immediately ordered to the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam as
an individual replacement and he arrived there, in-country, the following
Lt. Gaede was assigned as Platoon Leader, 3rd Platoon, Company H, 2nd
Battalion, 3rd Marines on December 14, 1967.
He describes what was going on from that time forward, “The battalion
was in an area south of Da Nang along the coast, conducting saturation
patrols for several weeks after my arrival. In January we were sent to do
convoy security along the route from Da Nang to Phu Bai and that 14-day
mission was still going on when TET-68 began. Bridges were blown on Route 1
and 3rd Platoon had to be moved down the coast by boat to get back to our
home area of operations. Saturation patrols then resumed with us operating
southwest of Da Nang. The platoons
worked independently, moving into an assigned area and conducting patrols
for four or five days from a platoon patrol base before returning to the
company base camp for one day preparing to go out again.
In late February 1968, Company H was assigned an area of operations
southwest of Da Nang along the Song Yen.
On February 29th, I was on a patrol with one squad from my platoon and we
were also accompanied by the Company Commander and First Sergeant. On the
way back in to the Platoon Patrol Base the point man, PFC Dennis Roark
tripped a Chicom grenade booby-trap and was severely wounded in his feet and
ankles. I was the fourth man
back from him and took a piece of shrapnel in the calf of my left leg. PFC
Roark was medevac’ed to the United States. I spent four or five days in the
hospital at Da Nang (1st Medical Battalion), and then was returned to the
unit but was held back at the battalion base camp for some time as the wound
For the next month the battalion participated in clearing operations east of
Hue City and a training, inspection, and rehabilitation program leading up
to Operation Pegasus in April 1968, that being the clearing of Route 9 and
the relief of Khe Sanh. The
road from Ca Lu to Khe Sanh was cleared by units from the Army’s 1st Cavalry
Division operating on the north side of Route 9 while other Marine units
were clearing North Vietnamese Army (NVA) elements from the south side of
the road. When Route 9 was
opened in mid-April, the 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines were heli-lifted in near Khe
Sanh and began operations securing the road and clearing remaining NVA from
the surrounding area. After Khe Sanh was closed in July 1968, Lt. Gaede’s
unit was in the Cam Lo area, between Khe Sanh and Dong Ha.
On August 15th during a contact with a small NVA unit he was wounded
for the second time, being hit in the upper arm from the near miss of an RPG
round. The wound seemed to be
minor, but it became infected.
He was sent back to the hospital in Dong Ha where a rock was removed from
the wound and he was kept for three days before being returned to duty.
But, shortly afterward he was ordered to Okinawa.
He served with the Third Force Service Regiment in Okinawa from September
23, 1968 to July 25, 1969, and then volunteered to extend and was returned
to Vietnam and reassigned to his old unit.
From July 30, 1969 to December 10, 1969, 1st Lt Gaede served
successively as Executive Officer then as Commanding Officer, Company H, 2nd
Bn, 3rd Marines, and finally as the Embarkation Officer for Headquarters
Battalion, 3rd Marine Division.
The 3rd Marines “stood down from combat” on September 21st and on October 1,
1969 the 3rd Marine Regiment embarked for Okinawa.
He says, “Two months later, in December 1969, after two years, almost
to the day, I rotated back to the U.S.”
Upon returning to the Continental United States, he was assigned to the
Marine Corps Support Center, Barstow, California in January 1970, where he
served as Commanding Officer of Material Company, Headquarters Battalion,
until November 1970. He was
promoted to Captain during his time at Barstow, and after attending the
Naval Justice Course at Camp Pendleton was assigned to the JAG Office for a
few months. He closed out his
time at Barstow assigned to the Special Services Office and while there
opened up a recreation area at Big Bear Mountain.
Captain Gaede left Barstow in February 1972 for his next assignment, the
Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico, Virginia where he attended his Career
Officers Course. After
graduating in June 1972 he remained at Quantico, assigned to the Officer
Candidate School where he served successively as Executive Officer of
Companies B and C, as the S-3 Operations Officer, and as Commanding Officer
of Headquarters and Service Company.
In 1974 he resigned his commission to return to school and was discharged.
He attended university in Springfield, Missouri and, while working
toward two masters degrees there, he was re-commissioned as a Captain in the
Marine Corps Reserve and served as Commanding Officer, Company M (-), 3rd
Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment from October 1977 to October 1979.
After graduation, he took a teaching position in Waxahachie, Texas.
While teaching in Waxahachie from 1979 to 1989, Charles was working on a
Doctorate Degree at North Texas State University in Denton; and was serving
as a Major in various billets of the 14th Marine Regiment (an artillery
regiment). Among those
assignments were: S-4 Logistics Officer for Headquarters Battery, 2nd
Battalion, then Commanding Officer, Target Acquisition Battery.
He next worked for the Irving Independent School District until 1991, and
then was employed by the University of Texas at Arlington where he worked in
educational measurement and testing.
During his years at UT Arlington, he was promoted to Lieutenant
Colonel, USMCR, and served as a Mobilization Operational Readiness
Deployment Test Inspector with Detachment 6, 4th Marine Division, and
finally was S-1 Personnel Officer for the 8th Reserve District Headquarters
until April 1998 at which time he retired from the Marine Corps Reserve
after more than 29 years of commissioned service.
In 1998, Doctor Charles Gaede moved from UT Arlington to the University of
Texas at Austin, where for the next nine years he was employed in the
Measurement and Evaluation Center, and where he retired in August 2007 as an
Associate Director in the Division of Instructional Innovation and
Charles Gaede is active in several veterans group initiatives, primarily
those related to his Vietnam service.
Today, he describes his favorite Vietnam charitable work, saying, “I
have done some fund-raising for Peace Trees Vietnam, Inc., of Seattle,
Washington, a non-governmental organization authorized to do work in Quang
Tri Province. Two Community Libraries have been built for Montagnard
minority children, one at the base of hill 861 west of Khe Sanh built in
2005, and the other built in 2007 on Route 9 between Long Vei and Lao Bao.
What I am working on now is raising funds to add to both libraries,
to provide each with toilets and a separate room for battered women that is
to be stocked with food and kitchen utensils.”
Since their beginning in 1995, he also has organized reunions for his fellow
Vietnam veterans of 3rd Platoon, Company H, and hosted their gathering in
Austin in 2005. Since then they
have had reunions every other year, the most recent being in May 2011 in
Memphis, Tennessee, where the veterans honored their Corpsman, Roy “Doc”
Moon. And, Chuck Gaede followed
that up by submitting an article published in the December 2011 issue of
The second thing he did after retiring in 2007 (after buying his Harley
motorcycle) was to become more active in local area veterans organizations.
In the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) local chapter
he is First Vice President for Programs.
In VFW Post 3377 in Manchaca he is currently the Judge Advocate and
also chairs several important committees.
He has been a Life Member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart
for ten years, and this month Chapter 1919 and PATRIOT BULLETIN proudly
salute Patriot Charles S. Gaede.