1. #1
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    Default A Man Not to Be Forgotten

    I was perusing MSNBC today, and found a little story that has been buried in the news due to the election.

    Given the Marine Corps birthday comes up November 10th, and Veteran's Day is November 11th I thought that I should pick up my self-proclaimed duties and make you aware of the passing of Marine Colonel John Ripley. If you have never read the story of then Captain Ripley's multiple crossings to destroy "The Bridge at Dong Ha" it will truly make you humbled and in awe of one man's actions to save untold thousands of his fellow Comrades in Arms.

    Colonel Ripley died Friday. Semper Fidelis! Colonel.

    As we used to say, Col. Ripley was "Tougher than woodpecker lips."

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27506550/

    John Ripley, Vietnam War hero, dies at age 69
    Ripley's son said it appears his father died in his sleep at his home
    The Associated Press
    updated 7:30 p.m. ET, Sun., Nov. 2, 2008
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Retired Marine Col. John Ripley, who was credited with stopping a column of North Vietnamese tanks by blowing up a pair of bridges during the 1972 Easter Offensive of the Vietnam War, died at home at age 69, friends and relatives said Sunday.

    Ripley's son, Stephen Ripley, said his father was found at his Annapolis home Saturday after missing a speaking engagement on Friday. The son said the cause of death had not been determined but it appeared his father died in his sleep.

    In a videotaped interview with the U.S. Naval Institute for its Americans at War program, Ripley said he and about 600 South Vietnamese were ordered to "hold and die" against 20,000 North Vietnamese soldiers with about 200 tanks.

    "I'll never forget that order, 'hold and die'," Ripley said. The only way to stop the enormous force with their tiny force was to destroy the bridge, he said.

    "The idea that I would be able to even finish the job before the enemy got me was ludicrous," Ripley said. "When you know you're not going to make it, a wonderful thing happens: You stop being cluttered by the feeling that you're going to save your butt."

    The advance was considerably slowed
    Ripley crawled under the bridge under heavy gunfire, rigging 500 pounds of explosives that brought the twins spans down, said John Miller, a former Marine adviser in Vietnam and the author of "The Bridge at Dong Ha," which details the battle.

    Miller said the North Vietnamese advance was slowed considerably by Ripley.

    "A lot of people think South Vietnam would have gone under in '72 had he not stopped them," Miller said.

    Ray Madonna, president of the U.S. Naval Academy's 1962 graduating class, served in Vietnam as a Marine at the same time and said his classmate saved countless U.S. and South Vietnamese troops.

    "They would have been wrecked" if the tanks had crossed, Madonna said. He said Ripley also coordinated naval gunfire that stopped the tanks from crossing at a shallower point downstream.

    "He was a Marine's Marine, respected, highly respected by enlisted men, by his peers and by his seniors," Madonna said.

    Miller said Ripley, who was born in Radford, Va., descended from a long line of veterans going back to the Revolutionary War. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1962, after enlisting in the Marines out of high school and spending a year in naval school in Newport, R.I.

    Earned highest distinctions
    He earned the "Quad Body" distinction for making it through four of the toughest military training programs in the world: the Army Rangers, Marine reconnaissance, Army Airborne and Britain's Royal Marines, Miller said. He was also the only Marine to be inducted in the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

    Ripley earned the Navy Cross and Silver Star for his service in Vietnam. He later served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was regimental commander at Camp Lejeune, N.C., among other postings.

    After retiring from the Marines, he was president and chancellor of Southern Virginia College in Lexington, Va.


    Stephen Ripley said his father had a deep and tenacious love for his country, the Marine Corps and his family.

    "My Dad never quit anything and never went halfway on anything in his life," he said. "He just was a full-throttle kind of person and those people that he cared about, he really cared about."

    Ripley is survived by his wife, Moline B. Ripley, 67; three sons, Stephen Ripley, 43, Thomas Ripley, 38, and John Ripley, 35; a daughter, Mary Ripley, 39; and eight grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were pending.

    Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
    Last edited by DaSharkie; 11-03-2008 at 01:41 PM.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

  2. #2
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    Default Colonel Ripley's Navy Cross Citation

    This is Colonel John Ripley's Navy Cross citation. Click the link to see part of an interview with him and footage of his actions. One man, hanging from underneath the bridge, with a Division of NVA and 200 tanks shooting at him.

    Should have been awarded the Medal of Honor.


    http://leadingmarines.com/2008/08/18...hn-ripley.aspx

    Navy Cross Citation, USMC Captain John W. Ripley, Advisor, 3rd Vietnamese Marine Corps Infantry Bn.

    The Navy Cross is awarded to Captain John W. Ripley, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism on 2 April 1972 while serving as the Senior Marine Advisor to the Third Vietnamese Marine Corps Infantry Battalion in the Republic of Vietnam.

    Upon receipt of a report that a rapidly moving, mechanized, North Vietnamese army force, estimated at reinforced divisional strength, was attacking south along Route #1, the Third Vietnamese Marine Infantry Battalion was positioned to defend a key village and the surrounding area.

    It became imperative that a vital river bridge be destroyed if the overall security of the northern provinces of Military Region One was to be maintained.

    Advancing to the bridge to personally supervise this most dangerous but vitally important assignment, Captain Ripley located a large amount of explosives which had been prepositioned there earlier, access to which was blocked by a chain-link fence.

    In order to reposition the approximately 500 pounds of explosives, Captain Ripley was obliged to reach up and hand-walk along the beams while his body dangled beneath the bridge.

    On five separate occasions, in the face of constant enemy fire, he moved to points along the bridge and, with the aid of another advisor who pushed the explosives to him, securely emplaced them.

    He then detonated the charges and destroyed the bridge, thereby stopping the enemy assault.

    By his heroic actions and extraordinary courage, Captain Ripley undoubtedly was instrumental in saving an untold number of lives. His inspiring efforts reflected great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the United States Naval Service.

    Colonel Ripley was the first Marine inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in June of 2008.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

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    I'm sure you were given a rousing welcome by your Brother Marines who went before you. Rest peacefully in the arms of the angels, Colonel Ripley.

  4. #4
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    The Final Salute is given Sir. May you find peace, and know that the Torch is passed.

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