Web site by Craig Slaughter © 2009
This is not an official USMC site.
Republic of South Vietnam - August 1965
PFC Charles D. Fink
AKA “Brother Rat" or "Charlie”
India Co. 3/3 65’
My USS Iwo Jima Mug was given to me by my friend, Mark Carpenter, a Navy Vet. He found it in a antique store. He bought it for me because he remembered the story I told him about me being medivaced to the Iwo Jima when I was wounded during “Operation Starlite” on 8/18/65. It amazed me that he remembered because it had been many years since I had related that particular story to him.
I use the mug once a year on August 18th to toast the Marines and Corpsman we lost on that Operation. “Wild Bill” Cochrane was also WIA on Starlite.
This mug and that photo are treasures to me.
Photo by: George A. Emerick
Not too long before Operation Starlite, Sgt. Tony Emerick took a picture of Bill Cochrane and myself in our fighting hole. I think the picture say’s it all. We had just transferred to India 3/3 and were only days away from Starlite when Sgt Emerick took the picture. I clearly remember when he took it and thinking that I would never see the picture. I was stunned when he handed it to me at the India Company Reunion in Reno in 2007.
Sgt. Emerick had been my squad leader since I had reported to Camp Pendleton right after ITR. What was amazing is the fact that he was still my squad leader at the end of our tour in May of 1966. Another amazing fact is he was the only NCO left from the original platoon that landed at Red Beach in July 1965 when we were with 2/9.
I think there were only about 6 or 7 of us left from that platoon on May 18th 1966 when I got on the bird to return to the world. Most of the losses occurred on Starlite but there was a fair amount of attrition throughout the tour.