"Hold and Die"


PDA






willbrink
November 11, 2008, 01:08 PM
On this Veterans day, an amazing story about an amazing marine:


“Hold and Die” – Legendary Marine Passes On
by W. Thomas Smith, Jr


COL. JOHN W. RIPLEY, U.S. MARINE CORPS (ret.), recipient of the Navy Cross and for years one of my personal heroes, has passed away.

Ripley, 69, was awarded the Navy Cross – the nation’s second-highest award for valor in combat – for single-handedly blowing up the Dong Ha Bridge in Vietnam, thus blunting the North Vietnamese Army's Easter Offensive on April 2, 1972.

The enemy was attacking in great strength – huge numbers of infantry, tanks, artillery – and Ripley's little force was ordered to "hold and die."

Dying would be easy. But the only way to hold was to blow the bridge spanning the Dong Ha River. And, as Ripley said, he was "the Marine there to do it."

Then a 33-year-old captain, Ripley accomplished his task by dangling from the bridge's I-beams, climbing along the length of the bridge hand-over-hand, his body weighted down with explosives, the enemy shooting at him, desperately trying to kill the lone Marine hanging beneath the bridge.

In a June 16, 2008 interview for Marine Corps Times, Ripley said “I had to swing like a trapeze artist in a circus and leap over the other I-beam. ... I would work myself into the steel. I used my teeth to crimp the detonator and thus pinch it into place on the fuse. I crimped it with my teeth while the detonator was halfway down my throat.”

Ripley set the charges and moved back to the friendly side of the river, all the while under heavy fire.

Cont:

http://townhall.com/Columnists/WThomasSmithJr/2008/11/03/%E2%80%9Chold_and_die%E2%80%9D_%E2%80%93_legendary_marine_passes_on

If you enjoyed reading about ""Hold and Die"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
General Geoff
November 11, 2008, 01:10 PM
That's the kind of thing for which a Medal of Honor should be bestowed.

SoCalShooter
November 11, 2008, 01:10 PM
Thats pretty impressive.

gotime242
November 11, 2008, 01:50 PM
Good lord.

FMJMIKE
November 11, 2008, 07:15 PM
That's a real hero.....not a media hyped pretender. Rest in peace sir........

halfbreed808
November 11, 2008, 08:24 PM
[QUOTE][Quote:
That's the kind of thing for which a Medal of Honor should be bestowed.

Agreed.The Navy Cross signifies great honor.
But in Colonel Ripley's amazing exploit, the Medal of Honor was deserved./QUOTE]

+2

Archie
November 11, 2008, 11:20 PM
Probably the only reason he didn't get a Medal of Honor was he wasn't wounded or killed in the process.

Among the other bits of trivia in the main article should be the fact he was inducted into the Army Ranger's Hall of Fame. (You'll note he was a Marine.)

This man's life would be a great movie. Except who - which actor - has the sand to portray such a hero?

We've lost another valiant warrior and hero. The good news, there's more to come. This is the United States.

moooose102
November 12, 2008, 07:59 AM
WOW! now that, son, is a MARINE! R.I.P., S I R !

SSN Vet
November 12, 2008, 09:17 AM
checked out his biography at Barnes and Nobles last week.

Very Impressive!

It's worth pointing out that he was a "pip-squeek" in his physical form... always the smallest guy in his class.

But a lion's hear!

He says that when he received the order to "hold and die" it made the his job more simple and clear and that his thoughts were no longer cluttered with thoughts of how he was going to get out of there.

He had already counted himself as dead when he went out on that bridge.

Eyesac
November 12, 2008, 11:30 AM
Wow! How some of these people live to tell these stories...

If you enjoyed reading about ""Hold and Die"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!