Thomas Bernard Holdbrooks
Private First Class
3RD PLT, E CO, 2ND BN, 3RD MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
07 November 1948 - 28 December 1967
Mc Kinney, Texas
Panel 32E Line 087
Tommy Holdbrooks and I were from the same small town of McKinney, Texas, and grew up on the Mill Block in what was called the poor side of town. He was one of the good guys - friendly, loyal, always smiling.He was tall and skinny, wore thick glasses, and wasn't what you would call a tough guy. He sang in the high school choir. I was a year older and when I came home from Marine Corps boot camp wearing my dress blues, Tommy was certainly impressed and had a million questions to ask. I could tell he was proud of me. About a year and a half later after I had been overseas for about four months, I opened a letter from my mom, and there was Tommy's picture in an article from our hometown newspaper. What a shock. Tommy had joined the Marines, had been trained as a rifleman, sent to Vietnam, and was dead.
It was many years later when I learned how he had died in that bloody ambush on Go Noi Island. I also learned how excited he had been when he had come home from boot camp wearing that Marine Corps uniform. He was now officially one of the tough guys and nobody was ever more proud of that than he was. I wish I could have witnessed that transformation and could have told him how proud of him that I was, maybe in another place and another time. Semper Fi, my brother. Til we meet again.
From a friend and brother Marine,
Ronnie D. Foster
P O Box 603, McKinney, Texas 75070
I am Tommy's younger sister. I wanted to express my thanks for this memorial. I recall the night my brother died. I was 13. I lay in bed that morning listening to my parents in the kitchen getting ready for work. My mom told my dad of a dream she had. She said that she was in Vietnam and Tommy was in a large green truck with a lot of guys sitting in the back. When they drove past Tommy held down his hands and they were covered in blood. She told my dad that Tommy was dead. My Dad agreed. I was 13 and just passed this off. The following Sunday when we came home from church, the neighbors said some Marines had been to our house. Mom sent me to the mill to bring Dad home. I told him the Marines were there.
I still miss my brother every day. I was glad recently to hear from Mr. Foster who told me of the memorial at Tommy's high school. I joined the Marine Corps when I was 21 and retired in 1996 as a CWO3. The year before I retired I was at the FBINA at Quantico and visited the Wall in DC. I left my bars for Tommy and told him I finished it.
From his sister,
A Note from The Virtual Wall
Operation Auburn, conducted 28 Dec 67 through 03 Jan 68 on Go Noi Island, Quang Nam Province, was primarily a 5th Marines operation, but E Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, was attached to 3/5 Marines to provide an extra rifle company. Go Noi Island was infested with North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong main and local forces, and very heavy fighting resulted when the Marines engaged fortified NVA and VC elements.
Echo 2/3 lost twelve men killed in action on
28 December 1967.
SSgt Salome Hernandez, Anthony, NM
Cpl Robert L. Boyer, Long Beach, CA (Silver Star)
Cpl Richard L. Carlson, Montclair, NJ
Cpl James B. Cox, Washington, WV
LCpl Patrick E. Anglim, Long Beach, CA
LCpl Carl E. Chamberlain, Nashville, TN
Pfc Byron A. Gaines, Jacksonville, FL (Silver Star)
Pfc Thomas B. Holdbrooks, McKinney, TX
Pfc Arturo M. Lara, Los Angeles, CA
Pfc Ronald J. Streckert, Chilton, WI
Pfc Ernesto Tarango, Los Angeles, CA
Pfc Herbert O. Zinnel, Dakota City, IA
And seven more on 29 December:
Sgt Henry L. Morgan, Benson, NC (Silver Star)
Pfc David A. Blough, Spencer, MA (Silver Star)
Pfc John A. Delozier, Tucson, AZ
Pfc Leo Menendez, Spelter, WV
Pfc Steven D. Munden, Minneapolis, MN
Pfc Dennis C. Smith, Deer River, MN
Pfc Gerald W. Ziy, St Ann, MO