1/14/68Fallen Brother RVN

1/14/68 EONCN Harry G. Hodges, Sevierville, TN – Danang NMCB 9

Harry Gaines Hodges

Home of Record: Sevierville, TN
Date of birth: 10/10/1947
Service: United States Navy
Grade at loss: E3
Rank: Equipment Operator Constructionman
ID No: B320923
MOS: EON: Equipment Operator (Construction Equipment)
Length Service: 01
Start Tour: 05/15/1967
Incident Date: 01/14/1968
Casualty Date: 01/14/1968
Age at Loss: 20
Location: Danang, Quang Nam, South Vietnam
Remains: Body recovered
Casualty Type: Hostile, died outright
Casualty Reason: Ground casualty
Casualty Detail: Not Reported

ON THE WALL Panel 34E Line 049



Harry's resting place is in Boyd's Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Jim Fain Road, Sevier County, Tennessee.

…MCB-9 EONCN H.G. Hodges, USN, was killed and EON3 J.G. Stotko, USN, was wounded as the result of an enemy grenade detonation at approximately 0140 while manning a defensive position at the “Project Beaver” helicopter repair facility project at Red Beach, Da Nang. Stotko was flown by MEDEVAC to the 1st Marine Medical Battalion where he was listed in good condition. Preliminary investigations indicated that Hodges shielded the force of the blast from Stotko while attempting to hurl the enemy grenade from the bunker. Subsequently, The Silver Star Medal was posthumously awarded to Hodges for his heroic actions. These men were part of a 16-man security detail from NMCB-9 charged with manning the perimeter of the project site from 25 Dec 67 to 14 Jan 68.

18 December 1967..
1967…With only four weeks left in its deployment, NMCB-74 was tasked with Project Beaver, a top priority helicopter facility for the First Air Calvary. The project required around the clock performance utilizing men from every Company, including Headquarters Company, as well as assistance from five other area MCB’s in the form of 300 men and equipment. The construction of this complex was a task of critical importance to combat operations in the I Corps Tactical Zone and had a greatly compressed deadline of 15 January 1968.
In order to meet the required completion date it was necessary to work seven days a week for a period of over three weeks. In this short period it was necessary to clear and level over 122 acres of land and install 64 acres (144,000 panels) of M8A1 airfield matting. This required the moving of 13 Vietnamese graves and practically one million cubic yards of earth. 474 66 ft.x100 ft. sheets of T-17 membrane were placed and over 5 miles roadway was constructed. Security structures included 7,700 feet of triple concertina wire and 13 bunkers. Also included in the project were stabilized ditches, culverts, and three water wells.
In addition to providing men from Alpha and Delta Companies to assist with culverts and matting, NMCB-9 provided the 16-man security detail for Project Beaver. NMCB-9’s EONCN Harry Hodges was killed as a result of an enemy grenade being thrown and detonating in the defensive position he was manning with EON3 J.G. Stotko on the Project Beaver perimeter. The subsequent investigation indicated that Hodges shielded the force of the blast from Stotko while attempting to hurl the grenade from the bunker. Harry Hodges was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his efforts. Another NMCB-9 member, SWF3 J.R. Couch, drowned in an under-tow while swimming off the Project Beaver beach site with several others form the project crew. An NMCB-74 CPO volunteered to tie a rope to himself and swim out to bring them to shore. All were saved in this manner with the exception of Petty Officer Couch.
On 15 January 1968 the Red Beach Logistics Support Complex (Project Beaver) was completed and turned over to the U.S. Army First Calvary Division as 400 helicopters began arriving from Saigon. As NMCB-74 XO Andy Kartalis recalled “It was a sight never to forget”.
At the completion of the project, CDR Schley (Commanding Officer) opened the EM Club declaring everything was “on the house” Three of four men showed up…the rest of the Battalion “hit the sack” as everyone was “dog tired”!!!


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