Freedom Fighters: Mike Jenkins - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Freedom Fighters: Mike Jenkins

Mike Jenkins joined the Marine Corps in 1960 and after volunteering seven times for Vietnam, he was finally sent there as an advisor. Out of twelve hundred men to walk into a Viet Cong ambush, Jenkins was one of four hundrd to walk out.

Jenkins second tour of duty in Vietnam began after only five days of leave. He was appointed Company Commander of Hotel Company, a group of men who were to distinguish themselves in one of the greatest battles of military history.

The battle began on August 18th, 1965. It was called "Operation Starlight" and it was the first major offensive of the Vietnam War. Jenkins and his Hotel Company were dropprd right in the middle of a Viet Cong Battallion. They were surrounded by overwhelming waves of enemy fighters. Hotel Company fought valiantly for two days, not even pausing when their ammunition ran out. The American warriors were victorious but at great cost. Out of two hundred men, only fifty walked out. The company was awarded an astouning 125 medals. Mike Jenkins received among others, The Silver Star. Jenkins and his Hotel Company are featured in the book "The Magnificent Bastards of Chu Lai".

Joan Hallmark, Reporting

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