The photo above was a Command Photo taken of Lieutenant General Fuller taken while he was at Fort Hood Texas in the mid 80's
LTC Marvin D Fuller was an up and coming leader when he assumed command of the 2/12th Infantry from
LTC Aaron C. Atkins who trained the battalion early during its formation at Fort Lewis.
HE REMAINED WITH THE UNIT UNTIL HE WAS PROMOTED TO colonel AND SENT TO CU CHI TO LEAD
THE 2ND BRIGADE OF THE 25TH DIVISION IN December, 1966
During a 2001 search for the location of the 2/12's Totem Pole my wife, chris, was able to contact Marvin D. Fuller and he graciously provided the following information on the symbolic tribute to the Historic Battalion. Along the way we learned of the outstanding leadership which our unit was blessed during our tour with 2/12
2/12 Headquarters, Dau Tieng, Vietnam, 1967
General (Ret) Marvin D. Fuller
City, KS 66441-4053
have found the right ex- Battalion Commander, but not the totem pole. Let me
tell you the history of this, in the event that I have some background that you
a unit goes overseas its unit memorabilia is shipped to a storage site in
Virginia. This includes trophies, photo albums and the like. The senior
battalion of the regiment, i.e., the first Bn is responsible for gathering,
packing and shipping. In this case, the 1st took off leaving
everything in place. The Division staff asked that we in the 2nd Bn.
take over. We did what was required. During informal conversations with my
friends on the Division staff, I found myself maneuvered into a bet that I
couldn't move the regimental totem pole to Vietnam. You know the rest of the
story. Incidentally, the totem pole
belonged to the Regiment-it was given to them in Alaska during a maneuver back
when regiments were the basic maneuver units in the 50's.
we got to Vietnam we found a big mahogany tree we could cut lengthwise and
restore the figures into the totem pole. We were given this tree by the local
Buddhist monastery. The restoration and erection of the totem pole was serious
business to the symbol oriented Vietnamese people and a group of local
dignitaries attended our little rededication ceremony. At about that time I was
promoted and moved to the 2nd Brigade of the 25th Division
at Cuchi. I never saw the totem pole again.
the war I saw a notice in a military oriented magazine,(probably Army) asking
for any available information about the totem pole. My guess is that the nature
of our withdrawal from Vietnam would have prevented the evacuation of the totem
pole. Our headquarters were in a building to the Michelin Rubber Company. I'm
sure they never came back. The nearby town was Dau Tieng. The Boa Dai temple was
located there. They were a very eclectic "religion" (Victor Hugo was
one of their saints) and might have taken the totem pole. There is also a
possibility that the pole was banned by the communist and simply destroyed.
you have hit another dead end.
Marvin D. Fuller
John Concannon, A/2/12's Executive Officer during it's preparation for Combat Duty at Fort Lewis, recently wrote me of Marvin Fuller. John served as the Intelligence Officer (S2) for the Battalion and was very familiar with Marvin Fuller and his reputation. He writes:
Colonel Fuller was the Battalion Commander during our training at Fort Lewis
Washington, before we deployed to Vietnam.
He was a big man, by that I mean he was very promotable, and highly
regarded. He was destined to be the Brigade Commander of the 2nd
Brigade of the 25th Division. That would have to come later as
Marvin was determined to settle in the 2/12 in Vietnam before he accepted his
promotion. All our Commanders tended to be solid and reliable, not flashy.
They got missions done with us and they worked for us and with us.
They would be delighted, but not surprised with what Alpha Association
has accomplished to date.
To this day I still remember his call sign. It was Bourbon Savage 6. I remember one night in particular that says a lot about Lt. Col. Fuller. I was in the Battalion TOC with him as a crisis developed when one of our ambush patrols, early in our tour, was lost as they settled down for the night. Their LT had forgotten his map. He was trying to circumvent the problem by
the pace and using his compass. Unfortunately, they later came under enemy fire.
Col Fuller and I talked them through the night on the radio. We were eventually
able to pin point their location and the actual lay out of the patrol on the
ground; we fired artillery for them, and taught them how to adjust it. I
debriefed them when they came in the next day. Fuller was calm and steady. When
problems he didn't get loud and angry.
Eventually he was promoted to Full Colonel and transferred to the 2nd
Brigade of the 25th Brigade where he served as their Commander. Our
loss was their gain."
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