"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

8th of November: My Part of The Story: by Allen J. Folk

About The 8th of November ...

“On November 8th, 1965, the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Operation Hump, War Zone D in Vietnam, were ambushed by over 1200 V.C. 

The result of the battle was heavy losses on both sides. Forty-eight American soldiers lost their lives that day, many more wounded, and 403 dead PLAF troops.

Severely wounded and risking his own life, Lawrence Joll, a medic, was the first living black man since the Spanish-American War to receive the United States Medal of Honor for saving so many lives in the midst of battle on that day.

Nialls Harris, retired 25 years, United States Army, the guy who gave Big Kenny his top hat, was one of the wounded who lived.  In 2006, the country music duo, Big & Rich came out with a new musical video called, "8th of November".  This song is his story. 

Caught in the action of kill or be killed, greater love hath no man to lay down his life for a friend.”

Allen J. Folk

My Part of The Story  

By Allen J. Folk

In May, 1968, I and a few other engineers were sent to the Fire Base Cam-Lo. It was located at the foothills of Con-Thien.

During the day, we were taking a lot of incoming from Cam-Lo up to Con-Thien. At one point, we heard a cry for help, and saw a chopper trying to land.

I gave the order and I and four other marines ran out of our bunker without regard for our own safety to help save the life of a seriously wounded Marine sergeant.

Despite being shelled, we ran through enemy gunfire to put him on the chopper. I don't know what happened to the wounded marine after that. All I know is, if we hadn't gotten him out of there, he would have bled to death.

What we didn't know was, there was a war correspondent filming all of this from the chopper.

In June of 2006, I was watching CMT on TV and I saw that Big & Rich, the country duo, had come out with a new musical video called, “8th of November”, to honor one of the survivors, Nialls Harris.

To my surprise, while watching the video, I found myself and the four other marines right there in the video. I called CMT and spoke with a man named Kevin Lane. I told him that I saw myself on the video. He told me that he would send me a copy of the video. He asked me to write down what happened on that day and send it to him and I did.

Rescuing a Wounded Marine - Allen Folk (at the rear)
Two weeks later on CMT, they had Big & Rich on and they were talking about the new video.

Big Kenny told CMT that Kevin Lane gave them a letter from a Marine who was on the video with his men and they could be seen in the act of saving a Marine’s life.

Well, that was MY letter.

Later on, I found out that our act of bravery was used in other documentaries, as well: Time Life’s "BATTLEFIELD VIETNAM: COUNTDOWN TO TET”; OLIVER NORTH'S WAR STORIES: “LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND”, PART 1: “THE BATTLE OF CON-THIEN” which was on Mike Wallace’s CBS News; and “8th of November Documentary”, and lastly, “The 8th of November”.

We were in no way heroes that day. We did this as an act of compassion, because in no way were we gonna let a United States Marine lay in the mud to bleed to death.

At the top of this blog post is a picture of the scene of the documentary we are in. I am the marine that is running in the rear of the cot we placed this marine on.

In July of 2010, our local newspaper, The Reading Eagle, was asking veterans to submit their story, so I gave them mine.  It was the one about the time we were caught on film saving a Marines life under fire.

My Story - Allen J. Folk

In November 2010, the book was published.  They put my picture on the cover and my story is on page 152.

Big & Rich – 8th Of November Official Video

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


  1. You are a Hero Allen..... All of my Brothers and Sisters collectively, in so many ways are Hero's......... Thank you for you service to Our Country.... You are truly one of the "GOOD GUYS" on this earth!!!! Welcome Home Brother!!!!! Lee Tucker, US Army....Vietnam Jan. 68-Jan.69.....

  2. "Welcome Home, Brother" USAF Nam 67-68


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