CAG. It didgne instructions on everything from Vietnamese culture to small unit tactics, ambushes, recon, artillery, communications ... I did not participate in any of it to any extent."w
The selection process was also different for various Marines. Bobrowsky, for example, stared he had little choice and was selected for the program by his company commander. He recollected that his captain told him that it would only be a 30-day assignment, and perhaps was the reason he did not go to the CAG school. It was, however, a permanent transfer. The captain later wrote Bobrowsky, explaining, "I had to pick someone who I relt was ... a responsible person who knew how to ... work a small unit . . . ." Bobrowsky's commanding officer, at least, made an attempt ro send gcxxl men to the CAPs rather than "stick em with anybody."99
Photo Courtesy of Col Edward F. Danowitz, USMC (Ret)
Col Edu-ard F. Dcinwitz. Director. III MAF Combined A ctiirn Program, presents a certificate and an au'ard (a pair of Marine combat boots} to the outstanding Popular Force graduate of the Combined Action school at the Combined Action Group headquarters. Col Danou'itz assumed command of the program in October ]968.
This was not always the case. Eugene H. Ferguson, an 18-year old corporal and high school dropout, after completing a Vietnamese language course in the United Stares, arrived in Vietnam in early 1968. Despite his language capability, Ferguson was assigned directly to a Marine infantry line battalion. Outside of being used to check on the veracity of the Kit Carson Scout with his unit, Ferguson functioned like any newly assigned Marine squad leader. About a month after Ferguson was in-country, the North Vietnamese ambushed his squad which was on a "Sparrow Hawk" mission to assist another Marine unit. Except for his radioman, Ferguson lost all of his squad, either dead or wounded, in the clash. Although physically unscathed, Ferguson went into a deep depression: "I just couldn't seem to get into the hang of what everybody else was doing." At that point, Ferguson recalled his company commander called him in and asked, "If I wanted to go into CAG. I didn't know what it was or where it was or who was doing what and I said 'sure.' I need to get out of here." Ferguson suspected "they [his unit leaders] were anticipating trouble from me and shipped me out to CAG." After a two-week familiarization course at the 3d CAG School at Phu Bai in April, the young corporal became a member ot a Combined Action platoon.""
The only thing that can be said of both the Bobrowsky and Ferguson cases were that they illustrated the variegated backgrounds and motives for entering the CAP Marines. Bobrowsky was the son of immigrant Ukrainian parents and was born in a repatriation camp in Europe after World War II with ambitions to attain a commission. Ferguson was the son of a retired 20-year Navy veteran and enlisted in the Marine Corps because his father hated Marines.
Sergeant Andrew Lewandowski, a career Marine with a Japanese wife and a veteran of the Khe Sanh siege, volunteered for the CAPs in October, 1968, because he claimed he wanted to help the people. At the same time, he admitted he was having difficulties with both his platoon lieutenant and sergeant. If there was one common factor that all three commented upon in their initial screening process was their attitude towards the Vietnamese people. Lewandowski remembered appearing before a CAP screening board headed by Colonel Edward F. Danowitz, who, in October, had replaced Lieutenant Colonel Brady as Director of the Combined Action program." To put the Marine sergeant at ease, Danowitz spoke a few phrases in Polish to Lewandows-
*Colonel Danowitz commented that upon his arrival at III MAF on I October, General Cushman assigned him as the Director ot the Combined Action Program, stating "he wished to have a senior colonel at that post, citing his support for the program and wishing to get better cooperation from the Vietnamese, particularly General Lam." According to Danowicz, Cushman and Lam agreed to weekly meetings "to coordinate the program." Colonel Danowitz believed this was a good idea, "but was never rully implemented. My counterpart seldom appeared for scheduled meetings and passed on problems to other officers for resolution. . . . ( where there should have been] cooperation and coordination there was little or none." Danowitz remained as the CAP Director until April 1969, when he assumed command of a Marine regiment. Col Edward F. Danowitz, Comments on draft, dcd 27Oct94 (Vietnam Comment File), hereafter Danowitz Comments.