Dan M. Bonner joined the Marine Corps out of high school in 1965. After twelve weeks of basic training in Parris Island and four weeks of Infantry Training at Camp Geiger, NC, Dan attended Aircraft Maintenance School in Memphis, Tennessee. Dan was assigned to the III Marine Amphibious Forces, Vietnam after aircraft maintenance school and completing an additional four weeks of infantry training at the Marine Corps Staging Battalion in Camp Pendleton, California.
Upon completing Staging Battalion, Dan joint the 1st Marine Air Wing, Marine Air Group 12, VMA-311 Tomcats, Chu Lai, Vietnam on June 6, 1966. Dan had temporary assignments to the MAG-12 Group Guard – with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines, trained as a substitute truck driver hauling aircraft bombs and ordinance and as a Nuclear Field Observer. With the wing, he worked as an aircraft structural mechanic and cross-trained into an aircraft hydraulics mechanic. With the Group Guard, Dan utilized an artist observation technique to predict an imminent attack on the airfield at Chu Lai on September 21, 1966. The Marine Corps soon adopted his system for its ground observation teams.
Dan departed Vietnam on February 5, 1968 the last day of the Tet Holiday Offensive. He spent six months with the 2nd Marine Air Wing in Cherry Point, NC, then transferred to Barstow, California, where he served as a Military Policeman until his discharge on April 25, 1969.
In April 2014, Vietnam veteran Dan Bonner joined fellow veterans Henry Hoffstot (WWII), Manuel Carvahlo (Vietnam), Don Johnson (Vietnam), Howard Pfeifer (WWII), Joe Cirelli (Vietnam), Pete Longstreth (WWII), and Robert Harbula (Korea) for our second veterans oral history educational project at Winchester-Thurston School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
These veterans were part of our effort to work with teachers and students to provide an interesting workshop covering the oral history process, appropriate interview questions, special considerations when interviewing veterans, active listening skills, and oral history ethics.
KEYWORDS: 1ST MARINE AIR WING; 28TH REGIMENT (MARINE); 3RD DIVISION ( NVA); 4 HOLE OUTHOUSE; 5TH MARINE DIVISION; A-4 SKYHAWK; AIRCRAFT MECHANIC (JET); AK-47 RIFLE; BARNES, KENNY; BAZOOKA; BEENIE WEENIES; BLACKWATER, WV; BODY COOLER BEER; BOEING BUMMER; BROWNING AUTOMATIC RIFLE (B.A.R.), BUNKER (SANDBAG); CALDWELL, RON; CAMP LEJEUNE, NC; CAMP PENDLETON, CA; CANNON (20 MM); CATTLE CAR; CHU LAI; CHU LAI LOUNGE; COAL MINE; DA NANG, VIETNAM; DARTS; DAVIS, WV; DEBUG THE BREAD; FAIRMONT, WV; FRUIT CAKE; HAM & MOTHERS; HEFFLEFINGER, LARRY “FINGERS”; HIROSHIMA, JAPAN; HUMAN WAVE; KGB (KOMITET GOSUDARSTVENNOY BEZOPASNOSTI); LISTENING POST; M-1 CARBINE; M-14 CARBINE; M-16 RIFLE; M-60 RIFLE; M-79 GRENADE LAUNCHER; MARINE AIR GROUP 12; MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT; MARINE CORPS AIR STATION EL TORO; MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT, PARRIS ISLAND, SC; MARINE, ANTHONY; MEMPHIS, TN; MORTAR; MOUNTAINEER HIGH SCHOOL, WV; NAPALM; NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY (NVA); OKINAWA, JAPAN; OLD MAG 12; PARIS PEACE TALKS; PLATOON 349 (MARINE); QUANTICO, VIRGINIA; ROCKET FIRE; SCHUMAKER, BOBBY; SUICIDE SQUAD; TET OFFENSIVE; THOMAS, WV; TUNNELS; USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62); VIET CONG; VMA-311 (MARINES); VO NGUYEN GIAP, GENERAL; WAKE ISLAND