Lt. C..M. "Mike" Mercincavage was a platoon leader and executive officer with the 175th Engineer Company from the formation of the 175th Engineers at Fort Devens, Mass. thru rotation, (Deros) from Vietnam in 1967, back to the U.S. Reviewing our 175th website, brought Mike to share some personal feelings and remembrances of the 175th, the men, and in particular, fellow platoon leader, Lt. Charles Richard Guttilla, Killed in action 2/20/67 at our base camp in Tay Ninh, Republic of South Vietnam. Those feelings and remembrances are shared in part and all, by those of us who served with the 175th and knew Charlie Guttilla. Charlie was the first and only casually we had during the time frame we were in Vietnam, but not the last to die, as the 175th stayed in Vietnam, and we returned home. I thought it appropriate to share his remarks Ron Titus
"Ron, we do need to tell the stories of all of the heroes, everyone of us, that were there.... but especially those like Lt. Guttilla, who never had the opportunity to share
their accomplishments as combat engineers and their unselfish acts, ultimate sacrifice, and true loyalty to their Country, and who now depend on us who remember, to speak on their behalf."
"We are out here, and we are listening. We don't speak sometimes, but we remember. Sometimes we just need to be reminded and re-assured of how great a job we did within our "work-place" of the mines, booby-traps, RPGs, mortar attacks, ambushes, ants, snakes, the state-side criticism, the loneliness and the ever-present sudden death and injury.... all of this in the context of what the press and history labeled as an "unpopular war", the one we "lost". Those of us that were there, and our families know better. Our personal tours of duty were "wins" for us as individuals and testimony of what it means to be an American when called to serve. The war wasn't lost by any of us. In the end the only thing that was lost was America's determination to support their troops in a way that
could win the war. a war that none of us should have been called to serve in. Personally, my daughter and son are among the many who are so proud and thankful to all of us who were "there".
"The 175th web site is magnificent. You guys have created such a great tribute to all who proudly served. I noticed on Tay Ninh, page 4 , the photo of the 5-ton dump truck
entitled " Casualty of war" this is the truck in which Lt. Guttilla was killed. I remember that horrible hole in the cab canvas and the tell tale upward bend of the headache board overhead which showed the terrible force of the land mine which instantly took his life. I will never forget the complex feelings of sadness, disbelief and stark realization of the
fragility of life and suddenness of death when such a brilliant, personable and likeable person had to die the way he did. A little guilt was there too, for reasons I can't really explain, and is still there even to this day, because the jeep that our CO., Capt. Thomas and I were riding in, passed right over the mine only seconds before the 5-ton in which Lt. Guttilla was riding. The blast almost knocked my helmet off my head. I remember the numbness of all of us at the site and the great difficulty I had in helping to pull his lifeless remains from the truck, saying a final "good-bye" and then watching the medivac take him away. I will, likewise, never forget the date: January 20th, 1966. I want to always remember Chuck the person and soldier, not so much what happened. I am so pleased that you personally created the tribute page to Lt. "Chuck". He was such a fine engineer, soldier and person. Thanks for helping all of us who were there to remember what great Americans, engineers and soldiers we were then and are today."