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MEMORIAL DAY: Burnet’s Patrick Goble gave all in Vietnam

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

PATRICK MICHAEL GOBLE

PATRICK MICHAEL GOBLE

BURNET — Despite the unpopularity of the Vietnam War among some people during the late 1960s, Burnet teenager Patrick Michael Goble didn’t see it that way. While he might not have fully understood the things that led to the war, he knew the importance of service to his country.

With the war still waging overseas, Goble joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

“He joined the Marines because he wanted to help keep this country safe. He died doing that,” said Carole Goble, a relative by marriage. “Mike, as he was called, was a very well-liked young man and popular with classmates.”

Goble was the son of Burnet resident Louie Goble. This line of Gobles settled in Texas in 1872, making him a fourth-generation Texan. His love for his community and country prompted the teen to join the USCM.

After basic training, Mike was assigned to G Company of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines of the 1st Marine Division. He started his Vietnam tour Feb. 1, 1968.

On May 4, 1968, the unit along with other Marine units joined in Operation Allen Brook in the Quang Nam Province of South Vietnam. During this period and the time leading up to the operation, both the Marines and enemy fighters were getting ready to square off against each other.

Patrick Goble of Burnet (in black shirt). Courtesy photo

Patrick Goble of Burnet (in black shirt). Courtesy photo

While the area was relatively open, the Marines found themselves fighting against an enemy who knew the area, often utilizing fortified structures to their advantage.

Goble was a rifleman with the company, so he was usually in harm’s way. On May 7, 1968, Goble and others with him encountered small arms fire. At one point, he was struck and died.

Goble was 18.

“Family and friends still miss him every day and are proud of him and his dedication to duty,” Carole Goble said. Carole Goble’s husband, Bill, who was Mike’s cousin, was also a Marine in Vietnam at the time of Mike’s death. Bill Goble was present when military officials loaded Mike’s body for the trip back to Burnet.

Courtesy photo

In Burnet, after his body’s return to his hometown, then-Burnet mayor J.B. McDuff issued a proclamation honoring Mike Goble for his sacrifice and declaring a day of mourning in memory of the teenager.

He is buried in the Burnet Cemetery.

daniel@thepicayune.com

One Response to “MEMORIAL DAY: Burnet’s Patrick Goble gave all in Vietnam”

  1. John Goble says:

    Excerpts from Letters written by Mike Goble

    By John C. Goble (Cousin to Mike)

    These letters came to me through Jim Awalt, a high school friend of both Mike and Bill.
    Jim entrusted me to see that the letters be used in the remembrance of not only Mike but to all veterans of war.

    Mike Goble

    PFC. Patrick M. Goble Camp Pendleton, California

    November 14, 1967

    Kenny and I went to Mexico last night. Sure wish you could have been with us. We had a ball. We got drunk as hell and got into a fight in this bar. Kenny and a friend of his and I were throwing chairs and bottles and tables. It was just like a movie or something.

    Kenny will be leaving next weekend, he thinks. So, I guess this was the last time I’ll get to see him until I go to Nam. They won’t send me until I’m eighteen, so I’ve still got a couple of months left before I go over.

    Your brother, Mike

    Jan. 23 1968

    My platoon leaves here tomorrow. I don’t know where we are going; all they told us was that my platoon would be staying at some other place until Friday. My platoon also leaves for Vietnam before the others do.

    Play it cool and MAINTAIN BROTHER AND SISTER!

    Your little brother, Mike

    Feb. 20 1968

    My Brother,

    Got a little time off so I thought it was about time I wrote my brother.

    Damn, already it seems like months since I’ve seen you. Just think, it will be over a year before I will see you again. I’ll be 19 years old. God, I’ll be an old man! Hell, I feel like an old man now. I just turned eighteen, and I’ve lived the life of a thirty year old. God I’m only a little kid! Yesterday was the roughest day of my life. We fought for 5 straight hours. It was something like in the funny books! Only it wasn’t funny man. It was hell. We fought until almost dark and stayed until the Medivacs got there. Then we ran like hell. Don’t ever think that marines don’t run. We ran for our life. We had to, man. Our ammo was almost gone, and there wasn’t any way to get ammo to us. We didn’t budge a goddamn inch, until we got the word to move out. Then we hauled ass, man, I was right up front too. Got to run a patrol, write more later.

    Feb. 23, 1968

    I got a letter from you and one from John & Thelma. Man, was I happy to get them. We’ve been out in the bush all week.

    I’d like to see your dog. I know that Suzy must love it.

    When I get out of the service I hope to travel to India, and there I think I will find a very true happiness. I love Vietnam, and I love so much the people. But the war causes fear and hate. I hear the roar of the big guns. I stop and ask Jesus why? He can only shake his head in pity for those who do not understand love. I do the same.

    My Brother, I shall close for now. Tell Suzanna that I love and miss her, for she is a beautiful person. Tell your dog “hello” for me.

    Stay cool and maintain.

    Your brother

    Mike

    P.S. as far as I know, our brother, Kenny will be just fine. That gives me happiness.

    Feb. 27, 1968

    What do you think about Kenney making L/Cpl. (Lance Corporal)? That’s really something isn’t it? Lucky bastard! I’m so damn happy that he is going to be okay though. I was pretty damn worried. I got a letter from him the other day. I guess you have too by now. He’s our brother, and I miss him.

    I go out on a patrol in a little while. God! That’s all I do man! Every day and every night I hump my ass, man (not in bed). I can hack it though. One time I thought I wasn’t going to make it. We were crossing a river and I sunk in about 3 ft of mud. I couldn’t move man. I was rear security and everybody left me. I tried like hell to get out until I was so weak. If my buddies hadn’t come back and pulled me out I’d still be sitting there. I was so tired I couldn’t move. Puked all over the place and I was just sitting there in the open.

    I’m still skinny, but I’m getting plenty of muscles. I have to be a man! I’ve got a mustache, It looks cool. Hell I love myself. I’m convinced that I’m the coolest dude in Nam.

    I am called “George the hippie.” What do you think about that? I like it! Well , I have to get my gear ready for this damn patrol. Maybe I’ll be lucky like Kenney. Hell, with my luck I’d get my head blowed off, and I’m too damn goodlooking to lose my head. (Ha)

    Tell Suzanne and her dog that I send my love to them. I miss you, Bill. You are my brother. Play it cool and maintain!

    Your little brother, Mike

    April 4, 1968

    At the moment my mind is most weary, yet I have many beautiful thoughts while reading your letter.

    I just came in from 5 days out in the bush. That is why my mind is not clear. Many, many thoughts are all crowed into an unexpanding mind. This happens every time I stay in the “bush” for a long period of time.

    My brother, I do not wish to cause you worry when I do not write.

    My brother, I must close for now. My rifle is most filthy. I must clean the thing for they are going to inspect in a little while.

    My brother, I have cleaned my weapon, and it is now about 3 hours later.

    Guess what? No, don’t try to guess. I’ll tell you. I’m a fire team leader. WOW! I’ve been one for about a week. To be such a stupid little kid, I’m not doing so bad. I guess I’m bragging, but I am kinda proud of myself. Hell, I’m trying anyway.

    I love and miss you very much, Bill. Take care. I do worry very much for ya’ll.

    Your little brother, Mike

    April 23, 1968

    Today we moved to “hill 190.” This will be our combat house until we move further up North. We won’t be here long though. We’ve got an operation coming up on the 29th. Man, I don’t like operations. It’s too hot to be climbing mountains. Also a lot of people die on operations. I almost die myself when I see a friend die. I’ll probably see a few die on this operation too. That’s the Marine Corp way. (Censored) the Marine Corp. It sucks!

    Congratulations on your promotion. I’m happy for you man. Also, congratulations on Suzie’s promotion too. I think it’s cool. I’m sure the baby will be beautiful!

    I haven’t written John and Thelma in a long time. I guess it’s better that way. If I wrote them all the time and suddenly went someplace where I couldn’t write, they would worry. I don’t want to cause them to worry about me. I’d like to be kinda forgotten, because I may die over here. I kinda (censored) doubt it though. I’m too goodlooking to die. (Ha,Ha)

    Your little brother, Mike

    Mike was killed in action 15 days later during Operation Alan Brook.

    Reference, Bill (William Thomas) Miller was Mike’s best friend. Bill passed March 9, 2011. The following is an excerpt from his obituary. …Bill spent his military career as a Marine meteorologist stationed in Yuma, Arizona staying state side throughout the Vietnam War. After an honorable discharge from the Marine Corp he eventually moved to Jonestown where he made his home and worked at his business “Miller’s Signs.” Bill was the motivation behind the establishment of a memorial monument to honor Veterans who served in the Vietnam War. When the Jonestown City Pool was closed due to maintenance and funding, Bill proposed the project to replace the city pool with “The Veterans Memorial Park, City of Jonestown” so that each person who passed by would be reminded to “Honor our Troops.” Honoring the military was something Bill strongly believed in and it showed through on countless billboards along FM 1431 over a span of many years. He would donate a face of his own billboards to remind everyone who saw it that our freedoms, that we all take for granted, came with a price that was paid by our military men and women.

    John & Thelma were Bill’s parents. Mike lived with them briefly. Many may know them from Thelma Miller Real Estate.

    Bill & Suzanne’s baby was a boy, and they named him Michael Thomas.

    “Kenny” was Kenny Guthrie. He is referenced on Mike’s Vietnam Memorial page.

    Tim Guthrie
    guthrietim@hotmail.com
    A Marine from Burnet
    I knew Mike, but he was the best friend of my younger brother, Kenny Guthrie. Kenny and Mike joined the Marines together out of Burnet. Kenny stepped on a land mine out of Hill 10 in January of 68. He was 18, Kenny died of his wounds around yr 2000. Mike was just 18 when he was killed on May 7th of 68. I know that Kenny thought of Mike almost every day for the rest of his life. As an old Marine myself, I can truly say that they were “brothers at arms forever”.
    Wednesday, December 29, 2004

    I contacted Rick Whitson from information obtained from Mike’s Vietnam Memorial Wall.

    John: I was a navy corpsman attached to the same platoon as Mike. I bonded with Mike right away. He had a great sense of humor and was fun to be around. There is hardly a day go by that I don’t think about him. Hope to talk some more to you. Have an appointment at the VA this afternoon. Thanks for writing. Rick Whitson R.N.

    John: I don’t how much you know about Mikes death but I will tell you some of it. About the first of May we were sent on a battalion size operation. We were hunting for the enemy day and night. Village after village looking for the enemy. A couple of days we encountered light resistance but nothing very big at all. On May 7, 1968 our platoon was sent on a resupply mission due to shortage of food and ammo. We had a couple of tanks and a couple of personal carriers with us. We were headed back to landing zone so the helicopters could land and resupply us. After a couple of hours of hiking back to this location we walked into a horseshoe ambush. I will never forget this day as long as I live. 5 wounded and 7 killed right off the bat. Sad to say but Mike was one of the first to die that day. We were pinned down for over eight hours waiting for the battalion to come to our aid. The battalion loss 60% of it’s men that day trying to rescue us. We had tried to get a medivac chopper to come in for our wounded and the dead bodies. That chopper was shot down in our protective zone. At about 6pm that day as battalion reached our lines of defense the enemy started shooting in motars on top of us. I was up and running around treating wounded marines when I got shot my self. It almost took off my left arm. I spent the next six months in and out of the hospital. I hope this helps you understand what happened that day to all of us. I found out later that the month of May of 1968 was the deadliest of the VietNam war. If you have anymore questions feel free to ask. I will try to answer the best I can. What I remember the most was Mike was nice and very helpful to me. He would always walk near me and help this new guy out as much as possible. Mike was a good marine and great guy to be around.

    Mike Goble is wearing black shirt.

    Mike Goble is wearing black T-shirt

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