Major Donald Gordon Radcliff, a tanker during the Korean War, by 1965, was flying helicopters for the First Cavalry Division in the Central Highlands. When the site selection committee for the 1st Cavalry Division was exploring locations for possible inclusion of their base camp, the Marine Corps put out a call for all available helicopters in the greater area to support Operation STARLITE, and Major Radcliff and his crew volunteered. He flew from II Corps to I Corps to assist the Marines at Chu Lai. On 18 August 1965, during a Marine Corps troop lift, in which he was participating, Major Radcliff was killed at Landing Zone Blue, and subsequently the First Cavalry Division Base Camp at An Khe was named in his honor (see "IN HONOR AND MEMORY" page 326).
Operation STARLITE involved approximately 5,500 US Marines. Ultimately, the 1st Viet Cong Regiment and their supporting units were decimated. Our US forces suffered 51 killed and 203 wounded. It has been an education for us to learn and write about Operation STARLITE; Major Radcliff, Captain Webb and L/Cpl Paul, and this week we remember their sacrifice and dedication to duty.