During three tours
in Vietnam, Yeaw
always wore a
There were no
helmets, no body
armor for SEALs
in those days.
and the 7th Platoon, on a SEAL operation
near Ben Tre, went out in search
of an American POW who had gone
missing from the 9th Army Division
Forty-five years later, they were
reunited at the National Navy UDTSEAL
Museum in Fort Pierce. I met
both while making a documentary
film, A Bond Unbroken, about their
experience and the esteem and honor
in which Minh was held by Vietnamera
STUFF OF WAR MOVIES
Ron was the first person I interviewed
for the film. His detailed explanation
of what transpired that night
is the stuff of well-crafted war film
screenplays. But it was all too genuine.
The operation, known in SEAL lore as
the March 13th Op, has been written
about and is considered one of the
most harrowing SEAL operations of
the Vietnam war.
It was Ron’s first day operating with
the 7th Platoon as replacement for
Cmdr. Robert “Pete” Peterson’s assistant,
who had returned to the states.
According to Peterson, “Ron was
joining a close-knit group of battlehardened
SEALs he did not know.”
But on this first assignment with the
7th, Peterson remembered, “Ron’s selfassurance,
obvious physical prowess
and previous combat experience won
him immediate acceptance.”
The platoon deployed in two squads
that night, Peterson tapping Ron to
“Ron could have asked me to assign
him a support role,” Petersen said.
“He had never worked with any of us
and was facing leading a squad on one
of the most complicated operations
SEALs have undertaken. I would have
accepted such a request as very reasonable.
However, I don’t think it even
occurred to him not to be full in.”
ARMED AND DANGEROUS
SEALs operated under a set of their
own unwritten rules in those years.
There were no commanding officers >>
26 Port St. Lucie Magazine
Yeaw joined the
7th Platoon in the
town of My Tho in
the Mekong Delta
for a fateful op.
THE OPERATION, KNOWN IN SEAL
LORE AS THE MARCH 13TH OP,
HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT AND IS
CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST
HARROWING SEAL OPERATIONS OF
THE VIETNAM WAR.