One morning, [Belmaine] recalls, several Marines spotted a Vietnamese peasant several hundred yards in the distance. He was carrying what could have been a rifle. Or maybe it was a hoe. In any case, Belmaine contends, the Marines fired several rounds from a recoilless rifle at the man, apparently killing him and destroying three houses in the process. Nobody blinked. "You could be a murderer in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, and nothing would happen," Belmaine says with more than a trace of bitterness in his voice. "But you couldn't be a homosexual. That was wrong. Because you were not a man. You were nothing."
David Hendry, now a postal worker in Medford, Ore., was one of the members of Belmaine's four-man fire team. But he had missed the carnage on [Hill] 861 because he was receiving medical attention at the rear. He says he found Belmaine seated on the ground at the Khe Sanh base airstrip on April 27, waiting for evacuation to the USS Sanctuary. "He was all bloody and bandaged," Hendry recalls. "I asked him, `Where's Larry?' " (Larry Geiger, another member of the fire team, was Hendry's best friend.) "He told me Larry was in a tent. Which he was. In a body bag."
PHOTO; CAPTION:1. GLOBE STAFF PHOTO/LANE TURNER PHOTO/DAVID HENDRY / Marshall Belmaine in his Marine uniform, left, and in Vietnam on April 10, 1967, days before he was wounded, right. 2. Marshall Belmaine -- walking near center of photo, with his right pantleg torn by shrapnel -- awaits evacuation to Khe Sanh base with other wounded members of his platoon after the battle on Hill 861 on April 27, 1967. 3. Marshall Belmaine's Marine portrait, taken when he was 19.