Sgt. Mark Gladson - preparing for an ambush on Hong Kong Mtn. in Vietnam bank customer service/d33d29979a98475f38e7366a29abbdc6.html Sgt. Mark Gladson – preparing for an ambush on Hong Kong Mtn. in Vietnam

When #30 stole the desperation-Ft. Wayne North pass with only 14 seconds left and Washington holding a four-point lead, the crowd breathed a sigh of relief.  The celebration of the 1965 basketball State Championship began.

Ban Bang Kadi Pathum Thani      Three years later Sergeant Gladson would serve his nation as a distinguished member of the 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade known as Holloway’s Raiders in 1968-69 during the Vietnam War.  (see website:

buy cenforce no prescription      Mark began life in the Valley east of Harding Street in February of 1948.  His mom and dad were his first role models, and good ones they were.  The rough, tough nature of Oliver Avenue would not go unseen or be non-motivating for young Mark.  His love of baseball and basketball, as well as fishing, would be his outlets.  He also learned how to fist-fight.  Once, when an older bully chased him down the street from School 47, he was happy to find the safe haven of his home.  But, when his mom noticed why he arrived breathless and sweating, she pushed him back out through the door to learn the hard way that one had to defend oneself in the unforgiving street life.  “You either fight him or you fight me,” she demanded.  Mark took the easier foe and trotted outside.

     Mark was always careful with his money, so his little brother’s birthday story hits an emotional nerve.  John was only six years old and older brother Mark was 12.  In 1960 Mark was an Indianapolis News paperboy along Oliver Avenue.  Once, when John was tagging along with his big brother, they ended their route at Garrison’s Drugstore.  John had already seen the $5 toy fire truck in the drugstore window and had been told by his mother that the price was too high.  Mark was aware of his little brother’s dilemma.  A few days later (in the “most terrible wrapping job I’ve ever seen” according to John in 2012) John received, from his big brother, the “best birthday present ever”—the toy fire truck.  The wrapping didn’t really matter.  That Mark probably spent two weeks of his newspaper route profits on his little brother did matter.  Sister Pam and her future kids held a soft spot in his heart.  Brother Jim, who was 16 years younger than Mark, completed the family by the 1960’s.

     Harvey Holmes, his best friend from School 49 on the Hill and Carnine Little League, would become a life-long buddy.  Both were home run hitters with roundhouse swings and no nonsense personalities.  The year older Harvey would be somewhat of a new role model for Mark through the Pony League summer of 1961 at Holt Rd. & Minnesota into high school in both baseball and basketball, even though Harvey was a bit more understated and quieter than Satch.  But most people were.  And the Tibbetts brothers, Harry and Mike, along with their younger sister Cathy (“she was like a little sister,” Mark once observed) would also maintain a close relationship as Mark’s father served on the Indianapolis Fire Department with Harry Sr.

Continental State Champs, 1965: Ralph Taylor, Mark Gladson, Marvin Winkler, Eddie Bopp, Bill Keller, and William Rogers before Semi-State.

Continental State Champs, 1965: Ralph Taylor, Mark Gladson, Marvin Winkler, Eddie Bopp, Bill Keller, and William Rogers before Semi-State.

     Mark’s most distinguished high school moment was the night of March 20, 1965.  The Washington High School Continentals would win the State Basketball Championship and Mark would become an indelible image of the win.  His steal of an errand Ft. Wayne North pass, with just 14 seconds left in the game, has been noted by many as the moment the Westside crowd realized that we had the game won.  He also had scored the first basket in the fourth quarter, which put our team ahead for the first time in the second half.  A lead we would never relinquish.  And, during the ’65-‘66 season, Mark would be an undisputed leader of the #1 ranked Continentals losing only five games.  One loss was in the City Championship game to Howe and another was in the Hinkle Fieldhouse Sectionals to eventual State Runners-up Tech, a Tech team that the Continentals had defeated during the season.

     Before his senior year in high school, Mark traveled by bus to a summer camp in western New York.  Classmates Marvin Winkler, William Rogers and Ronnie Lewis also attended as did Manual’s Don Silas and others.  In 2012, Wayne Township judge Danny Vaughn (who only socialized with Mark twice yet was impressed by his personality) repeated a story concerning that trip that had been told by Jim Wallace, Danny’s high school friend from Warren Central.  Jim had told the story that “before we were ten minutes out of town, Gladson had taken over the bus.”  Wallace was a future Butler athlete, Marine Corps major and policeman, but also an admirer of Mark Gladson.

     In high school, Satch (someone, who will remain anonymous, gave him the nickname based on his resemblance to Huntz Hall of Bowery Boys movie fame) continued his respect for strong authority figures.  Coaches Jerry Oliver and Frank Luzar were high on his list but probably Russell McConnell was his favorite.  Like Coach McConnell, Mark took no prisoners and suffered no fools.  He was his own man.  Mark spent one year at Georgia Southern University before heading back to Indianapolis, homesick for girlfriend Charlene and his family.  Mark’s mom and dad would die within seven weeks of each other in 1982.  Their emotional commitments to each other, like their son Mark and Char’s, was undisputed.

     But Mark’s proudest non-family accomplishment was when he served with Holloway’s Raiders during the Vietnam War in the late sixties.  The unique Short Range Ambush Patrol (SRAP) would distinguish itself during the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley.  Elements of the unit earned the nickname “The Headhunters” as a result of the Squadron’s reputation and record of enemy casualties throughout the war.  In a regional enemy stronghold known as “The Crescent” in the inland coastal waters in Binh Dinh Province, Mark’s unit participated in over 100 ambush patrols including over 60 aerial insertions and extractions.  “They conducted clandestine operations in enemy territory establishing ambush sites, engaging enemy forces and gathering valuable intelligence information for the Battalion as well as the Brigade.”

     Mark’s Vietnam personal stories did not note his individual heroism and he rarely spoke of his “Bronze Star with ‘V’ device.”  Sgt. Gladson’s award reads, in part:

     “For heroism….in military operation….6 March 1969.  On this day Specialist Gladson was seated on the third armored Personnel Carrier of a column conducting a sweep south of Highway 19.  At this time Specialist Gladson noticed an enemy soldier preparing to attack one of the vehicles with a rocket launcher….Specialist Gladson shouted a warning to his comrades, leaped and engaged the enemy soldier on the ground silencing him almost instantly….three more enemy troops….trying to flee….one was silenced….another was wounded….Specialist Gladson’s complete devotion to duty and personal bravery were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

     Before he left for Vietnam, Mark had married his high school sweetheart, Charlene Hawtin (’65), in 1967.  A marriage that would last forty years until Char’s tragic death of Lou Gehrig’s disease in August of 2007.  Their



union produced a son, Matt, and a happy life in Mooresville, southwest of Indianapolis and the Valley.  Mark had retired from Conway Freight as a supervisor in 2007 to become the 24-hour caregiver for his beloved Char.  Thankfully, his family of Mooresville cousins (which included long-time Police Chief Timmy Viles, a 1971 Washington High School graduate) and his sister’s family helped sustain his solo existence after her death.

     With the subsequent marriage of their son and the birth of two grandkids, Dean and Mason, Mark saw a bright future for the boys.  He almost mastered e-mail, primarily so that he could send pictures of his two favorites to some of his buddies.  It seems obvious that the biggest regret in Mark’s life would probably be that he was unable to teach his two grandkids how to fish.  He even took my young grandson fishing at Raccoon Lake.  And Satch liked to bet the horses, at the downtown off-track betting or in Shelbyville with his buddy Bobby Clayton.  He already had a bet ready for the Kentucky Derby.  He died four days too soon but his cousin and brother “boxed” his wager.

      Mark Gladson was a winner regardless of the Derby outcome.