In the early 1970s, many military officers worried that the armed services in Southeast Asia were in a state of mutiny. A new word, “fragging,” had entered the military vocabulary. Fragging referred specifically to the murder of commanding officers in combat, usually when the officer made an unpopular decision, was inept, demeaning to soldiers, or put his men unnecessarily in harm’s way. The term comes from the small percussion fragmentation hand grenades often used in such homicides. In one such incident.
On 23 October 1970 the 1st Marine Division’s only death by fragging occurred on Hill 190, west of Da Nang. That evening, Private Gary A. Hendricks of Company L, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, was one of two Marines found sleeping on post by their platoon sergeant, Sergeant Richard L. Tate.