VIETNAM WAR TRIBUTE
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"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind."
Major Michael Davis O'Donnell
1 January 1970
Dak To, Vietnam
Listed as KIA February 7, 1978
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I would like to personally say to all of the men and women
who are now, or who have ever, worn the uniform...thank you...
Graphics By: Lee S. Girard
By: Dennis (Frenchy) Proulx
MEDAL OF HONOR AWARDS
During the Vietnam War, 244 men were awarded the Medal of Honor. Below are the 153 of those listed on The Wall. The citations of four of these recipients of the award Roger H.C. Donlon, William H. Pitsenbarger, Humbert R. Versace and Jon E. Swanson are linked on this page. Roger Donlon is the very first Medal of Honor recipient in the Vietnam War. See the bravery exhibited by four brave men who served this country in a war that their nation wanted to forget:
Adams, William E.
Grandstaff, Bruce A.
Petersen, Danny J.
ROGER H. C. DONLON
Captain, U.S. Army
Captain Donlon is the first Medal of Honor recipient in the Vietnam War
Place and date: Near Nam Dong, Republic of Vietnam, 6 July 1964. Entered service at: Fort Chaffee, Ark. Born: 30 January 1934, Saugerties, N.Y. G.O. No.: 41, 17 December 1964. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while defending a U.S. military installation against a fierce attack by hostile forces. Capt. Donlon was serving as the commanding officer of the U.S. Army Special Forces Detachment A-726 at Camp Nam Dong when a reinforced Viet Cong battalion suddenly launched a full-scale, predawn attack on the camp. During the violent battle that ensued, lasting 5 hours and resulting in heavy casualties on both sides, Capt. Donlon directed the defense operations in the midst of an enemy barrage of mortar shells, falling grenades, and extremely heavy gunfire. Upon the initial onslaught, he swiftly marshaled his forces and ordered the removal of the needed ammunition from a blazing building. He then dashed through a hail of small arms and exploding hand grenades to abort a breach of the main gate. En route to this position he detected an enemy demolition team of 3 in the proximity of the main gate and quickly annihilated them. Although exposed to the intense grenade attack, he then succeeded in reaching a 60mm mortar position despite sustaining a severe stomach wound as he was within 5 yards of the gun pit. When he discovered that most of the men in this gunpit were also wounded, he completely disregarded his own injury, directed their withdrawal to a location 30 meters away, and again risked his life by remaining behind and covering the movement with the utmost effectiveness. Noticing that his team sergeant was unable to evacuate the gun pit he crawled toward him and, while dragging the fallen soldier out of the gunpit, an enemy mortar exploded and inflicted a wound in Capt. Donlon's left shoulder. Although suffering from multiple wounds, he carried the abandoned 60mm mortar weapon to a new location 30 meters away where he found 3 wounded defenders. After administering first aid and encouragement to these men, he left the weapon with them, headed toward another position, and retrieved a 57mm recoilless rifle. Then with great courage and coolness under fire, he returned to the abandoned gun pit, evacuated ammunition for the 2 weapons, and while crawling and dragging the urgently needed ammunition, received a third wound on his leg by an enemy hand grenade. Despite his critical physical condition, he again crawled 175 meters to an 81mm mortar position and directed firing operations which protected the seriously threatened east sector of the camp. He then moved to an eastern 60mm mortar position and upon determining that the vicious enemy assault had weakened, crawled back to the gun pit with the 60mm mortar, set it up for defensive operations, and turned it over to 2 defenders with minor wounds. Without hesitation, he left this sheltered position, and moved from position to position around the beleaguered perimeter while hurling hand grenades at the enemy and inspiring his men to superhuman effort. As he bravely continued to move around the perimeter, a mortar shell exploded, wounding him in the face and body. As the long awaited daylight brought defeat to the enemy forces and their retreat back to the jungle leaving behind 54 of their dead, many weapons, and grenades, Capt. Donlon immediately reorganized his defenses and administered first aid to the wounded. His dynamic leadership, fortitude, and valiant efforts inspired not only the American personnel but the friendly Vietnamese defenders as well and resulted in the successful defense of the camp. Capt. Donlon's extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
WILLIAM HART PITSENBARGER
A1C - E4 - Air Force - Regular
21 year old - Single
Born on July 08, 1944
From PIQUA, OHIO
Airman First Class Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor on 11 April 1966 near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties incurred in an on-going firefight between elements of the United States Army's 1st Infantry Division and a sizable enemy force approximately 35 miles east of Saigon. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered to ride a hoist more than one hundred feet through the jungle, to the ground. On the ground, he organized and coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, prepared casualties for evacuation, and insured that the recovery operation continued in a smooth and orderly fashion. Through his personal efforts, the evacuation of the wounded was greatly expedited. As each of the nine casualties evacuated that day were recovered, Pitsenbarger refused evacuation in order to get one more wounded soldier to safety. After several pick-ups, one of the two rescue helicopters involved in the evacuation was struck by heavy enemy ground fire and was forced to leave the scene for an emergency landing. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind, on the ground, to perform medical duties. Shortly thereafter, the area came under sniper and mortar fire. During a subsequent attempt to evacuate the site, American forces came under heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. When the enemy launched the assault, the evacuation was called off and Airman Pitsenbarger took up arms with the besieged infantrymen. He courageously resisted the enemy, braving intense gunfire to gather and distribute vital ammunition to American defenders. As the battle raged on, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to care for the wounded, pull them out of the line of fire, and return fire whenever he could, during which time, he was wounded three times. Despite his wounds, he valiantly fought on, simultaneously treating as many wounded as possible. In the vicious fighting which followed, the American forces suffered 80 percent casualties as their perimeter was breached, and airman Pitsenbarger was finally fatally wounded. Airman Pitsenbarger exposed himself to almost certain death by staying on the ground, and perished while saving the lives of wounded infantrymen. His bravery and determination exemplify the highest professional standards and traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Air Force.
Standing between daughters Brigid Swanson Jones and Holly Walker, Sandra Swanson accepts the thanks and praise of President George W. Bush for her husband's sacrifice during the Vietnam War.
B TRP, 1ST SQD, 9TH CAV RGT, 1 CAV DIV
01 May 1942 - 26 February 1971
Born: May 01, 1942
From: Denver, Colorado
Panel 04W Line 007
On 26 February 1971, Captain Jon E. Swanson was flying an OH-6A aircraft on a close-support reconnaissance mission in support of Army of the Republic of Vietnam Task Force 333 conducting operations within Cambodia. Two well-equipped enemy regiments were known to be in the area, and Captain Swanson's mission was to pinpoint precise enemy positions. To accomplish this mission he was required to fly at tree-top level at a slow airspeed, thus making his aircraft a very vulnerable target. The advancing ARVN unit came under heavy automatic weapons fire from enemy bunkers in a treeline approximately 100 meters to their front. Captain Swanson, completely exposing himself to enemy anti-aircraft fire, immediately engaged the enemy bunkers with concussion grenades and machinegun fire.
The acts of then Captain Jon E. Swanson clearly distinguish him conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
On May 1, 2002, Jon's 60th birthday and the 33rd anniversary of his mother's death, Jon was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush .
On May 3, 2002, Captain Jon Edward Swanson and Staff Sergeant Larry Harrison were buried together with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
CAPT - O3 - Army - Regular
28 year old - Single
Born on July 02, 1937
From NORFOLK, VIRGINIA
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while a prisoner of war during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965 in the Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Republic of Vietnam on 29 October 1963, Captain Versace and the CIDG assault force were caught in an ambush from intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms f ire from elements of a reinforced enemy Main Force battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace fought valiantly and encouraged his CIDG patrol to return fire against overwhelming enemy forces. He provided covering fire from an exposed position to enable friendly forces to withdraw from the killing zone when it was apparent that their position would be overrun, and was severely wounded in the knee and back from automatic weapons fire and shrapnel. He stubbornly resisted capture with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he demonstrated exceptional leadership and resolute adherence to the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into a prisoner of war status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American prisoners, and despite being kept locked in irons in an isolation box, raised their morale by singing messages to popular songs of the day, and leaving inspiring messages at the latrine. Within three weeks of captivity, and despite the severity of his untreated wounds, he attempted the first of four escape attempts by dragging himself on his hands and knees out of the camp through dense swamp and forbidding vegetation to freedom. Crawling at a very slow pace due to his weakened condition, the guards quickly discovered him outside the camp and recaptured him. Captain Versace scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and inspired his fellow prisoners to resist to the best of their ability. When he used his Vietnamese language skills to protest improper treatment of the American prisoners by the guards, he was put into leg irons and gagged to keep his protestations out of earshot of the other American prisoners in the camp. The last time that any of his fellow prisoners heard from him, Captain Versace was singing God Bless America at the top of his voice from his isolation box. Unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America and his fellow prisoners, Captain Versace was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's extraordinary heroism, self-sacrifice, and personal bravery involving conspicuous risk of life above and beyond the call of duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army, and reflect great credit to himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.
PATCHES AND INSIGNIAS:
ARVN 2nd Infantry Division
ARVN 2nd Mountain Division
ARVN Army NCO School
ARVN Army NCO School Metal Pin
ARVN Senior Jump Wings
Patch is off of a field jacket. Note the blood stain on the lower right corner
"In Country" Patch
Belonging to a soldier stationed at the Naval Fuel Depot in Chu Lai. This is called an "in-country" patch made by Vietnamese locals and "unofficial".
The soldier that the patch belongs to related a story about a VC rocket attack. He said that they all took cover and during the attack when he realized he was hunkered down right beside the biggest fuel tank in the entire complex containing about one million gallons of JP-4. He said he about sh$t himself trying to get away from the fuel tank. At the end of the attack, the fuel tank was one of the only things that wasn't hit.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE WALL:
Generic letter issued to all Army personnel as they boarded the freedom bird home.
Largest per-capita Loss
Beallsville, Ohio (pop. 475) gained unwanted national notoriety between 1966 and 1971 by having suffered the largest per-capita loss of life in the Vietnam War. Six young men lost their lives in the war, a terrible and profound loss for this small town.
Highest State Casualties
During Vietnam, West Virginia had the highest casualty rate in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The state had 711 casualties: 39.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Oklahoma had the second-highest casualty rate.
The youngest Vietnam KIA is believed to be Dan Bullock USMC, at 15 years old.
At least 5 men killed in Vietnam were 16 years old.
At least 12 men killed in Vietnam were 17 years old.
At least 25,000 of those killed were 20 years old or younger.
The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
More than 17,000 of those killed were married.
Veterans killed on their first day in Vietnam: 997.
Veterans killed on their last day in Vietnam: 1,448.
Number of Chaplains on the Wall: 16 (2 Medal Of Honor).
Number of Women on the Wall: 8 (7 Army, 1 USAF - 7,484 served).
SGT Robert Davison of Muskegon, Michigan joined the marines at age 14 and died in Vietnam December 17th, 1966 at age 18.
Steven E. Amescua and Anthony J. Blevins joined the Marine Corp on the buddy plan. Steven was KIA May 15th, 1968 and Anthony was KIA August 23rd, 1968.
Brothers Charles and Philip Tank of Ecorse, Michigan were both killed in Vietnam. Charles on April 19th, 1969 Philip on September 12th, 1968.
Brothers Kenneth and Paul Olenzuk were both killed in Vietnam. Kenneth on December 25th, 1967 and Paul on August 10th, 1968.
Brothers Marlin and Norman Eversgerd were both killed in Vietnam. Marlin on March 19th, 1967 and Norman on August 18th, 1968.
Brothers Bennett and Dennis Herrick were both killed in Vietnam. Bennett on March 25th, 1968 and Dennis on August 2nd, 1970.
Brothers Gabriel and Paul Trujillo were both killed in Vietnam. Gabriel on February 23rd, 1971 and Paul on November 4th, 1971.
Brothers Benjamin and Francisco Montano were both killed in Vietnam. Francisco on April 8th, 1967 and Benjamin on May 15th, 1969.
Brothers James and John Rowden were both killed in Vietnam. James on March 5th, 1966 and John on February 10th, 1968.
Brothers Michael and William Francis were both killed in Vietnam. Michael on September 30th, 1967 and William on March 9th, 1970.
Brothers Robert and Steven Gaftunik were both killed in Vietnam. Robert on August 25th, 1969 and Steven on March 27th, 1968.
Brothers Rudy and Stanley Sagon were both killed in Vietnam. Rudy on December 10th, 1965 and Stanley on May 20th, 1966.
Brothers Robert and Phillip Wyatt were both killed in Vietnam. Robert on July 10th, 1967 and Phillip on May 28th, 1968.
Brothers Samuel and William Nixon were both killed in Vietnam. Samuel on March 21st, 1968 and William on May 8th, 1968.
Brothers Kirby and Lanny Hamby were both killed in Vietnam. Kirby on June 8th, 1968 and Lanny on October 14th, 1969.
Brothers John and David Banks were both killed in Vietnam. John on March 28th, 1966 and David on April 21st, 1969.
Brothers George and James Wright were both killed in Vietnam. George on May 21st, 1967 and James on May 31st, 1969.
Brothers Donald and Cordis White were both killed in Vietnam. Donald on March 5th, 1967 and Cordis on September 18th, 1969.
Father and Son:
Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. was killed June 8th, 1956 his son Richard B. Fitzgibbon III was KIA September 07th, 1965.
Leo Hester Sr. Died March 10th, 1967 in a aircraft crash his son Leo Hester Jr. was KIA November 2nd, 1969 also in a aircraft crash.
Number of living whose names are etched on the “wall” in error? TWELVE!
Names Added to Memorial:
Since 1997 71 names of veterans who have died due to their wounds received during the Vietnam war have been added to the Wall. The latest names added are listed below:
SGT. Wayne E. Benge
Navy LT.Edward P. Cooper
Army LT. Thomas C. Finn
Army SP4 Benjamin R. Montano
Army PVT. Chester R. Odom III
Army SP5 Class Billy M. Smith
Army PFC William
Army SGT Richard E. Toney
Army PFC Paul P. Zylko
Army PFC William J. Scannell
Army SP4 James
Army SFC Dwaine Usry McGriff
Air Force SGT Donald Scott Carson
Army PFC Kevin John Joyce
Army SGT Frank L. Huddleston
Marine Corps Corporal William Floyd Bronson, Jr.
Air Force Captain Edward Alan Brudno
Army Sergeant Larry Dennis Callaghan
Army Sergeant William Edward Humphrey
Army SP4 Robert Bruce Hunter
Army PFC David Michael Johnson
Navy PO2 Patrick Augustine McKenna
Army PFC James Rae Sabourin
Army SP4 Carl Dennis Wadleigh
Navy AO1 Joe Lee Williams
Army PFC Thomas Joseph Conners
Army Sergeant Richard Edward Daly Jr.
Army PFC John Harold Berg
Army PFC William Ellis Browning
Army SP4 Bobby Gene Barbre
Marine Lance Cpl. George Bryant Givens Jr.
Marine Pfc. Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz
Marine Capt. Robert Patrick Rumley Jr.
"In Memory" Memorial Plaque Project. Since the war in Vietnam came to an end, there has been a growing sense among many veterans and their families that those who served in this nation's longest war have suffered and are continuing to suffer premature deaths related to their service. These deaths have been attributed to exposure to Agent Orange, post- traumatic stress disorder, and a growing list of other causes.
The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains no comprehensive records of what some consider these "hidden casualties of Vietnam." The circumstances surrounding their deaths are not considered as meeting the criteria established by The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for inclusion on The Wall.
As many veteran's widows see it, the absence of their names at the memorial leaves a void. To help fill it, the non-profit "Vietnam War In Memory Memorial Plaque Project" was formed in the mid-90's and obtained Congressional approval for a privately funded ground-level plaque on the Memorial grounds, bearing no names, but designed and worded to acknowledge and commemorate these individuals. To learn more visit the "In Memory" website.
Number Of Visitors since 09/28/2006
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is for good men to do nothing."
I encourage everyone to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
...Least we forget.
Date last modified: November 10, 2011
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