nickname was Will, he was a fine young man. I knew him for only
a short time. I transferred into his Fire Team (7 men) before
the start of the Tet offensive in February, 1968. He was a big
man, so he was chosen to carry the M-60 machine gun. The M-60
weighed 23 pounds without ammunition. In addition to the gun, the
machine gunner carried at least 200-300 rounds of ammunition for his
gun - an additional 15 pounds. Will carried the M-60 and ammo in
addition to his regular combat load of approximately 40 Lbs.
Alpha Company, with about 100 men, was several miles northeast of
Polei Kleng, South Viet Nam, (14.26N. - 107.50 E.) on May 25th, 1968.
We were patrolling in an active area of enemy infiltration. We
made contact with NVA forces, armed with rifles, AK-47s and 82 mm
mortars. We came under intense direct fire from enemy rifles and
AK machine guns, as well as indirect fire from the mortars.
Will, Sgt. Thomas Maloney and Pfc. Ted Brazzeal took cover in an old
bomb crater. Even though the enemy rifle fire was accurate, and
mortar rounds were getting closer to their position, Will stayed in
the crater and continued to return machine gun fire. Then, a
mortar round landed inside the bomb crater and Will's life was
extinguished almost instantly.
Will was a brave, honorable, noble and courageous soldier. He
was taken from his family and friends at far too young an age.
Rest peacefully Will, you are not forgotten.
Tribute from a fellow platoon member...