FACES FROM THE WALL
OREGON and the VIETNAM WAR
RICHARD P McSTRAVICK Jr
Cpl R. P. McStravick Jr.
| Birth || 13JUL47 ||Rank || CPL ||Date of Death|| 01FEB67 |
|P. of birth ||Tacoma WA ||Service || Marines ||Place|| Quang Ngai S. Vietnam |
|Town of |
| Portland ||Unit || MCO 3DBN 5THMAR 1STMAR DIV ||Death Code || Hostile, Died; Guns, Small Arms Fire; Ground Casualty |
|Hometown || ||service # || 2153651 ||Panel || 14EAST - 104 |
|Married || Single ||In Service || 1 yr ||Medals || Purple Heart |
|Tour Date|| ||Comment|| ||Cemetery|| |
The Defense Department announced Monday the combat death in Vietnam of Marine Cpl. Richard P. McStravick Jr., 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard P. McStravick Sr., 9338 SE Taylor St.,
Cpl. McStravick, who was with the 3d Battalion of the 5th Marines, was killed Wednesday near Quang Ngai by the enemy gunshot wound in the chest. He had been in Vietnam since February of 1966.
He was born 13 Jul 1947, in Tacoma, moving to Portland about eight years ago with his family. He attended Sunnyside Grade School and was in his junior year at Washington High School when he enlisted in the Marines in August of 1965. He was a member of St. Stephens Catholic Church.
Besides his parents, Cpl. McStravick is survived by a younger brother and two younger sisters, Georgia, Patrick and Kimberley; two sets of grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John R. Stephens, Portland, and Mr. and Mrs. Walter McStravick, Tacoma and a great-grandmother, Mrs. Clara Stephens, Tacoma.
Cpl. McStravick's death was the 85 of Oregon servicemen in the war since 1 Jan 1961, and the fourth this year. (The Oregonian, Portland OR, Tuesday, 7 Feb 1967)
Photo & Bio Source: http://www.taskforceomegainc.org/d029.html
| Birth || 23AUG31 ||Rank || LTC ||Date of Event|| 04FEB67 |
|P. of birth || ||Service || Air Force ||Place|| Near Bac Can, N. Vietnam |
|Town of |
| Oregon City ||Unit ||41ST TAC RECON SQ, TAKHLI AFB, THAILAND ||Death Code || Hostile, Died Missing; Air Loss, Crash - Land Fixed Wing - Crew |
|Hometown || ||service # || 540324518 ||Panel || 14EAST - 116 |
|Married ||Married||Declared Dead || 17NOV75 ||Medals || Purple Heart |
|MIA|| ret30SEP77 id01NOV77 ||Comment|| ||Cemetery|| |
VICTOR VANCE ULLBERG
Victor V. Ullberg, 26, a U.S. Army specialist 4, was killed in action in South Vietnam Friday, 24 Feb (1967). His funeral will be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday, 3 Mar (1967) at the McGinnis & Wilhelm funeral home. Portland, followed by burial in Willamette National Cemetery.
| Birth || 13OCT40 ||Rank || SP4 ||Date of Death|| 24FEB67 |
|P. of birth || ||Service || Army (Draft) ||Place|| Tay Ninh S. Vietnam |
|Town of |
| Portland ||Unit || 1st Inf Div B Co 1st Bn 28th Inf ||Death Code || Hostile, Died; Guns, Small Arms Fire; Ground Casualty |
|Hometown || ||service # || 56410082 ||Panel || 15EAST - 87 |
|Married || Single ||In Service || ||Medals || Purple Heart |
|Tour Date|| 14SEP66 ||Comment|| ||Cemetery|| |
Mr. Ullberg was born 13 Oct 1940 at Portland, and lived here most of his life. His home was at 7703 SE 17th Ave. He was employed as a journeyman upholsterer from 1962 until 1966 when he entered military service. Mr. Ullberg was a member of the Moreland Presbyterian Church.
Survivors include two sons, Mark A. and Douglas; his mother, Mrs. Emma L. Ullberg; and two sisters, Janice C. Beevers, of Portland, and Claire A. Pessein, of Moses Lake WA. The family requests that any reremembrancee in the form of a gift to the USO.
(The Oregonian, Portland OR, 2 Mar 1967)
GERD FRANZ SEELIG
| Birth || 16MAR41 ||Rank || SP4 ||Date of Death|| 26FEB67 |
|P. of birth || ||Service || Army ||Place|| Gia Dinh S. Vietnam |
|Town of |
| Beaverton ||Unit || 199th LIB B Co 3rd Bn 7th Inf ||Death Code || Hostile, Died; Multiple Fragmentation Wounds Ground Casualty |
|Hometown || ||service # || 19881382 ||Panel || 15EAST - 100 |
|Married || Single ||In Service || 1 yr ||Medals || Purple Heart |
|Tour Date|| 20DEC66 ||Comment|| ||Cemetery|| |
Information and picture from Home of Heroes
The President of the United States
| Birth || 29MAR32 ||Rank || 1SG ||Date of Death|| 26FEB67 |
|P. of birth || ||Service || Army ||Place|| Binh Duong S. Vietnam |
|Town of |
| Oakridge ||Unit || 25th Inf Div A Co 4th Bn 9th Inf ||Death Code || Hostile, Died; Guns, Small Arms Fire; Ground Casualty |
|Hometown || ||service # || 19406251 ||Panel || 15EAST - 102 |
|Married || Married ||In Service || 14 yrs ||Medals ||Medal of Honor Purple Heart |
|Tour Date|| 16APR66 ||Comment||Hispanics in America's Defense ||Cemetery|| Fort Logan National Cem., Denver CO |
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and Date: Near Phu Hoa Dong, Republic of Vietnam, 26 February 1967.
Entered service at: Eugene, Oreg.
Born: 29 January 1932, Lodi, Calif.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Sgt. Yabes distinguished himself with Company A, which was providing security for a land clearing operation. Early in the morning the company suddenly came under intense automatic weapons and mortar fire followed by a battalion sized assault from 3 sides. Penetrating the defensive perimeter the enemy advanced on the company command post bunker. The command post received increasingly heavy fire and was in danger of being overwhelmed. When several enemy grenades landed within the command post, 1st Sgt. Yabes shouted a warning and used his body as a shield to protect others in the bunker. Although painfully wounded by numerous grenade fragments, and despite the vicious enemy fire on the bunker, he remained there to provide covering fire and enable the others in the command group to relocate. When the command group had reached a new position, 1st Sgt. Yabes moved through a withering hail of enemy fire to another bunker 50 meters away. There he secured a grenade launcher from a fallen comrade and fired point blank into the attacking Viet Cong stopping further penetration of the perimeter. Noting 2 wounded men helpless in the fire swept area, he moved them to a safer position where they could be given medical treatment. He resumed his accurate and effective fire killing several enemy soldiers and forcing others to withdraw from the vicinity of the command post. As the battle continued, he observed an enemy machinegun within the perimeter which threatened the whole position. On his own, he dashed across the exposed area, assaulted the machinegun, killed the crew, destroyed the weapon, and fell mortally wounded. 1st Sgt. Yabes' valiant and selfless actions saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers and inspired his comrades to effectively repel the enemy assault. His indomitable fighting spirit, extraordinary courage and intrepidity at the cost of his life are in the highest military traditions and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
Battered GIs Wonder" Did South Viets Turn On Them?
By Hugh A. Mulligan, Cu Chi, Vietnam
Maybe Alpha Company will never really know that happened the night a week ago when a Viet Cong battalion overran its position. But the horror of it and the mystery of it will be with the men all of their days.
Some of them say they saw friendly South Vietnamese troops open fire on them when Viet Cong mortars began to fall. Others say it wasn't that way at all -- that it may have appeared that way to some in the confusion, smoke and moonlight.
The men of the 4th Battalion, 9th Regiment of the U.S. 25th Infantry Division sit around their base camp here waiting for trucks to haul off the personal effects of buddies who died last Sunday night -- and the same haunting question keep coming up:
-- Did the friendly Vietnamese troops open fire on American positions?
-- Did the Vietnamese interpreter assigned to the company kill a U.S. platoon sergeant who was risking his life to bring ammunition to a besieged bunker or was the interpreter himself needlessly gunned down by an overly suspicious American private who may have been mistaken in what he saw on that battle-confused, smoky moonlight night?
--Did the friendly government troops assigned to hold the west side of the American line fight bravely, as some men in Alpha Company swear, or did they cower in their bunkers, anxious to show the Viet Cong that they had not fired their weapons in case all was lost?
-- And why did American advisers have to be called in to stop the Vietnamese troops from looting the bodies of the American dead, taking cigarette lighters, cameras and transistor radios from them as their buddies concentrated on trying to evacuate the wounded?
Nearly half of the friendly forces -- both Americans and Vietnamese -- who met the enemy in that harrowing encounter were killed or wounded. Casualties were officially listed as heavy, but the enemy paid a heavy price: A confirmed body count of 92 -- of which 47 were found inside the barbed wire perimeters -- and at least 30 to 40 more unconfirmed kills.
Medals Attest to Heroism
There were instances of personal heroism that night, judging from the six silver stars, even bronze stars, and the many purple hearts bestowed by Maj. Gen. Fred Weyand, the division commander.
But when it was over there were also lingering doubts, bitter accusations and starkly stated suspicions about our Vietnamese allies that have split Alpha Company into two rival and highly vocal camps
"We all have out opinions, but we are going to have to forget them and get back to the job at hand," said the company commander, Capt. Ted Yamashita of Caldwell, Idaho, from his hospital bed were he is recovering from grenade wounds.
On the Sunday before the attack, Alpha Company moved into the outskirts of Phu Hoa Dong, a village of 9,000 people almost completely surround by an abandoned rubber plantation about 20 miles northwest of Saigon. The area south of the Saigon River was along the main Viet Cong infiltration and supply route from Cambodia and had been the scene of numerous ambushes and sniper activity.
Alpha Company's job was to protect a squad of Army engineers assigned to bulldoze a swath between the village and the plantation and thereby deny the ambushers and snipers the protective cover of the lush jungles. Helping them were elements from a company of the 5th Division of Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).
Hardly a day went by without some minor contact with the Viet Cong 165th Regiment, one of the best of the enemy main force units, but on Sunday night, 26 Feb (1967), the men of Alpha Company detected an unusual amount of activity in the woods.
The defense was more or less drawn up in an arc facing north, with Alpha Company's 1st Platoon at the top or the north side, the 2nd Platoon on the right or the east, and the ARVN unit on the left, western side of the line. Within the protective semicircle were the engineers with their bulldozers and gasoline supplies and the company command post.
Night of Horror, Mystery Lives in Memory of GIs Overrun By Viet Cong Ch Chi, Vietnam
The horror and mystery of a night a week ago when a Viet Cong battalion overran Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Regiment, 25th Division of the U. S. Army, will remain with the American GIs to the end of their days.
It was warm and a full moon bathed the long files of scarred rubber trees with a eerie glow. At 12:55 a.m., just as Lt. Jess Pearce of Channelview TX, the leader of the 1st Platoon, was getting ready to climb into the hammock he had slung between a tree and a bunker, mortar rounds began pouring into the area. Pearce immediately ran about, hurrying his men into the bunker.
"As I did," he said. "I saw an ARVN soldier run by and fire his carbine into the hammock where I should have been sleeping. The minute the mortars began falling, an ARVN position on the left opened fire on our 50-caliber machine gun crew. I also saw an ARVN soldier run by tossing grenades into the company command post."
Waves of Viet Cong, blowing whistles and laying down deadly automatic weapons fire, were inside the barbed wire perimeter within 15 minutes.
Mortars, rifle grenades, re-coilless rifles, hand grenades rained down on the besieged company. "A hell of a lot of it." according to Col. Frank Conaty, commander of the 1st Brigade, who helicoptered into the area at first light. "In my experience I've never seen as many rifle and hand grenades, just judging from the number of duds."
Conaty waited an agonizing hour before sending a reserve unit to the rescue, fearing the attack on Alpha Company might only be a decoy for a major attack on division headquarters at Cu Chi, only a few miles away, and then only lightly protected since many of the units were engaged further north in the huge Junction City Operation.
The fight went on, sometimes at a range of 10 feet, until nearly 5 a.m. First Sgt. Maximo Yabes ventured out and silenced a Communist machine gun that had been tearing up the command post, and was killed trying to get back.
Capt. Yamashita, who had taken over the company less than a month ago, was hit by grenade fragments in the right arm and knee. He was bleeding badly but managed to keep control of the company, even when it mean crawling in and out of the bunker.
Helping him call in the helicopter gun ships, air strikes and artillery support that saved the day was W-O John Lowe of Homestead FA, a helicopter pilot who had been in Vietnam only two weeks. He had decided to spend a few days with a rifle company to "find out just what kind of support I was supposed to give them." Lowe won a Silver Star for his bravery and accurate shooting with a borrowed M14 rifle.
Pfc. Johnny Hodges of Trenton NJ, a rifleman with the 2nd Platoon who was watching from a distance of 60 feet, says he saw a man "strongly resembling" Sgt. Le Minh Tri, the Vietnamese interpreter assigned to Alpha Company, "raise his M16 rifle and shoot down Sgt. Nixon at a range of about 10 feet as he tried to lug that ammo toward the bunker."
Hodges raised his rifle and fired.
"I don't know whether I killed Sgt. Tri or not, but he tumbled into a ditch and I shot a whole magazine into that hole."
Hodges, who wound up with two shrapnel wounds and a bullet in the leg, said he had no previous suspicion of Sgt. Tri. "All I know is I saw what I saw -- It was bright moonlight and there were flares ligting up the area all the time.:
S. Sgt. Clifton Mathis of Pensacola FL was in the bunker next to the one that Sgt. Nixon was running for with the ammunition box.
"I heard him yell, 'Don't shoot, it's me,' Nixon (sic) related. "Then a grenade went off and he fell forward But the grenade didn't kill Sgt. Nixon. He was killed by a rifle. I couldn't say for sure that Sgt. Tri killed him. There were lots of people running around shooting inARVN uniforms. Later when we policed up the area, we opened up the Viet Cong packs and found they all had ARVN uniforms in them."
Sgt. Mathis said he was in the bunker when a Viet Cong shoved a Chinese made rifle through the opening.
"I grabbed it before he had a chance to fire and began using it. It had a full clip," he said. "There was a Vietnamese soldier in the bunker with me and he wouldn't shoot. He was cowered there. Later I took off from that bunkers, as the V. C. began overrunning us, but the Vietnamese wouldn't leave. Afterward we found him dead. It's too bad. He wasn't a traitor. He kept pointing out V. C. to me to shoot at but he just wouldn't fire himself. Lots of them think that if they are captured with a weapon that hasn't been fired that the V. C. wouldn't hurt them."
Spec. 5 Kim McCoy of Chicago, a senior medic with the company up for his second Silver Star, is convinced that Sgt. Tri had nothing to do with the killing of Sgt. Nixon.
McCoy, who had known Tri for more than a month and had been on many operations with him, said he is "an eyewitness to seeing Sgt. Tri do his duty on the battlefield that night. I saw him several times firing his M16 rifile at Viet Cong, fully engaged. I never saw Sgt. Nixon. I wasn't an eyewitness to that, but I did see Tri often conducting himself like a soldier."
Hit by a grenade, McCoy treated his own wound and continued to move around the battlefield until 9 a.m. when he himself was finally evacuated to a hospital. Like others, he said he saw ARVN troops looting the pockets and packs of dead Americans.
"This is the way with Orientals. They do it to their own dead." said Lt. Col. Robert A. Hyatt of Fairfax VA, the battalion commander who herded the Vietnamese officers together and got them to halt the looting by their soldiers.
There were Americans who witnessed many examples of heroism by ARVN troops, whose casualties were as high as the Americans in the engagement.
Lt. Pearce, who said he saw ARVN troops firing on Americans recalled, "The lieutenant who commanded the ARVN platton, killed at least eight V.C. before he himself was killed. "Many remembered another interpreter, a Sgt. Phuoc, who won the Bronze Star, for saving Americans when a prisoner attempted to lead them into a mine field.
A medical report showed that Sgt. Nixon died from rifle wounds, as Mathis insisted. The formal investigation of the episode, which Hyatt conducted, concluded there was no irrefutable evidence to show that Tri had killed Nixon or how Tri himself died.
"To my mind there's just no proof and there, never will be," said Col. Conaty. "Anytime a unit is overrun it's a debacle."
"In the noise," Conaty continued, "and the dust and the shock, people just don't know what they saw or heard. I don't doubt for a minute that the Vietnamese and we too, were shooting at everything that moved. There's bound to be some panic when you're being fired on from all sides.
"There's no indication of how Tri was killed, and I can't find any eyewitness to the allegation that he may have directed the mortar fire. Incoming mortars are pretty unselective about their targets. If I'm going to give away any positions I'd damned sure spend my time digging instead of moving around in the 2nd Platoon area. There have been a lot of unprovable allegations that it's best for us all to forget."
Alpha Company, proud of having beaten off a Viet Cong battalion, mourning its dead, looks back on the episode from two separate viewpoints.
There are those who would agree with Sgt. McCoy, who served a previous tour working mainly with Vietnamese troops.
"I still trust them, I have sufficient faith in their competency and loyalty. This will all blow over," McCoy says.
There are those, like Lt. Pearce and Pfc. Hodges, who for a long time will look over at the nearby government bunkers with a remembered suspicion.
"I know we got to go back working with them," said Pearce. "That's what the war is all about. But you can't help thinking of all those who didn't come back that night."
Capt. Yamashita is confident that Alpha Company can forget and forge ahead.
"They got to," he said. "They got to." (The Oregonian, Portland OR, 6 Mar 1967)
OAK RIDGE HONORS FALLEN HERO
Tribute: Max Yabes is one of only, 11 Oregonians to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor
By Eric Mortenson
Oakridge - The 1st sergeant is home.
Maximo Yabes, the hero Oakridge nearly forgot, was honored on Veterans Day as 200 townspeople and military dignitaries dedicated a memorial to him in Greenwaters Park, just outside town along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.
A brand new American flag snapped in the breeze, two jets from the Oregon Air National Guard streaked overhead, the Oakridge High School band played "God Bless America" and video cameras sprouted from a dozen shoulders as a bronze bust of one of only 11 Oregonians to win the Congressional Medal of Honor was unveiled.
The only thing missing was a can of Olympia beer, the official drink of Oakridge's Java Joes, as the group of high school friends to which Max Yabes belonged called themselves. Ray Agee, also one of the old JJs, joked that he'd have to bring a can out to the park.
Of course, Yabes was missing, too, because he was killed in Vietnam on 26 Feb 1967, at age 34. In a way, it was like Yabes disappeared when he dropped out of Oakridge High School in 1950, and he didn't make it back home until Friday.
"It's like it was all meant to be," said his son, Greg Filter, who traveled from Dayton TN for the ceremony
"It means a lot to me," said Yabes' daughter, Kayla Papaylannis of San Francisco. "It's sure nice to see his face."
"This is where he belongs," said Sharon Carlisle of Eugene, their mother and Yabes' first wife. "This river's his, and this community's his."
It took a community wide effort to bring Yabes home.
After a story about Yabes appeared in the Register-Guard in February, a group of American Legion members, state veterans services workers and Yabes' Java Joe friends go together and decided, in effect" We've got a Medal of Honor winner from this town and nothing to show for it. We've got to do something.
So they did. Headed by Robert Anderson and Don Crist, dozens of individuals, businesses and organizations donated time, money, labor and supplies to build the memorial, which features a fountain and flag pole and the bronze bust set on a handsome granite pedestal. Engraved on the base are the details of Yabes' Medal of Honor exploits:
He was a 1st sergeant in the U.S. Army when his company was attacked at night by a Viet Cong force that outnumbered them by perhaps 4-to-1. When enemy grenades landed within the command post bunker, Yabes shielded others with his body and painfully wounded. He remained in the bunker, providing covering fire as the command group evacuated.
He picked up a grenade launcher from a fallen comrade and fired point-blank into the attack Viet Cong, temporarily stopping the assault. Noting two wounded men in an exposed area, he dragged them to safety, then continued his deadly fire. When an enemy machine gun crew threatened the U.S. position, he dashed across exposed ground, killed the crew, destroyed the weapon and fell mortally wounded.
"He sacrificed himself to save his men." said Stanley Adams of Bend, who won the Medal of Honor during the Korean War and was one of several speakers during the ceremony Friday.
Col. Norman Hoffman, assistant adjutant general of the Oregon National Guard, noted that the United States has only 2,642 Medal of Honor recipients among the millions who have served in the armed forces since the medal was created 130 years ago.
"No one wins the Medal of Honor, it is not a competition," Hoffman said. "It is awarded by a grateful nation. Max Yabes is one of America's greatest heroes."
The sculptor who created the memorial, Tim Outman of McKenzie Bridge, said he felt he came to know Yabes as the work progressed. "It really was an honor to do this," Outman said.
Greg Filter told the crowd that his father's time in Oakridge was probably the happiest of his life. He expressed the family's heartfelt thanks for the work involved in building the memorial in the park.
"It's peaceful here," he said. (The Register-Guard, Eugene OR, unknown date)
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