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Subject: A Remembrance

Bill Bellinger (Remembrance to Three Soldiers)
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Date Posted: 17:44:15 05/26/07 Sat

A Remembrance to Three Soldiers that I Knew Who Died in Vietnam for Memorial Day.

The first was 2nd Lieutenant Samuel T. McDowell, Jr. I knew Sam McDowell in college at Clemson University. We were in ROTC together and both graduated in 1965. Sam’s father was Colonel Samuel T. McDowell, Sr. Colonel McDowell was a decorated WWII veteran. He was commandant of the corps of cadets at Clemson when we were there. Sam Jr. died in a major engagement of the 1st Bn, 14th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division at Boa An Dong in Quang Nam province on 09 Feb 1968.

The second was SP5 Louis W. Branch. I knew Specialist Branch very well. He was killed in a mortar and sapper attack 07 January 1968, in Phu Loc, Vietnam. It was reported that he died firing his M-16 at the enemy. Louis Branch was assigned to the 85th Maintenance Company when it was activated in country in August 1966. We were in Phu Tai Valley together in 1966 and in Da Nang in 1967. Branch was a great soldier and an excellent mechanic.

In March of 1967, two soldiers from the 85th Maintenance Company’s Detachment in Dong Ha and two soldiers, who I believe were from 2nd Battalion, 94 Artillery started out for town one night. They were probably headed for Quang Tri along QL-9 and QL-1. The roads in Quang Tri Province were dangerous during daylight hours. At night… They drove into an ambush. Two soldiers were wounded and two were killed. One of the soldiers killed was in my platoon. I escorted his remains to the Saigon mortuary. For some reason I can not remember his name but I would like to remember him also this Memorial day.

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