Gabriel Ralph Alamo

Master Sergeant
Army of the United States
18 November 1918 - 06 July 1964
Lyndhurst, NJ
Panel 01E Line 057

CIB 3rd Award

Purple Heart, Good Conduct, American Defense, American Campaign, European Campaign, WW II Victory, National Defense, Korean Service, AF Expeditionary, Vietnam Service, UN Service, RoK Service, RVN Military Merit, RVN Gallantry Cross, RVN Campaign Medal

Senior Parachutist

The database page for Gabriel Ralph Alamo

8 Mar 2002

For My First Love

Dedicated To My Dad,
MSgt Gabriel R. Alamo

"Greater love hath no man,
than he lay down his life for a friend."

My father was, as were many who gave their lives in Vietnam, an exceptional man. A man of honor and integrity, who believed in fighting for his convictions. And this is the lesson of our country's history, that the bravest and the finest are called to give all they have, and pay the ultimate price, that all our sons and daughters may remain free.

Do not ask about the political correctness of the war. Do not try to find the reasons for the battle. Only remember the great courage and integrity they display in choosing to accept the call. Try to emulate their character in your own life, pass their memory down to future generations, and save a secret place in your heart to reunite with them often.

Daddy, I think of you every day. You have three fine grandsons, Joshua, Jason, and Jacob. I strive to teach them to be great men of character, and point to you and the Lord as their role models.

Thank you for loving me.......I will never forget.

When You Are A Soldier

When you are a soldier, I will be your shield
I will go with you into the battlefield
When the bullets start to fly
Take my hand...hold on tight
I will be your shield
Cuz I know how it feels
When you are a soldier.

When you're tired of runnin', I will cheer you on
Look beside you and you'll see....You're not alone
And when your strength is almost gone
I'll carry you until you're strong
I will be your shield
Cuz I know how it feels
When you are a soldier

I will be the one that you can cry your song to
And my eyes will share your tears
Then when the enemy surrounds you
You'll see that Love will quench your fears

When you're lost and lonely, I will hold the light
I will help you find the way through the night
I'll remind you of the Truth
Help keep the flame alive in you
I will be your shield
Cuz I know how it feels
When you are a soldier



Mama and Daddy,
Daddy and me.

From his daughter,
Deborah Ann Alamo

3 Jul 2003

It was the summer following my junior year in Wayne Senior HS, Wayne NJ, when MSGT Gabriel Ralph Alamo died in Vietnam...

I remember it well because he was the first soldier from our part of the state to pay the price for freedom in Vietnam...

It brought the war home with a jolt... It was no longer an abstract or a 6 PM news story about a stranger in a faraway place that didn't affect my life one way or the other.

It was about someone I might have known... It was a real person I may never have met, but I would remember his name and his story forever. The war had moved from the TV set into my mind and taken root.

Everyone assumed it would be over in a matter of months at most... but I wasn't so sure anymore.

I remembered his name when I raised my own hand to take the oath of enlistment four and a half years later... It still wasn't over.

I remembered his story when I left for SE Asia and when I returned, and when we pulled out of Vietnam in 1975 and when I visited the Wall in 1982, and I took a rubbing of his name in 1995 to carry to the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial when it was dedicated... and it still isn't over...

But if it ever is really over, I'll still remember the name and the story of Gabriel Ralph Alamo...

George Fallon

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Gabriel R. Alamo entered the military before World War II and served with the 82nd Airborne Division during the war. After the war's end he completed a variety of military courses, finishing the Chemical Corps School in 1950, following which he served in the Korean War. He did overseas tours in occupied Germany and Japan, and eventually volunteered for and qualified in the Special Forces. In 1964, Master Sergeant Alamo volunteered for duty in Vietnam, arriving in late spring. He was assigned to Detachment A-726, based in Nam Dong, South Vietnam.

The hamlet of Nam Dong lies in a valley just east of the Laotian border and 32 miles west of the coastal city of Da Nang. Nam Dong was important for only one reason: it sat astride an infiltration route which connected to the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. A CIDG camp was established in Nam Dong, stiffened by the presence of a twelve-man Special Forces Detachment led by Captain Roger Donlon. Warrant Officer Kevin G. Conway, Royal Australian Army, was attached to the team, and Master Sergeant Gabriel Alamo was the senior enlisted team member.

At about 2:30 AM on the morning of 6 July 1964 the camp was taken under attack by two reinforced battalions, an attack which lasted until well after daybreak. Although the camp's perimeter was breached in several places, the South Vietnamese irregulars and the Special Forces troops held out - but at a very high cost. Most of the local force was killed in action, and so too were WO2 Conway, MSGT Alamo, and Sergeant John Houston.

All of the Special Forces personnel were decorated for heroism under fire - the Medal of Honor for Captain Donlon; posthumous Distinguished Service Crosses for MSGT Alamo and SGT Houston; four Silver Stars (including WO2 Conway); and five Bronze Stars.

Distinguished Service Cross

The President of The United States of America,
authorized by Act of Congress, July 25, 1963,
has awarded the

Distinguished Service Cross

posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following


Master Sergeant Gabriel R. Alamo distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving an opposing armed force in the Republic of Viet Nam on 6 July 1964. As a team Sergeant, serving with the United States Army Special Forces Detachment A-726 at Camp Nam Dong, Sergeant Alamo displayed bravery, fortitude, and perseverance when a reinforced Viet Cong battalion suddenly launched a full scale, pre-dawn attack on the Camp. During the violent battle that ensued, lasting five hours and resulting in heavy casualties on both sides, he participated with outstanding effectivness in defending the installation. Upon the initial onslaught, he prompty directed a radio operator to transmit a message requesting support, and then rushed into a blazing building to assist in the removal of weapons and ammunition. Ignoring the burns he received while in the burning structure, he then ran through a hail of enemy gunfire to a 60mm mortar position and set the weapon for firing. As he noticed the enemy attempting to breach the main gate, he again dashed through a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire to abort the hostile action. Although he sustained a serious wound in this courageous action, he demonstrated superhuman effort, reached the gate, and prevented entry of enemy troops. Despite his wound, and intense grenade attack, he reached the 60mm mortar pit, refused evecuation for medical treatment, and directed the fire of the 60mm mortar while simultaneously manning a 57mm recoilless rifle. Undaunted by the vicious enemy assault, he remained at his battle position and defended the camp until mortally wounded by the enemy. Sergeant Alamo's valiant efforts and extraordinary heroic actions are in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.

War hero's death etched in memory
by John A. Harnes
Coastal Monmouth Bureau

HOLMDEL -- On the 37th anniversary of his death in battle, Master Sgt. Gabriel R. Alamo was honored yesterday by his old comrade in arms, retired Col. Roger H.C. Donlon, the first American to earn the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.

Already a veteran of World War II and Korea, Alamo was a grizzled 45-year-old New Jerseyan affectionately known as "Pop" by his younger colleagues at Nam Dong in the early days of the war.

"He was our leader and inspiration," Donlon told those who gathered at a ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial off the Garden State Parkway. "He was certainly a warrior among warriors."

On July 6, 1964, Donlon was in command of Detachment A-726, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, when a reinforced Viet Cong battalion launched a full-scale, pre-dawn attack on the camp.

The ensuing battle lasted five hours and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. Donlon, then a captain, directed the defense operations in the midst of an enemy barrage of mortar shells, falling grenades and extremely heavy gunfire.

Donlon said the shape of the memorial was similar to that of the mortar pit he and Alamo were literally blown into by an explosion.

"To my dying day I will carry the memory of having Pop die in my arms," Donlon said.

The defenders at Nam Dong, outnumbered at least 3 to 1, would become one of the most highly decorated units in Army history.

In addition to Donlon's Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Crosses -- the nation's second-most-sacred awards for military valor -- were presented posthumously to Alamo, who hailed from Lyndhurst, and Sgt. John Houston. Four team members were awarded the Silver Star, and another five each received the Bronze Star with "V" for valor.

Representing Maj. Gen. Paul J. Glazar, the state's adjutant general, during yesterday's ceremony was Col. Michael Warner, who presented Alamo's son, Michael Sr., with his father's New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, the state's top military award. After receiving the award, he passed it to his own 16-year-old son, Michael Jr.

Michael Sr. was only 4 when his father died. He reminded onlookers that engraved on the war memorial's walls are the names of people like his father who "gave their lives for their country."

He came to the ceremony with his wife, Demy, and children, Michael Jr. and Alyssa, 10, from their home in Alabama.

Michael Sr. said Donlon, now living in Leavenworth, Kan., recruited him, and in 1983 and he earned a place in the ranks of the Special Forces and served in the Army for six years.

Donlon said Michael Alamo Sr., now a firefighter/paramedic, is "still battling fires, but this time they are at home."

Donlon quoted a message from Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell, who on Jan. 1, 1970, in Dak To, Vietnam, crystallized the sentiments he and other veterans share concerning the loss of men such as Alamo:

"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 left and 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."
O'Donnell, a helicopter pilot, was killed in action March 24, 1970, during a rescue attempt.

© Asbury Park Press
July 7, 2001
Reproduced under 17 USC 107

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial consists of one panel for each day of the year. The panel for 06 July carries six names:
  • MSG Gabriel R. Alamo, Lyndhurst
       7th SF Grp, 1964 (DSC)
  • Cpl Michael Piascik, Elizabeth
       C/2/12th Marines, 1966
  • LCpl Robert J. Slattery, Whippany
       H&S/2/3rd Marines, 1967
  • CPT Michael R. Nawrosky, Dumont
       B/1/5th Cav, 1968 (SS)
  • Cpl Dennis Bagley, Newark
       H/2/1st Marines, 1969
  • PFC David F. Ackerman, Summit
       D/2/60th Inf, 1969

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his daughter,
Deborah Ann Alamo 
8 Mar 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 07/03/2003