Willie Frank Ashley

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
11 January 1945 - 28 September 1967
Crittenden, Virginia
Panel 27E Line 023


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Willie Frank Ashley

26 Feb 2004

Willie was a young Marine (weren't we all?) who drove a jeep for a living.

His duties were simple but critical to the 11th Engineer Battalion.

Whenever I needed to go, Willie was there.

On 28 September 1967, an assignment took Willie and I to Con Thien, a Marine Combat Base on the DMZ. We fell under an enemy artillery barrage and our cannons responded. We were caught on the open ground.

Willie is now Guarding the Gates,
waiting until those who survived join him.

From a brother-in-arms,
Sgt. William E. Lyell, USMC (Ret)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 11th Engineer Battalion had detachments in a variety of locations, providing combat engineer support to other Marine forces. One location was the fire support base at Gio Linh, which was occupied by a composite artillery battalion made up of Army and USMC artillery batteries under control of the 12th Marines. What happened at Gio Linh on 28 Sep 1967 can be put together through reference to several unit command chronologies.

According to the 2nd Bn, 9th Marines chronology Fox Company 2/9 was at Gio Linh providing a rifle security company for the artillery position. The 12th Marines' Situation Report for 28 Sep 1967 says that "Probably two misdirected 175 rounds landed in composite arty battalion area, resulting in 2 KIA, 3 WIA (2 medevacs)." And finally the 11th Engineers' command chronology contains the following entry:

"28 Sept 1967: The Battalion S-3 driver was killed at Camp Hill (Gio Linh) at 1330H from friendly 175mm guns which were 400 mils off target."
Taken together, it is clear that in an accident of war a 175mm artillery battery firing in response to the enemy guns hitting Gio Linh placed two shells in the Gio Linh artillery position itself, killing two men and wounding three others. The two dead were
  • Pfc Willie F. Ashley, Crittenden, VA, Svc Co, 11th Engineers, and
  • Pvt John P. Burgess, Stow, OH, F Co, 2nd Bn, 9th Marines.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a brother-in-arms,
Sgt. William E. Lyell, USMC (Ret)

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 26 Feb 2004
Last updated 07/25/2006