Edward Atkucunas

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
20 January 1951 - 10 May 1969
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Panel 25W Line 040


Edward Atkucunas

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Edward Atkucunas

13 Aug 2002

The photo and following article is taken from The Philadelphia Daily News, special supplement entitled 'SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY,' October 26, 1987.

Atkucunas, an only child, died in Viet Nam on Mother's Day 1969. When officers bearing news of his death came to his mother's door, she was getting ready to go shopping for a radio her son asked her to buy and mail to him. Captain of his Olney High School football team, Atkucunas graduated in June 1968, and the following month enlisted in the Marine Corps. The lance corporal, a rifleman with Company F of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, had served less than a year of his four-year enlistment when he died on May 10, 1969, in the Station Hospital in Da Nang of wounds suffered in Quang Nam Province. He was 18 years old. Atkucunas was survived by his mother, who said of her son: "His dreams? Well, he didn't have time to think of the future. He just wanted to fight for our country, to try to make it a better place to live in."


From a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Jim McIlhenney

18 Dec 2002

I met Ed through my boyfriend at the time. They were good friends, having grown up together. I remember Ed took me for a ride through Benjamin Rush Park, right before he left for Vietnam. He didn't have a girlfriend, that I knew of, but he was such a wonderful person, with a great sense of humor. I never thought at the time I wouldn't see him again. I will always think of him with a kind heart, big shoulders, and a good sense of humor.

From a friend,
Maureen Smith Kuntzmann
Philadelphia, PA

23 Apr 2006

He was my third cousin. I remember his going-away party. I was 7. I was walking up the basement stairs and he picked me up really high and ran up the stairs with me in his arms. I'm 43 and I still can see that moment.

His was the first funeral I attended. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember the grief and tears for an 18 year old hero.

His mother passed away January 7, 2005 ... my Mom's birthday. I told her to celebrate my "Aunt" Mary's death, for on that day she was reunited with her son ... who was her life!

From a cousin,
Wendy-Ann Antanaitis
Mission Viejo, Ca

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 09 May 1969 2/5's rifle companies were conducting "search and clear" operations in Quang Nam Province. The 2/5 Command Chronology reports that two Marines were killed in action and three were evacuated after being wounded in action - two by mines, one by gunshot. The casualty database and other records show two men from 2/5 died that day as a result of "multiple fragmentation wounds", the term usually used for mines and other explosive devices, and one the following day from similar causes. The 2/5 Operations Journal for 09 May contains the following entries:
"0400H - A Marine from Company F detonated a boob trapped 105mm artillery round with pressure detonation located in a treeline at AT855515. Results: One USMC WIA and one USMC KIA."

"0835H - A man from Company F at AT854515 detonated a booby trapped 105mm pressure detonated artillery round located in a treeline. Results: One USMC KIA and one USMC WIA Evac."

Three deaths are believed to have resulted from these two incidents:
  • Pfc Robert J. Alert, Elkhart, IN, H&S 2/5 (KIA);
  • LCpl Edward Atkucunas, Philadelphia, PA, Fox 2/5 (DoW 05/10/1969); and
  • Pfc James A. Sanders, Pine Bluff, AR, Fox 2/5 (KIA).

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Jim McIlhenney
13 Aug 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 04/23/2006