Norman Earl Baldwin
Captain
DET B-20 (2ND MSFC), B CO, 5TH SF GROUP, USARV
Army of the United States
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
January 06, 1947 to August 25, 1968
NORMAN E BALDWIN is on the Wall at Panel W46, Line 28

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Norman E Baldwin
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4 Jul 2002

The Wall

Many years ago I answered a call
To show that freedom will not fall.

I saw many of my friends fall and die
And all I could do was grieve and cry.

Many of my brothers are still in a foreign land
Many wondering, "Where's that helping hand?"

They fought, they cried, and they bled
At night I still hear their cries and what they said.

I served gladly, and my head was held high
To read at home Americans protested me, brought tears to my eyes.

My friends and I served our country well
Every day and night we served, it was our time in Hell.

If you pay a visit to the Wall
Look at the names and know that they gave their all.

These names are the ones that the price of their life.
This is here for some solice to families and wives.

When you see the names who answered their country's call,
Take great pride in the monument simply known as "THE WALL"

Becky Webb
January 17, 1991

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From a teacher and friend of Vietnam Vets who grieves for Norman.
E-mail address is not available.


 
26 Jul 2003

I knew Norm as a teenager. Later we went to boot camp at Fort Gordon at the same time. He was bright and a born leader. I know Norm is in a better place, set aside for heros.

From a friend.
tonapaw@peoplepc.com


 
10 May 2007

Killed while commanding 201st MIKE Force company breaking the NVA siege at Duc Lap (home to USSF Det A-239). The 201st was one of 5 B-20 MIKE Force companies sent to Duc Lap. SSG Les Brucker, the Team Medic, was KIA trying to get to Norm. SP5 Paul Severson was KIA while directing his platoon to fire on the trenches that had Norm pinned down. Baldwin was wearing 1LT's insignia at the time. 25 Aug 68 was his scheduled promotion date.

From a friend.
shaundarragh@hotmail.com


 

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Duc Lap Special Forces Camp (Det A-239, commanded by 1LT William A. Harp) was situated on two hilltops linked by a saddle southwest of Ban Me Thout. Shortly after midnight on 23 August 1968 the 95th North Vietnamese Regiment struck both the SF camp and the district headquarters compound some four miles away and by dawn had surrounded the camp. During the 23rd two Mobile Strike Force (MSF) companies from Pleiku had been airlifted into the area but were unable to make headway against the now-entrenched NVA. After nightfall the NVA assaulted and captured the smaller northern hilltop, using captured weapons and munitions to increase the fire being brought to bear on the southern hilltop. On the 24th, three MSF companies were engaged in a battle on the camp's runway; two were turned back, but the 202nd MSF Company was able to make it into the camp perimeter. Shortly afterwards, a B-40 rocket hit just outside the tactical operations center, killing one SF soldier (SFC Harold F. Kline, Frederick, MD) and a Montagnard artilleryman as well as severely wounding the senior SF officer present and several others. Just before dawn on the 25th the NVA staged another assault, breaching the outer perimeter and occupying bunkers there; the assault was halted at the inner wire line. By midmorning several of the captured bunkers had been destroyed, but the situation was grim: the ammunition supply was depleted, the partially trained Montagnards were panicked, and the US and Australian advisors were uncertain if the camp could be held.

Conditions improved when Air Force C-7 CARIBOU transports made low-level ammunition drops into the camp perimeter, and more radically when four MSF companies were able to get into the camp itself. By early afternoon the defenders had organized themselves and planned a counter-assault. The 513th MSF Company assaulted the remaining captured bunkers in the saddle while the 522nd Company assaulted the NVA-held northern hilltop. The initial assaults were successful and additional MSF troops were put into what became a five-hour bloody battle for the hilltop. By mid-evening the hill was in friendly hands - but at high cost to both sides. Five US Special Forces soldiers had died in the fighting on 25 August:

  • CPT Norman E. Baldwin, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 201st MSF Co (Dist Svc Cross)
  • SSG Leslie L. Brucker, Circleville, OH, 201st MSF Co (Dist Svc Cross)
  • SSG Michael B. Dooley, Los Angeles, CA, Det A-239
  • SP5 Paul R. Severson, Glenwood, IL, 201st MSF Co (Dist Svc Cross)
  • SP5 Forestal A. Stevens, Doylestown, OH, 522nd MSF Co (Dist Svc Cross)
The fight at the Duc Lap camp cost one more American life ... on 26 August, while attacking retreating NVA troops, 1LT Fred O. Pratt , of Columbus, GA, 155th AHC, was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Although his copilot immediately headed for Ban Me Thuot, Pratt died before arrival. 1LT Pratt had been shot down during the initial fighting on 23 August; although himself lightly wounded, he was able to carry his unconscious crew chief from the wrecked UH-1H uphill and into the southern perimeter at Duc Lap. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on the 23rd.

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY VIETNAM
APO San Francisco 96375

1 October 1968

GENERAL ORDERS
NUMBER 4559

AWARD OF THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS

1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

BALDWIN, NORMAN E 05233469 CAPTAIN ARMOR
Detachment B-20, Co B, 5th SF Group, 1st Special Forces

Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross
Date action: 25 August 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Captain Baldwin distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 25 August 1968 as the commander of a mobile strike force company engaged in relieving the besieged Duc Lap Special Forces camp. During as assault on a hill occupied by an estimated North Vietnamese Army company, he found himself alone and under intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire. Shouting encouragement to his men to follow him, he rushed forward and single-handedly wiped out an enemy bunker, killing three aggressors. Seeing this heroic act on the part of their commander, his troops began to advance. Twenty feet from the crest of the hill Captain Baldwin and his company came under a withering barrage of small arms and automatic weapons fire from hostile positions southwest of their line of assault. Captain Baldwin placed a burst of fire on the enemy emplacements from an exposed position, inspiring his men to also locate and bring fire against them. He continued to lead the assault in the face of a hail of bullets, and when he had nearly reached the top of the hill he was mortally wounded by the North Vietnamese fusillade. Captain Baldwin's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.


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