James Beschen

United States Marine Corps
01 January 1945 - 19 July 1966
Wildwood, New Jersey
Panel 09E Line 035


James Beschen

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Beschen

27 Sep 2001


James Beschen on VIETNAM Magazine
Used with permission

A photograph of James Beschen appeared on the cover
of the August 1997 issue of VIETNAM magazine.

Inaugurated in 1969, the annual Cape May (NJ) Callahan-Beschen Lifeguard Memorial Meet honors two former local lifeguards, Michael Callahan and James Beschen, both of whom were killed in action in Vietnam.

Mrs. Elizabeth Beschen, mother of former lifeguard James Beschen,
presents trophies to Tom Bradley, Joe Raysinger, Tom Palmer and Mike Morley,
winners of the mile-long swimming relay.
(Picture from the August 14,1969 Cape May County Herald)

Notes from The Virtual Wall

The following is exerpted from the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial site:

James Beschen was born on January 1, 1945. He was six feet tall, weighed 145 pounds and had blue eyes. He lived in Wildwood, NJ and attended Wildwood Catholic High School. He enjoyed hunting. He entered the US Marine Corps on October 10, 1965 and attained the rank of Corporal (CPL).

On July 19, 1966, at the age of 21, James Beschen killed in action in South Vietnam, Quang Nam Province. While in the armed forces, James earned four medals for Vietnam as well as Pistol Sharpshooter, Rifle Expert and the Purple Heart.

"James was killed by friendly fire. He was flown by helicopter to the hospital but they could not save him. I certainly praise the Marine Corps for all they did for my son. My grandson joined the Marine Corps 30 years later. One day he walked into one of the buildings near Camp Lejune and he saw this picture on the wall and he said that is my uncle, my mother's twin brother, and the man in charge took it right off the wall and gave it to him. This is how I happen to have it."

Written by Elizabeth Beschen, Mother

The New Jersey Memorial consists of one panel for each day of the year, with the names of those who died engraved upon the appropriate panel. The panel for 19 July contains the names of five men:

NJVVM Panel 19 July
  • 1966 - Cpl James Beschen, Wildwood, NJ, 3/9th Marines
  • 1966 - Pfc Sim H. Riggins, Newark, NJ, Hotel 2/4 Marines
  • 1966 - PFC Stephen A. Zukov, Carteret, NJ, A/2/503rd Infantry
  • 1967 - LCpl John Alfonso, New Brunswick, NJ, A/3rd MT Bn, USMC
  • 1969 - SSG John G. Gertsch, Russell, PA, E/1/327th Infantry (MoH)
Although the first three men died on the same day, they were involved in different actions. The fifth man, Staff Sergeant John Gertsch, listed his Home of Record as Russell, Pennsylvania, but he was born in Jersey City. One can do no wrong by including a Medal of Honor recipient.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his twin sister,
Sue Beschen McWilliams
E-Mail may be forwarded via the
27 Sep 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/14/2005