Thomas Eddy Birdsall

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
22 May 1945 - 12 November 1966
Royal Oak, Michigan
Panel 12E Line 058



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas Eddy Birdsall

30 May 2000

From his classmates at
Royal Oak Dondero High School.


06 Mar 2008


by his sister,
Sheryl Birdsall

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In early November 1966 a reinforced platoon from India Company, 3/1 Marines, was holding a defensive position at An Trach, some 7 or 8 kilometers south-southwest of Danang. Shortly after midnight on 11/12 November their defensive perimeter was breeched by a VC sapper unit operating under cover of a heavy mortar barrage. The intruding VC force, estimated at 25 men, attacked with small arms, grenades, and satchel charges, taking out the command post bunker first. The 60 Marines within the perimeter responded with organic weapons but received worse than they gave. The 3/1 Marines Command Chronology describes the engagement as follows:
"At 120130H vicinity BT973663, Company I platoon CP received a coordinated attack of small arms fire, greanades, and demolition charges from approximately twenty-five VC resulting in fourteen USMC KIA, one USN KIA, twenty-seven USMC WIA and one USN WIA (MEDEVAC). Marines accounted for three VC KIA (confirmed) and seven VC KIA (probable)."
The 3/1 Situation Report for 12 Nov 1966 contains further information, noting that the Commanding Officer of India Company led a reaction force made up of men from HQ Company, 1st Marines which arrived at An Trach at 0400H. Another force, this from Mike 3/1 with attached elements, arrived at 0930 and took responsibility for the defensive position.

As noted in the Chronology, 43 of the 60 Marines engaged were killed or wounded badly enough to require evacuation. The 15 dead were

  • H&S Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines:
    • HM3 Manuel Avila, Fresno, CA
    • Cpl Eduardo Ayala, El Paso, TX
    • LCpl Thomas E. Birdsall, Royal Oak, MI
    • LCpl James P. Brown, Harvest, AL
    • LCpl Larry D. Defilippis, Idaho Falls, ID
    • Pfc Daniel Acosta, Stockton, CA
    • Pfc Roger J. Bryant, Florence, AL

  • I Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines:
    • Cpl Raymond L. Powell, Kansas City, MO (Silver Star)
    • Cpl Daniel D. Yarnell, Highland, CA
    • LCpl John A. McGrath, Washington, MI
    • LCpl Charles E. Meek, St Clair Shores, MI
    • LCpl Alan H. Shields, Los Angeles, CA
    • Pfc Roy G. Alvis, Kell, IL
    • Pfc Ted D. Broomfield, Dodson, LA
    • Pfc David H. Paulsen, Waterloo, IA

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister,
Sheryl Birdsall

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MI State Index . Panel 12E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 May 2000
Last updated 03/26/2008