Joseph Kerr Bush, Jr

Army of the United States
28 January 1944 - 10 February 1969
Temple, Texas
Panel 32W Line 003


Silver Star


DFC, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Joseph Kerr Bush, Jr

05 Nov 2003

Joseph Bush Jr. was another son of Temple, Texas, lost in the Vietnam war. He was 25 years old and had a family. He was Regular Army and knew the price that he might have to pay. He paid that price and I honor him for doing his duty and loving his country. I am humbled by his sacrifice and honored that I was in-country with this brave hero.

Walter Weddell
EN3 US Navy
PCF 82 Boat

04 Dec 2006

I am a Army ROTC cadet at the University of Texas and I want to express my gratitude and most sincere condolences to Joseph Bush and his family. I am from Temple so I feel a more personal connection and I want to let his family and other veterans and families of those to know that your sacrifice is not unnoticed and it is appreciated. His service and sacrifice brings honor on the Army, his family and his community. Captain Bush's actions are inspiring and heroic. His selfless actions are an example for future generations of soldiers to follow. His actions portray the very thing a leader should be and display the essential qualities a leader must have. Thank you, without men like you we wouldn't be the great country we are today.

E-Mail will be forwarded by the

V. SILVER STAR. By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved 9 July 1918, a Silver Star for gallantry in action is awarded posthumously to:
Captain Joseph K. Bush. Jr., Field Artillery, United States Army, who distinguished himself by gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Assistant Army Attache in Muong Soui, Laos on 10 February 1969. On the morning of that date, the quarters occupied by Captain Bush and his operations sergeant were attacked by an enemy force of 20 North Vietnamese Commandos using grenades, small arms, machine guns, B40 rockets and satchel charges. Captain Bush, realising that only he and his sergeant were adequately armed to offer protection to the other Americans in the compound and who were without protective cover, quickly decided to establish a defensive position within the compound from which he could suppress enemy fire. Covering each other witli protective fire and throwing grenades into the North Vietnamese positions, both attempted to reach the pre-selected position and to draw enemy fire and attention. The sergeant was seriously wounded short of reaching the new position. Captain Bush, without hesitation, attempted single-handedly to attack the enemy raiders, firing as he advanced and killing two of the enemy. It was during this assault that Captain Bush was mortally wounded. The heroism displayed by Captain Bush in giving his life while drawing enemy fire away from his fallen comrade and the other Americans enabled the sergeant to escape. Captain Bush's conspicuous gallantry, exceptional heroism and intrepidity at the cost of his own life are in the highest traditions of tlie military service, and his gallant actions reflect great credit upon him and upon the United States Army.
General Order 69-58, Chief of Staff, US Army

XIV. BRONZE STAR MEDAL. By direction of the President, under provisions of Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, a Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for heroic achievement in connection with military operations against hostile forces is awarded posthumously to:
Captain Joseph K. Bush, Jr., Field Artillery, United States Army, who distinguished himself by exceptional heroism during the period 31 December 1968 to 1 January 1969. Captain Bush, disregarding his own personal safety, unhesitatingly volunteered as the night aerial artillery observer when the scheduled observer became ill. While directing the initial artillery barrage, the enemy engaged Captain Bush's aircraft with intense anti-aircraft fire. Despite the heavy ground fire, Captain Bush remained aloft for 2-1/2 hours, directing artillery fire on enemy targets and anti-aircraft locations. As a result of his outstanding heroism, enemy artillery fire was reduced, targets of opportunity were destroyed, and enemy pressure generally relieved. Captain Bush's exceptional devotion to duty reflects great credit upon him and the United States Army.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

From available documentation it seems Captain Joseph K. Bush was assigned to the U. S. Army Element of the Joint U. S. Military Advisory Group Thailand (JUSMAGTHAI), which was headquartered in Bankok, Thailand. However, he didn't go to work at JUSMAG each morning.

International accords guaranteeing the neutrality of Laos had been ignored by the North Vietnamese since the day they were signed, and by the mid-60's the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) was estimated to have some 35,000 NVA troops more or less permanently in place within Laos - some were engaged in maintaining the famous Ho Chi Minh supply line through Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam, while a considerable number were conducting ground operations in the northern parts of Laos. This situation was placing unacceptable pressures on the Royal Laotian government and obviously on the Allied forces in SVN who were the recipients of the men, arms, and munitions which traveled south along the Trail. In 1966 the U.S. government established Project 404 (sometimes referred to as "Palace Dog"), a system whereby military personnel could be "in the black" in that technically they were not in Laos. Individuals in Project 404 were assigned to units outside Laos and their in-country existence was classified for most of the 1964-1973 time period. Being "in the black" allowed service personnel to perform military duties as a civilian operating in Laos under the supervision of the military attaches to the US Ambassador to Laos. A number of separate military efforts were established under Project 404:

  • Military advisors were assigned to Laotian loyalist and Thai mercenary forces.
  • The "Raven" Forward Air Controller network was set up to control US air support to the ground troops.
  • Technical facilities like the Lima 85 site were established.
  • The flight training program for RLAF pilots was accelerated.

In late 1967 the NVA elbowed the Pathet Lao aside and began concerted attacks against the Royal Lao forces and the "black" US personnel and facilities in Laos. By mid-March 1968, the NVA had recaptured Nam Bac, a strategic valley north of Luang Prabang, and successfully assaulted Lima Site 85 at Phou Pha Thi. By the beginning of the monsoon season in 1968 Lima Site 36 (Na Khang) and Lima Site 108 (Moung Soui) were in jeopardy. The monsoon weather slowed the NVA effort until the beginning of 1969.

Instead of going to work at JUSMAG Thailand, Captain Bush was an advisor to Laotian forces at Lima Site 108, Moung Soui, near the Plaine des Jarres in north-central Laos. According to Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (ed Bernard Edelman, New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission)

"Capt. Joseph Kerr Bush, Jr., whose home was in Temple, Texas, was serving as a military attache and adviser to Laotian forces at Moung Soui. He was killed during an attack by NVA commandos on 10 February 1969. For his actions he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Capt. Bush was 25 years old."

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a comrade, friend, and Brother of Combat,
Walter W. Weddell

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 6 Nov 2003
Last updated 01/16/2007