Edgardo Caceres

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
08 January 1945 - 12 May 1966
Tacoma, Washington
Panel 07E Line 051


Silver Star

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Edgardo Caceres

13 Feb 2005

By Robert D. Ohman
Da Nang, Viet-Nam, 13 May (1966)

Pvt. Reuben Morales is a young Marine who went out on a routine patrol yesterday with 13 buddies. They left the company area in a broad valley 17 miles southwest of Da Nang, at 6:30 a.m.

Three hours later, about 200 Viet-Cong attacked the patrol.

Morales was one of only two men who survived, but the patrol killed 30 guerrillas before being overwhelmed.

Marine Corps reinforcements plus artillery and air strikes killed 145 more Viet-Cong in the battle that ended at dusk.

Morales, 19, La Puente CA, said today from his hospital bed that he was shot in the head and neck, feigned death as Viet-Cong executioners killed other Leathernecks - and fled from a burning evacuation helicopter before finally being rescued.

THE BATTLE OPENED as a patrol was crossing a rice paddy. "The first guy hit was the point man," Morales said. "Then they hit a corpsman and then a private on the right flank."

As bullets poured into the patrol, one struck Morales' head, and he fell.

"The radio was hit, and we couldn't call the company," Morales said. "When someone tried to run, he was hit. A Filipino boy - he had only two days left to serve here -- tried to make a run for it. He was hit in the back, but got up and started running again. Then he was hit again and fell. I knew he was running for help.

"He fell three different times. I stood up after the second time. I was dizzy, but I could see the Viet-Cong coming toward us. I wanted to take it standing up. The other guys who could stand, stood up, firing away. The wounded were shooting too. They fought all the way.

"The Viet-Cong? You could close your eyes and not miss.

" I ran out of ammunition when the V.C. hit the first paddy wall, a low mound of dirt, and I was ready to start swinging my rifle when I got hit in the neck.

"I FELL ON MY BACK but I was not unconscious. I heard all the noises - the mortars and grenades.

"A few seconds later, it stopped. Then the shooting started again. I opened my eyes and saw the Viet-Cong shoot two other guys out in front of me on the second paddy wall.

"I heard them coming toward me and closed my eyes. They took my rifle, a grenade I had, and ammunition. Then one picked me up by the shirt to search me, but dropped me back. I was waiting, thinking, 'When will he pull the trigger?'

"More shooting started and the two V. C. near me started walking away. When the mortars opened up, I looked and saw them running back into the treeline.

"I heard another Marine calling, 'Corpsmen. Over here. Over here!' I heard our troops (the reinforcements) trying to get to us, but they couldn't. After awhile the other Marine stopped hollering.

I was scared. I though we had been left."

AS THE SUN ROSE HIGHER, temperatures went above 100 degrees. Morales, lying for more than three hours in the parched rice paddy and blistering under the burning heat, decided to take a chance.

"As I started to craw, I expected them to shoot me in the back," he said. "There was a Marine with his legs over the paddy wall. He said he couldn't move and I told him I'd be back. I could see our troops across the field, but they were moving very slow.

"I came to another trooper from our squad, but he couldn't move his legs. And I saw three others, all of them face down. I guess they were dead. Then I crawled over to Binkley. He said he was all right, but he couldn't use his arms."

Pfc. James K. Binkley, 19, of Ashland City TN was the other survivor of the patrol. He was shot through both arms. The Viet-Cong also took his rifle and passed him for dead.

MORALES TOOK OFF BINKLEY'S cartridge belt and "we started moving to where we could see our troops kneeling. Then we started walking and when we finally got there, the first thing we asked for was water."

Morales and Binkley were given water and first aid. With a number of Marines suffering from heat exhaustion, they waited for a medical evacuation helicopter.

"I ran to the helicopter," Morales reported. "There was all sorts of firing and a lot of confusion. Someone said a bullet hit the chopper's fuel line and we had to get out. I ran and dived into some weeds -- I heard slugs flying over us. The (helicopter) crew told us the chopper was going to explode and I ran again, just before it blew up."

Pfc Larry Stulz, 21, Chicago, who was in Morales' I Company and near the burning chopper, tossed a rifle to his friend. They ran to a trench. "When another chopper landed, I gave my rifle to a trooper and went out," the dark-skinned, dark-eyed young Marine recalled. "it brought me here."

Seattle (WA) Times, 13 May 1966

By Charles Rice

Edgardo Caceres, 21, an out-standing athlete at Clover Park High School a few years ago, was to have left Viet Nam for home today.

But he was one of those who didn't make it.

Marine Lance Cpl. Caceres was a member of a small squad from the 3rd Marine Division that stumbled into some 200 Viet Cong last Thursday 18 miles southwest of Da Nang. The men were out-numbered 10 to 1, but stood their ground for 10 hours.

When a relief force finally arrived, there were two wounded survivors. One of them was Caceres. He later died.

The news of his death came as his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Florencio Q. Caceres, of 3220 S. 92nd St., were counting the days until his return. And they were planning. Eddie wanted to attend the graduation exercises of his sister, Tessie, next month. He also had saved money for his college education.

Eddie's parents had just purchased a 1965-model automobile as a surprise gift for their son, reported Maj. John Fahey, of the Marine Corps Training Center here. The car was sitting in front of the Caceres home.

His plans died last week near Da Nang.

But way down deep, his mourning parents believe Eddie knew what his fate would be. They cited his last letter, dated 28 Apr (1966):

"I just found out today the date I'm leaving Viet Nam for home. I'm leaving the 17th of June."

Then he added: "Tomorrow our company is going out in the front line again. That means I have a couple of weeks of fighting to do here. I just hope I make it through all right."

His other letters are filled with small talk and jokes. They ask about his brothers and sisters - Linda, 19, Tessie, 17, Marie, 15, Lillian, 13, and Robert, 8 - and his mother's bowling score. His last letter is solemn and to the point.

COMBAT VETERAN - "Maybe he had a feeling," his mother said. "He had one experience early in the war. Eddie was pinned down for 30 minutes and was almost killed."

Now Mr. and Mrs. Caceres have only a memory. They read again and again his last few letters. His pictures are around the home. On the mantel piece are Eddie's trophies: The Clover Park Inspiration Award in 1963 and 1964 and the school boxing championship for his weight class.

TRACK ATHLETE - A clipping from the school newspaper tells how the youngster competed in the 100-yard dash, and the 220, the low hurdles, and the broad jump and the high jump, the mile relay and the 880 relay.

Eddie's father, retired after 30 years in the Army, is a barber. His mother is a Tacoma beauty operator.

"It hurts them (the other children) very much," Mrs. Caceres said. "They loved their brother.

"And it hurt us too. It is especially hard when he was due home so soon."

Tacoma (WA) News Tribune, 17 May 1966

Courtesy of
Darilee Bednar

Faces from the Wall

23 May 2008

Edgardo Caceres was one of my best friends in high school. I was very saddened that he suffered the ultimate sacrifice for our country during the Vietnam war. I first met him when I was an eighth-grader at Hudtloff Junior High School in Lakewood, Washington. He was a year ahead of me in school and I looked up to him, because he was very popular, friendly, athletic, considerate and a very trusting and very good friend. I went with him to parties, Puyallup fair, movies, double dated, and just about everything. We even picked strawberries at a strawberry farm for pay during the summer months like most Filipino teenagers during those years in the 1960's to supplement our families' income. We never once had any disagreement. I have a picture with him when we went to the Puyallup fair one year and a picture of him in uniform he sent me when he was in Vietnam. I will always treasure those two pictures because he was one of the very best friends I had growing up. Once in a while I drive by their old house and reminisce. I miss him terribly and wondered what my life would be like if he was still around. God just took him away from us too soon. Ed, thanks for everything you've done for our country and you will always be in our hearts and thoughts forever.

From a friend,
Pacifico I. Gariando, Jr
4312 N 35th St, Tacoma, Wa 98407

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The fourteen men from Bravo 1/9 Marines who died in the action described above were
  • 2ndLt John B. Capel, Glen Ellyn, IL
  • Sgt Dallas C. Young, Salem, IL
  • Cpl James R. Howell, Tucson, AZ
  • LCpl Edgardo Caceres, Tacoma, WA (Silver Star)
  • LCpl Ralph G. Erdely, Springfield, MA
  • LCpl Richard W. Huntoon, Leicester, MA
  • Pfc Neal A. Denning, Willow Springs, NC
  • Pfc Robert E. Jones, Corona, CA
  • Pfc Ronald H. Justis, Selma, IN
  • Pfc James P. Laclear, East Lansing, MI
  • HN Pedro Munoz, El Paso, TX, Corpsman (H&S w/ B/1/9) (Silver Star)
  • Pfc Wallace S. Perkins, Dallas, TX
  • Pfc John J. Schultz, Harper Woods, MI
  • Pfc Tommy R. White, Kennett, MO

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who remembers,
Darilee Bednar

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 14 Feb 2005
Last updated 05/30/2008