Gary William Carlson

Army of the United States
28 June 1945 - 19 June 1969
West Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Panel 22W Line 085


Distinguished Service Cross Silver Star


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

The database page for Gary William Carlson

9 Jul 2004

Remembering the good times we had, and the conversations when you were Platoon Leader and Executive Officer in B Troop. You were a good officer with great potential for a future in the Army. I did not see another memorial for you so I did not want your sacrifice to go without notice and to let you know that your sacrifice will not be forgotten. They have named a range after you at West Point - Wow, what a way to remember a great Army leader.

From a fellow trooper,
Jack Noble

11 Nov 2004

I was in the lead tank at the battle when Cpt Carlson was killed. He was several vehicles to my left, when he was hit with the RPG.

Gary Clayton
C-26, C Troop 3/4 Cav

23 Aug 2007

The day of the battle the supply unit was ambushed after they gave us breakfast. We moved to the sound of the gunfire, and we engaged by heavy gunfire and RPG's, Tank 27 was hit by an RPG. I was commanding Tank 26, the battle lasted hours at that location.

We joined the remainder of the troop circled around the town and I was leading the troop down a dirt road that went into the center of the town. There were no people, but lot of small hootches. The road was high, I stopped my tank sensing an ambush. I radioed the 2nd Platoon Leader and told me my concerns. He asked for my recommendations and I said let's turn right and get off the road and sweep into the town through the trees. I waited around 10 minutes. The call came back to turn right to get off the road and go into the village. I proceeded 1/4 mile and stopped and turned left. The Platoon leader parked behind me. Cpt Carlson was several to my left and behind. He was on a 113. We proceeded forward and after a few minutes all hell broke loose. During the battle I fired all my main gun ammuntion and the most of the 50 ammo. I had to be resupplied under fire of 152mm tank rounds.

I remember seeing Cpt Carlson standing in the back of the 113 exposed. I never saw him hit with the RPG, but I was told he never left the vehicle.

I regret the death of the CO and I always felt partially at fault cause I asked to get off the road. I never knew him, because he was the CO a short time, transferring from another troop.

I read many years later he received the DSC. To set the record straight I was told he never left the 113 during the battle.

Gary Clayton

29 Nov 2004

From everything everyone has said about my Dad,
he was an awesome man. I was only 3 months old when
he died. I wish I could have known him. If you knew
him and want to e-mail me a story, that would be great.
I have gotten to know several of his friends over the
years and it has been helpful.


From his daughter,
Jennifer Perrier

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Captain Carlson was a 1967 graduate of the U. S. Military Academy and, as noted above, had served in B Troop as a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer before taking command of C Troop, 3/4th Cavalry. 3/4 Cav lost six men on 19 June 1969, three known to be from C Troop:
  • CPT Gary W. Carlson, West Bridgewater, MA (DSC, SS, BSM-V)
  • CPL Stephen D. Van Dyke, Detroit, MI
  • SP4 Keith W. Larimer, Tulare, CA
One of the other three was from B Troop and two were medics whose line troop assignment is unknown:
  • SGT Carl J. Bieker, Pueblo, CO, medic, HHT 3/4
  • SP5 Larry R. Clark, Wichita, KS, B Troop
  • SGT John H. Priest, Greenville, SC, medic, HHT 3/4

While The Virtual Wall has verified that Captain Carlson received both the Silver Star and Bronze Star with "V" for earlier actions, we have not been able to identify specifics. However, we have obtained a copy of the letter awarding him the Distinguished Service Medal:

Headquarters, United States Army Vietnam
APO San Francisco 96375

23 August 1969



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

Troop C, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division

Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross
Date action: 19 June 1969
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 Carlson distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 19 June 1969 as troop commander during a reconnaissance-in-force operation. When the troop came under fire from a well-concealed enemy force, he immediately led his men in an assault on the hostile fortifications. Realizing that the crossfire was impeding the movement of his troop, he single-handedly assaulted and destroyed the most strategic hostile position. He then directed his fire against another enemy position, silencing it with hand grenades and rifle fire. Spotting a wounded comrade lying exposed to the enemy barrage, Captain Carlson braved the fusillade to move the man to safety. He then returned to the center of conflict to evacuate another casualty. As he returned to his vehicle, he was knocked to the ground by a rocket-propelled grenade which rendered his command vehicle inoperative. Braving a hail of fire to reach another vehicle, he resumed control of his troop. It was while he was directing this assault on the enemy that he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Captain Carlson'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.
Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 25 July 1963.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his daughter,
Jennifer Perrier

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 9 Jul 2004
Last updated 04/01/2008