Robert Edward Church

United States Marine Corps
27 December 1946 - 16 May 1968
Lakehurst, New Jersey
Panel 61E Line 007


Robert E Church

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

The database page for Robert Edward Church

15 Aug 2002


Robert E. Church and William W. Hester graduated from Central Regional High School together in 1967.

On 16 May 1968, Bob Church was killed in action.
He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism.

Six weeks later, on 01 July 1968,
William Hester joined his classmate.
He was awarded the Silver Star for heroism.

Their high school's Class of 1969 dedicated their year book
to Robert Church and William Hester.

A memorial initiated by a fellow veteran.
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the BRONZE STAR MEDAL posthumously to



for service as set forth in the following


"For heroic achievement in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam while serving as a Grenadier withe Company G, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. On 16 May 1968, during Operation Allen Brook, Company G came under intense automatic weapons, rocket and mortar fire from a well-entrenched, numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force in Quang Nam Province. In the initial moments of the fire fight, Private CHURCH's platoon sustained several casualties and was pinned down by the heavy volume of fire. Reacting instantly, he fearlessly maneuvered across the fire-swept terrain to an advantageous position and immediately commenced delivering accurate grenade launcher fire into the enemy emplacements. When his platoon was directed to break contact, he steadfastly remained in his hazardously exposed position and continued to direct a heavy volume of fire on the hostile soldiers, suppressing their fire and enabling the Marines to move the wounded to positions of relative safety. Attempting to withdraw from his position, Private CHURCH was mortally wounded by the enemy fire. Inspired by his heroic actions, his comrades subsequently commenced a determined assault and seized the enemy positions. Private CHURCH's courage, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country."

The Combat "V" is authorized.



Transcribed from the Citation by K J Davis, CDR USN (Ret), 13 Oct 02

13 October 2002

Robert E Church Robert E Church
Photographs courtesy of his mother,
Mrs. Elizabeth J. Church

Robert E. Church and John G. Church,
sons of Vernon and Elizabeth Church,
served in Vietnam at the same time,
Bob with the Marines and John with the Army.

John brought Bob's body home.

From their sister,
Marsha Church Gardner
210 United States Ave.
Lindenwold, N. J. 08021

07 Jul 2003

Robert Church died trying to protect our flank while we were receiving fire from three different directions. He wasn't ordered to do that, he was just being a Marine. While the majority of the platoon hit the tree line he lay down in that peanut field with another Marine and kept up a base of fire. He wasn't far from the tree line but he was very exposed.

When Robert was wounded our corpsman "Doc" Casey crawled out to work on him and he also was mortally wounded. Robert was awarded a Bronze Star and "Doc" the Navy Cross for their sacrifices that day. The Navy dedicated a barracks to "Doc" Casey and that barracks is located in Lakehurst, NJ. Lakehurst was Robert's home town. I doubt the Navy knew of that connection and every time I visit Lakehurst I think of the irony.

Robert and "Doc" shared their given names, both grew up in NJ and both died trying to protect their friends. They both are missed.

From a fellow Marine,
Don Gray

13 Jun 2005

To the memory of Private Robert E Church.

Your heroic actions under fire exemplify the finest Honors and Traditions of the Corps and the ultimate sacrifice you made to save the lives of your fellow Marines. Semper Fi Marine !

From a brother Marine,
Mark Acton, Former Lt. USMCR
Ooltewah, Tennessee

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 16 May fight for the fortified hamlet at Phu Dong was the first major engagement in Operation Allen Brook, aimed at clearing VC and NVA forces from Go Noi Island, formed by the confluence of the Ky Lam, Ba Ren, and Chiem Son Rivers.

At Phu Dong, three companies of Marines assaulted dug-in North Vietnamese Army regulars from the newly-arrived 36th Regiment, 308th NVA Division. By days' end the NVA had been forced from Phu Dong, leaving more than 130 dead behind. In addition to 38 wounded, the Marines lost 25 men killed in action:

  • From India 3/27 Marines
    • PFC Vincent S Coles, Newark, NJ
    • PFC Jack Henderson, Chicago, IL

  • From Alpha 1/7 Marines
    • 2nd Lt Paul F Cobb, Roanoke, VA (Navy Cross)
    • Cpl Douglas E Foster, Bellbrook, OH
    • LCpl James D Gross, Pittsburg, CA
    • Pvt James L Hill, Ponchatoula, LA
    • Cpl Jerry G Hollingsworth, Columbia, SC
    • PFC Roger K Jones, Hampton, VA
    • PFC Richard K Morrison, Silver Spring, MD
    • LCpl William L Pate, Robertsdale, AL
    • PFC Terry M Ward, Bicknell, IN
    • HN Leroy W Poppema, Hospers, IA

  • From Golf 2/7 Marines
    • LCpl Marvin A Bullock, Elm City, NC
    • HM3 Robert M Casey, Guttenberg, NJ (Navy Cross)
    • Pvt Robert E Church, Lakehurst, NJ
    • PFC Robert G Freeman, Fayetteville, NC
    • Cpl Charles R Hendrix, Louisville, KY
    • LCpl Michael E Johnson, Hickam AFB, HI
    • Pvt William E Koehler, Newport News, VA
    • PFC Ernest C McCrimmon, Raleigh, NC
    • PFC Ormond M Miller, Gadsden, AL
    • PFC Michael J Morris, Albuquerque, NM
    • LCpl John D Ponder, High Ridge, MO
    • PFC Samuel F Rolen, Idabel, OK
    • PFC Bruce E Teague, Canoga Park, CA

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister,
Marsha Church Gardner
210 United States Ave, Lindenwold, N. J. 08021
15 Aug 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 06/27/2005