Layne Farell Clifton

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
05 September 1945 - 09 May 1967
Lakeview, Oregon
Panel 19E Line 070


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Layne Farell Clifton

15 Aug 2006

I went through ITR, BIS and Staging Bn with Layne and I was a fellow member of Fox 2/3.

My dear friend, I have missed you all these years and never got to say goodbye to you but I will never forget you. I can see you as if you are here before me now. I hear your voice and that laugh. You will always be a hero to those of us who knew you. It's hard to believe it has been so long ... nearly 40 years. I hope you would believe that I have lived a life that would have pleased you and all those others for I try now to live it as you would have lived yours.

Stephen W. Amodt
Captain USMC ( Ret)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Khe Sanh Combat Base sat in a valley just south of the western end of the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam, and was overlooked by peaks rising as high as 2500 feet to the north, west, and southwest. The infamous "Hill Fights" in and on the mountains surrounding the combat base began in early 1967 and eventually grew into the seige of the combat base in 1968. The fighting in the spring of 1967 had two diametrically opposed objectives:
  • For the North Vietnamese Army, the objective was to gain control of the hilltops in order to place the defenders under seige and inflict a defeat on the Americans which would stand with the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu fifteen years earlier.

  • For the Allies, the objective was to prevent the NVA from accomplishing their objective while inflicting as much destruction on the NVA as possible.
On 09 May 1967 elements of Fox Company, 2/3 Marines, were patrolling to the west of Khe Sanh, moving from Hill 881N toward Hill 778. As the Marines approached Hill 778, heavy underbrush forced them to divert from their intended track into a gulley. Rather than remain in the lower ground, Fox 2/3 climbed the southern slope toward higher ground, where they were engaged by NVA troops intent on crossing the gulley from south to north.

The meeting engagement on the hillside quickly grew into a full-fledged battle fought in difficult terrain largely covered in six-foot-tall elephant grass. By the time the fight ended, Fox 2/3 had lost 22 Marines and 2 Navy Corpsmen, with many more wounded - and the NVA had withdrawn back into the jungles and tall grasses.

With one exception the Marines of Fox 2/3 brought out their dead and wounded: the body of Private Robert J Todd could not be found in the elephant grass. The dead were

  • GySgt Tommie J. Whitten, Fort Worth, TX
  • Sgt Gregory M. McCook, Atlanta, GA
  • HM2 Gardner Tillson, Salem, MA
  • Cpl Daniel S. Bettencourt, Edgartown, MA
  • Cpl Morris F. Dixon, Clearwater, FL
  • Cpl David F. Fraley, Cincinnati, OH
  • HM3 Kenneth L. Holder, Mount Wolf, PA
  • Cpl Kenneth J. Lecastre, Buffalo, NY
  • Cpl Ronald E. Niles, Charlotte, NC
  • Cpl James M. Quigley, Hollywood, CA
  • Cpl Ronald M. Stein, Waterloo, IA
  • Cpl Lyle S. Tate, Portland, OR
  • LCpl Richard R. Bean, Springfield, OH
  • LCpl William E. Czarny, Hammond, IN
  • LCpl Frederick W. Fromme, Vallejo, CA
  • LCpl Danny M. Greene, Mount Gay, WV
  • LCpl Carman K. Hicks, Anderson, IN
  • LCpl Ronnie R. Landers, Mundelein, IL
  • LCpl Charles R. Waller, Chillicothe, OH
  • Pfc Gary R. Buttenbaum, Spotswood, NJ
  • Pfc Layne F. Clifton, Lakeview, OR
  • Pfc Joseph G. Klemencic, Great Falls, MT
  • Pfc Robert E. Williams, Rockford, IL
  • Pvt Robert J. Todd, North Easton, MA

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Stephen W. Amodt
Captain USMC (Ret)

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Aug 2006
Last updated 08/28/2006