William H Coburn

Private First Class
Army of the United States
26 April 1946 - 23 February 1966
Chesapeake, Virginia
Panel 05E Line 064


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for William H Coburn

03 Apr 2008

Billy Boy

I never knew his smile or his laughter
I was just a tot when he died
but all my life I've heard
how he filled everyone's heart with pride.

The Army knew him as soldier
go here, go there
we knew him as Billy Boy, with soft brown hair.
The Army called, Billy answered.
Life went on, here at home. Letters came. Calls were made,
smiles and tears all became the same.

Soon his mom heard that knock at the door
there stood some men, with bad news for sure.
Their job was done, his family told,
Soldier Coburn was coming home, in February so cold.

He came in a box, all dressed in his finest,
They stood at attention and saluted one of their own.
I don't remember the coffin, was only a tot,
Heard my Grandma speak of it a lot

He looked so good, so sweet and so fair,
our boy was gone
only a body was there.
The funeral was cold
or so my granny said
the bugles were loud,
but our family was proud.

Thirty six years have come and gone.
Tears are on my cheeks, for you see,
next week is Veteran's Day
Don't forget them,
They all fought so brave,
even the ones left behind,
not in their graves

He will never know, that cousin of mine,
but Billy Boy, this poem is for you,
from the ones you left behind
Consider yourself hugged and kissed,
because until heaven, you are sorely missed.
Written Nov 2002

From a cousin,
Beverly Dunlow Stevenson
1035 South Williams Street, Henderson, N C 27536

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Operation Masher/White Wing was the 1st Cavalry Division's name for their part of an Allied operation conducted against main force VC and NVA units operating in southeastern Quang Ngai Province and northeastern Binh Dinh Province. The combined VC/NVA force was the Sao Vang (Gold Star) Division, and a force totalling nearly three divisions of US Army, US Marines, Korean Army, and SVN Army and Marines were staged against them.

The Allied sweep of the operation area began on 24 Jan 1966 and continued for 6 weeks, officially ending on 6 March. The 1st Cav Division mounted out its 1st and 3rd Brigades. By mid-February, the Cav had operated from the coastal areas into the interior mountains. Based on intelligence data that the 2nd VC Regiment was concentrated in the hills south and east of the Kim Son Valley, the focus of the 1st Cav Div offensive changed. On 17 Feb the 5th Cav caught the heavy weapons battalion of the 2nd VC Regiment, leading to a series of engagements over the next several days.

On 23 Feb the 1st Bn, 12th Cavalry lost 20 men in an especially hard-fought engagement:

  • A Company:
    • SSG Matthew Hough, Bethune, SC
    • SSG Marshall R. Smith, Lakewood, CA
    • SGT Charles R. Dale, Gaithersburg, MD
    • SGT Charles E. Dyson, Philadelphia, PA
    • SGT Paul J. Stochaj, Webster, MA
    • SP4 Joe N. James, Oakland, CA
    • SP4 Richard Rangel, San Bernardino, CA
    • SP4 Frankie Sanchez, Dodge City, KS
    • PFC William H. Coburn, Chesapeake, VA
    • PFC Jimmy C. Sexton, Blountstown, FL
    • PVT Winston Morris, Chicago, IL

  • B Company:
    • 2LT Donald B. Adamson, Grand Rapids, MI
    • SGT Patrick C. Nevin, East Chicago, IN

  • C Company:
    • SFC Dalmer D. Jurek, Caldwell, TX
    • PFC Isaiah Mulwee, Bridgeport, CT
    • PFC Tommy L. Nicholas, Decatur, AL
    • PFC Kenneth A. Reynolds, Washington, DC
    • PFC Marvin J. Wilson, Crosby, MN

  • HQ Company:
    • SSG William B. Watson, Durham, NC
    • PFC Dove El Hondah, Chicago, IL

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a cousin,
Beverly Dunlow Stevenson
1035 South Williams Street, Henderson, N C 27536

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 03 Apr 2008
Last updated 04/16/2008