Dennis Joseph Coll

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
23 July 1948 - 03 March 1969
Springfield, New Jersey
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Silver Star

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Dennis Joseph Coll

30 May 2004

Dennis graduated from East Orange High School in June of 1966. We had moved to Springfield, NJ, that May. He worked at the Amoco station on the corner of Meisel and Morris Avenue until he got a job as a telephone lineman for NJ Bell. He was drafted in early 1968. After Basic at Fort Bragg and A.I.T. at Fort McClellan he went to Vietnam in October, 1968. He became an assistant machine gunner in A-3-8, 4th ID.

On March 3, 1969 his understrength rifle company ran into a larger NVA force in Plei Trap, Kontum Province. As his unit became engaged and surrounded by the numerically superior enemy force, casualties mounted. His gunner sent him to collect ammo from his platoon mates. On his return, he found the gunner mortally wounded. He placed suppresive fire on the enemy allowing his platoon to withdraw. When he tried to withdraw himself he was mortally wounded.

For his actions that day, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star medal. Many years have gone by and he is dearly missed by his surviving sisters, brother and family.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In February 1969 the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, was directed to block and destroy NVA transportation routes in the Plei Trap Valley. The operation began on 1 March 1969 with a combat assault by A Company, 3/12 Infantry, into Landing Zone Swinger. After securing LZ Swinger for artillery emplacement A/1/12 and other 1st Brigade rifle companies spread out into the valley looking for NVA troops.

Late in the afternoon of 03 March, A Company, 3/8 Infantry, found them when they were engaged by enemy troops. The initial contact was heavy and the Artillery Forward Observer's RTO (PFC Santos) was killed in the first few minutes, reducing the effectiveness of artillery support. The contact rapidly degenerated into a violent up-close infantry fight. By the time the NVA were forced from their defensive positions Alpha 3/8th Infantry had lost twenty-one men:

  • CPT Dennis R. Isom, Drexel Hill, PA (Company Commander)
  • 1LT Robert E. Griffith, Big Spring, TX (Bronze Star "V")
  • SGT George R. Robinson, New York, NY
  • SP4 Melvin L. Applebury, Eugene, OR
  • SP4 Philip L. Baker, Correctionville, IA (Medic from HHC/3/8)
  • SP4 Fred D. Burton, Chase City, VA
  • SP4 Dennis J. Coll, Springfield, NJ (Silver Star)
  • SP4 Charlie Fields, Winter Garden, FL
  • SP4 Rodger D. Force, Millport, NY
  • SP4 Rupert W. Goebel, Gastonia, NC (Medic from HHC/3/8)
  • SP4 Barry D. Horton, Airway Heights, WA (Silver Star)
  • SP4 Willie J. Hudson, Lovingston, VA
  • SP4 Vernon E. Lail, Conover, NC
  • SP4 William J. Schaaf, Baltimore, MD
  • SP4 Joseph Schmich, St Louis, MO
  • PFC Paul J. Buczolich, River Rouge, MI
  • PFC Michael England, Athens, GA
  • PFC William T. Rector, Front Royal, VA
  • PFC Layne M. Santos, Los Angeles, CA (Arty FO RTO from C Btry, 6/29th Arty)
  • PFC David A. Seiber, Waynesboro, TN (Silver Star)
  • PFC Willard A. Wimmer, Baltimore, MD

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother,
Joseph James Coll, Jr.
90 Locke Village Road, Wendell, Massachusetts 01379
30 May 2004

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 06/05/2005