The database page for Jack Emanuel Crouch, Jr
Jack and I were great friends from the 1st grade on up through college. We had a wonderful childhood growing up in Mount Vernon, Illinois in the 50s and 60s. We cruised the main drag in his blue and white '55 Chevy and later a new black '65 Mustang 2+2.
Prior to joining the Marine Corps, Jack developed an interest in body building, boxing and Karate. This served him well as he went on to Marine Recon training and eventual assignment in Vietnam.
I finished one year of college before joining the Marines to catch up with my pal, Jack. I landed at MCRD in San Diego to begin boot camp on 20 Sept 1966. Jack was killed by sniper fire in Northern Quang Tri Provence, Republic of South Vietnam on 24 Sept 1966. He was with Charlie Co., 1st BN, 26th Marines participating in a series of recon-in-forcce operations termed Operation Prarie.
Like everyone who ever knew Jack, I will never forget his smile and laugh. He truly was all that is good about America's youth and America's Marines.
And when he got to Heaven,
From a friend and Marine Corps brother,
A Note from The Virtual WallDuring the summer of 1966 the North Vietnamese Army's 324B Division had infiltrated south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with the clear intention of setting up a major presence in northern Quang Tri Province. The NVA 341st Division was positioned within and north of the DMZ and prepared to support the 324B Division and/or exploit opportunities arising from the 324B's operations.
CG 3rd MAF, the senior US commander in northern South Vietnam, initiated Operation HASTINGS, aimed at discouraging the 324B Division and forcing it back into the DMZ (at the time, US forces could not enter into the DMZ - it was an NVA sanctuary). Heavy fighting continued through July 1966, particularly around the "Rockpile" between Khe Sanh and Camp Carroll. HASTINGS ended, and a series of recon-in-force operations - termed Operation PRAIRIE - began on 03 August 1966.
Operation DECKHOUSE IV was conducted by the 7th Fleet's Special Landing Force Bravo (Battalion Landing Team 1/26) as an adjunct to Operation PRAIRIE. BLT 1/26's area was about 8 miles NE of Dong Ha, and began with an amphibious landing and a heliborne landing some six miles inland west of Highway 1.
BLT 1/26's Recon Group (1st Plt, 3rd Force Recon Co and 1st Plt, A Co, 5th Recon Bn) was detached from BLT 1/26 and attached directly to Commander, Landing Force, for operations as directed. The Force Recon Marines were held in reserve while 1st Plt A/5th Recon was inserted for recon operations. At about 1330 15 Sep 1966, there was a meeting engagement between the recon platoon and an NVA company. The contact developed into a vicious fight during which only artillery and air support prevented the NVA from overrunning the outnumbered recon platoon. Two hours after the first shot was fired the platoon was extracted by helicopter, having suffered the loss of their Platoon Leader (1stLt Walter J. Spainhour, Lenoir, NC, Silver Star), six wounded, and one missing in action - Pfc Douglas R. Mowbray of Peekskill, New York.
That contact was the first in what became ten days of heavy fighting for BLT 1/26's Marines and sailors. Although DECKHOUSE IV officially ended on the 18th, BLT 1/26 stayed in support of PRAIRIE until the 25th. The operation claimed at least 200 NVA killed at a cost of 37 Marines and sailors killed in action and another 167 wounded. The final engagement before te BLT was withdrawn was on 24 Sep about 5 KM north of Cam Lo and resulted in four US dead:
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a friend and Marine Corps brother,
Larry M. Williams
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 02 Apr 2008
Last updated 04/11/2008