Paul Steven Czerwonka

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
20 May 1949 - 10 May 1968
Stoughton, Massachusetts
Panel 58E Line 006



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Paul Steven Czerwonka

11 Aug 2003

"I am on the side of the unregenerate who affirm the worth of life as an end in itself"
- Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr. -

Thinking of you and all your buddies lost at Kham Duc.
Will always hope that you are all brought home one day.

From one who wore his MIA bracelet,

10 Aug 2005

Reports came in last night and this morning that the remains of PFC Paul S. Czerwonka have been found and identified and are being returned to the United States for internment at Arlington National Cemetery.

Rest in peace, Paul Czerwonka.

From a reporter and fellow Stoughton resident.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

10 Aug 2005

PFC Paul Czerwonka's remains have been returned to his family in Stoughton, MA, for interment along with fellow Marine LCPL J. F. Cook of Foxboro, MA.

A concerned citizen of the
National League of Families
Northeast Region 3


14 Aug 2005

He has finally been put to rest.
His remains have been identified,
one of 12 MIAs Returned to American soil in 1998.

He was formally identified in August 2005 and will be buried in
Arlington National Cemetery. God rest his soul.

From a friend,
Ruth Rogers Schaffer

12 Oct 2005

I have been to DC MANY times over the years since I returned from Viet Nam. I went to the dedication of the Wall and have ridden in Rolling Thunder many times as well. I just got back from attending the burial of a good friend, Paul Czerwonka. It was the most gratifying weekend I have ever had. I had the opportunity to spend time with the family and a few good friends that attended the event. I watched the family attain closure while it was very emotional for myself and the other friends of Paul as well. Rest in Peace, Brother. I have never forgotten you and never will.

From a friend,
Chris Kavanaugh

08 Jun 2006

Uncle Paul, too bad I never knew you. I bet you were an amazing guy and you're in my prayers every day.

From his nephew,
Dean Ryan Czerwonka

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In the spring of 1968 the North Vietnamese Army's 2nd Division was enroute to South Vietnam, moving down the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. By early May, the division's advance regiments - the 1st and 2nd Regiments - had entered South Vietnam using the French-built Route 14 which passed by the old French fort at Ngok Tavak. The NVA commanders decided that Ngok Tavak and the main Special Forces camp at Kham Duc had to go.

Beginning at about 0300 on 10 May 1968, Ngok Tavak came under heavy attack by a North Vietnamese Army infantry battalion, an element of the 2nd NVA Regiment. In a pitched battle, the small force of defenders staved off immediate defeat, but by noon on 10 May it was clear that Ngok Tavak would have to be abandoned. Surrounded on three sides by the 2nd NVA Regiment, it was clear the withdrawal would have to be by foot moving to the north - the attacking force had made a helicopter evacuation impossible. After destroying equipment and supplies which could not be carried out, the survivors began the move to the main camp at Kham Duc, proceeding along a lane flanked by near-continuous air strikes. They were picked up by helicopter midway to Kham Duc, arriving at the camp at about 2100 (9 PM) on 10 May. The defending force at Ngok Tavak had incurred numerous losses in both known dead and missing soldiers and Marines:

  • HMM-265, MAG-16, 1st MAW:
  • D Btry, 2nd Bn, 13th Marines, 1st MarDiv:
  • Det A-105 (Ngok Tavak), C Co, 5th SF Grp, Special Forces:
    • SFC Thomas H. Perry, Canton, CT
    • SGT Glenn E. Miller, Oakland, CA
The bodies of the two men marked with asterisks above were brought out during the retreat from Ngok Tavak; the other 14 Americans could not be recovered.

In a sense, the survivors of Ngok Tavok jumped from the frying pan into the fire - Kham Duc itself was under heavy attack. What happened next is covered on The Virtual Wall's Kham Duc memorial.

The following text is exerpted from the 2nd Bn, 13th Marines' Command Chronology for May 1968; it addresses the D Battery detachment sent to Ngok Tavak:

Several pages further on is a list of the 43 Marines and one Navy Corpsman in the detachment; of the 44, 13 were dead (11 not recovered); 18 wounded had been medevaced by helo; and 13 moved out by ground with the other survivors. The detachment was recommended for a Meritorious Unit Citation; a portion of the text notes that "During the helicopter evacuation, members of the Detachment voluntarily remained on the ground to provide security until the rest of the survivors had been extracted and the last helo was ready to depart."

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

No. 820-05
Aug 10, 2005


Twelve MIAS from Vietnam War are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today the identification of the remains of 12 U. S. servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War. Five of those identified are being returned to their families for burial, and the remaining seven will be buried as a group in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D. C.

The men who were individually identified are: Cpl. Gerald E. King, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Lance Cpls. Joseph F. Cook, of Foxboro, Mass.; Raymond T. Heyne, of Mason, Wis.; Donald W. Mitchell, of Princeton, Ky.; and Thomas W. Fritsch, of Cromwell, Conn., all of the U. S. Marine Corps. Additional group remains are those of: Pfcs. Thomas J. Blackman, of Racine, Wis.; Paul S. Czerwonka, of Stoughton, Mass.; Barry L. Hempel, of Garden Grove, Calif.; Robert C. Lopez, of Albuquerque, N. M.; William D. McGonigle, of Wichita, Kan.; and Lance Cpl. James R. Sargent, of Anawalt, W. Va., all of the U. S. Marine Corps. Additionally, the remains of U. S. Army Sgt. Glenn E. Miller, of Oakland, Calif. will be included in the group burial.

The Marines were part of an artillery platoon airlifted to provide support to the 11th Mobile Strike Force, which was under threat of attack from North Vietnamese forces near Kham Duc in South Vietnam. On May 9, 1968, the Strike Force had been directed to reconnoiter an area known as Little Ngok Tavak Hill near the Laos-Vietnam border, in the Kham Duc Province. Their base came under attack by North Vietnamese Army troops, and after a 10-hour battle, all of the survivors were able to withdraw from the area.

Six investigations beginning in 1993 and a series of interviews of villagers and former Vietnamese soldiers led U. S. recovery teams in 1994, 1997 and 1998 to specific defensive positions within the large battle site. Additionally, maps provided by American survivors helped to locate some key areas on the battlefield. Three excavations by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in 1998 and 1999 yielded human remains, personal effects and other material evidence.

JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index C
MA State Index . Panel 58E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Aug 2003
Last updated 09/20/2007