Charles Kenneth Deere

Private First Class
Army of the United States
16 September 1947 - 05 May 1968
Okemah, Oklahoma
Panel 55E Line 008

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Charles K. Deere

The database page for Charles Kenneth Deere

9 Aug 2004

Charlie was in my basic training company at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from September 20, 1967 until November 17, 1967. Our BCT company was D Company, 5th Battalion, 1st Training Brigade. Charlie was a Native American and we both were in 1st Platoon. My bunk was on the first floor and his was on the second, it was an alphabetical thing. Charlie was very quiet and didn't have a lot to say, but I remember hanging around with him during our limited off time. Charlie wasn't the only Native American in the platoon nor in the company for that matter, but he was among the first I ever knew personally. I am not sure what tribe he represented. I know I asked, but the years have been too many.

Charlie was a draftee and as such, he expected to go into the infantry. He told me that if he did, he was going "airborne". My reply was that I was going "chairborne", because I had enlisted for personnel school. The day we found out where we were going from basic, Charlie found out indeed he was going infantry and was being shipped to North Fort Polk (Tigerland) for his AIT. I was heading to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, for my basic army administration school. Charlie eventually went Airborne and I became a "Remington Ranger".

I started a pilgrimage about six months ago honoring those from my area of West Texas who perished in Vietnam for the Permian Basin Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. In that regard, I had often wondered about those I had served in the Army with and if there were any who might have perished in Vietnam. One evening, I pulled out my basic training book off the shelf and I began to enter names into the Vietnam Casuality website and up popped four names of the 140 from my basic training company. Sadly, Charlie was one of the names. Charlie arrived in Vietnam a month after I did. He was killed by a gunshot wound on May 5, 1968, two months months after his tour began.

If there is a heaven, I know Charlie is there.
Peace, my Native American brother.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend from Basic Training,
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762 
9 Aug 2004

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/09/2004