Thomas Jerome Dostal

Second Lieutenant
Army of the United States
07 April 1945 - 25 August 1969
Iowa City, IA
Panel 19W Line 111



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas Jerome Dostal

04 Jan 2003

2LT Tom Dostal was assigned to B Battery 2nd Battalion 12th Artillery, a 155 mm battery based out of Phu Loi, Vietnam. A composite unit of three howitzers from B Battery 2/12 was formed with three 105 mm howitzers from A Battery 2nd Battalion 13th Artillery, to be known as D Battery 2nd Battalion 13th Artillery. In July 1969 I was the Fire Direction Officer of A Battery 2/13. I had recently completed a 34 day mission as Forward Observer for D Battery 2nd Battalion 13th Artillery. Tom Dostal replaced me as Forward Observer for D Battery. I never met Tom. But I am aware through first-hand experience and accounts from battery personnel of Tom's situation.

D Battery was in direct support of the Third Mobile Strike Force during August 1969. The operation was conducted near Thien Ngon in War Zone C. The area was a hotbed of activity. Captain Thomas Karr was the commander of D Battery, and was medevaced from wounds suffered in repelling an NVA ground attack on the battery perimeter. Several battery personnel were also wounded in the encounter. The mission continued after this failed assault. On 25 August 1969 the Mobile Strike Force was decimated upon insertion into a hot landing zone. 2LT Tom Dostal was killed immediately by small arms fire on the first day of the mission. The Strike Force was extracted and the mission cancelled. D Battery returned to Phu Loi.

2LT Dostal's death impacted me deeply. Bob Saunders, the Forward Observer I replaced, was wounded by an artillery round he called in a "Danger Close" fire mission. Tom Dostal, the Forward Observer who replaced me, was killed in a landing zone insertion. Tom had a very dangerous assignment to a unit accustomed to hazardous missions. He gave his life to direct supporting fires for the Third Mobile Strike Force.

Tom was commissioned from the Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was instilled with a belief in the paramount importance of the phrase "Fire Mission." The Call for Fire initiates with the Forward Observer. A firing battery is only as effective as the information the Forward Observer provides.

Colonel Joseph Luger, commander of 2/13 Artillery, recently acknowledged that the Forward Observer in the Jungles of Vietnam had the toughest of all artillery assignments. Tom was assigned a duty with a unit accustomed to difficult missions. Rest in Peace, Tom. You are remembered by D Battery 2nd Battalion 13th Artillery as one of the Forward Observers who delivered the Call for Fire. You were a key part of the Red Dragon Clan.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a unit veteran,
William E. Novakovic
513 Woodland Avenue Oakmont, Pa 15139 
4 Jan 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 01/04/2004