Mark Steven Dreier

Army of the United States
20 April 1950 - 02 June 1969
Postville, Iowa
Panel 23W Line 043

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star (2 awards), Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Mark Steven Dreier

06 Aug 2005

Mark was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" Device for heroism. On January 24, 1970 the medal was presented to his parents, Herbert and Francis Dreier, in a ceremony at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

Also presented to his parents that day was the Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Prior to his death, Mark had earned the National Defense Service Medal with One Bronze Service Star, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar, and the Marksman Badge with Automatic Rifle Bar.

Mark's display of personal bravery and devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

From a cousin,
Neil Dreier

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The following summary of the events on 01/02 June 1969 is taken from John Dennison's account on his site. As background, John Dennison was a combat medic with the 229th Aviation Battalion until he transferred to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, in May 1969. On arrival at HHC 1/8 he encountered a friend, SP4 Preston Taylor. After several days at HHC the two men were helicoptered out to their respective line companies, Taylor to Alpha 1/8 and Dennison to Bravo 1/8.

At the time the two Companies were working a joint operation in the Long Khanh province and were physically located on two adjacent islands in the Dong Nai River, searching for a suspected enemy supply center. Alpha 1/8 was on "Banana Island"; Bravo was on "Chicken Island" - both named due to their shapes.

On the morning of 01 June 1969, Alpha 1/8 discovered an abandoned enemy position consisting of several small buildings and bunkers. After destroying the enemy fortifications and materials Alpha continued their search. Later in the day they found an enemy bunker complex with 13 bunkers and a considerable cache of ammunition. Alpha pulled back from the bunkers to a small clearing where an LZ could be set up to ship out the seized enemy weapons by helicopter, intending to move back to the bunkers the following day and destroy them. On Chicken Island, Bravo 1/8 was directed to cross over to Banana Island to join Alpha. While searching for a crossing point, Bravo discovered a bunker complex. Bravo was told to remain on Chicken Island overnight, destroy the complex on the morning of 02 June, and then cross to Banana Island.

On the morning of 02 June Bravo found a second bunker complex and delayed the river crossing in order to destroy both complexes.

On Banana Island, Alpha began its move back toward the bunker complex, only to find the enemy had reoccupied it during the night of 01/02 June. Alpha was met with with heavy fire from machine guns and RPGs, incurred very heavy casualties from the fire, and were forced to pull back, leaving five of their dead behind. Alpha Company then took up a defensive position and called in air and artillery support. At mid-morning, a supporting OH-6A (tail number 67-16600) was shot down, killing the three crew members.

When Bravo attempted to cross over to Banana Island, they found the river had risen. After the lead trooper was swept away (he was rescued by a helicopter) it was determined the crossing would have to be made by air - but there was space in Bravo's position for only one helicopter at a time, so Bravo was ferried across in small increments.

On arrival, John Dennison asked about his friend Preston Taylor and was told Taylor was one of the dead whose bodies lay between the lines. Taylor died while administering aid to another soldier. While Alpha's wounded were treated and medevaced, Bravo's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Platoons attempted to advance against the bunker complex and, like Alpha, were greeted with heavy RPG and machinegun fire as well as sniper fire from enemy troops dispersed in a wood line. Once again, they pulled back to allow supporting fires against the bunker complex and woods.

During the night of 02/03 June the soldiers could hear digging noises from the enemy positions and anticipated that the following morning's assault would be that much worse - but when they advanced on the morning of 03 June they found the bunker complex empty. The digging noises had been the enemy burying their dead before withdrawing from Banana Island.

The eight men who died on 02 June 1969 were

  • A Company, 1st Bn, 8th Cavalry:
    • SSG Lyman C. Bach, Medford, WI
    • SGT Ray L. Ulrich, Milton, PA
    • CPL Mark S. Dreier, Postville, IA
    • SP4 Wilbur A. Smith, Bomont, WV
    • CPL Preston Taylor, Sumter, SC (Medic, HHC w/ Alpha 1/8)

  • OH-6A 67-16600 aircrew, C Troop, 1st Sqdn, 9th Cavalry:
    • 1LT Donald J. Porter, Naperville, IL
    • SGT Paul F. Weber, Lemon Grove, CA
    • PFC Warren F. Brown, Ama, LA

Corporal Mark S. Dreier is buried in the Postville Cemetery, Clayton County, Iowa.

John Dennison recalls one moment of humor in an otherwise very grim day. As he sought cover behind a fallen tree during the Bravo assault on 02 June, he found himself sharing the tree with three other men. He recalls
"The soldier next to me was reaching into his backpack while exposing himself to enemy fire. I asked him abruptly what are you doing? As he turned into my direction, I could see that this man, at whom I just barked, was a Captain and I thought I was in for it now. The Captain replied "I'm getting this," as he removed his Medal of Honor from his backpack. Dumbfounded I asked, "How did you get that?" Captain Marm replied that he had charged a machine gun's nest and knocked it out during his first tour in Vietnam."
Captain Walter J. Marm had indeed received the Medal of Honor as a 2nd Lieutenant commanding a platoon in A Company, 1/7 Cavalry, during the battle at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley on 14 Nov 1965. Although seriously wounded in the fight made famous by the book and movie We Were Soldiers Once, he recovered from his injuries and returned to command Alpha 1/8 Cavalry. Captain Marm survived his second visit to Vietnam.

The Commanding Officer of Bravo 1/8, Captain John A. Hottell, received the Silver Star for his actions on Banana Island. A year later, on 07 July 1970, Captain Hottell was serving as aide-de-camp to Major General George W. Casey, who then commanded the 1st Cavalry Division. MG Casey, CPT Hottell, and five others died in the crash of UH-1H tail number 69-15138.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a cousin,
Neil F. Dreier
6 Aug 2005

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/07/2005