Herbert Ernest Frenzell

Private First Class
Army of the United States
20 June 1944 - 21 January 1967
Sacramento, California
Panel 14E Line 062

Silver Star

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Herbert Ernest Frenzell

09 Apr 2006

Herbert Ernest Frenzell, the only child of Ernest H. Frenzell and Chilant Costa, was born June 20, 1944 in Modesto, California. Herb attended Encina High School in Sacramento for three years before transferring to La Sierra High School where he graduated in 1962. Herb was attending American River College when he was drafted into the US Army.

He was deployed to Vietnam in November 1966. He served as a Private First Class with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Company A, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry (Redcatchers).

At age 22, on January 21, 1967 in Binh Thuy, Herb was killed by small arms fire. He had been part of a patrol that was ambushed by well-entrenched Viet Cong forces. Even though he had been in a relatively safe position in a tree line, he chose to expose his position by opening fire on the enemy in order to draw fire away from his fellow soldiers who were pinned down. His unselfish act allowed the other soldiers to get to cover. As Herb then attempted to rejoin his squad, he was fatally shot in the chest and dropped into the marsh. Specialist Billy Jones dragged and carried his friendís body through swamp and jungle for two hours. Once an open field was reached where helicopters could land and evacuate the remaining squad and Herbís body, Jones was also shot and killed by enemy fire.

Both Herb and Jones were awarded the Silver Star for their heroism, and their base camp in Vietnam was named after them. A memorial service for Herb was held at the McClellan Air Force Base Chapel, and burial was at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. Mrs. Frenzell has said of her son,

"Herb would have given his life for his friends anywhere. It could have been while he was swimming or water-skiing. He was not the kind of person who would stand by and watch something tragic happen to others. It just so happened that he was in combat when he was called to help his friends."

From a schoolmate,
Kathie Kloss Marynik
Granite Bay, CA

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The text above refers to PFC Herbert E. Frenzell and SP4 Billy C. Jones of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and is closely paraphrased from Michael Petterson's description of events as it appears on the Arlington Cemetery site. Patterson states that the evacuation helicopters and the troops in the landing zone both came under heavy fire and that SP4 Jones was killed while trying to rescue another wounded comrade. SP4 Jones and PFC Frenzell are the only known losses from the ambush of 2nd Platoon, Alpha 4/12.

Camp Frenzell-Jones, dedicated 28 September 1967, was near Long Binh in Bien Hoa Province. Michael Kelley's "Where We Were in Vietnam" suggests that Frenzell and Jones "may have been the 1st KIA of 199th [Infantry Brigade]". They were not ... that dubious distinction belongs to one of three other soldiers.

Although the 199th Inf Bde officially arrived in Vietnam on 10 December 1966, the Brigade's first loss was on 25 Nov 1966 when PVT Glenn V. Gardner of San Bernardino, CA, was lost over the side of the troop ship USNS GEN DANIEL I. SULTAN en route to Vietnam. The second loss was on 22 Dec 1966, when SP4 Gene L. Bettger of Calaveras, CA, was killed in an accident. The Brigade's first known combat loss was on 18 Jan 1966 when PFC William Shover of Dayton, Ohio, was killed by small arms fire.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a schoolmate,
Kathie Kloss Marynik
Granite Bay, Ca

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 09 Apr 2006
Last updated 05/28/2006