Vicente Garza

United States Marine Corps
21 February 1942 - 08 January 1968
Houston, Texas
Panel 33E Line 085

National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Photo courtesy of
Bob Leibforth

The database page for Vicente Garza

08 Jan 2006

Even though I did not know Sgt Vicente Garza personally, I feel a bond with him. A friend of mine called and was surprised to know that I was alive. He had heard that Sgt Garza had been killed in action in 1968 in Vietnam. I was in Nam in 1968 and apparently he heard Sgt. Vicente Garza's name. Sgt Vicente Garza suffered a tragic death along with 41 other Marines when their helicopter went down. May Sgt Vicente Garza of Houston, Texas, rest in peace. My belated condolences to his family.

Arturo Garza
Harlingen, Texas

07 Jan 2008

Vicente "Chacho" Garza was a father, son, brother, and an uncle. He was my uncle, he passed before I was born, but all I have heard are great things about him. My Uncle "Chacho" is my mother's brother, they were very close. They were only 15 months apart. My father was also very close to him. He told me he didn't look at him as a brother-in-law, he looked at him as a close friend.

They were in Vietnam together. I wasn't born when that helicopter crashed, in fact it was years later. My parents always kept a picture of him in our house. I would always look at his picture wishing that I could have met him. But I know that he is always watching us from heaven. I have 2 heroes that I will always look up to, one is my dad, he is a great man. He retired a Major from the Marines. And even though he has been retired for some time now, he always says "Once a Marine, always a Marine". And my second hero is my Uncle "Chacho", because he died serving his country.

To wrap this up, I would just like to give thanks to all of our soldiers out there. I have a nephew Derick out there in Iraq right now. He is fighting to keep us all safe. And I love him with all my heart.

Thank you to all of our Armed Forces.

From his niece,
Ann Marie Garza-Douglas

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Marine Helicopter Rams Slope in VN;
41 Aboard; No Sign of Life
by Robert D. Ohman
Saigon (AP)

A big U.S. Marine helicopter crashed into a mountain south of the demilitarized zone five days ago and all 41 Americans aboard are feared killed, the U.S. Command reported today.

Rescue parties were waiting for the weather to improve before setting out for the rugged crash site. If they found all the men on the craft dead, it would be the worst helicopter disaster of the war. Pending further reports, the U.S. Command listed as missing the five-man Marine crew and 36 passengers - 31 Marines, three Navy men, one Army man and a civilian employe of the Army's post exchange system.

Viet Cong guerrillas are known to operate in the area and the command declined to give a detailed report on the crash because, it said, "additional information might endanger the lives of the survivors, if there are any."

The command said the hump-backed CH53 helicopter, the largest troop-carrying type, operating in South Vietnam, crashed Monday night on a trip from Dong Ha, 11 miles south of the DMZ to Phu Bai, 49 miles farther south. One spokesman said poor weather was a factor in the crash.

The wreckage was spotted Friday morning by an observation plane. An Air Force rescue helicopter hovered over the site for a few minutes but had to leave because of worsening weather. The rescue crew reported no sign of life on the ground.

Hampered by Fog

A Marine spokesman in Da Nang said fighter-bombers have blasted a small landing zone in the overhanging forest. But efforts to get rescuers in by ground or air were thwarted by rain and fog. One officer said the CH53 helicopter had slammed into the side of a peak so steep that rescuers might have to lower themselves to the wreckage on ropes."

Tacoma News Tribune
Tacoma, Washington
13 Jan 1968

Sergeant Vincente Garza was one of 46 men aboard when CH-53A (BuNo 153710) of HMM-463 slammed into the mountainside. The bodies were not recovered until three weeks later when a reinforced platoon from Alpha 1/3 Marines was able to reach the wreckage on 28 Jan 1968.

Staff Sergeant Bennett W. Olson was buried in Plot S-3811, Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon, on 27 June 1968. The other men were buried together on 23 July 1968 in Section 81, Plots 270-272, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Saint Louis, Missouri.

Additional information is available on the
Pop-A-Smoke site

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his niece,
Ann Marie Garza-Douglas

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 08 Jan 2006
Last updated 02/28/2008