Alan Robert Gerrish

United States Navy
09 September 1948 - 07 September 1968
Woburn, Massachusetts
Panel 45W Line 061

Navy Cross

USN Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Alan R Gerrish

The database page for Alan Robert Gerrish

25 Nov 2001

Alan Robert Gerrish

Recipient of the Navy Cross

Woburn High School
Class of '66
A Fine Classmate

Henry Valentine
26 November 2001

To the best Buddy any guy could ever hope to have. To me, you were more like a BROTHER than a FRIEND. I'll never forget the great times we had growing up together in Woburn, Massachusetts. Even the time span of thirty plus years has not begun to lessen the sadness of your tragic loss. You might be gone, but will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. Some day, when my own life has ended, I hope that we might meet again, and resume the great friendship that I still treasure so much.

Alan Gerrish was wounded on August 23 and died of his wounds on September 7, 1968, two days short of his twentieth birthday. He is buried in Woburn, Massachusetts.

From your BUDDY and fellow Vietnam Veteran
Alan A. Faber

A Note from The Virtual Wall

At 0300 23 August the Marine security outposts at the Cam Le Bridge just south of Danang came under heavy attack by what appeared to be most of a North Vietnamese battalion. Although the outpost on the north bank of the river held out, the outpost on the south side was overrun after a four hour fight. A reaction force from the 1st MP Bn (which had elements of the 3rd MP Bn attached) moved to reinforce the north bank outpost, while elements of the 1/27 and 2/27 Marines, supported by tanks from the 1st Tank Bn moved to recapture the southern end of the bridge. The fighting lasted well into the 23rd and resulted in a number of US killed and wounded - but the actions north and south of the river and follow-up sweeps by the Marines and the 52nd ARVN Infantry on 24-26 August resulted in several hundred NVA dead left on the field.

The number of casualties at the Cam Le Bridge is difficult to determine with exactitude because a number of different units were involved. Close reading of the Command Chronologies shows that not fewer than 15 Marines and sailors died in the fight for the Cam Le Bridge:

  • D Co, 1st MP Bn:
  • H&S Co, 3rd MP Bn:
    • Cpl Robert D. Purdie, Sherman Oaks, CA
    • HN Alan R. Gerrish, Woburn, MA (DoW 07 Sep 1968) (Navy Cross)
    • LCpl Harold J. Klusendorf, Troy, MI
    • LCpl Jerry A. Weimer, Fort Morgan, CO
    • Pfc Christopher L. Chambers, Molalla, OR

  • A Co, 1st Bn, 27th Marines:
    • LCpl Henry H. Ballew, South Roxana, IL
    • LCpl Leo M. Jennette, Buxton, NC

  • H&S Co, 1st Bn, 27th Marines:
  • E Co, 2nd Bn, 27th Marines:
    • LCpl Michael L. Cooper, Chesapeake, WV

  • F Co, 2nd Bn, 27th Marines:
    • LCpl George A. Kyricos, Tewksbury, MA

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

United States Navy

for services as set forth in the following


For extraordinary heroism on 23 August 1968 while serving as a Hospital Corpsman with the Third Military Police Battalion, Force Logistic Command, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific in connection with operations against communist agressor forces (Viet Cong) in the Republic of Vietnam. During a combined United States Marine Corps and Army of the Republic of Vietnam combat sweep near Danang Airfield, Hospitalman Gerrish's unit came under intense machine-gun fire and grenade attack. Without hesitation, he responded to the pleas for aid from wounded Marines. Braving an open fire-swept field to reach his fallen comrades, Hospitalman Gerrish was struck by shrapnel from an exploding grenade and fell to the ground near an open foxhole where he could have attained cover and tended to his wounds. Instead, in the face of the heavy enemy opposition, he chose to advance to the position of the wounded Marines in order to render medical aid. Crawling forward, he inserted himself between the enemy fire and a wounded Marine, using his body as a shield to protect the casualty from the hail of bullets. Critically wounded by enemy fire while engaged in administering first aid to the wounded Marine, Hospitalman Gerrish, by his heroic actions and selfless concern for his fallen comrades, served to inspire all who observed him, and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Citation courtesy of Alan A. Faber

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a High School classmate,
Henry Valentine

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 25 Nov 2001
Last updated 11/08/2012