DEATH IN VIET BATTLE
MANTUA - Twin brothers, by the very nature of their relationship, generally are close throughout life.
PARTS TWIN BROTHERS
Doctors say they spring from the same egg. Certain Asian religions contend that they share a common soul and upon the death of one, the soul is imparted entirely to the survivor.
A pair of identically motivated twin brothers were parted last week when one, Robert K. Gillies, a Navy hospital corpsman, was killed by enemy gun fire in Vietnam.
He and his surviving twin, Marine Cpl. Dennis Gillies, the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley D. Gillies of 12 Center St. were 21 years old on March 23.
Both brothers enlisted in June of 1966 following graduation from Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill. Robert signed up with the Naval Reserve while in his senior year, and enlisted for four years active duty the day after his graduation.
A corpsman 3rd class, he was assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion of the 1st Marine Division. He was stationed in Vietnam less than three months prior to his death last week.
His brother said he learned of Robert's death on Wednesday while stationed at Cherry Point, N.C.
Cpl. Dennis Gillies said he had completed his Vietnam duty tour in December, and had come home for the Christmas holidays. It was the first time he had seen his brother since they enlisted together following graduation.
"We were very close," he said. "The whole family's been close. The folks received a letter from him the same day they were notified of his death. In the letter, he said evertything was fine."
Besides his parents and twin brother, Robert is survived by a younger brother, four sisters, and his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Ellen Walker, who resides with the family.
Article appeared in the Gloucester County Times.
SILVER STAR, posthumously awarded their son, Hospital Corpsman Robert K. Gillies, is accepted by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley D. Gillies, from Lt. Cmdr. F. J. Heimbeucher (left). Marine Staff Sergeant Richard Secrest is at right.
SILVER STAR AWARDED VIET HERO'S PARENTS
Mr. and Mrs. Stanley D. Gillies of Mantua, the parents of Hospital Corpsman Robert K. Gillies, who was killed in action April 21 in Vietnam, yesterday received the posthumous award of the Silver Star medal to their son at cermonies in the Woodbury Naval Recruiting Office.
Gillies was awarded the medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a corpsman with Company B, First Battalion, Fifth Marine, First Marine Division, while on a serch and destroy mission in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
Gillies, according to the citation, disregarded his own safety and left his covered position to give medical assistance to a wounded Marine lying in an exposed position under intense enemy fire.
Seriously wounded in the jaw himself while aiding the Marine, Gillies steadfastly remained by the side of the Marine and resolutely continued to render medical treatment until he succumbed to his own injuries, the citation said.
The medal and citation were presented by Navy Lt. Cmdr. F.J. Heimbuecher.
Robert and his twin brother, Marine Corporal Dennis Gillies, of 12 Center St., Mantua, were 21 years old on March 23. The Gillies also have a younger son and four daughters.
The twins enlisted in June 1966, following graduation from Clearview Regional High School, Mullica Hill.
Robert signed up with the Naval Reserve while in his senior year and then enlisted for four years of active duty after his graduation. He had been stationed in Vietnam less than three months prior to his death.
Dennis enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and, since completion of his Vietnam duty tour in December, has been stationed at Cherry Point, N.C.
Robert had previously been awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon Bar.
Photo and article appeared in the Gloucester County Times.
Today, on this special day, we remember the men and women who gave their lives in the service of our nation.
It is good that a special day is required for remembering. A day of honor and remembrance is needed so that EVERY American can take the time on this day to reflect on the memory of our fallen countrymen. But a special day of remembrance is not required for the veterans of a war, or for the survivors of a war.
The veterans will never forget Joe, or John, or Mac - men they left behind in a farmer's field, on the muddy island, a frozen hill, a rice paddy, or a hospital ward. The veterans, men and women, don't need parades or speeches to remember a fallen friend.
The survivors of a war don't need special days either. The survivors are the men and women who stayed at home and prayed for the safety of a husband, a brother, a daughter, or a son. Loved ones who never came back. The survivors are the one's that received the dreaded telegram that starts: "We regret to inform you..." The survivors are the ones that had to read the words that changed their lives forever, read the words that could never be recalled.
The veterans and the survivors don't need a special Memorial Day. We live Memorial Day every day.
Today, in 1990, the names of brave men and women are being added to a long list of those to be remembered. It is painful to me, a Gold Star Mother, to know that American families must be told that a loved one will not walk through the door, will not return from the service to laugh and cry, to grow old with memories.
Let us pray that the sacrifices of our loved ones, of our fine young men and women, is not in vain. Let us remember the price we have paid and continued to pay for freedom. Remember that all of the men and women who have died, gallantly gave their lives for our country.
And finally, let us pray that on Memorial Day, 1991, we have not added new names to the list of our service men and women to be remembered.
Memorial Day speech given by Betsy Gillies, mother of Robert K. Gillies.