Richard Kirk GillinghamCorporal
H CO, 2ND BN, 9TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
21 July 1946 - 19 May 1967
Valatie, New York
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The database page for Richard Kirk Gillingham
I was a fire team leader in his squad. On May 19th, 1967, while on Operation Hickory his squad was ambushed in the DMZ just north of Con Thien. Gill was shot several times while trying to aid a severely wounded squad member. He was able to reach the mortally wounded Marine but Gill died of his wounds. He was awarded a Navy Cross for his actions.
A Note from The Virtual WallOn 18 May 1967 the Marines began Operation HICKORY with the intention of removing enemy forces and installations from the southern half of the DMZ. This was the first time the Marines had ventured into the DMZ in force. The attack was supported by a massive Navy-Marine-Air Force effort, the landing of SLF Alpha, and a parallel sweep by the 1st ARVN Division. HICKORY lasted through 29 May and resulted in both the loss of 129 Americans and the utter destruction of many North Vietnamese Army installations within the eastern part of the Demilitarized Zone. Extremely heavy casualties were inflicted on the NVA 326B Division, which held the ground and defended the area with vigor.
No effort was made to hold the areas of the DMZ which had been cleared of NVA - political pressures precluded an American presence in the DMZ (apparently an NVA presence was acceptable) - and the rebuilt 362B Division eventually returned to the area.
On 19 May, Hotel Company 2/9 Marines, lost 8 men:
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a friend and former squad member,
24 Dec 2005
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 01/01/2006