Kenneth Dee Gilmore

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
30 March 1939 - 31 January 1966
Austin, Texas
Panel 04E Line 123



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Kenneth Dee Gilmore

02 Aug 2008

A college friend of Lt. Gilmore from Abilene, Texas asked if I could find out the details of his death. As I researched it, I found that I was flying in support of Operation Masher/White Wing near Bong Son, RVN on the day Lt. Gilmore was killed. I have yet to find out the details but as one who lost other friends in Southeast Asia, I have formed a bond with Ken. God bless his family and thank you for your sacrifice, Ken.

From a friend,
Jimmy B. Pickens
LtCol USAF (Retired)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

1LT Kenneth Gilmore was killed in action during what became known as the "Battle of Cu Nghi", the first significant engagement in Operation MASHER. LT Gilmore probably was an artillery Forward Observer with one of the infantry battalions involved in the fight, which took place between 28-31 Jan 1966 in an area roughly 7 kilometers west of Tam Quan.

The Jan 2004 issue of VFW Magazine contains an article entitled "'Graveyard' at LZ 4: Battle of Cu Nghi" by Mr. Al Hemingway; in it Mr. Hemingway says

"During the three-day Battle of Cu Nghi (LZ 4), 77 cavalrymen were killed and another 220 wounded. Including the 42 men of A Co., 2nd Bn., 7th Cav, and the four crewmen, 10 helicopter pilots and seven Green Berets, the grand total came to 140 Americans killed. LZ 4 rated its reputation as the 'graveyard.'"
Mr. Hemingway's "140 Americans killed" exaggerates matters, which were bad enough. According to the 1st Cavalry Division's After Action Report, 77 1st Cav soldiers were killed during the period 28 Jan-03 Feb inclusive, as Hemingway states. However,
  • The 1st Cav had eight men killed in action between 01-03 Feb, reducing the number killed during the primary engagement (28-31 Jan) somewhat. One soldier from C Co, 1st Bn, 7th Cavalry died of wounds on 02 Feb, but the date he was wounded is not known - he may or may not have been at Cu Nghi.

  • The "42 men ... and the four crewmen" refers to the non-hostile loss of C-123B tail number 54-0702, which crashed in the Deo Mang Pass on 25 Jan while ferrying 1st Cav soldiers from An Khe to Bong Son.

  • The "10 helicopter pilots" is slightly in error; although 13 helo aircrew (not all "pilots") died in Binh Dinh Province during the three day period, 6 were killed when CH-47A tail number 63-07913 suffered a transmission failure and crashed 5 miles north of Phu Cat. The other 7 were killed in action.

  • The "seven Green Berets" really relates only to the three members of Recon Team ROADRUNNER missing in action about 19 kilometers west-northwest of Tam Quan. Eight other Special Forces soldiers were killed in action during the period 28-31 Jan, but all were in the Tra Bong-Binh Son area of Quang Ngai Province - far north of the action at Cu Nghi.

Quibbling over the numbers, though, doesn't change the primary point: the fighting west of Tam Quan between 28 and 31 Jan inclusive was brutal and very costly to both sides.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Jimmy B. Pickens
LtCol USAF (Ret)

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index G
TX State Index . Panel 04E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 02 Aug 2008
Last updated 08/09/2008