John Norbert Grachtrup
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class
United States Navy
Grand Rapids, Michigan
June 06, 1946 to December 10, 1966
JOHN N GRACHTRUP is on the Wall at Panel 13E Line 027

John N Grachtrup
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30 Nov 2001

"I'm the One Called Doc ..."

From a friend of his family.
E-mail address is not available.
13 Oct 2005

Bac Si, I just left a note for Doc Rion to tell him of the passing of Doc Paul Blakely. Next time you three sit around and open a can of C-Rats - know truly that you made a difference.

What more can be asked of anyone?

Semper Fi from the bottom of my heart.
Just another grunt Marine

Patrick T. Hughes

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Petty Officer Grachtrup was assigned to the Headquarters and Service Company of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, but he was in the field with M Company at the time of his death.

On 10 December 1966 the 2nd and 3rd Platoons, Mike 3/3 Marines, were on the move. As they approached the Song Cam Lo River the 3rd Platoon formed a semi-circular perimeter through which the second platoon and the company command group passed. A capable swimmer strung a rope from bank to bank and the 2nd Platoon began to ford the swift-flowing, chest deep river. As the Marines were crossing, two F-4 Phantoms passed over heading down-river.

A break was called with 2nd Platoon and most of the command group on the far side and 3rd Platoon and the remaining members of the command group on the near side. The two Phantoms returned from down-stream and one dropped two bombs into the center of the perimeter formed by the 3rd Platoon. Thirteen men were killed outright and fourteen others badly injured. Of the five Corpsmen on the near side only one was uninjured - and the rope had been severed by the blasts, preventing the Corpsmen on the far side from recrossing the river. Although medevac helicopters were called in without delay, several of the wounded died while aboard the helicopters.

The 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines' Command Chronology contains the following entry:

"At 1024H, M/3/3 at XD 950922 rec'd (2) 250-lb bombs which apparently missed target area and went long over ridge landing on M/3/3 resulting in 17 USMC KIA and 11 USMC WIA.��At 1438h, Med Evac of M/3/3 casualties completed."
The seventeen Marines and sailors who died in the incident were
  • C Btry, 1st Bn, 12th Marines
    • Pfc John D. Gayman, East Point, GA

  • H&S Co, 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines
    • HM3 John N. Grachtrup, Grand Rapids, MI
    • HM3 Donald J. Rion, Northbrook, IL (Silver Star)
    • Cpl Clifford R. Singleton, New York, NY
    • LCpl William H. Bator, Akron, OH
    • Pfc John H. Knudsen, Chicago, IL
    • Pfc Jack W. Logan, Willoughby, OH

  • M Co, 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines
    • 1stLt John S. Sayer, Watertown, NY
    • GySgt Joseph Clemons, Orlando, FL
    • SSgt Doyle A. McShan, Houston, TX
    • Sgt Owen F. Neumyer, Harrisburg, PA
    • LCpl Jerry K. Patrick, Denver, CO
    • Pfc Michael L. Crouson, Pocatello, ID
    • Pfc Charles J. Esbensen, Philadelphia, PA
    • Pfc Martin Ruiz, San Antonio, TX
    • Pfc Robert D. Sage, Rochester, NY
    • Pfc Phillip T. Wiley, Pueblo, CO
"Doc" Paul Blakely, mentioned above by Mr. Hughes, was one of the Navy Corpsmen who was severely injured by the bombs. Although he survived his injuries he never fully recovered from them. Doc Blakely died several years ago.

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

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