Charles Edward Gradoville

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
13 August 1947 - 16 June 1967
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Panel 21E Line 112


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Charles Edward Gradoville

14 Nov 2006

Charles Edward Gradoville was the older brother of a friend of mine in high school. He was a warm and friendly individual who always had a good word for others.

From a friend.

27 Jun 2007

Author Dale Kueter has written a moving book about the small town life and tragic death in Viet Nam of Charles Gradoville. The name of the book is Vietnam Sons.

Below is an excerpt from the book. Please take the time to read this heart-felt account of a wonderful young man, taken in the prime of life.

A high school friend
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

White dropped in on Gradoville and had barely begun to visit when the test firing commenced. Churchill jumped into his four-foot deep machine gun hooch and hunkered over his lethal weapon. He had stakes set up on the right and on the left to govern his field of fire, generally to the west-northwest. Churchill let lose with several short bursts. It lasted only a minute or two.

Less than a minute after he had completed the test, a distant "thrrump, thrrump" reverberation shocked Churchill. He immediately knew that Mike Company had become the target. Two rounds hurled toward the unit, coming from the general direction where Churchill had spread his M-60 fire. It was as if Churchill, in random firing, had hit an unknown, unseen hornets' nest. Now killer bees were making the return flight, seeking to administer a lethal sting.

Those in Churchill's fighting hole hit the dirt. The rounds were low enough in trajectory that if Churchill's gun team had been standing outside their fighting hole they would have been sawed off like brush branches.

Schwooooooop!! Schwooooop!! In they came, first one, then the other, deadly twins.

What was it? Rocket fire? Mortar? Artillery? Tank rounds?

Saylor, dug in 200 feet to the northeast of the command post, heard the shells swoosh into the compound. Churchill's machine gun emplacement was west of Saylor's hole. Behind Churchill's position, southerly toward the rest of Mike Company, was a small line of trees. They blocked the view between Churchill and the command center. The two shells whizzed over Churchill's emplacement and zipped between the trees. Both rounds landed inside Mike Company's perimeter.

Neither exploded. Both, it turned out, were what most of the men identified as tank canister rounds, chunks of lead usually destined as bunker busters. The first, by some miracle, landed harmlessly.

Gradoville heard the incoming shells and instinctively hit the ground outside his fighting hole. He propped himself on his right elbow and methodically picked up the radio receiver. His plan was to call someone at battalion to see if there was any information on the source of the return fire.

"What the ---- is going on?" White yelled at Gradoville. "I didn't know they were going to test fire the M-60s." He hugged the ground, 10 feet from Gradoville.

White had barely finished his sentence when the second projectile struck Chuck Gradoville before he had a chance to roll into his hole. It was a direct hit, nearly severing his head from the rest of his body. It happened so fast that when White looked up he noticed the radio receiver was still in Gradoville's right hand.

Gradoville died instantly.

It was shortly after 6 p.m.

Vietnam Sons
Copyright Dale Kueter
Reproduced under 17 USC 107

23 May 2007

I just read Vietnam Sons by Dale Kueter. No "thank you" will ever be big enough to say to you, Charles, and ALL of the vets from Vietnam. God bless you and your family. And a special thanks to Kenn ... for telling your story to those of us too young to remember the war and your sacrifices. Be at peace.

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A Note from The Virtual Wall

Extracted from the 3/9 Marines' After-Action Report June 1967:

The incident occurred about 2 kilometers north-northeast of Con Thien (Hill 158), just south of the Demilitarized Zone.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend.
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

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IA State Index . Panel 21E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 14 Nov 2006
Last updated 11/15/2007