Duane Kenneth HeiserPrivate First Class
A CO, 1ST BN, 18TH INF RGT, 1 INF DIV
Army of the United States
01 March 1947 - 15 March 1966
Buffalo, New York
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The database page for Duane Kenneth Heiser
Duane was one of the first young men I looked up to when I joined the Civil Air Patrol cadet program when we were both teenagers. He was very proud of his country and was eager to serve his country.
Duane was the first friend I lost to the Vietnam War but there were several more over the next few years. I can still remember his funeral and how much an impact his death had on me.
I remember Duane's mother saying Psalm 23 was his favorite scripture passage and how it helped the family cope with his death:
The Lord is my shepherd;
From a high school friend ,
I met Duane when we were teenagers at a Youth Retreat. I remember his wonderful sense of humor, especially since I was frequently teased by him. I still have a little booklet that he made with cartoons in it that he drew himself. He was very talented.
We became good friends and I also got to know his family. His mother and father were very dear to me and so were his brothers and sisters. Duane lived on one side of Buffalo and I on the other. We spent much time on the phone dicussing everthing. I know how very much Duane loved his country and how much he loved his Lord and Savior, Jesus. He cared deeply about others also, his family, his aunts, uncles, cousins and his friends. Duane would want others to know that they can join him in heaven by accepting the gift of eternal life that our Creator made possible through a part of Himself, His Son. Duane and I went on a few dates and often attended church together. One of his favorite hymns was sung at his funeral and still gives me comfort when I think of him. Because of Duane's faith, I know I will get to see him again and because of the Rock we can live each day in hope and true victory, as Duane's favorite hymn says...
From a friend,
Sally Sharp Gadola
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Duane Kenneth Heiser
Duane and I grew up and went to the same school together. John C. Herbert, Duane and I belonged to the Civil Air Patrol. His dad would drive the three of us there. His family was pretty close-knit. They enjoyed his friends and had us over to dinner many times.
Duane and I attended PS #61 and were in the last graduating class of PS #61 in 1961. We then went to Bennett HS and were in many classes together. The three of us - Duane, John and I - were always seen together, We were cafeteria monitors, Flag carriers and in the art and chess clubs. We were called the "Three Musketeers". We talked at length about going to helicopter school together and then all going to save the world. The Army recruiter promised us helicopter school after basic training. John and I wanted to spend our last summer at home before enlisting. Duane could not wait. He was off to basic right after HS graduation 1965. Well, Duane never got to go to flight school - he was sent straight to Vietnam in September 1965.
I enlisted in August as did John. I got married on March 15, 1966, the same day that Duane was killed. I learned about it in a letter from my mother. She sent the newspaper clipping. It was in 2003 that I heard from his platoon leader. We had a long talk on the phone ... he said that he had some photos and letters for Duane's family but could not find them. I knew his younger brother lived in Buffalo and after I found him I sent the letters and photos to him.
On March 15th, 1966 his platoon was clearing a zone for a new base camp when some AF fighter bombers dropped frag bombs on his group. His platoon leader yelled to scatter and as they did a second bomb hit. His platoon leader was tossed upside down against a tree when he saw Duane running for cover. That is when a napalm bomb landed on him. It is just one of those tragic events of war - friendly fire.
Duane will always be remembered as a nice, easy-going guy who would give you the shirt off his back. Rest in Peace, my friend.
From his best friend,
Please visit my
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a friend from high school,
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 Jan 2004
Last updated 07/09/2006