Thomas Franklin Herkins

Army of the United States
26 June 1947 - 24 August 1968
Brookville, Ohio
Panel 46W Line 003


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas Franklin Herkins

13 Jul 2003

I did not know Tom very well as I was only 9 years old when he was killed in Vietnam. He was, however, one of my brother's best friends in high school. Tom graduated with my brother in 1965. They played high school football together and did many other things together. Tom left an impression on his home school as they built stadium seats in his memory.

I remember the day my brother found out Tom lost his life. I guess this is why I will always remember Tom and the ultimate sacrifice he made.

Rest in peace Tom, you are not forgotten.

Patty (Ernst) Stump

23 Feb 2006

Tommy ... We graduated from the same school, I took my high school sweetheart to watch you play football. I only wish I could play as good as you. They tore the old school down today but moved your showcase to the new school. I was drafted in 69 and landed in Nam in 1970, to pay back with an attitude the NVA/VC for taking the lives of many of my friends, the list grew longer the year I was there. I fought in the same area you died in, we killed 600 NVA at Tam Ky, Tommy - I know, I helped count the bodies and put them in bags. It never took away the pain of losing you and all my friends but pay back I did. Why I wasn't killed I don't know, but I'm honored to have walked where men like you once trod. Now I can truly say WE WERE SOLDIERS..

From a friend at Brookville High,
Spec 4 William B Goforth

30 Oct 2006

I was Tom's platoon medic for his time with us. He was a replacement after the battle of An Bao and I was a replacement also from 1/50th Delta company. I was pulled out of the field for an assignment in the rear about a week after his death. I recall him well and that he was a very good man. A great loss for us at the time and for everyone that knew him, I am sure.

We spent time around LZ Uplift, the 506 valley and the Bong Son Plains area before the battalion was reassigned to An Khe in early August, 1968. Our company drew bridge guard and our platoon got the last 3 brdges, 24, 25 and 26. I was on the middle bridge (25) and Tom was on 26. We were not far from the Mang Yang pass and sometimes could see gunships and artillery fire in support of ambushed convoys.

Bridge 26 was not a very good postion and after visiting them right after we went out I was happier to be assigned to 25 although it was overrun not long after I was pulled out of the field. The night they were hit we could hear the shooting but could not go to help as that would have left our bridge unguarded. There were only a handful of guys on each bridge. A reaction force from, I think, LZ Schuller came to their aid but it happened so fast everything was all over before they could arrive. We lost 3 good men that night and were fortunate it was not more.

I returned to Bridge 26 in October, 2001 and it still sent shivers down my back. I went back to that night in my mind and relived it and thought of those men, especially Thomas. We had not been close friends, because without realizing until many years later, I would not allow myself to be close to anyone. Too many losses before knowing him. But I was as close to him as anyone in the platoon. His loss still saddens me very much

The 1/50th Battalion is now an Infantry Training Brigade at Ft. Benning GA. Our last 2 Battalion reunions have been there and another is scheduled this spring. In front of Battalion Headquarters is a memorial our Associaton has placed there with 202 names of men we lost in Viet Nam. Thomas is one of them. They are not forgotten.

From a friend and his Platoon medic,
Russ Roth

02 Jun 2007

I was Tom Herkins' roommate in 1966-67 in Bowling Green and he remained my friend until his tragic death in Vietnam in 1968. He played football for Brookville and I from Oakwood and both of our fathers were lawyers and friends in Dayton.

I have devoted the rest of my life as an activist for peace and justice and have been working in or around the United Nations for over 30 years. I lost many friends in that tragic war.

From a friend,
Dr. Max Stamper

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 24 Aug 1968 Alpha Company, 1/50th Infantry, lost three men at Bridge #26 near An Khe:
  • 1LT Daniel O. Abernathy, Burlington, NJ;
  • SGT Thomas F. Herkins, Brookville, OH; and
  • PFC Albert R. Gutierrez, San Antonio, TX.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Patty (Ernst) Stump

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 13 Jul 2003
Last updated 12/17/2007