Joseph R. Hilliard, 26, Reported Killed Nov. 17
By Bud Chambers Tribune Managing Editor
Bay City suffered its second casualty of the war in Viet Nam, it was learned this weekend, when Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Hilliard of 1215 1/2 Duncan Street received a telegram from the U.S. Department of the Army. The Saturday message to the Hilliards reported that their son, Private First Class Joseph Roland Hilliard, 26, had been killed on Wednesday, Nov. 17, while engaged in hostile action with the enemy. He was serving as a communications specialist with the First Cavalry Division. The Bay City soldier had enlisted in the Army following his graduation from Prairie View A&M in 1962, having served almost 2 1/2 years at the time of his death. Following his basic training, he served a tour in Korea, and a short tour back at Ft. Benning Ga., before going to Viet Nam, arriving about Sept. 5 with his division. Hilliard was a 1957 graduate of Hilliard High School in Bay City before going on to Prairie View for his college work. According to the telegram received Saturday, the senior Hilliard, who is a barber, said that some word concerning the return of the body is expected shortly from the Army. A representative of the Commanding General, 4th U.S. Army, is also expected to contact the family presonally to offer assistance in the funeral arrangements. The local serviceman apparently was involved in the heavy fighting of the past week in the Ia Drang Valley near Pleiku during which the First Cavalry Division was attacked repeatedly by strong Cong forces, beaten back each time, and then the U.S. took the offensive and is reported to have killed some 1,400 Cong in a six day period by actual count, not included unknown losses by air attack. Many of the U.S.'s 108 losses for the week through last Monday are believed to have been suffered in that action, however, it would not be surprising - in view of the enormity of the battle and the "moderate losses" reported by the U.S. - to find that Hilliard was one of several hundred American casualties in the mid-week climax to that "biggest of the war" battle. Survivors other than the parents include the maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Warren of Schulenberg. Hilliard was an only child. It was almost two months ago to the day when the Lewis P. Winfrey family received a telegram that their son, Johnny Winfrey, also a private first class, had been killed in action in Viet Nam. The action in which young Winfrey, a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne's "Screaming Eagles," became the first Bay City casualty was also described up to that time as the heaviest fighting of the Viet Nam war.
The Daily Tribune, Monday, November 22, 1965
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas
PFC. HILLIARD RITES SATURDAY
The body of Joseph Roland Hilliard, 26, who was killed in action Nov. 17 in the battle at Ia Drang, Viet Nam, is now lying in state at Penn Funeral Home in Bay City. Private first class Hilliard's body arrived here Tuesday following shipment from Viet Nam. Services for the second Bay City battle casualty in the war-torn country are scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Tyree Chapel AME Church. Interment will follow in Eastview Cemetery. Full military honors will be accorded the local soldier. Hilliard is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Hilliard of 1215 1/2 Duncan Street in Bay City.
The Daily Tribune, Wednesday, December 1, 1965
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas
PFC Joseph R. Hilliard
died in the fighting in the
Ia Drang Valley
Landing Zone X-Ray site
and The Virtual Wall's
Ia Drang Memorial