Bruce Edward Holderman

United States Navy
10 July 1947 - 28 December 1966
Santa Barbara, California
Panel 13E Line 091

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Bruce Edward Holderman

15 Jan 2001

Dear Sir,

Even though I did not know you, I still thank you for your sacrifice. You made the ultimate one for your community and for your country. Though I disagree with war, I still respect those who fight it. And to me you are a hero.

I'm sure that all of the sailors and Marines whose lives you saved as a Naval corpsman feel the same. Thank you sir for your service to our great big community known otherwise as the United States of America.

Aaron Gosnell

27 May 2002

Bruce was one of our Corpsmen in Mike Co. 3/3. He had survived the "misadventure" friendly fire incident of 12/10/66, only to be killed less than 3 weeks later.

Doc Hoppy
M/3/3 1969 RVN


04 Jan 2004

I was Doc Bruce Holderman's Senior Corpsman. We had barely gotten to know him. Bruce had been with Mike Company's 2nd Platoon for less than two weeks when he was struck and killed instantly by an NVA mortar round. He had exposed himself to incoming fire to go to the aid of a wounded Marine. His actions were nothing less than heroic. His loss has haunted me for nearly four decades. His name is the first one I found on the Wall when, after 20 years, I finally mustered the courage to stand in front of Panel 13E. I have returned since to throw him a well deserved salute.

Doc Rod Hardin HM2
M-3-3-3 1966-67

6 Nov 2004

Bruce was a close friend. He was from Santa Barbara and I was from LA, same old age of 19, so we talked about home, the beach, and girls and how we would take over on our return. We often patrolled together and the corpsman usually hung out with the grenadier and radioman of which I did both duties and every patrol or ambush had to have one of each. We shared a bunker through several mortar attacks and he would always answer the call no matter how heavy the incoming fire. I would tell him he was nuts and he just smiled. We were in the middle of the monsoon season and on the 27th he had insisted I go to the rear with my bad case of immersion foot to dry out. I wasn't there when he was killed by a mortar round answering the call of "Corpsman up!" but learned from others that he was doing his Bruce thing one more time. He was the first KIA since our one day Christmas Day cease-fire and we all took it hard. He died on a grassy open bump on the ground we called Payable Hill, surrounded by the Rockpile, Razorback and Mutter's Ridge. Our mission was to keep part of the road between Dong Ha and Khe Sanh open and safe for convoys. I still think about him a lot even though he was only with us about 6 weeks. If anyone has a photo of him I would appreciate it. I am proud to say I served with him and he was a friend of mine.

Ray Calhoun
Mike Company 3/3
August 1966 - September 1967
12516 Birch Bluff Court, San Diego, Ca 92131

3 Dec 2004

Bruce was one of many of our men who paid the ultimate price. He shall always be remembered by those of us who served in that place we call "Nam".

For those that did come home ... please visit to get back in touch with many of the men of 3/3 who have been located.

From the Co-Founder,,
Craig Slaughter

15 Jan 2006

Dear Bruce, it's been almost 40 years since we went through FMF training in Camp Pendleton together. We were good friends and had lots of laughs together, as we trained for our most challenging tour of duty ever.

You inspired others with your good humor, while we trained under adverse conditions that were strange to us "sailors" in the "Navy". You, Hoage and I were in the same fire team... we dug those foxholes in preparation for Vietnam and the harder it was the more we laughed.

Your humor and good attitude made it more bearable for others I'm sure. You brought smiles to all around you, and we that knew you have a deep loss that will be with us until we join you again. I hope others that knew you and find this site, will take a moment to share their connection with you so we can appreciate even more, what a wonderful person you were and what a loss it has been to the Navy, the Marine Corps, and especially to each of us.

Your friend,
Bob ("Mitch") Mitchell
HMC(FMF) US Navy, Retired

The photos of Bruce Edward Holderman, HN, USN, KIA 12.28.66, were taken by Bob Mitchell in Nov 1966 at Camp Pendleton, Calif, during FMF training prior to going to Vietnam.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

According to the 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines Command Chronology both the battalion base and an outpost manned by the 2nd Plt, Kilo Company, came under mortar attack shortly after 5 PM on 28 December. Overall, there were two Marines killed and wounded badly enough to require medical evacuation. The two dead were HN Bruce E. Holderman (H&S with Mike Company) and Pfc James L. Sims of Savannah, Georgia (Kilo Company)

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

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

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a fellow Corpsman,
Doc Hoppy
15 Jan 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 01/24/2006