James Gilbert HumphreySergeant
D CO, 1ST BN, 35TH INF RGT, 3RD BDE, 4 INF DIV
Army of the United States
29 March 1947 - 11 November 1968
Shawnee Mission, KS
Panel 39W Line 049
The database page for James Gilbert Humphrey
I served with Jim Humphrey in the Central Highlands in 1968. We just clicked - he was from Kansas and I from Iowa - and we just seemed to hit it off.
We were on a firebase called LZ Jean near Du Co along the Cambodian border. My wife had sent me a harmonica and I was learning to play. Jim had some musical background and we somehow came up with a second harmonica - one about an inch long that looked like it came in a box of Cracker Jacks - Humphrey took a pull ring from a grenade and used it for a handle for the thing - and in the evenings we would play.
Our job at LZ Jean was to pull recon in a big semi circle between the fire base and the Cambodian border. We'd go out in four man patrols and stay out for about three or four days and report movement, noise, lights, anything. This was during the time we were negotiating with Hanoi and every time we stopped the bombing, Charlie would entertain us in the evening by sending artillery into our firebase. It seemed we spent countless nights listening to shells pass over our four man patrol on their way to the firebase. We would break squelch and say one word "incoming" - and the reply "Roger" - seconds later we'd hear the impact on the hill. It sounds stupid, but it was safer out there in a four man group than in a company group on LZ Jean. We would change out patrol members every LRRP so we always had newer people along with the old hands. The most dangerous time was the travel back and forth to the base. That's how Hump got it.
I had been out and was coming back with my team on the day Hump and his team were going out. As we got into the "Papa", as the perimeter of the firebase was called, we began hearing repeated calls for Hump's team. There was no response. We knew he was in trouble. In all the LRRP's I'd been on with Hump, we never taken the route down the road. We traveled in as much concealment as we could find. But today for some reason Hump's crew took the road. Steve - a guy from Hawaii - was walking point and Charlie was waiting. In true VC fashion, Charlie let Steve walk by - and then the three remaining team members walked right into the ambush. Charlie hit them with a mine and that was it. Steve took cover on the side of the road and returned fire - and Charlie took off.
After a time Steve crawled over to the radioman, but all were dead and the radio destroyed. He hid out there for several hours until a chopper passed high overhead. He popped smoke and the chopper picked him up.
We had a memorial service for Hump and the other guys. And we lowered the big Kansas flag he kept to half mast. I carried his flag in my pack for several months, but lost it during a firefight when I got hurt and got choppered out on a medevac.
He was a good friend. I just wanted him to know he's still remembered.
He always had that big "shit eating" smile - And I never pick up a harmonica without thinking of him.
A man is not dead until he is forgotten.
The shadow of your smile
From a friend of a friend!
The other two men who were killed on the patrol were
Cpl Gary A. Rust
PFC John L. Bratton
are remembered by their comrades-in-arms of the
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
30 Nov 1999
Top of Page|
With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 10/26/2003