Gilton Walter JohnsonSpecialist Four
D CO, 1ST BN, 35TH INF RGT, 4 INF DIV
Army of the United States
29 January 1948 - 22 January 1969
Panel 34W Line 062
The database page for Gilton Walter Johnson
"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
Photo courtesy of the 35th Infantry Assn
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I was so young when you went to Viet Nam. I really didn't understand what it was all about. But in the last 12 years I have been faithful in learning everything I can. I have bought books - talked to Vets - got documentaries - magazines and any and all information I can. I have so much admiration - respect - love - concern - feelings - for "ALL" of you who served in that war. I wish I had been old enough to have gone there with you.
There are so many around here who served and came home and then there are you guys that didn't make it back alive. And there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of "ALL" of you. Gil - your friend and neighbor Buddy Fitzhugh made it home O.K. But then again I know you already know that from up above, there with your mom, who left not long after you - now you have your sister Elois with you also. Your daddy and Donnie Ray are doing good. And Pine Grove has never been the same without you. Also the swimming hole in Montpelier - and you always singing "Woolly-Bully" all the time.
I'm gonna close now - just wanted to say "HI" to ya and let you know that YOU will NEVER be forgotten.
Notes from The Virtual WallChu Pa Mountain (aka Hill 1485) in Pleiku Province is located about 16km due west of Plei Mrong and 36km southwest of Kontum City. Used by the NVA and VC as a staging area, Chu Pa was subjected to an assault on 21-23 Jan 1969 by Alpha and Delta Companies of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry. The Battalion's Executive Officer, Major Jerry P. Laird, accompanied Alpha Company.
The assault was bitterly opposed from the beginning, with Delta 1/35 losing two men on 21 Jan. On the 22nd, as Alpha attempted a link-up with Delta, Major Laird and one of his radiomen, Sp4 Douglas Ross, were among a group of soldiers pinned down about 40 meters outside the Delta perimeter. Under heavy small arms and grenade attack, the group was forced to seek cover in caves where the survivors spent the night. Alpha company lost three men, Delta two, and both Major Laird and SP4 Ross were killed.
On the morning of the 23rd searchers located those men whose bodies had not been recovered on the 22nd - except for SP4 Ross, who could not be found. Although the Battalion avoided any further deaths on the ground, a medevac helicopter (UH-1H 66-16217) from the 283rd Medical Detachment was hit by a B-40 rocket while about 50' above the ground, crashed, and burned, killing four aircrewmen and three previously wounded soldiers.
Overall, 16 Americans had been killed in the actions on 21-23 January:
The remains of Sergeant Douglas Ross, who had received a posthumous promotion, were repatriated twenty-eight years later, on 29 Sep 1997, with positive identification on 18 Feb 1998. Sergeant Ross was buried on 27 March 1998 in Site 1451, Section 1A, Los Angeles National Cemetery. (SGT Ross is in the PMSEA database.)
One further note - The POW Network site has biographies for SFC Henderson , SSG Luster , and SSG Moorman. In each case the POW Network suggests the three men were associated with the seach for PFC Robert F. Scherdin , a Special Forces trooper who went missing in action on 29 December 1968. However, there is no association between Scherdin and the three men whose unidentifiable remains were recovered from the wreckage of UH-1H 66-16217.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 23 Dec 2001
Last updated 11/13/2010