Harold Wayne King

Army of the United States
15 January 1947 - 11 July 1967
Floyd, Virginia
Panel 23E Line 052


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Harold Wayne King

23 Nov 1999

Harold Wayne King
and the other men of
9th Infantry Division, 4/47th Battalion, C Company - 2nd Platoon -
"Mobile Riverine Force". Area of Operation: Mekong Delta.

This is also for Phil Ferro, a fellow platoon member and a fellow graduate of my high school class in Northridge, California - Cleveland High - Summer of 1964.

It's been more than 30 years since that awful day when we lost these young men, yet I can remember it almost like it was yesterday. Throughout all of these years I have never forgotten the friends that were lost and much of the circumstances that wiped out so many lives.

This is my memory of July 11, 1967:

The day started out like so many other days - another "search & destroy" patrol. We were dropped off by the Navy's landing craft very early that morning and for several hours, it seemed like we were on another long, boring, hot and sweaty, hike from one dry rice paddy to the next. Each rice paddy was bordered by a tree line. Lieutenant Jack Benedick ordered each squad to take turns going recon over the rice paddy to the next tree line. The idea being that if we encountered VC in the trees then the whole platoon would avoid ambush. My squad had just completed a recon and then it was SSGT Smith's squad that ventured into the next paddy towards another treeline. To that point, it seemed like another tedious patrol.

When Sergeant Smith, Harold King, Phil Ferro, Butch Eakins, and the others reached halfway into the clearing, Lieutenant Benedick ordered the rest of us to advance from the trees into the paddy. Sergeant Smith's squad was almost across the paddy and the rest of us were well out there when all hell broke loose. The whole platoon was immediately pinned down. The Viet Cong had been laying in ambush for us and they waited to open fire until the recon squad got really close. At first, we didn't know what happened to our recon guys; we were all trying to lay low and crawl out to them.

Everyone was firing like crazy and bullets were flying all over the place. You could barely lift your head without a bullet zingin' by. I was carrying a radio that day and I stayed in contact with Lieutenant Benedick and the other radio men - there were no messages coming from the recon squad. Lieutenant Benedick really wanted us to reach the guys out there, but it was impossible. He called in "willy peter" artillery for a smoke screen so that we could reach them, but it was too windy. I can remember how afraid I was when the shells started coming in and I just knew we were all going to be blown to smithereens. Luckily, the shelling was on target.

We laid out there and tried to reach the guys all the rest of that day, but when darkness came, Lieutenant Benedick called for us to pull back to the last treeline. None of us slept that night, but we could see some nightime map lights moving about out there in the paddy. We were tempted to fire but we couldn't because our guys were out there.

The next morning at first light, two of the recon guys came walking up to us. Frank Swann, our machine gunner, had been hit in the chest and he was being helped by Henry Hubbard, who miraculously escaped the ordeal without a scratch. They told us that they were lying all night behind a rice paddy dike fairly close to Phil, Butch, Harold, and Sergeant Smith. They were holding grenades with the pins pulled in case the Viet Cong found them. The map lights that we had seen during the night were used by the enemy to collect the weapons and ammo from our fallen comrades. Lieutenant Benedick called for a chopper to take Frank out and then we went across the paddy to find our guys lying there.

I'm certain Phil never knew what hit him and it was obvious that the others had returned fire for as long as they could; empty shells were laying all around them. When the chopper came in for our dead, myself and a few others were asked to help put them on the chopper. That's when I broke down and I couldn't help - it was just too painful to see my friends like that.

As for the Viet Cong, they had cleared out during the night. Except for one that apparently didn't have time.

After the mission ended, I learned that another buddy, Elmer Kenney, was also killed during that same action. I don't recall the circumstances, but I do recall being shaken up upon hearing about Kenney. He was a really decent guy from Canoga Park and I remember that he was married. I can't even imagine the pain that was felt by all of the family members to these men.

All of us in the 2nd Platoon were upset and beginning to believe none of us would get out of Nam alive. We had endured a large battle and many casualties just several weeks earlier.

I only hope that this letter serves to honor these men - they should not have died over there. I, and the other soldiers that served with them, will forever remember them in our hearts.

Bill Reynolds

P.S. If other Charlie Company soldiers read this and can add to my story, it would be very much appreciated. Welcome Home!!

18 Nov 2002

My name is Janice KING Pattillo. Harold Wayne King is my First Cousin. Our fathers were brothers.

I can not believe after all these years I have stumbled on this site and found out what happened to my cousin. This is like a gift from God - all thes years and now I know.

It has always broken my heart that Wayne died so young and for nothing. Old men send young men to die.

Wayne is buried on a hillside in a country church cemetery in his beloved Virginia by his little sister and parents, his grand parents and uncles and aunts and cousins.

I still see that young teenager driving past my childhood home in Virginia, waving and that beautiful shy smile.

God Bless his soul and the other brave soldiers who died that day. So far from home and thinking of their loved ones.

How my heart breaks for Wayne and all that could have been - a wedding, children and grandchildren - dreams that died in a rice paddy - so far from the beautiful hills of Virginia. A young handsome cousin who felt he would never come home walks up the steps and boards his plane - never looking back - on his journey to eternity --- Wayne, I love you and tears fall for you as you remain always young and we left behind, now graying.



and creating this site that has shown light for Wayne's family on the details of his death.

Another young man on visits to the hills of Virginia throughout his twenty-four years, visting the cemetery learned of a cousin he never knew. My son, Michael Pattillo, also lies in a cemetery now. And, Michael and Wayne are together for eternity. Wayne's elderly Mother joined Wayne in 2002, for those who knew Wayne.

From Wayne's first cousin,
Janice KING Pattillo
1158 Woodland Circle, Lawrenceville, Ga. 30043

16 Jun 2005


My name is Emile Lawrence. For a number of years I knew Harold had died in Viet Nam, although I had no news that he did. For a number of years, I had wondered where he was. But I did not find out what happened to him until another good high school friend, Bill Jones, e-mailed me on Christmas Day in 2000. I had not seen Bill Jones, or heard from him either, in 30 years. Bill and I worked together one summer in the moving and storage business. It was Bill who told me Harold died in 1967, from small arms fire in Viet Nam. This news hit me like a brick in the chest. Now, the official record is: he might have died from a grenade or two. And there is something about POW status which I do not understand.

Harold King and I went to high school together and were pretty good friends. We double dated at a local drive-in a few times. The last time I saw Harold was in Aberdeen, Maryland, in 1966. He is a graduate of Aberdeen High School in Maryland. He wanted me to join the Army with him - he was one year ahead of me in school. But after talking to my father about the Army, and my dad was in the Army, Harold joined without me. He did so although my dad told me "Go ahead." I would have had to drop out of high school in the 12th grade to join. But I was a military brat; at 18 I had already spent many years in the Army. I actually grew up in the Army: we lived on the Army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the logistics center for all Army equipment captured in war. I used to play on top of Big Bertha, a huge German canon. I also played in a German Tiger tank that had a hole all the way though it. The APG had many other such toys. I was the lifeguard at the Enlisted Men's Pool each summer.

In the summer of 1966, I left Aberdeen for Ocean City, Maryland, the morning following the party. And Diane knew Harold and me. I learned in my senior year my dad would soon ship out to Viet Nam. In 1966 I ended up finishing high school on my own, living in a run-down apartment for three months. My mom moved back to California. Although my Dad got shot up in Viet Nam, after 12 months in a hospital in Tokyo, he came back. This was sometime in 1968, when I was already in the US Navy, aboard a submarine tender. I got drafted but joined the Navy before being inducted into the Army. I missed entering the Army by about five weeks, I think. The Army said my aptitude was photo recon or military intelligence and I would not be a grunt. I did not trust them because they would not put it in writing.

Before Harold went to Viet Nam, he came home on leave to talk to me again. I remember we went out that night, to talk and have a beer or two. He wore his Army uniform. He was real proud of it. I remember his boots were spit-shined. Before he joined the Army, we used to buy "109" brand beer - 99 cents for a 12 pack of 16 ounce cans (this was 1965/66). Then we would buy a bag of crab legs and drive out to the piers and drink the beer and eat the legs. One night I remember us bringing a couple of girlfriends along. Harold was an All-American guy.

Every now and then, I still see him standing there in his uniform and spit shined boots.

If anyone wants to contact me about Harold:

Emile Lawrence
1650 Octavia Street
Suite 108
San Francisco, Ca 94109

From one of Harold's good high school friends,
Emile Lawrence
1650 Octavia Street, Suite 108, Sf Ca 94109

Soldiers of Charlie Company
4th Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
memorialized on the Virtual Wall include
1LT Charles D Black
13 April 1967
SP4 Marion T Eakins
11 July 1967
SP4 Philip A Ferro
11 July 1967
SP4 William M Geier
19 June 1967
SGT Elmer F Kenney
11 July 1967
SP4 Donald M Peterson
15 May 1967
SP4 Ronald P Schworer
09 Apr 1967
SSGT George E Smith
11 July 1967
CPL Harold W King
11 July 1967
SP5 James M Sunday
25 Sep 1967
  CPL Cecil Benny Bridges
29 Jul 1967

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Charlie Company, 4/47th Infantry, lost five men on 11 July 1967:

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a buddy,
Bill Reynolds
12 Jul 2000

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 07/06/2005