Paul Chester King, Jr

Private First Class
Army of the United States
17 March 1949 - 04 May 1968
Waltham, MA
Panel 54E Line 041


Combat Medic

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Paul Chester King, Jr

17 Sep 2002

I've been wearing his name on my arm since 1971.
He gave his life for our great nation
and deserves to be recognized.

David Lee Elliott


On 3 May 1968, a nine-man reconnaissance team, ST ALASKA, was inserted into an area just over the SVN/Laotian border west of the A Shau Valley. The area of operations was believed to be occupied by a North Vietnamese Army division that had been forced to withdraw from the A Shau Valley. The team consisted of
  • SSgt John Allen, team leader;
  • SP5 Kenneth Cryan, assistant team leader;
  • PFC Paul C. King, Jr., medic/radio operator; and
  • Six Nung tribesmen, names unknown.
The insertion was unopposed. As the team moved through the jungle, they came upon what appeared to be a major headquarters. SSgt Allen and one Nung moved close enough to photograph the NVA buildings and then withdrew to rejoin the team. Almost at once, the team's presence was detected and NVA forces began pursuit.

SP5 Cryan was severely wounded and one Nung killed in the first exchange of fire. Carrying the two casualties, ST ALASKA attempted to break contact, and when that failed took up a defensive position in a bomb crater that provided open fields of fire in all directions. They immediately came under attack from the encircling NVA forces.

PFC King was able to raise a COVEY forward air controller by radio. King and SSgt Allen changed places so Allen could coordinate tactical air support with the FAC. King raised his head above the crater lip to fire on the enemy and was immediately struck in the head and killed by enemy fire. The COVEY FAC was able to bring in TACAIR to discourage the NVA and an extraction attempt was made. As the UH-1 Huey approached the crater it took multiple hits and was forced to withdraw. Tactical air strikes continued until nightfall.

ST ALASKA stayed in position through the night, fighting off several NVA assaults. During the last NVA assault, just before dawn, four of the five surviving Nungs were killed, leaving SSgt Allen, one unwounded Nung, and SP5 Cryan in the crater. When COVEY and supporting tactical air arrived they discovered the NVA had placed a ring of .51 caliber and 37mm anti-aircraft guns around the crater. Almost immediately an F-4 PHANTOM was hit and downed (the crew was later recovered).

A larger USAF SAR helicopter then came on scene and allowed that while they could not land they could lower a 3-man penetrator seat ... but that conditions precluded lifting more than two men at one time. SSgt King agreed, the penetrator seat was lowered, SP5 Cryan and the surviving Nung boarded, and the lift began. As the two men were hoisted into the air they received heavy fire from the surrounding NVA forces; both died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Now alone on the ground, SSgt Allen decided his only chance was to make a break for it, and he did so while the supporting aircraft were strafing the NVA positions. He was able to find his way to a sheltered area; from that position he asked COVEY to saturate the surrounding area with bombs and gunfire. Immediately after the strikes, a SVNAF 219th Special Operations Squadron H-34 attempted a pick-up; it was shot down and exploded on impact, killing its entire crew. A US UH-1 Huey also was shot down; its crew was rescued.

SSgt Allen was able to evade the pursuing NVA troops and move away from the area of the flak trap and was finally picked up by another SVNAF 219th SOS H-34.

The sole survivor of ST ALASKA had been extracted and the bodies of two others recovered. The crater held the other members of the team: PFC King and five Nungs. Their bodies could not be recovered, nor could those of the downed SVNAF H-34.

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
one who wore his MIA bracelet,
David Lee Elliott 
17 Sep 2002

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MA State Index . Panel 54E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 09/17/2002