William Harmon Koho

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
14 May 1947 - 14 March 1967
Bend, OR
Panel 16E Line 079



Purple Heart (3 awards), National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for William Harmon Koho

16 March 1967

It is difficult for me to express the regrets and sorrow felt by the Marines of this Battery over the untimely death of your son, Lance Corporal William H. KOHO, U. S. Marines Corps on 14 March 1967. Please except our deepest sympathy in your bereavement.

William, as you know, was a forward observer and radio operator assigned to Company 'G', 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. He, along with other Marines from Company 'G', 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, were on a mission when the Marine directly in front of William tripped a Viet Cong booby trap. William was killed instantly and the other two Marines involved were seriously wounded and are presently hospitalized. Competent medical corpsmen who were on the scene when this incident occurred immediately went to administer first aid to William but to no avail. He was pronounced dead at 8:00 P.M. on 14 March 1967.

It may comfort you to know that a memorial service was held for William this date and that his many friends attended.

William's cheerful disposition, exemplary conduct and devotion to duty won for him the respect of all who know him. Although I realize that words can do little to console you, I do hope that the knowledge that your son will be keenly missed and that we share your sorrow will in some measure alleviate the suffering caused by your great loss.

If there is anything I can do, please feel free to write to me.

Captain William Hart,
Commanding Officer,
Battery 'E', 2nd Battalion, 12th Marines.

The screams are silent, but you can hear them nevertheless, as you approach the long black gash in an otherwise green lawn. Their names - tens of thousands of them - are carved two inches high in black granite and they seem to go on forever. Names I know and names I don't. A friend from Little League Baseball. A brother of a friend. A brother of mine.

They all have their stories to tell. Stories of war and killing, of love and hope. Stories of youth and shattered dreams. And now they can begin to finally tell the stories as the nation begins to listen. At last.

The Wall is a somber place, a very quiet place. People talk in whispers so as to not interrupt the stories told in silent screams. But more than that it is a place where healing can begin. It has for thousands and it did for me. By leaving an earlier version of this story at the Wall, I was able to leave a part of something that I had carried for much too long.

The impact on me of visiting the Wall was unexpected. I have been at this for so damn long that I was sure I had it all worked out. I had even been to see the half-scale version of the Wall. So I felt confident that I had dulled the emotions. I'm not sure if I have ever been more wrong about anything before in my life. I was so overwhelmed that it took me a long time to even be able to approach it. I stopped several times to catch my breath and swallow the emotions. In the end, there was too much to swallow.

I saw many things at the Wall, but mostly I saw many others like me. The clinched fists, wrenched faces, questioning looks and glazed eyes were all there. And so was Bill.

Now I know he will always be there - and with us. And that's something that no one can ever take away.

The complete memorial to Lance Corporal Bill Koho is at

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother,
Dennis Koho
Keizer, Oregon
26 Mar 1997

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 10/28/2002