Ramon Leyba

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class
United States Navy
26 February 1948 - 07 June 1968
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Panel 59W Line 025


Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Ramon Leyba

17 Apr 2008

Ramon, you are not able to, nor would you even think, if you could, about letting others know what a good person and outstanding runner you were. Seems it's been left to me to let the world know who Ramon Leyba was.

Ramon excelled in academics, always at the top of the classes he took. These included all the advanced courses needed to attend college. To get to school, Roman rode a Cushman type scooter and practiced yoga. Talk about being ahead of his time, Ramon was a living example.

Ramon was a natural born distance runner, so good that to this day, over forty years later, his track and cross-country times in these races still stand, considering that today's running shoes and track surfaces have been improved by technology. So good, that a few races and some trophies, to this day, are named in his honor. An Albuquerque Public Schools invitational track and field meet held April 5, 2008 announced over the PA system "Today's 1600m race is named the Ramon Leyba Memorial Race." Ramon was such a good runner, he had to run against himself in most races because no one was able to stay up with him. Three of the best college track schools of the '60s awarded Ramon scholarships. He chose Texas Western, now UTEP.

Before graduation from high school, Ramon enlisted in the Naval Reserve completing some military requirements before graduation. His interest lay in the medical field, so he decided to become a Navy Hospital Corpsman. After graduation, Ramon was granted a one year active duty deferment in order to be able to use his track scholarship. Most other members of the same Reserve unit were activated for duty right out of high school. I haven't any information on Ramon while he attended Texas Western, but I'm sure he excelled. At the end of his one-year deferment, Ramon was obligated to carry out his military duty. In the process, Ramon lost his life. Sadly, for many of Viet Nam's casualties, this was the end of their life story. For many of us, friends or families of the service members who lost their lives, whatever remembrances we have of them will forever remain in our hearts and memory. For me, Ramon will always be at a special place to remember him - the track meets I still attend in his honor.

Your track and cross-country and Navy buddy,
Marvin Garcia

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 07 June 1968 the 1st Bn, 26th Marines were conducting a sweep along the Bon Song River. Alpha 1/26 was providing a screening force along the river while Delta 1/26 was moving through the hills along the river. Charlie 1/26 was in echelon behind Delta, with the Command Group and H&S Company bringing up the rear.

As Delta 1/26 crested a ridgeline they took fire from a trenchline. The company established a base of fire, flanked the trenchline, and forced the NVA to withdraw - but they didn't withdraw far; a second set of fortifications lay only 50 yards behind the first. Charlie 1/26 sent help and Delta buckled down to assaulting the second trench line - and once again forced the NVA from their lines.

This action, though costly, was only a prelude. The NVA troops engaged by Delta 1/26 were a covering force for the NVA main body, which withdrew into the Alpha 1/26 position - and were engaged by the Alpha 1/26 Marines in a bloody fight. By the time the NVA escaped through the gap between Alpha's flank and the oncoming Delta Marines, 20 Marines and 2 sailors were dead:

  • A Company:
    • 2ndLt Paul M. McGrath, Rye, NY
    • SSgt Donald M. Cuff, Wilmington, DE
    • Cpl George A. Essary, Chattanooga, TN
    • Cpl Jerome D. Kupperschmidt, Sandwich, IL
    • Cpl Gregory A. Shelley, Palisades Park, NJ
    • LCpl Edward L. Bradford, Westville, OK
    • LCpl Kevin M. Coyne, Silver Spring, MD
    • LCpl Michael W. Travis, Sweetser, IN
    • Pfc Michael P. Becker, Omaha, NE
    • Pfc Jerry N. Christman, Williams, AZ
    • Pfc Carl M. Middlebrooks, Baltimore, MD
    • Pfc Alton L. Staples, Cincinnati, OH
    • Pfc Ernest L. Wesley, Stockbridge, GA

  • C Company:
    • Cpl David E. Dixon, Miami, FL

  • D Company:
  • H&S Company:
    • HM3 Ramon Leyba, Albuquerque, NM (H&S Co, w/ Alpha 1/26)
    • HN Ronald E. Rockefeller, Tivoli, NY
In a tragic coincidence, Lance Corporal Michael Travis's elder brother, Corporal Edmund B. Travis, an artilleryman with Alpha 1/13 Marines, had been killed in action on 27 June 1967 while serving on a Forward Observer team with the 1/26 Marines at Khe Sanh.

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business
than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 17 Apr 2008
Last updated 08/10/2009