Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
21 August 1944 - 26 April 1966
Albany, New York
Panel 06E Line 111



National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz

17 Feb 2006

At 1900H, Pfc Lorenz and another Marine, at Dong Den mountain in Quang Nam Province, attempted to dispose of some contaminated fuel by rolling the drum down a hill. It exploded, with the back-draft of fire burning Lorenz over 80% of his body.

The two men were evacuated to C Company, 1st Medical Bn for treatment. Pfc Lorenz was transferred to Clark Air Base in The Philippines on 18 Apr 66. His wounds were serious enough to be transferred again to Oakland Naval Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and died on 26 Apr 66.

During 1966, there was no requirement for the individual Services to report war-related deaths which occurred outside Vietnam as a war casualties, and Pfc Lorenz's name was missed when the Vietnam Memorial Wall was erected.

It wasn't until 2001, with the encouragement of a Veterans Association in Canada, that Hans Lorenz's mother submitted his name and facts to Headquarters, US Marine Corps for approval to be added to the Wall.

A return response was swift - he was DENIED as an addition. The official reason was that his death was due to a non-hostile cause, which did not fall within the existing rules and regulations of Wall additions at the time. After a further investigation into this denial, the USMC did agree that had his name been submitted to them prior to 1993, his name would have been routinely approved for addition.

From a military researcher and former Marine,
Bruce Swander

26 Feb 2006

Hans was born August, 21, 1944 in Neuenburg, Germany. He emigrated to Coldwater, Ontario with his mother, Linda, when he was 11 years old. Later they moved to Midland where Hans attended Midland-Penetanguishene District High School. Hans was active in the Sea Cadets and took charge of younger cadets in parades and activities. He was also Sea Cadet of the Year 61-62.

Hans joined the United States Marine Corps and was later sent to Vietnam. On April 11, 1966 he suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 80% of his body while disposing of contaminated gasoline in the vicinity of Danang. He was flown to the U. S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. His mother flew from Canada to California to be by his side. Fifteen days later on April 26, 1966, Hans Lorenz died.

Hans was returned to his adopted home for burial with full military honours. Outside the funeral home and along the street, hundreds of citizens from the community stood silently and watch the cortege pass on the way to the Lakeview Cemetery in Midland. The Sea Cadets of RCSCC "Huron" served as guard of honour. Ten marines came from Buffalo, N.Y. under Major M. W. Gubany. Six Marines carried the US Flag draped casket and four members were in the firing party. The flag was presented to his mother Linda following the ceremony.

From a friend of his mother,
Maddy Laffin

As a Sea Cadet

Lakeview Cemetery, Midland, Ontario

Notes from The Virtual Wall

During the Vietnam War there was no overriding reason to keep close track of names of the men and women who died as a result of military service in the war zone. When, a decade after the withdrawal of US forces, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was approved for construction, the service branches went back through their records to identify our dead by name. Inevitably some men who should have been on the "Wall" were not, and others who shouldn't have been were.

Over the years additional names have been inscribed on the Wall - some were men who died as a result of wounds, and others were men whose names were overlooked in earlier years.

Hans Lorenz's name does not appear on the Wall - but it should.

The points made by Mr. Swander above are borne out by official records. The 1st Bn, 3rd Marines' Operations Log for April 1996 contains the following entries recording the accident

From CO 1/3 Marines ltr Serial 185066 dtd 1 May 1966
Staff Journal for Operation ORANGE

while the Report of Casualty prepared by the Naval Hospital Oakland speaks for itself:

Executive Order No. 11216, signed by President Johnson on April 24, 1965, designated Vietnam and adjacent coastal waters, within specified geographical coordinates, as a combat zone. DOD Instruction 7730.22, "Reports of U.S. Casualties in Combat Areas," January 20, 1967, and March 20, 1973, provided that the casualties to be reported were all those occurring within the designated combat areas and those deaths occurring anywhere as the result or aftermath of an initial casualty occurring in a combat area.

Pfc Lorenz was injured and died after the Executive Order was in place, and the listing for the Wall was compiled while DODINST 7730.22 was in effect. Pfc Lorenz should have been on the Wall from the beginning - but his name was overlooked. Mr. Swander has provided the text of the Marine Corps' response to Mrs. Lorenz's request that her son's name be added to the Wall:

Dear Ms Lorenz,

This is in response to your letter of November 29, 2003, requesting that your son, Private First Class Hans J. R. Lorenz, name be added to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.

The criteria that determine eligibility for the inscription of a servicemember's name on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial are quite explicit. In March, 1993, officials of the Department of Defense and officers of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, a private organziation that administers the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, met to discuss expanding the criteria to include those who died as a result of service-connect disability or disease contracted during the conflict. The consesus was that the criteria should not be expanded beyond the original i.e., to recognize those servicemembers who died as a result of combat with enemy forces.

The fact that your son's name cannot be added to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial does not disparage his service to our Nation. It should be remembered that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands as a lasting symbol to all who served our country during that period in our history.

A. Hammers
Head, Casualty Section
Military Personnel Services Branch
Personal and Family Readiness Division
By direction of the Commandant of the Marine Corps

The problem with the 1993 decision is that it does not adhere to the "original" criteria as set out in DODINST 7730.22 - and it wholly ignores the fact that 29 other Marines who died of non-hostile causes between 30 March and 25 May 1966 are on the Wall. They should be there - but so too should Private First Class Hans Lorenz.

He belongs on Panel 07E, Line 001.


About the same time this memorial was published a second request on behalf of Pfc Lorenz was submitted to the Marine Corps. It seems the request generated a review of the 1993 decision and at least a partial over-turn: The Defense Department approved the addition of Pfc Lorenz's name to the Wall. On Memorial Day 2006, Pfc Hans Lorenz rejoined his comrades-in-arms ... his name appears on Panel 06E, Line 111.

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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 Feb 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009