Michael A McAninch

United States Marine Corps
24 May 1947 - 28 August 1969
Houston, Texas
Panel 18W Line 002


Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Cross of Gallantry, RVN Campaign

The database page for Michael A McAninch

07 Oct 1998

In Memory Of My Fiance
Michael Alan McAninch
Corporal, United States Marine Corps
"Mike" 3/7, First Marine Division

My favorite photo of Michael was one he sent me from 'Nam just a few weeks before he died. The newspaper published it with his obituary, but I haven't been able to find that copy in a library search. He's kneeling in front of his compound in Da Nang: it's a sunny day, and he's smiling so beautifully and lovingly into the camera. Simply gorgeous. For years I had a little shrine to him in my apartment: that picture framed along with precious mementos, including our copy of The Prophet - all water and salt stained.

Funny story. We had gone to Galveston for the day and were reading and talking about entries in Gibran's book and our hopes for the future. We left it to take a long walk down the beach, and when we got back, the tide had come in. Not only was all our stuff soaked, but we had to dig the back tires of the car out of the sand. Hilarious - I'm "rocking" the car to Michael's instructions while he's digging sand. I was afraid I'd back over him. We laughed so hard. And I was horribly sunburned, so when we got back to his apartment that night, he ran me a warm bath, had me soak a while, then rubbed me gently with lotion, and lay next to me all night trying not to touch me while I moaned pitifully and he told funny stories.

He was magnificent.

We were both 21 when we met, seniors at the University of Houston. He was a philosophy major, and we both wanted to be college teachers who had our students visiting all the time. We met in The Cougar Den on campus - we had mutual friends, though had never been introduced before that day. He was reading Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, and that's how we started talking. At one point he went to the juke box and played Spanky and Our Gang's "I'd Like to Get to Know You", came back, sat across from me, and smiled into my eyes. That was it. We spent the rest of the summer together.

I knew he was a risk. Michael had dropped a course that wasn't going well, which put him under the limit. At the same time, his draft number came up. Rather than try to get out of it, he opted for volunteering for the Marine Corps - shorter tour of duty, and he thought he could get back in school sooner, and have it paid for so he could go on to graduate school. So when it started, I knew he would be leaving and that he would go to 'Nam. It was an idyllic summer: I stayed with him: he cooked for me while I studied (interesting: I especially remember his spaghetti); we took long walks (one of them was joined by a puppy that Michael played and played with - I've never forgotten that); listened to 60s music; Michael painted (he did beautiful water colors) and wrote poetry to me. We had friends over; he was one of the most beloved people I've ever met; others simply adored him.

Then the night before he left for boot camp, he asked me to marry him. In fact, we said our vows before friends, and he addressed all his letters to "Mrs. Michael McAninch."

He came home on leave for three weeks at Christmas and wanted to get married then. I said "Let's wait and do it right with family and everything". Biggest mistake I ever made in my life, but both sets of our parents were worried that we might be marrying out of "war frenzy". This is why I never interfere with my own son's decisions about his personal life. But it was a wonderful three weeks. We saw The Yellow Submarine and Romeo and Juliet, hung out with friends, had the best New Year's Eve of my life, even to this day.

He called me from San Diego the night before he left for Viet Nam. I never heard his voice again. But he wrote two and three letters every week from 'Nam. In May, he became ill with malaria and ended up in a hospital. I still believe they should have sent him home. But they returned him to his squad. I don't know how he remained so upbeat and positive in all his letters: he was in some of the worst battles of the war that summer. My job was to keep writing, sending pictures and care packages, and depositing the checks he sent home for our marriage and apartment upon his return. Never once did Michael ever complain.

At 9:00 am, August 28th, 1969, near Da Nang, his platoon came under mortar fire. Michael's Bronze Star citation says he put his men into defensive positions, then ran across open terrain through the firefight to cover a group of his men who were wounded and exposed. He protected them while the chopper evacuated them; then he was killed by a mortar. The citation is clear that he inspired all his men and saved many lives.

I buried him on September 9th, the day we were supposed to meet on his R&R and six months before he was supposed to come home.

He was twenty-two.

Michael was awarded the Cross of Gallantry from the Republic of Vietnam and the Bronze Star Medal.

He left me his life insurance so I could go on to graduate school.

Though I remarried (I always have considered myself Michael's wife) and had a family, I never forgot my Michael, nor did I ever stop loving him. Thank you, Jim for honoring him and his fallen comrades in this way.

Joan McAninch Samuelson

Joan's encounter with The Wall
was read by actress Teri Garr
at the National Memorial Day Concert
broadcast live on PBS
Sunday, May 28, 2000

Graphic courtesy Victor Vilionis
7th Marines

20 Jul 2004

Michael, I did not know you, but your younger brother Pat is in my church class at 1st Baptist in Houston, Texas. I served with the 25th Infantry Division in 1966. This is to honor you and thank you for your service and your sacrifice for your country for an honorable cause. We were always right and we love you and miss you. Semper Fi, Mike.

From a friend of Mike's brother, Pat,
John Clingan
877 Bettina Court #655, Houston, Tx 77024

18 May 2007

Hi, I'm not related to any Vietnam Soldier at least from what I know.

I finished watching the movie Letters Home From Vietnam this week and the movie really touched me. I can't stop thinking about the movie and it brought tears to my eyes and I got really emotional. I live in Illinios and I hope one day to see the Vietnam Memorial Wall as a promise to myself.

I hope I haven't taken up too much space but I really want to let the families of the Vietnam soldiers know that my heart goes out to them and I'm very proud of what your loved one accomplished and that today I sometimes pray but always think about our soldiers overseas and I respect why they are there and I will always have respect and love for all of our soldiers who died in all the wars the U.S. has ever been involved in. They deserve all the awards and medals in the world.

To the moms - you should all be very proud 'cause you raised a great guy who fought for our country. Amen and God Bless to all.

Thank You for reading my thoughts and you may contact me if you wish.

Amanda Money
P. O. Box 95504, Hoffman Estates, Il 60169

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Three companies from the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, got caught up in a full-fledged battle during a search and destroy operation in Quang Nam Province on 28 Aug 1969. Kilo 3/7 took the initial action when they came under heavy fire while deplaning in a "hot" landing zone. Lima and Mike 3/7 were inserted with a dual mission - to ease the pressure on Kilo 3/7 and to take the fight to the NVA regulars. They did both, but while the NVA were forced from the field the Marines lost 13 men killed in action ... and 2-1/2 years later another died of wounds received that day:
  • Kilo 3/7:
    • Cpl Charles C. Buchanan, Bristol, VA
    • Cpl Clarence H. Saint Clair, Pensacola, FL (Navy Cross)
    • LCpl Johnny S. Bosser, Fort Lupton, CO (Silver Star)
    • LCpl Jose F. Jimenez, Red Rock, AZ (Medal of Honor)
    • LCpl Robert W. McCabe, Cincinnati, OH
    • Pfc Dennis D. Davis, Capitol Heights, MD (Navy Cross)
    • Pfc Edward H. Sherrod, Oklahoma City, OK (Silver Star)

  • Lima 3/7:
    • Cpl Donald G. Bailey, Olean, NY (DoW 01/11/1972)
    • LCpl John C. Reevs, Calera, OK
    • Pfc Welby H. Grayson, Vienna, VA

  • Mike 3/7:
    • Cpl Michael A. McAninch, Houston, TX (Bronze Star "V")
    • LCpl Salum E. Chard, Millville, NJ
    • LCpl William F. Davis, Vina, AL
    • Pvt Marco A. Fregoso, Los Angeles, CA
The Marines view awards for gallantry in action with great seriousness. The fact that at least one Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, and two Silver Stars were awarded gives an idea of both the ferocity of the fighting and the bravery of the Marines involved.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 03 Mar 1998
Last updated 08/10/2009