Ralph Dennis McNew

Army of the United States
25 September 1946 - 28 February 1967
Lily, Kentucky
Panel 15E Line 121

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Ralph D McNew

The database page for Ralph Dennis McNew

28 May 2001

I was only 10 years old when Ralph was killed. I will never forget how shocked our community was to lose one of our own. Thirty-four years later, I still remember.

A memorial from a neighbor,
Larry Conley

Ralph D McNew

7 Feb 2004

I'm Ralph's cousin and every year for the last 7 years I have traveled to The Vietnam War Memorial with my 5th grade class from Gainesville, Florida. It never fails to be an emotional time for me as I remember our childhood and the love that our entire family shared. Your mom and my dad, brother and sister, have passed on and I'm sure they have joined you in heaven. I love you and think of you often.

Your cousin,
Beverly Copley Blanchard
7620 SW 13th Road, Gainesville, Florida

23 Mar 2004

My name is Shirley McNew Mattingly ... Ralph McNew was my brother. He has been gone for 37 years and it seems like it was yesterday. The hardest thing I have ever done was to lay my brother to rest. Not only was the family torn apart, the community was also. We've lost mom and dad, plus another brother, there are 6 of us left. At least I know where they are... They have gone to heaven to be with you. If the young people could see what our soldiers went through in Vietman they would give them more respect. I have three sons and they have all been in the service. My middle son is still in the service ... he looks a lot like Ralph. May God Bless all the families who had loved ones in Vietman.

From a loving sister who misses you very much,
Shirley McNew Mattingly
549 Slate Ridge Rd, Lily Ky 40740

27 Mar 2004

I'm Ralph's niece. I was never born at the time of his death, but I have heard all the stories of my uncle, even the war stories he had in his letters. It took courage and guts to do what he did. Even though all I have is pictures I will never forget Ralph.

From his niece,
Jessica Clowers Hoskins
610 Hoskins Lane, London, Ky. 40741

5 Jul 2004

There are special bonds that are made in war. At times, men that you never thought would of been close to each other get so close that they become brothers and are risking their lives to save each other even when death is knocking at their door. War bonds men in many ways. Ways that no one will ever realize unless they have been there. I speak only about the Infantry Corps. They are on the ground walking around looking for the enemy in the hopes that the enemy will not have the surprise on them. Being shot at by the enemy soldiers.

Example: Imagine walking through the woods at your house and someone in the woods you don't know is hunting you...

In war you have your pilots, support personnel like cooks and supply, but the only person who is seeing and having to kill to survive are your ground pounders: Infantry. These guys go out for days and weeks at a time on patrols, searching villages and trails looking for the enemy troops. Smelling because they only get to bath in the malaria infected streams and rivers that they walk through, no deodorant because it's extra weight to carry, only enough food for however many days that you're out humping around the country, and sleeping only when you can. But don't forget that you have to carry ammunition for your weapon. Because it's only you and 10 other BOYS by yourselves and no one else around against what ever force you come on. Ammunition is what you need and it weights a lot. So, many of these men gave up carrying food to replace it with ammunition just so that they wouldn't run out in combat, hoping they would get the chance to come home to the world (U.S.A.) when it was all over. The worst fear that a Infantrymen can have is running out of ammo and then being killed because of it. Even then all of us infantry guys are taught how to use a knife, and hopefully we'll never have to get that close to the enemy to push the knife into his or her flesh.

Men go to the extremes in battle. No one can ever imagine what it's like for a boy at the average age of 22 (Vietnam Age) to leave home and go around the world to fight in a war. Many of these boys didn't know what was going on but their country called and Ralph and the rest of our veterans answered that call with pride. More than 50,000 of these young boys gave their lives including Ralph because our country asked them to.

War is HELL! Plain and simple. Right down to the fourth point of contact. But in our society it will continue to grow. Slowly it will, but it continues.

I never got to know my uncle Ralph. I've seen many pictures of him and I can see from his letters he is truly a hero. He never mentions anything bad in his letters. He struggles with that pain himself to only keep his family from worrying about his safety. I'm sorry but his letters read a side of Ralph that was in pain and was ready to come home. Like other men, Ralph was in love. Her name was Linda.

I've heard from my mother that I do favor my uncle Ralph's features a lot. She will not watch any war movies with me, and will not listen to any Vietnam ideas I have. I can only imagine from my experience the hurt that she still carries in her heart from that war.

Let us not forget the losses that all families make when our country calls. But let us answer the call she makes to help those people that need our help. Let us take their hunger and oppression away so that they will live a happier life from that oppression that evil men have upon them.

I am Shirley (McNew) Mattingly's middle son, LT Brian Mattingly. I am a nine year vetern now with the HHC 1-149th Infantry Battalion.

From his nephew,
Lt Brian Mattingly
549 Slate Ridge Rd, Lily, Ky 40740

6 Oct 2004

My name is Jordan D. Payne. I was not born when Ralph died. I'm only 17 as of right now, but I've heard my family talk about him. My mother (Pamela D. McNew) was very young, but does remember him. My aunt (Shirley McNew) knew him very well, she is his sister. They've told me many things about him, especially my Nana (Janice Howard). She informed me that he was a very good looking boy, which I can see, and how he was very determined, and serving in the Army was not a chore, but a choice. I'm only 17 but I highly respect all the soldiers that have served, especially since I've gained more interest about learning new things about Ralph. My boyfriend served in the Army and was over in Iraq, and he took me to see the Moving Wall. Even though I did not know Ralph, this had a huge impact on me and I started to cry. Standing in front of my Great-uncle's name, and knowing that he was watching over me was a great experience for me. I would like to know a lot more about my uncle, so if anybody could help me out please write to me at

245 Barton Hollow Road, Rockholds, KY 40759

My love goes out to Ralph and my family (Shirley McNew, Janice Howard, and another I found, Beverly Blanchard). I would like to try to get in contact with those who I don't know. I would love to know more ... THANKS!!!

From a greatniece,
Jordan Danielle Payne
245 Barton Hollow Road, Rockholds Ky, 40759

09 Nov 2006

I am a distant cousin of Ralph McNew. My mom is Shirley Sue McNew, daughter of John and Charity McNew. She and Ralph were the same age. She said she has very fond memories of visiting Ralph and his siblings when they were kids. Mom said Ralph was "such a nice young man, just so very nice."

Mom found the memorial page after doing a "Google" search of Ralph's name. She wanted me to see his pictures, medals and service record. He was a very handsome young man - 20 years old - just a young boy! What a tragedy.

When I visited Washington, DC a few years ago mom asked me to take a rubbing of Ralph's name. I have to say, I was overcome with emotion during my visit to The Wall. Even though I had never met Ralph, I felt overwhelming sadness for his loss. His name there in stone really hammered home the loss to his family - and his life, full of promise, that was cut short. All the names on that wall hold the same sad reality.

My dad, SMSgt David R. Roby, USAF (Ret) was in Vietnam for 1 year when I was a baby. Thankfully, he came home to mom and me.

My heart goes out to Ralph's close family who knew him, love him and miss him. Please know that he's not forgotten, even among relatives you don't even know you have!

From a cousin,
Rhonda Roby Williams
Dayton, Ohio

06 Oct 2007

Ralph, just a note to let you know you are not forgotten. I think of you often, your friend and fellow veteran, Larry.

Larry Taylor

A Note from The Virtual Wall

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 28 February 1967, while operating near Prek Klok, about 14 kilometers south-southwest of the Katum airfield, B/1/16 Infantry was attacked by a much larger enemy force. Twenty-five U. S. troops died in heavy fighting before a combination of air and artillery support relieved the beleaguered command. Platoon Sergeant Matthew Leonard received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his actions in rallying his outnumbered men and preventing even greater loss of life.

The 25 men were

  • 1LT David M. Anthony, Geneva, GA
  • PFC Richard I. Bermejo, Quebradillas, PR
  • CPL Robert J. Calvillo, Bakersfield, CA
  • PFC Juan Casiano, New York, NY
  • SP4 Charles Combs, Hazard, KY
  • PFC Steven W. Couch, Salt Lake City, UT
  • SP4 Russell W. Dickens, Piney Point, MD
  • PFC Kenneth M. Edwards, Royal Oak, MI
  • SSG John H. Graham, San Mateo, CA
  • PFC Larry C. Harris, Willis, VA
  • CPL Michael J. Heal, Hayward, CA
  • SP4 Budd E. Hood, Painesville, OH
  • PFC William W. Hood, O Fallon, MO
  • CPL James F. Lamn, Pompano Beach, FL
  • SFC Matthew Leonard, Birmingham, AL (Medal of Honor)
  • PFC Patrick N. Lyons, Manitowoc, WI
  • CPL Ralph D. McNew, Lily, KY (Bronze Star "V")
  • PFC Stanley G. Miller, Commerce City, CO
  • SP4 Danny R. Parkulo, Beckley, WV
  • PFC Lee E. Reukauf, Kansas City, KS
  • SSG Douglas A. Rix, Grass Valley, CA
  • CPL Harry T. Satterfield, Madison, NC
  • CPL John A. Seravalli, New York, NY
  • SP4 Hubert O. Th-uot, Detroit, MI (Bronze Star "V")
  • SP4 Robert D. Yorker, Baltimore, MD

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 28 May 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009