Thomas Curtis Metsker

Army of the United States
20 May 1939 - 15 November 1965
Indianapolis, Indiana
Panel 03E Line 049

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas Curtis Metsker

Catherine, Karen, and Thomas Metsker

Thomas and Catherine Metsker with their daughter Karen.
Photo copied with permission from
"We Were Soldiers Once, and Young"

16 Feb 1999

Tom grew up overseas, following his Dad to State Department and American Red Cross jobs in Japan, Korea and Africa. He was a state champion track star (pole vault, etc.) at The Citadel. Tall, handsome, smart, intense. He and Hal Moore would do a morning run together, five miles on the inner perimeter road around the new Cav base at An Khe. He was moved, in-country, from an advisor job with an ARVN battalion to First Battalion, 7th Cavalry. Moore made him his S-2 but had marked him down to command a company as soon as one came open.

Tom met Catherine LaPlante on a blind date. She was a fellow Indianan. They were madly in love and Tom took her off to Fort Benning and a 2nd LT's apartment in the famous Camellia Gardens Apartments right outside the front gate. Their daughter, Karen, was born at Martin Army Hospital.

In the first flush of contact in LZ XRay, Tom was seen firing his M16 at the swarms of NVA soldiers trying to break through into the LZ. He was wounded in the shoulder; a platoon sergeant bandaged his shoulder and sent him to a collection point for the wounded. Major Bruce Crandall flew in a load of ammo and wounded piled on. Tom Metsker was already aboard when he saw a stretcher party bringing the more badly wounded Captain Ray LeFebvre, D Company commander. Tom got back out of the Huey and was helping load Ray into the open door when a sniper round hit him in the head. Crandall says Tom tumbled forward into the chopper and was dead on arrival at Camp Holloway.

Tom was buried with full honors at Arlington Cemetery.

God rest him.

From Tom's friend,
Joe Galloway

1st Cav Div

The First Cavalry Association
Seventh Cavalry Regiment

Captain Thomas Metsker
died in the fighting in the
Ia Drang Valley
November 1965.

Visit the
Landing Zone X-Ray site

and The Virtual Wall's
Ia Drang Memorial

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index M
IN State Index . Panel 03E

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Feb 1999
Last updated 10/20/2011