Robert Arnold Mettert

United States Marine Corps
14 December 1946 - 07 May 1967
Vancouver, Washington
Panel 19E Line 053


Robert A. Mettert

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Arnold Mettert

23 Jun 2001

The Mettert family and I were long-time friends, we grew up together. I first met the Mettert family in 1956 at MacArthur Elementary School in Vancouver, Wa. There were three brothers and one little sister, Mary Mettert. I went to school with the three brothers, Robert Arnold Mettert being the middle brother, first at MacArthur Elementary School (1956-58), then McLoughlin Junior High School (1961-64), and finally at Hudson's Bay High School (1964-67), all in Vancouver, Wa, where we lived and grew up together.

Robert Arnold Mettert was one of one of the finest young men a person would ever would have wanted to meet. Being well grounded in the Catholic church and coming from an all Marine Corps family, he had a firm foundation for "God and Country". Robert's dad, John Mettert Sr., served as a Marine infantryman for four years in the South Pacific during WWII, including on Guadalcanal. The oldest son, John Mettert Jr., served as a Marine infantryman in the Central Highlands of Vietnam for two tours and came back without a scratch.

CPL Robert A Mettert completed his first tour as a Marine infantryman in Vietnam and lived to come back and talk about it. Following in his family's footsteps he volunteered for a second tour, and was very tragically killed only seven days into his second tour. Younger brother Tom Mettert (my age) also served as a Marine, but was assigned to a radio battalion in DaNang, Vietnam.

Robert Arnold Mettert was an honest, hard working young man, whose loss has changed the face of Vancouver, Wa, forever. His loss was felt deeply by many people. Robert Arnold Mettert was a man of destiny. May he rest in Peace in the golden light of eternal Love from now and forever more!

Your good friend
Greg Payne
700 Veterans Drive, The Dalles, Or 97058

11 May 2004

Shell Fatal To Marine in Vietnam - The war in Vietnam has again been brought close to home, as the death of Marine Cpl. Robert Arnold Mettert of Vancouver was confirmed Wednesday night by the Defense Department. The corporal, son of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Mettert, 1208 Brandt Rd., was killed last Sunday in the vicinity of Khe Sanh, to become the 11th member of the armed forces with Clark County ties to die in Vietnam. Mrs. Mettert said she was first notified of her son's death Tuesday, but official confirmation did not come until the following evening. He was said to have died of chest wounds suffered from an exploding 81mm mortar shell. The 20-year-old Leatherneck had just arrived back in Vietnam for his second tour of duty. Mrs. Mettert said he had served 13 months there, before coming home on leave last March. He volunteered to go back and left here 21 Apr (1967) arriving in Vietnam just seven days before he met death. Mettert was born 14 Dec 1946 at New Castle IN. He was a 1965 graduate of Hudson's Bay High School and a member of the St. Joseph's Catholic Church. He had been a Columbian paper boy for about five years from 1959 to 1963. In addition to his parents and his brother at home, the corporal is survived by another brother, Thomas, and sisters, Mary Ann and Joan, all at home. Mrs. Mettert said the funeral arrangements will be made by the Vancouver Funeral Chapel when the body arrives from overseas with the services to be held at St. Joseph's Church. She also noted that though she appreciates the sentiment, she would prefer not to receive flowers at her home.

(The Columbian, Vancouver WA, 11 May 1967)

Funeral Due For Marine Killed In 2nd Viet Tour

Cpl. Robert Mettert of the U.S. Marines will be buried in Willamette National Cemetery with full honors Monday morning.

He could be taking it easy in a soft assignment Stateside, but he died instead, in battle near Khe Sanh, just below the DMZ in South Vietnam.

He was struck by an 81-mm mortar fragment in the chest. "We did everything we could to save him." one of his buddies wrote," but it was no use."

That was Sunday, 7 May (1967). Ten days later Mettert's body came home in a sealed coffin, marked "body unviewable."

The rosary will be recited at 7:30 p.m.,Sunday at the Vancouver WA Funeral Chapel.

Corporal aged 20

Cpl. Mettert, son of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Mettert, 1208 Brandt Rd., Vancouver WA was 20. He had already served his 13 month tour in Vietnam. He would have automatically returned to a quiet stateside assignment for six months. But he volunteered to return to the thick of the fight near Khe Sanh. Why? To save some money he told his mother.

"He was determined to pay his own way through college," she recalls. But the truth came out when he talked to a class of seniors at Hudson's Bay High School, where he was a graduate with honors in June, 1965. "It may sound corny," he told his schoolmates last month, during his last home leave,"But I happen to love my country. We had to fight for our freedom, when we were getting started. Now we are a rich and powerful nation and I feel we have an obligation to help others fight for their freedom."

Fear Admitted

"Aren't you afraid?", the students asked.

"Sure I'm afraid whenever I go into action," he said. "Everyone is but you get so busy you don't think about yourself. You know you can get it any day," he told his teachers. "I've said goodbye to everyone."

That was his last day at home, 21 Apr (1967). He was back in Vietnam by April 30. His mother got a letter dated 3 May (1967) telling about some hot fighting for Hill 831 near Khe Sanh, but assured his mother he was back in the safety and comparative comfort of Camp Carroll, the main Marine artillery plateau.

He was in command of a squad and had been recommended for promotion to sergeant. Four days later he was dead, just seven days after starting his second tour of duty in Vietnam.

His brother, John, now at home, also volunteered to serve two sucessive tours of duty 19 months as a Marine Corporal in Vietnam. John was released from active duty 4 April, 1967.

Mr. and Mrs. Mettert have a son, Thomas A., and two daughters, Mary Ann and Joan Renee at home. Cpl. Mettert's survivors also include an aunt, Sister Antonetta, a nun at Dayton OH, and the grandmother, Mrs. Amanda Mettert of Newcastle IN.

Cpl. Mettert was a junior dealer for the Oregonian for five years before enlisting.

(Oregonian, Portland OR, 20 May 1967)

Courtesy of
Darilee Bednar

Faces from the Wall

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Corporal Mettert served with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, during his first tour of duty and is remembered on the 1/4 Marines site

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index M
WA State Index . Panel 19E

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 11/13/2010