Ronald William Meyer

Second Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps
08 November 1942 - 16 June 1966
Dubuque, Iowa
Panel 08E Line 053

Silver Star

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Navy Parachutist
Ronald W Meyer

The database page for Ronald William Meyer

7 May 2002

1st Recon Bn stands at the panel 08E and a million thoughts and emotions run thru our minds. Listed along with Marines of our unit, we have Marines from other units that came to the aid of C Co 1st Recon Bn on June 16, 1966.

Lt Meyer led his platoon up Hill 488 to help free 18 Marines surrounded by the VC on June 16, 1966. He gave his life and never knew how the battle would end. Marines are truly Brothers and many gave all to save some that day long ago.

To his family and members of 1/5 Marines we say "Thank you for your sacrifice -- we share your tears and memories of so many lost that day 36 years ago."

With Great Respect
"Old Ones of 1st Recon Bn"

A memorial initiated by a fellow Marine,
Randy Kendall

26 Nov 2002

My name is Clete Meyer, older brother of Ron. I want Ron's memorial to include the fact that he was awarded the Silver Star for the leadership and effort he gave as his platoon deployed up Hill 488 to help free his fellow Marines. The story of the courageous and gallant effort to free the 18 Marines on Hill 488 is told in the December, 1980, issue of the 'Soldier Of Fortune' on page 29 and was written by Capt Francis J. West, Jr.

In Ron's honor, I have flown an American Flag and a smaller Marine Flag underneath in my yard for more than 35 years. Each time I relocated, I have put a new flag pole in the ground which is lighted and invited the local Marine Recruiting Office to my home for a flag raising ceremony and a reception. At the last ceremony in 1997, we were honored to have in attendance over 120 people, nine local Marines in full dress and Retired Master Sgt Bill Brooks, who was a member of 1st BN during the time Ron was killed in action. In addition, our parents Donald and Jeannette Meyer and our other brother Jim (a USAF Veteran) also were in attendance during this ceremony to honor Ron. It was very touching as "Taps" played, golfers on the golf course stopped, people held their hand to their heart and tears streamed down the cheeks of many. I am honored to pay tribute to a fallen Marine and loved brother. God Bless you Ron, the US Marines, all Veterans and America.

Clete Meyer
USAF Captain and C-130 Rescue Pilot, Vietnam Veteran


The President of the United State
takes pride in presenting the

posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action with Company C, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, in the Republic of Vietnam on 16 June 1966. When his platoon was pinned down during a reserve operation in the vicinity of Tam Ky, Second Lieutenant Meyer single-handedly and without regard for his own safety attacked a series of enemy automatic weapon positions with hand grenades. Though continuously exposed to intense and accurate enemy fire, he successfully destroyed one of the enemy positions. Again exposing himself to the enemy, he attempted to maneuver to a location from which to direct supporting arms fire on the other enemy positions. While attempting to direct fire on a fleeing enemy, he exposed himself to an enemy sniper and was mortally wounded. Second Lieutenant Meyer�s supreme sacrifice so inspired the rest of his men that they regained the momentum of the attack, successfully eliminated the enemy resistance, and accomplished the rescue mission saving the lives of thirteen other Marines. By his bold and courageous actions he upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.
For the President,

Paul H. Nitze
Secretary of the Navy

Ron attended the Naval Academy and chose to be commissioned an officer of Marines.
The right photo is Bob Buelow (a high school friend from Dubuque, Iowa) and Ron.

This is the Flag Dedication in April of 1997 in our back yard. The people in the photo inset are

Back row, left to right: Clete Meyer; Major Richard M. Wersel, USMC; Gunnery Sgt Nevin D. Hansbarger, USMC; brother Jim Meyer

Front Row, left to right: our Mom, Jeannette M. Meyer, and Dad, Donald C. Meyer.

Rafoth sees Marines come to man's home to notify his parents of death

Veteran recalls his fallen friend

by Craig Reber
Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Page A1, May 27, 2002

Among the names carved in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Dubuque's Miller Riverview Park is Ronald W. Meyer.

Ron Meyer, as well as thousands of other fallen Americans, is remembered today. Dave Rafoth will never forget his friend, whom he grew up with, hung out with, played army with.

"He was a hell of an athlete," Rafoth said, recalling Meyer's wrestling prowess at Dubuque Senior High School. "He was a real smart guy, too.

"My very first official date with a girl, I doubled with Dave."

Meyer excelled in the classroom as well. He won an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and graduated in 1965. He accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

"He looked like a million bucks," Rafoth said, recalling seeing his friend clad in his blue Marine Corps dress uniform.

Like many young men coming of age in the early 1960s while the conflict grew in far-off southeast Asia, military service was a very real possibility. Meyer advised his friend not to go in the Army, "'Go in the Marine Corps. With your education, you'll get a nice cushy job.'"

Rafoth listened.

"I did, but I didn't tell my folks," Rafoth said.

Vietnam was a war that was graphically brought home to the American public via network television. Rafoth recalled seeing a news report by Dan Rather on a firefight near Danang. A soldier was shot, but not killed.

"This is real, not Hollywood," Rafoth remembered thinking.

Vietnam's reality would strike home even harder. Rafoth was busy in the summer of 1966. In October, he would begin his training with the Marine Corps.

Rafoth was working on a house next to where the Meyer family lived. He remembers the day a Marine Corps staff car pulled up to the house and out stepped a Marine major.

"I knew exactly what it was," he said.

Nobody was home. They were looking for the Meyers.

"I told him where Mr. Meyer worked," Rafoth said. "They must have made a phone call. Mr. Meyer was there in five minutes."

The Marine major returned as well. What happened next, Rafoth will never forget.

"I was outside the house," he said. "I heard a scream. (It was Meyer's mother, Jeanette). I can still hear it. It gave me the willies. It still does. I said I had to go home. I left work and went home and stayed for the next day or two."

Rafoth found out later Ronald W. Meyer was killed in action in Vietnam on the same day Rafoth was sworn into the Marine Corps, on June 16, 1966. Meyer was posthumously awarded the Silver Star - for gallantry in action.

"I'm going in the Marine Corps, my best buddy is dead," Rafoth said. "I had a lot of reservations. Ron Meyer, second lieutenant, leading a platoon, shot in the back. That was a real eye opener. There was no turning back."

Ronald Meyer's parents gave Rafoth Ron's eagle, globe and anchor insignia from his dress uniform. He still has it.

Rafoth recalled his pride when he graduated from Marine Corps' recruit training.

"If my buddy could see me, he would be pretty proud," Rafoth said, remembering the day.

© Dubuque Telegraph Herald 2002
Reproduced under 17 USC �107
19 Feb 2006

I never met my Great-uncle Ron, only stories from my family which make me feel like I've gotten to know who he was. Every time I've gone to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in DC, I look up his name and scratch it onto a piece of paper. I haven't been in a while, but this makes me want to go back soon. May he rest in peace, and one day, when it's my time, I'll look forward to getting to meet him :) God bless!!

From his grand-niece (I think),
Allison Wise

A note from The Virtual Wall

The battle on 16 June 1966 on Hill 488 (Nui Vu) involved a full battalion of North Vietnamese Army regulars assaulting 18 men of the 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Recon Battalion, led by Staff Sergeant Jimmie Earl Howard. The Recon Marines had established an observation post atop Nui Vu in order to identify and prosecute by remote fire VC/NVA forces operating in the mountains west of Chu Lai.

The operation was sufficiently effective to get the NVA commander's attention and sufficiently dangerous for him to commit a fresh battalion to eradicate the Marines. He failed.

The NVA assault on Hill 488 began in late afternoon and continued through the night. The beleagued Marines were assisted by Marine and Air Force helicopter and fixed wing air support, but it was sheer courage and determination that permitted the Marines to hold until morning. Charlie 1/5 Marines were airlifted onto the reverse slope of Hill 488 and relieved the Recon Marines. Of the 18 men in the Recon Platoon, 6 died and 12 were wounded. Two men of Charlie 1/5 Marines and one each from VMO-2 and VMO-6 (Marine UH-1 squadrons) died. One Medal of Honor (Staff Sergeant Howard), 4 Navy Crosses, and 13 Silver Stars were awarded.

Immediately after the battle, Captain F. J. West, USMCR, interviewed men from Howard's platoon, Charlie 1/5, airmen from the squadrons which supported Howard, and others. In 1967 the History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, published his account of the fight on Hill 488. Captain West's account is available on The Virtual Wall at

HILL 488

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009