Richard Wayne Middleton

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
14 June 1946 - 27 October 1967
Ironton, Missouri
Panel 30E Line 005


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Richard Wayne Middleton

04 Oct 1999

Richard Wayne Middleton
as remembered by his Aunt,
Dorothy Bartlow Thomas

Wayne, as he was known by his family and friends, was born 6/14/1946 at St. Mary's of the Ozarks Hospital in Ironton, MO. He is the son of Lonnie Carl and Ruth Bartlow Middleton.

Wayne grew up in Ironton, where attended Ironton schools, joined the Ironton Methodist Church in 1958 and graduated from Arcadia Valley High School in 1964. He was active in school and while in high school, was in the trumpet section of the band.

Two years after graduating from high school, on 3/21/1966, Wayne joined the U.S. Marines.

A few months later, on 8/11/1966, he married Michaelene "Mickey" Wilson, his high school sweetheart, in the Ironton Methodist Church.

Less than one month later, his father, Lonnie, died on 9/10/1966.

In December 1966, just one month out of boot camp, Wayne went to Viet Nam. Less than one year into his tour, Wayne was wounded on 10/13/1967. He was one of several U.S. service men who were wounded when an air strike by U.S. planes fell short and hit a bunker in Quang Tri, a province in South Viet Nam, near Con Thien.

Wayne was flown to Clark AFB in the Philippines and while he was there, had to have his cast removed and replaced due to bleeding. From Clark AFB, Wayne was flown to Alaska for an overnight stay at another AF hospital, and finally into Scott AFB, in Illinois.

Ken Thomas, uncle to Wayne, took Mickey Middleton, Ruth Middleton, Mickey's mother and Dorothy Thomas to see Wayne at Scott AFB on 10/19/1967.

The next day, 10/20/1967, Wayne was flown to Great Lakes Naval Hospital. That afternoon, the family received a call that Wayne had a high temperature. Ken Thomas left Ironton immediately with Ruth, Mickey and Mickey's mother to go see Wayne. The doctors knew the brevity of Wayne's condition and wanted to give the family the chance to see him alive. By the time Ken, Ruth, Mickey and Mickey's mother arrived at the hospital, Wayne was in a coma. He never regained consciousness.

Wayne died on Friday, 10/27/1967. He was 21 years old. The high temperature was from an infection believed to have been caused by an insect bite in Viet Nam. Additionally, he suffered from fractures to his tibia and fibula as well as contusions to his left leg from shrapnel.

Wayne was buried next to his father in Arcadia Valley Memorial Cemetery with full military honors on 10/31/1967. His mother, Ruth, was later presented with the Purple Heart.

The summer of 1985, Ruth and her three sisters, Dorothy Thomas, Helen Wilson and Mildred Causey, visited the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, DC, and all left flags for Wayne in memoriam.

On 9/25/1996, Ruth was presented with a white rose as a Gold Star Mother at a ceremony in Farmington, MO, when The Moving Viet Nam Wall was in Farmington, MO.

Wayne's widow, Mickey, still lives close to Ironton and has never remarried.

Wayne was an only son and the only surviving male to carry the family name. Because of this, he was not required to go overseas to Viet Nam, however, he so loved his country that he did not want special treatment and wanted to serve his country in whatever capacity he was needed.

Wayne is dearly loved and missed by his family and friends who honor him and remember him.

Placed by Susan Tims
E-mail address is not available.

20 Apr 2005

Wayne's Aunt Dorothy Bartlow Thomas passed away on March 31, 2004.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In October 1967 the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, was based out of Con Thien, in an area just south of the DMZ which was thick with North Vietnamese Army units. Very few of the available aircraft had sufficient night or all-weather ground attack capabilities to provide close air support with bombs. In order to close this gap the Marines and Air Force used the TPQ-10 ground radar, a high-definition radar that allowed ground personnel to guide an aircraft to its calculated weapons release point. While the TPQ-10 system was accurate, it was entirely dependent on three critical elements - the target location had to be accurately plotted, the ground element had to accurately calculate the desired drop point, and the pilot had to fly his aircraft exactly as directed by the system. If an error was made in any one of the three elements, the aircraft's weapons would go astray to some greater or lesser degree.

The 1/9 Command Chronology for Oct 1967 records exactly such an accident in an entry for 13 Oct:

"A TPQ-10 controlled airstrike on 13 October at 1955H accidentally dropped ordnance inside the battalion perimeter resulting in two KIA and seventeen WIAs."
The two men killed by the errant bombs were
  • HM3 George E. Shade, USN, Lansdale, PA, H&S 1/9, and
  • Pfc Herman B. Gailliard, USMC, Charleston, SC, Delta 1/9.
Pfc Richard W. Middleton, Delta 1/9, was one of the wounded. As described above, Pfc Middleton was evacuated to the States, where he died two weeks after the incident.

When the services were directed to compile a listing of the men and women who died as a direct result of service in Vietnam Pfc Middleton was overlooked. His name was added to the Wall in November 1983.

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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