Edward Leon Neal

Sergeant First Class
Army of the United States
01 May 1936 - 02 December 1969
Knoxville, TN
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Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Edward Leon Neal

22 Dec 2003

Staff Sergeant Neal was section chief of the base piece in our 105mm artillery unit. When our battery split for composite field work he would serve as chief of firing battery with the composite unit. He was a magnificent scrounger, and kept the men in as many comforts as conditions would allow. The guys at FSB Kathy and FSB Beaver will always remember his swapping skills in October 1969.

SSG Neal was promoted to chief of firing battery in November 1969. The unit split again for a mission to Bu Dop that month. Although only an E-6 in rank, he held the slot of First Sergeant E-8 at Bu Dop. His resourcefulness and competence earned the respect of every officer and enlisted man who knew him.

I served with SSG Neal at FSB Kathy and FSB Beaver in October 1969. He was quite skillful in dealing with Vietnamese CIDG personnel being trained as artillerymen for village defense. He was serving a similar role at Bu Dop in November 1969, when he died from a mortar bursting directly atop his sleeping quarters. Later the ARVN officer in charge of the camp caught an ARVN soldier pacing off distances inside the perimeter for the NVA mortar crews outside the perimeter. These facts were relayed to me by my unit members present at Bu Dop.

SSG Neal received a posthumous promotion to Sergeant First Class for his contributions to the United States Army in Vietnam. We all still miss him, and keep him in our prayers.

From a unit veteran,
William E. Novakovic
513 Woodland Avenue Oakmont, Pa. 15139

13 Feb 2004

I served with SSG Neal at Bu Dop in November-December 1969. I remember his concern for the men of D Battery, 2/13 Arty (also known as the Jungle Battery). His outstanding leadership earned the respect of his men and it was not surprising to us that he was serving as First Sergeant at Bu Dop even though he was an E-6. I vividly remember when in the early morning of 2 December 1969 an enemy rocket slammed into the personnel bunker he shared with the Battery Commander, Captain Pete Economos. I was in the bunker next to them and learned shortly afterwards that SSG Neal had been killed. His loss affected us all deeply. Thanks to Bill Novakovic for his moving tribute to SSG Neal.

From Fellow member of the Jungle Battery,
Michael A. Merritt

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