Noel Steven Nelson

United States Navy
07 February 1946 - 30 June 1967
St Paul, Minnesota
Panel 22E Line 089

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Noel Steven Nelson

26 Sep 2007

When my squad leader was shot and killed, someone hollered "Corpsman up", and within a few minutes Doc Nelson was there beside me. With no regard for his own life he slipped off his back pack, grabbed his medical bag and went after Cpl Goddeau.

He was close to a NVA bunker as they laid down a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire. Grenades were thrown from there, one at him, and also one at me. I think of this day every day. May God bless you, Doc Nelson, in heaven for the sacrifice you made so that we may live free.

Okla C Spence

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 11 June 1967 CH-46A BuNo 150270, belonging to HMM-265, went down just within the DMZ about 7 kilometers west-southwest of Con Thien. The aircraft was on a recon insertion and the unsurvivable crash resulted in 11 deaths - 4 aircrew, seven from the 3rd Force Recon Company.

In the afternoon of 29 June 1967 Echo and Golf Companies, 2/9 Marines, departed Con Thien to search for the downed helicopter and recover the bodies of the dead Marines. Following a night march the two rifle companies arrived in the vicinity of Hill 174 on the morning of the 30th. At 0715 Echo discovered a bunker complex on the hilltop, occupied and defended by NVA troops. Echo lost one man killed and two wounded in the initial exchange of fires, then pulled back for medevac of the casualties and to allow an air strike on the NVA position. Echo 2/9 then renewed their assault on the bunkers while Golf 2/9 continued to the search area.

The 2/9 Operations Log contains three entries for the recovery attempt:

"0715 - J-108 - 300715H: E/2/9 discovered bunker complex at YD053685. Received S/A and casualties reported were 1 USMC/KIA and 2 USMC/WIA. Called air strike on area. Medevac requested for casualties."

"0930 - J-110 - 300930H: E&G/2/9 - In movement to objective, E/2/9 made contact at approximately 0700H. One platoon was pinned down by S/A and automatic weapons fire. G/2/9 moved to objective and also received fire. Casualties reported were 4 FR/KIA, 9 FR/WIA, 5 VC/KIA (confirmed), 9 VC/KIA (probable). Area of contact was in vicinity of YD055685. Reference spot report 300715H."

"1230 - J-113 - 301230H: 2/G/2/9 with Recon found area believed to be where chopper crashed. The area (YD059687) was completely burned out and no sign of activity. There were some old anti-aircraft positions in area. Searched area and found 1 USMC flyers flak jacket. Completed mission and returned."

The four Americans killed in the recovery effort were:
  • Cpl Thomas A. Goddeau, Morrisonville, NY;
  • LCpl Richard H. Freudenthal, Alexandria, VA;
  • HN Noel S. Nelson, St Paul, MN (H&S with Echo 2/9); and
  • Pfc Christopher P. Johnson, Wyandotte, MI.

CH-46A BuNo 150270 was piloted by Capt Curtis R. Bohlscheid. It went down at YD044684, about 1-1/2 kilometers south of the area searched by Golf 2/9. Although the bodies were not recovered at the time, the Department of Defense recently announced recovery and identification of the remains of one of the Recon team members - Pfc James E. Widener.

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business
than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 26 Sep 2007
Last updated 08/10/2009