Robert Nielsen

United States Marine Corps
14 December 1946 - 07 January 1968
Rome, New York
Panel 33E Line 073


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Nielsen

7 Jul 2002


by his comrades in arms from
VVA Chapter 421

Placed by a fellow Vietnam veteran,
Lester Modelowitz

01 Mar 2006

Thank you for your remembrance of our uncle, Robert Nielsen. His mother, Rose would have been so proud to know that this dedication existed. Meghan Milam, my sister and Bobbie's niece, found this website and is sharing it with Bobbie's sister Nancy and other family members at this time. If you have any information about Bobbie we would like to hear from you. Thanks you so much.

From his niece,
Beth Shaw

01 Mar 2006

I Miss You every day of my life!
Love, your college girl....

From his niece.
E-mail address is not available.

27 May 2007

Bobby, we all rememember you and your comrades today, Memorial Day 2007. We will never forget you for the sacrifice you made that terrible day, jan 7, 1968.

Your loving sister,
Ann Sanborn
P O Box 1074, Albrightsville, Pa 18210

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 5th Marines' Command Chronology for January 1968 contains the following entry:
"On 7 January, an enemy force of 2 battalions reinforced vith sappers and local guerrillas effected a carefully-planned, coordinatod attack on the Phu Loc District Headquarters, Combined Action Platoons H-6 and H-7, 1/5 Battalion Command Post and Co D 1/5 outpost. Tho enemy sapper elements successfully penetrated the District Headquarters and CAP H-6 and completely overran CAP H-7. The attacks on 1st Battalion, 5th Marines positions, however, were limited to attacks by fire with mortars and RPG series rocket launchers. Enemy forces involved are believed to have been the 1st Bn, 4th NVA Regiment, K4B Main Force VC Battalion, the C118 Local Force Company, the C19 Engineer Company and the C24 Sapper Company."
Initial reports in the 5th Marines' Operations Log indicated that CAP Hotel-6 had 5 dead and 2 missing; CAP Hotel-7 had 7 dead and 2 missing; and the Army unit at the District Headquarters had 1 dead and four wounded.

The 1st Battalion, 5th Marines Chronology provides additional information:

      "These incidents culminated with a series of coordinated attacks on the morning of 7 January. Commencing at approximately 0335H, the Phu Loc District Headquarters and CAP H5 (ZD 0800), and CAP H6 (ZD 1400) and CAP H7 (ZD 2001) along Highway 1 were subjected to coordinated sapper and infantry assaults which the enemy supported with heavy mortar and B-40 rocket fire. Shortly thereafter, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines Command Post (ZC 076985) was subjected to heavy mortar and recoilless rifle fire.
      "The action continued through the night with the enemy maintaining pressure on the Battalion Command Post and on the Company D Command Post in an apparent attempt to prevent reinforcement. General assaults, meanwhile, were continued against CAP H6 and CAP H7 with both positions being overrun and largely destroyed. Three bridges were blown by the enemy during the course of this activity at (ZD 0800), (ZD 1501), and (ZD 2001)."
while their Operations Log gives a higher initial casualty count for the actions at the two CAPs and the District HQ: 18 Marines and sailors dead, one soldier killed - and four men missing. When daylight came the CAP Marines were able regain their positions and counted nineteen dead, almost all from the sappers' satchel charges:
  • Platoon unknown, CAC Hotel, 3rd CAG:
    • Cpl Blaze Magyar, Granite City, IL
    • Cpl Robert C. Wolf, Milwaukee, WI (Gunshot)
    • Cpl Robert Nielsen, Rome, NY
    • LCpl Brian P. Ahern, Quincy, MA
    • LCpl James Joseph, Darlington, SC
    • LCpl Danny R. Vance, Cleveland, OH
    • HN Dan T. Wards, Paola, KS
    • Pfc James M. Inman, Asheville, NC
    • Pfc Joseph C. Wiar, Harper Woods, MI (Gunshot)

  • CAP Hotel-6, CAC Hotel, 3rd CAG:
    • SSgt Claude H. Dorris, Louisville, KY (Navy Cross)
    • Cpl Robert C. Rusher, Tracy, CA (Navy Cross)
    • LCpl John C. Calhoun, South Boston, MA (Navy Cross) (Gunshot)

  • CAP Hotel-7, CAC Hotel, 3rd CAG:
    • LCpl Thomas N. Brewer, Gainesville, TX
    • LCpl David W. Dyer, Arroyo Grande, CA
    • LCpl Terence P. Jordan, Wantagh, NY
    • LCpl Allan Mendell, San Francisco, CA
    • Pfc William A. Markarian, Simsbury, CT
    • Pfc Arthur Miller, Dalcour, LA

  • 85th Maint Co, US Army Support Cmd Danang
    • SP5 Louis W. Branch, Davenport, FL (at District HQ, mortar fire)

The mortar and rocket attacks on the 1/5 positions had caused seven other deaths:

  • SgtMaj Lawrence K. Sepulveda, Valdosta, GA, H&S 1/5
  • Cpl Thomas R. Avila, Wichita, KS, H&S 1/5
  • LCpl Lawrence R. Walton, New London, OH, H&S 1/5
  • LCpl Paul H. Webb, Elsmere, KY, H&S 1/5
  • Pfc Samuel F. Hollifield, Lexington, NC, Bravo 1/5
  • Pfc Michael L. Wilson, Eugene, OR, Alpha 1/5
  • Pvt Kenneth S. Smith, Cincinnati, OH, Delta 1/5
There still was one Marine from Hotel-7 missing and believed captured.

In one of the terrible accidents inevitable in war, a mutilated body was identified as that of LCpl Steven D. Nelson. His family was notified of his death, while another family was advised their Marine was missing and believed captured.

On 21 January LCpl Nelson returned to friendly hands - he had been captured and escaped when his guard fell asleep. While one can imagine his family's reaction to the news of his survival and escape, one must also remember that LCpl Nelson's return erased the last hopes for another Marine family.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 7 Jul 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009