Joseph Anthony Oreto

Army of the United States
22 August 1947 - 13 April 1969
Westminster, Maryland
Panel 27W Line 076

Silver Star

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Joseph A Oreto

The database page for Joseph Anthony Oreto

16 Jul 2001

From the Carroll County (MD) Times Memorial Day edition 1989:

"Army SGT Joseph Anthony Oreto of Westminster, MD, was killed in action in Vietnam on April 13, 1969. He had served with the armored cavalry and was stationed in Bien Hoa. In the Army since January 1968, Oreto had been stationed in Vietnam since November. He was married to the former Georgia Croft of Westminster.

"Although born in Washington, D.C., SGT Oreto grew up in the town of Accokeek in Prince George's County. While attending Gwynn Park Junior and Senior High in Brandywine, SGT Oreto played varsity football and was President of the student council. He attended St. Mary's College, then a two year college."

Posted by one who remembers.

31 Oct 2001

Photograph courtesy of his sister,
Mary Lou D'Altorio

04 Feb 2004

In November, 2003, I visited Viet Nam. Thoughts of Tony were with me always and when I found the right place to honor him, I wrote, "The family of Joseph Anthony (Tony) Oreto makes this donation in honor of his memory. We say a prayer of Thanksgiving that our nations are friends and we say a prayer of Hope that we will always live in peace."

I made this donation to a Buddhist Monk who is in charge of an orphanage, Chua Duc Son, in Hue, with 169 children of all ages. The Buddhist Monk was a lady and was quite moved when our guide Tuan translated the message. I had printed out all of the material on The Virtual Wall, including Tony's photo and the text that went along with it. (To all those who served with and wrote about Tony, our family thanks you for the tributes which shall always make our family proud.) I gave all that to her along with the donation. The children are well cared for and seem content, the tiny ones giggling and performing... There were twin girls, about Clementine's age, sitting in swings, dressed in the orphanage uniform, looking around quietly, and looking sad. The Monk said they had just come yesterday. Their Father had been killed in a mine accident and their Mother was in a hospital, dying of cancer.

There was a little courtyard and the kids enjoyed playing with our group... I don't even know how to tell you the thoughts I was having.

Our guide, Tuan, said, "Your Brother, Tony, will never die." He said that the Buddhist monks have promised to pray for him forever...

I think Tony would be pleased with this, I hope all of you are...

Mary Lou D'Altorio

22 Jan 2002

Sgt Oreto, also known as "Oreo", was my squad leader. He was well respected by the men in the Aero Rifle Platoon (ARP). Oreo always had a big smile on his face. He took care of the men in his squad. I do not remember Sgt Oreto ever saying a harsh word to anyone.

On that fateful day, 13 Apr, 1969, Sgt Oreto was separated from our squad by the platoon leader. The platoon leader sent Oreo with another squad. As we started into the bunker complex, the enemy started firing at us. Sgt Oreto was with the squads on the left flank, I was with the squads on the right flank. The first burst of bullets hit Sgt Oreto on the left flank and PFC Jensen in front of me. I was to learn later that my squad leader, Sgt Oreto was dead. Jensen and I were pinned down by the enemy. Jensen would also die before help got to us.

Sgt Oreto, you are not forgotten. A day rarely goes by without me thinking of you and seeing that big grin. Your face seems to appear when I am having a rough day, and I hear you say that it is going to be OK. I also remember the day that the two of us were pinned down by enemy fire and you started telling jokes. "ALLONS", fellow Blackhorse trooper. I have traced your name from the Travelling Wall, and I promise one of these days I will make it to the Wall.

From a fellow Blackhorse trooper and friend,
Bruce J. Stephens

Mr. Stephens refers to SP4 Kenneth Vern Jensen.

03 Apr 2003

I knew Tony from November 68 til April 69. Tony was one of the nicest people I had the privilege of knowing and serving with in my army career.

No matter how hard I search, I cannot finds the words to explain what Tony meant to us. He was a "Man's Man", if you were lucky enough to have known him, then you will understand what I mean. I am going to take the liberty and speak for some others, Dave Summers, Bill Emanuel, and Ricky Shannon and say that we think of him often, we miss him, and we are better for having known him.


Mack McCluskey
Aero Rifle Platoon - 68 - 69

07 Apr 2003

I didn't know Tony as a soldier. However, as a brother, he was the gentle one. He never beat me up (he left that up to his two younger brothers), and I remember he had a beautiful singing voice and danced well. He was active in our church, and was as good a son as any mom and dad could want.

I still remember the day we got the call about Tony. It was seven months after our 15 year old brother was killed, so it was already a sensitive time for our family. We listened to the daily reports about the war on T.V. When the phone rang, I just knew it was bad news about Tony. It took two weeks to get his body home, and once again, our truly wonderful family and friends gathered around us. Our mom assured us that God would take good care of him, and now he and Chuck would keep each other company.

I appreciate the imput from Tony's fellow soldiers, and smile at the kind things they shared about him. I'm proud of him, as I am of all men and women who care enough to serve and protect the United States of America.

Pam Oreto Cushenan

08 Dec 2006

I want to thank all the fine men who have taken the time to share their experiences with and memories of our brother, Tony. You all will be remembered for helping us to know even more about the man he had become up to the moment he gave his life for our great country.

All the best,

From his sister,
Pam Oreto Cushenan

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 11th Armored Cavalry and the 1st Bn, 8th Cavalry together lost sixteen men in an engagement northwest of Dau Tieng on 13 April 1969:
  • Air Cav Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry
    • SGT Joseph A. Oreto, Westminster, MD (Silver Star)
    • SP4 Kenneth V. Jensen, Sacramento, CA

  • 155mm Howitzer Btry, 1st Sqdn, 11th Armored Cavalry
  • A Troop, 1st Sqdn, 11th Armored Cavalry
    • SFC Harry P. Burton, , NZ
    • SSG Harold L. Greever, Hinton, WV
    • SGT Bruce E. Johnson, Wells, MN
    • SGT Terry E. Jones, Whittier, CA
    • SP4 Larry B. Barfield, Sarasota, FL
    • SP4 Gary J. Dasher, Tulsa, OK

  • C Co, 1st Bn, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cav Div
    • 1LT Anderson N. Renshaw, Memphis, TN
    • SGT Larry C. Martin, Smithville, OH
    • CPL Richard I. Brenner, Teaneck, NJ
    • SP4 John J. Schmelzle, Edwardsville, KS
    • PFC Luther E. Ball, Kissimmee, FL
    • PFC Richard A. Browne, Gretna, LA
    • PFC Ronald B. Ferguson, Great Falls, MT

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Jul 2001
Last updated 11/13/2010