Dean Russell Orn

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
17 January 1946 - 11 March 1969
Nappanee, Indiana
Panel 29W Line 013

Silver Star


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Dean Russell Orn

01 Jun 2001

In recognition of his bravery, Dean was posthumously awarded the Silver Star by the U.S. Army. The government of South Viet Nam posthumously awarded him the National Order of Viet Nam and the Cross of Gallantry with Palm. His other medals and awards include the Viet Nam Service Medal, Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Medal, and the Expert Badge with Machine Gun, Automatic Rifle, and Rifle bars.

A memorial from his nephew,
Dean R. Orn 2nd

30 Mar 2005

Lt Orn replaced me as the Artillery Forward Observer with C Co 4/21st Infantry. He was an underclassman at Officer Candidate School when I was an upperclassman.

Lt. Orn was killed in Quang Ngai Province, I Corps, along with 4 other soldiers of Charlie Co. It is difficult to describe the hostile environment of that awful place where these men died.

110-degree mountainous jungle with razor sharp grass, so thick that it was difficult to travel more than a few miles a day. The swamps were full of leeches, mosquitoes, ants and deadly snakes. Couple that with the ever-present booby traps set in every clearing and trail. No friendlies, only NVA/VC equipped with the latest Soviet weapons who were determined to kill American soldiers.

Forward Observation was extremely hazardous duty requiring young artillery lieutenants to direct cannon fire on targets at very close range. I left Charlie Co. and returned to Ft Sill Artillery School to instruct Officer Candidates on how to survive. That's where I received a letter informing me of Orn, Moore, Horton, Richardson, and Graham.

"But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother"

From a fellow officer,
Ed Mihalacki

13 Nov 2006

After the 6th Infantry Division was deactivated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1968, Dean and I were temporarily assigned to the same Basic Training Company. He had a little red sports car (MG, I think) and we used to run around together a lot. We were both young and single and we had a ball together.

Dean came down on orders for Vietnam in December, 1968. In March, 1969 I heard he had been killed. He was the first guy I knew personally that was killed in Vietnam. I was drunk for 3 days.

I will never forget Dean and the great times we had at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Rest in Peace, Brother.

From a friend,
1LT Robert L. Duerler

08 Feb 2007

My son, Dean R. Orn II, posted the information on my brother, 1LT Dean R. Orn. The e-mail address shown for my son is no longer current. If any of you who knew my brother would like to contact the family, my e-mail address is

Mike Orn

Michael K. Orn

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Although assigned to H&S Battery, 6/11 Arty, First Lieutenant Orn was an Artillery Forward Observer with C Company, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade. C Company lost four of its own men in the same incident:
  • SP4 James H. Horton, Holden, WV
  • SP4 Walter L. Moore, Irving, TX
  • PFC Robin W. Richardson, Excelsior Springs, MO
  • PFC Bennie J. Graham, Decatur, MS

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 1 Jun 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009