Douglas Gordon Orvis

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
03 June 1942 - 29 July 1968
Bristol, Vermont
Panel 50W Line 031

Silver Star

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Army Senior Parachutist
Douglas G Orvis

The database page for Douglas Gordon Orvis

18 Mar 2000


I met Doug Orvis when we were freshmen in high school. He came to be my best friend and eventually my high school sweetheart.

Doug was an outstanding student, graduating valedictorian of our senior class. He was awarded many scholarships. He attended the University of Vermont for a year, and then enlisted in the Army. During the next four years we married, had a son, and served at Fort Bragg with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

Doug went back to UVM after his enlistment ended and I worked at a nearby hospital. He graduated 3 years later, magna cum laude, with a major in political science and a minor in French. He was named as the highest ranking cadet ever to graduate from UVM.

Doug knew that Viet Nam was a choice, so a year later he volunteered to go there. He went to Viet Nam to win the war. He thought he could make a difference. He soon realized that the war in Viet Nam was a war that would not be won.

Our son Mike and I had returned to our home town in Vermont to await his return.

Doug was killed on July 29, 1968, two days after his son turned five. Doug was 26 years old.

Doug was an exceptional man. He could speak three languages, always working with the HQ Company of all the different units he was with. He had the ability to talk with people without talking down to them. He was a wonderful son, brother, husband, and father. He was in touch with himself and he touched all those that he met.

After nearly 31 years, I still miss his friendship. I miss his laughter and his smile. I miss the father he had become to our son. I miss the life we didn't finish and even though my years have been filled with many wonderful people and happenings, there is still a hole in my heart that can never be filled -- Viet Nam never goes away. You can heal, but you never forget.

I recently became acquainted with a man, Jerry Tausz, who served with Doug in Viet Nam, and because of him, 31 years later, I finally have some closure to July 29, 1968. It is with thanks to him that I can write this page in remembrance of Doug.

No matter what Doug attempted to do, he always gave 100%. So I know, even though the odds were heavily against him in Viet Nam, that he gave 100% and did his job well. I'm proud of that.

Doug was my friend and my soulmate -- someday I will see him again, and then maybe we will forget Viet Nam.

Mary Orvis-Baker

11 Nov 2006


Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory's so clear
Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be that you are my forever love
And you watching over me from up above.

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight to see you smile
If only for a while, to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are.

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen
As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me every day
'Cause you are my forever love
Watching from above
And I believe that angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight to see you smile
If only for a while, to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

- Jeremy Lubbock -

From his wife,
Mary Orvis-Baker
11 Church Street, Bristol, Vermont 05443
18 Mar 2000


I was an enlisted man who served with Company C 2/12, 1st Cavalry in Vietnam in 1968-69. On July 29 1968 1st Lieutenant Douglas G. Orvis was killed in action. LT Orvis was my platoon leader. I have included my recollections of the action.

The names of all men lost on the field of battle that day are:

After my tour in Vietnam, my life resumed some degree of normalcy. I always thought about LT Orvis who I had gotten to know, respect, and with whom I had formed a bond; not an unusual occurrence under these strange circumstances. I remembered LT Orvis was married, had a child and that home for him was somewhere in the Northeast part of the US. He had spoken often, and lovingly, of those at home. This was somewhat out of character for army officers trained to keep their distance from enlisted men. LT Orvis was not a typical army officer. He was my friend.

Over the years, I often thought about the family LT Orvis left behind. I thought about somehow making contact with them. Early in 1999, through a twist of fate, I located LT Orvis' wife, Mary. In the year following LT Orvis' death, Mary turned heaven and earth to locate someone who could talk to her about what had happened to her husband. This was in part because in the weeks following his death, the Army gave her conflicting information about his status. Over the years I assumed, incorrectly, that since LT Orvis was an officer, the Army had given his surviving family special consideration; provided an ombudsman to answer questions, rendered other support and so on. I was wrong. Besides, who was I to intrude on someone else's life -- someone else's tragedy. When I finally did write to her, I was stunned to learn that, other than the Army's initial notification, I had been the first person from that period to contact her.

I am leaving this message so that people reading these words today; ten years from now; a hundred years from now can understand what happened on the morning of July 29, 1968. Our people were ambushed on a jungle hilltop. LT Orvis led his platoon in what was essentially a rescue mission. His platoon was not the element initially ambushed. He knew the risks when he led the advance into harm's way. Had he not acted as decisively and courageously as he did, the outcome of July 29, 1968 might have been very different. I think about that.

Jerry Tausz

05 May 2003

In memorial honor of 1Lt Douglas G. Orvis
and to his family, son Mike and wife Mary.

Doug Orvis was about 5 years older than I was, growing up in Lincoln, and so I really didn't know him as well as his younger brother, Brad, who was my age. But I knew a lot "about" Doug, and looked up to him, as younger kids will to the older guys.

And now, nearly 35 years after his being killed in action in Vietnam, I finally have seen The Virtual Wall website and seen the photo of Doug and his ribbons and decorations. I read the account of the rescue mission during which he lost his life while saving another soldier. And I have read Mary's wonderful tribute to her husband. And friend Jerry Tausz' memorial words and work.

Of course, it is all deeply moving, even today, to remember this man from High School in Bristol, Vermont, he being several grades ahead of me. As I recall, he was really one of the guys that was on the "up and up". His family is that way: sweet, nice, good people. Family.

I too was in the military (Air Force) at the time Doug was killed in 1968. And I didn't hear personally (in other than a letter) of what had happened until I came home in 1970.

Our town, Lincoln, Vermont, had at that time about 900 folks in residence, and to lose even one in combat had a huge impact. And, to lose one such as Doug Orvis ... was a huge event. I am greatly impressed, even to this day (May 5, 2003) with Doug, as much as I was in High School back in the early 60's, and now even more.

Lincoln, Vermont, has an Honor Roll of her veterans of all of the wars in the past, and some killed in action. I do not in any way wish to diminish their service, sacrifice or memory here, it's just that Doug Orvis was the only one that I knew personally.

I am very grateful for his service and his ultimate sacrifice. Of course I absolutely would have preferred that he came home alive, as everyone else did.

But, I pray that I too will see Doug again someday, alive and well, no wounds, scars, tears, anything. Only the victorious, eternal Doug.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts on a great, and good as well, man.

From a friend of the family,
Tom Rood
174 South Maple St, Vergennes, VT 05491
formerly of Lincoln, VT


Sometimes the death of just one man can put the deaths of thousands into perspective.

On Wednesday, July 29, the Bristol Band will perform in honor of one man who died while serving in Vietnam. July 29 will mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Bristol native Douglas Orvis who was killed while serving as first lieutenant of a cavalry unit in Vietnam.

Friends and family of Orvis saw this as a good opportunity to commemorate not only his sacrifice, but to commemorate all those who have served this country in war. . . .

From the Addison County INDEPENDENT, 7/27/98, page 3

A Hero Memorialized, Lest We Forget

Lieutenant Douglas G. Orvis distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 29 July 1968, . . . when he was mortally wounded while evacuating a wounded comrade. "His gallant action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service" and "his gallantry in action" were noted in his Silver Star Citation. . . .

Lieutenant Orvis was a 1967 graduate of UVM and was commissioned into the Infantry. . . . he was an outstanding cadet and student. He was first in his class of 1400 cadets at the 1966 ROTC summer camp at Fort Devens, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UVM and the Cadet Brigade Commander at UVM. He received the Wadsworth-Ramsay Saber as the outstanding Senior Cadet. At the memorial service held in his honor at UVM, he was described as "the most outstanding cadet to ever graduate from the University of Vermont ROTC program."

by Frank R. Leary (UVM '53)
UVM Newsletter, page 7 (date unknown)

Doug Orvis
Husband, father, soldier, leader, friend

There is something infinitely strong in a mountain.
If only a man could mold and nourish something
   of it within himself.
As a Master it is inspiring, as a friend it is faithful
   in all things.
There is no day too bright to alter its face, nor
   any night too dark to hide its soul. Time brings no change.
Life is the promise of tomorrow, and death is but the
   prelude to renewal.
Holding all things for all men, a mountain, remains
   solely his who will allow its roots to be his.
It alone is both haven and stepping stone to him who
   would make use of it and himself.
There is something infinitely strong in such a man.

Douglas G. Orvis

C Company, 2/12, 1st Cavalry Division, 29 July 1968
SGT A. J. Davies SGT W. O. Pack SGT T. A. Robinson

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 18 Mar 2000
Last updated 08/10/2009