John Charles Pape

Army of the United States
18 November 1943 - 18 May 1969
West Babylon, New York
Panel 24W Line 049

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart (2 awards), National Defense, AF Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

John C Pape

The database page for John Charles Pape


Commanding Officer, B Company, 1/501st

Not forgotten by his friends.

A memorial initiated by
an anonymous comrade
29 May 2003

One of the bravest men I have ever known.

He led men into combat and gave his life for them.

God Bless.

From a fellow 101st Veteran,

21 Jan 2005

Operation Lamar Plain began on 15 May 1969 when the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) sent a brigade task force south to Quang Tin Province in order to reinforce the Americal Division. On 18 May 1969 Bravo Company, 1-501st Infantry, was positioned on Hill 187 north of LZ Professional. The enemy engaged the battalion's Charlie Company from bunkers located on a nearby hill and then began to drop mortars onto Hill 187. A round landed on each side of the Bravo Company Command Post and a third round landed directly onto the CP. Captain John Pape was killed in this barrage as was combat medic Russell Lane Jett and Lincoln Bundy. Pape's RTO Jay Erb was severely wounded as were several other men. Medic Hans Mills bravely attended to the wounded before he was also killed by the mortar fire that continued to land on the hill. Over eighteen men were wounded in the attacks on Hill 187 that day.

From a Screaming Eagle researcher,
Roger Ables

29 May 2006

John Pape was my friend. We both graduated from Officer Candidate School on October 13, 1965.

John was a warrior at heart. In the fall of 1966, he wangled a reassignment from Brigade Headquarters to Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), 1st Cavalry Divison where we both served as Platoon Leaders.

John was a hard-driving Platoon Leader, but never asked his men to do something that he would not do.

I left the Company before John was wounded during that tour of duty.

John stopped at our quarters in Fort Lewis, Washington on his way to Vietnam for his final tour. We had dinner, discussed old friends, and the January 28, 1967 death of Captain Charles V. Titus, the Commanding Officer of A Company.

A few short months after that dinner, I read of John's death in the Army Times.

On Memorial Day 2006, as I write this entry, the sense of loss is as deep today as it was then.

Honor and Courage, Friend.

William F. Hawkinberry

8th Cavalry
8th US Cavalry

CPT Charles M. Titus, Jacksonville, Florida, and PFC Vincent J. Weedo, Hackensack, New Jersey, Alpha 1/8 Cavalry, were killed in action on 28 January 1967.

24 Oct 2006

I was looking for something on John and happily found this site. I met John when he was recovering from his wounds at the Cam Ranh Bay Air Base Hospital. I was a Captain in the AF and we flew recon missions from a TDY detachment there. I was with the 6091st Recon Squadron out of Yakota Air Base, Japan. My crew met John at the Officer's Club one night and on many a night we steadied ourselves on the handlebars of his wheelchair on the way back to the hospital. Incredibly, he wanted another assignment in the field and not a cushy job elsewhere in the Far East. We had good fun with John and I was hoping to see him again in the States on his way back. I did see him once more on the cover of Life Magazine, the issue that featured the casualities for the week.

Twenty years later I had the only reunion with him I could when I visited a touring display of The Wall and ran my fingers over his name. This virtual memorial gives me one last chance to say how much I admired his courage and spirit. Thanks, John.

From a friend,
Bob Lodie

02 Jun 2007

I may not have known him, but he would have been my Uncle John. Reading the previous posts has brought me to an extrememly emotional time, trying to picture what life would have been like, what it is like, living so close to John Pape Field in Babylon, New York [see below]. I'm sure, however, that it's been better this way. He died for his country, which I think is the best thing for a niece to look up to.

I'm sure he would've been a wonderful uncle.

From his niece,
Amelia Pape

Notes from The Virtual Wall

John Pape had prior service as an enlisted soldier, receiving his commission through Officer Candidate School. In early 1967 he was wounded in action while serving as a platoon leader with the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry. He declined medical separation and after recovery returned to field service with the 501st Infantry. The following article was published in the Pacific Stars & Stripes following his death:

Tam Ky Site Renamed

CAMP PAPE - The new home of the 1st Brigade at Tam Ky has been named Camp Pape in ceremonies attended by honored guests, including Maj. Gen. Lloyd Ramsey, commanding general of the Americal Division and Americal assistant commander Brig. Gen. Wallace L. Clement.

The Tam Ky Site was named in honor of Capt. John C. Pape, former commanding officer of B Co., 1st Bn., 501st Inf., who was killed in action during Operation Lamar Plain on May 18.

Gen. Ramsey termed the dedication "a tribute to a great brigade and a great soldier."

Capt. Pape had just arrived in country when he was wounded during a recon mission. His wounds were inflicted by more than 40 Claymore mine fragments and three AK-47 rounds.

The captain refused amputation of his leg, a change in branch of service, evacuation to the States and a profile. Instead, he requested that he be returned to the 101st.

After recovering from his wounds, he got his wish, becoming S-3 Air for the 2nd Brigade. Still, Pape wanted to return to the field and finally persuaded his brigade commander to give him command of a company.

He returned to the field with B Co., 1st Bn., 501st Abn. Inf. Using a long wooden staff to help support his leg, Pape moved along with his company.

During the ceremony, the fallen leader was honored as "a hard man to know because he was a hard man, one who set high standards for himself and his men and always achieved them."

Now, his memory lives in Camp Pape, home of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.

From Stars & Stripes, Pacific Edition

The photo is taken from "Vietnam: One Week's Dead", LIFE Magazine, Vol. 66, No. 25, June 27, 1969. Regretably, the photo is not clear enough to allow identification and proper display of the awards he received.

A total of seven men were killed in action at Hill 187 where Bravo Company was positioned and at a nearby fortified hill taken by Charlie Company- four infantrymen and three medics:

  • B Company:
    • CPT John C. Pape, West Babylon, NY
    • SP4 Lincoln E. Bundy, Redding, CA

  • C Company:
    • PFC Rudolph Rossi, Howard Beach, NY
    • PFC John M. Vollmerhausen, Wilton Manors, FL

  • HQ Company:
    • SP5 Hans L. Mills, Sterling, IL, medic w/ B/1/501
    • CPL Paul H. Ga Nun, Asbury Park, NJ, medic w/ C/1/501
    • SP4 Russell L. Jett, Hornbeck, LA, medic w/ B/1/501

The group talked about members of the church who served in the armed forces. One man from Cross of Christ Lutheran Church who fought for this country was John C. Pape. Pape was confirmed at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, known then as First Lutheran Church of Babylon in 1958. He and his wife were married at Cross of Christ in 1965. Pape served in the Army. He became a sergeant and after completing Officer Candidate School (OCS) became a lieutenant. In 1967 he returned from his first tour of Vietnam, where he was fighting for peace.

John Pape entered the Green Beret or Army Ranger program which involved paratrooper training. He was promoted to first lieutenant and then captain. Captain John C. Pape returned to Vietnam in 1968.

On May 18, 1969 Captain John C. Pape, First Cavalry 101 Airborne died from wounds inflicted by an enemy mortar barrage. He was 25 years old.

A new athletic field adjacent to West Babylon Junior High School was dedicated in the memory of Captain John C. Pape. In 1970, at the dedication service, Pastor Paul Alberti gave the invocation, which was Pastor Alberti's first official act as pastor of Cross of Christ. If you drive by today, you will see Pape Field, as a memorial to Captain John C. Pape.

Writing about his older brother, Captain John C. Pape, Eric Pape has written, "My brother served proudly, enthusiastically, and with a conscience. And, he died in a far off land, serving the country he loved and defended."

Exerpted from an article in the
Babylon (NY) BEACON
Copyright June 21, 2000
Reproduced under 17 USC �107

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 06 Dec 1997
Last updated 08/10/2009