Michael James Pastva

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
26 November 1946 - 06 December 1967
Lakewood, Ohio
Panel 31E Line 051


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael James Pastva

16 Nov 2004

Michael J. Pastva

I have worn your bracelet for about a year now. I have searched the internet for hours looking for your information, but I'm sad to say I cannot find any photos or much information. I wear your red bracelet every day and it's a constant reminder of the loss our country goes through with wars.

By just touching or glancing at your bracelet, it gives me hope and strength to continue when times get rough. I just hope someday I will be able to obtain a photo and proudly present it on the website I am currently creating, part of which is dedicated to you.

I think about you every night before I go to bed, and kiss my bracelet when I know your strength has helped me get through. Thank you for serving our country, and you will always be remembered.

Dianna Elphick

I would love to know more about Michael Pastva, and would like to hear from anyone who knew him, has information about him, or has photos of him.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Throughout most of December 1967 the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines were manning an outpost just south of the Demilitarized Zone and half-way between the artillery positions at Con Thien and Gio Linh. All three positions were within easy range of North Vietnamese artillery stationed within the DMZ. The 1/4 Operations Log for 06 December contains the following entry for 1430H (2:30 pm):
"1/4 perimeter at YD153728 received approximately 100 rounds 82mm mortar, 25 rounds unknown caliber artillery, unknown number of 60mm [mortar] and RPG rounds. Received small arms and automatic weapons fire from all sides of the perimeter from approximately one Company of NVA. Medevac helo on ground hit by RPG and destroyed. Returned 81mm, 60mm mortar, A/W, M-79s, and small arms. Called artillery and gunships. 6 friendly KIA, 37 friendly WIA; 1 NVA KIA (confirmed), 19 NVA KIA (probable)."
The six men killed in this attack were
  • A Company:
    • SSgt Eugene Collins, Norfolk, VA

  • C Company:
    • Cpl James D. Rader, Yorktown, VA

  • D Company:
    • Sgt Jerold L. Kastrinos, Leadville, CO
    • Sgt Montague Lyons, Walton, KY
    • LCpl Wayne A. Hutchinson, Miami, FL
    • Pfc Donald E. Harp, Miamisburg, OH
If that wasn't enough, there was more to come. The following entry is from 2020H [8:20 pm]:
"(From Co C at YD153728) TPQ being run as part of night defensive fires dropped short bomb on lines and Listening Post. Restricted all TPQs to a minimum of 1500 meters. 6 friendly KIA, 2 friendly WIA."
The TPQ-81 radar was a ground-based system which provided a pilot with flight vectors to an ordnance release point which would deliver the weapons to a desired ground location - if everything worked properly. There were a lot of "moving parts" in TPQ bombing, though; the aircraft had to be flown at an exact altitude, airspeed, and heading; the winds and air temperatures had to be accurately known from the release altitude down to the ground; and the desired impact point had to be exactly located relative to the TPQ-81 radar's location. If any of these factors were even a bit off the impact point would be off too ... as it was on this night, with the first bomb in the string hitting short. The six men killed by the errant bomb were
  • C Company:
    • Cpl James D. Plecity, Madison, WI
    • LCpl John W. Jones, Fremont, CA
    • LCpl Michael J. Pastva, Lakewood, OH
    • Pfc Raymond E. Dyrdahl, Salt Lake City, UT
    • Pfc James R. Miller, Cleveland, OH
    • Pfc James L. Wade, Vidalia, GA
Lance Corporal Pastva's body could not be identified.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 20 Nov 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009