Elmer Joseph Perry, Jr

United States Marine Corps
10 July 1944 - 30 April 1968
Odessa, Texas
Panel 53E Line 021

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Elmer Joseph Perry, Jr

15 Mar 2004

Joe was a career Marine, he was in his second enlistment when he was killed in Vietnam in April 1968. He was from Odessa, Texas, a West Texas oilfield city near New Mexico. He is remembered on the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial located at Midland, Texas and also by the Ector County Vietnam Memorial.

From a PBVVM representative,
Billy M. Brown

14 Sep 2007

Sergeant Perry was awarded a posthumous Bronze Star with "V" device in Operation Robbie. He was a husband and the father of a 2 year old son at the time of his death. Three days after his death, his second son was born. He was buried with full military honors in California, exact location unknown.

From a PBVVM representative,
Billy M. Brown


The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Bronze Star Meal posthumously to

Sergeant Elmer J. PERRY, Jr.
United States Marine Corps

for service as set forth in the following


"For heroic achievement in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam while serving as a Platoon Guide with Company D, First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division. On 29 April 1968, Company D was moving through an area near Cam Lo when the unit came under intense small arms fire from a North Vietnamese Army force, pinning down Sergeant's Perry's platoon and inflicting numerous casualties. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, he unhesitatingly exposed himself to hostile fire in order to move to an advantageous position from which to deliver M-79 grenade launcher fire against the enemy. Completely disregarding his own safety, he provided accurate covering fire which accounted for three North Vietnamese confirmed killed and facilitated the evacuation of several Marine casualties. While subsequently maneuvering to another firing position, he was mortally wounded by the hostile fire. Sergeant PERRY'S bold initiative, dauntless courage and selfless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Services."

The Combat "V" is authorized.

For the President

John J. Hyland
Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet

Transcribed from a copy of the citation by
Billy M. Brown
September 15, 2007

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In late April 1968 it became apparent that the North Vietnamese Army was again moving across the DMZ into the area north of Dong Ha. On 29 April the ARVN 2nd Infantry Regiment sent its 1st and 4th Battalions in a pincer movement to locate and engage NVA units around An Binh. "Task Force Robbie", consisting of Delta 1/9 Marines reinforced with tanks from Alpha 3rd Tanks, was sent to relieve building pressure on the ARVN's southern flank.

"Robbie" ran into trouble at Cam Vu, about 5,000 meters west of An Binh, where a North Vietnamese blocking force was waiting for them. After taking 10 dead and 22 wounded in a six hour fight against a clearly superior force, "Robbie" broke off the contact and withdrew. The ARVN forces had absorbed 17 dead and 47 wounded, could not link up, and also withdrew.

At this point the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, was brought into the fight, advancing toward Cam Vu. India 3/9 was the first to make contact, encountering an "L"-shaped ambush just north of Cam Vu. As 3/9's other three companies deployed in support of India, the NVA broke contact and withdrew under cover of artillery fire from within and north of the DMZ.

The fighting around Cam Vu was paralleled by the engagement of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, with elements of the 325th NVA Division at Dai Do some 5 miles to northeast of Cam Vu. These engagements - the 2nd ARVN Infantry, 1/9, and 3/9 at Cam Vu and 2/4 at Dai Do - were the opening engagements in what became known as the Battle of Dong Ha.

While the Cam Vu fights cost the North Vietnamese at least 197 dead, Allied losses also were high:

  • 1st Bn, 9th Marines - 10 dead
  • 3rd Bn, 9th Marines - 36 dead
  • 1st and 4th Bns, 2nd ARVN Infantry - 17 dead
Sergeant Perry was with "Task Force Robbie" and among the ten men killed in the opening engagement at Cam Vu:
  • Sgt Roy L. Gibson, Dallas, TX
  • Sgt Elmer J. Perry, Odessa, TX
  • Cpl Raymond E. Stanley, Manchester, NH
  • HM3 Robert A. Vinton, Shaker Heights, OH (H&S Co with D/1/9)
  • LCpl Patrick L. Bruckner, Reseda, CA
  • LCpl Russell W. Noyes, Woburn, MA
  • Pfc John F. Hutzell, Williamsport, MD
  • Pfc Eduardo Marquez, El Paso, TX
  • Pfc Lawrence J. McRae, Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • Pfc Adam S. Najar, Palm Springs, CA

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Mar 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009