Walter Melvin Pierce

Private First Class
Army of the United States
17 March 1951 - 10 June 1970
Philadelphia, PA
Panel 09W Line 040



National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Walter Melvin Pierce

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During May and June of 1970, the 11th Armored Cavalry (with the exception of the detached 3rd Squadron) was under the operational control of the 1st Cavalry Division and participated in the 1st's sweep across the Cambodian frontier. The 1st Cav had enjoyed strategic success in the mission despite the 30 kilometer advance limit imposed on American military personnel. The success of the 1970 Cambodian incursion was measured in part by the capture of individual weapons sufficient to equip 55 full strength VC infantry battalions, sufficient crew-served weapons to equip 82 to 90 VC battalions, and enough small arms ammunition to provide a basic load for 52,000 soldiers. There were over 10,000 known enemy casualties.

On June 10, 1970, PFC Walter M. Pierce was assigned to a unit that was inside Cambodia well over the 30 kilometer limit. They were set up in a night defensive position in Mondol Kiri Province, Cambodia, about 20 miles west-southwest of the city of Chbar. At the border's closest point, this location was over 50 kilometers inside denied territory.

That afternoon, while returning to the position with two other men, Pierce had to cross a stream which was spanned by two bridges. The stream was deep and extremely swift. PFC Pierce jumped into the stream with his boots and trousers on with the intent of swimming the stream. He began to encounter difficulty and started to drift downstream. The other two men attempted rescue him, but were unable to reach him. He disappeared, and an intense search that afternoon and the following morning by the unit failed to locate him.

PFC Pierce's body has never been found.

From the
POW Network

08 June 2003

The following article is taken from The Philadelphia Daily News, special supplement entitled 'SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY,' October 26, 1987. The special supplement was issued in conjunction with the dedication of the Philadelphia Viet Nam Memorial.

Pierce enlisted in the Army in November 1969 and was sent to Viet Nam early the following year. He died near Phu Ste Preah, Cambodia, on June 10, 1970, while on an operation following the U.S. invasion of that country. Survivors of the 19-year-old private first class included his father, a brother and three sisters.

From a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Jim McIlhenney

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009