Kurt Francis Ponath

Private First Class
Army of the United States
26 April 1948 - 12 September 1968
Cudahy, Wisconsin
Panel 44W Line 041


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Kurt Francis Ponath

12 Nov 2005

Kurt, you are always in our hearts. We wish we could have known you better. We will look for you in Heaven!

From his cousins
Mary and Jennifer

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 12 Sep 1968 a patrol from Alpha 1/28 Infantry was ambushed about 5 kilometers northeast of Loc Ninh, Binh Long Province. Ten men were killed in the resulting action:
  • A Company:
    • SSG Philip K. Baker, Detroit, MI
    • SGT Michael R. Baldwin, Flemington, NJ
    • SP4 J C. Williams, Muncie, IN
    • PFC Eugene R. Boyce, Spartanburg, SC
    • PFC Marion L. Oxner, Leesville, SC
    • PFC Dale A. Palm, Toledo, OH
    • PFC Kurt F. Ponath, Cudahy, WI

  • E Company:
    • SP4 Wayne D. Jenkins, Bryson City, NC
    • PFC William Wittman, Binghamton, NY

  • HQ Company:
    • PFC Kenneth L. Martin, Los Angeles, CA (medic w/ A/1/28)
The battalion lost two other men on 12 Sep:
  • CPT Samuel G. Umstot of Keyser, West Virginia, a physician's assistant assigned to HQ Co 1/28, was killed by gunshot on 12 Sep 1968. It is unknown if his death was associated with either of the two patrol actions addressed here.

  • SGT Earl E. Shark of Pomona, California. According to the POW Network, Sergeant Shark was the point man for a patrol from 3rd Platoon, C Company 1/28, ambushed northeast of Loc Ninh. He was hit in the upper torso during the initial exchange of fire and appeared to his patrol leader to be dead. SGT Shark's body could not be recovered when the patrol was forced to withdraw and could not be located when US forces returned to the area two days later. On 22 December 1970 the VC released a list of POWs who died in captivity; Sergeant Shark's name appeared on that list. Even so, he was retained in MIA status until the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death on 05 July 1978. His remains have not been repatriated.

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