Louis William Potempa

Private First Class
Army of the United States
29 November 1946 - 13 November 1966
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Panel 12E Line 068


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Louis William Potempa

30 Nov 2002


It was a pleasure to know you and to remember the summers in Webster School yard and Saint Joan of Arc School. You were so young to have to leave us. But the memories are still here and I am sure you are up there watching over us all. Rest in peace.

From a friend,
Nancy Mazzeo Reeb
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

08 June 2003

Louis W Potempa

The photo and 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.

The 1962 graduate of Northeast Catholic High School worked for the Haskins and Sells accounting firm in Center City before being drafted into the Army in March 1966. The private first class died during a search and destroy mission with Company A of the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, in Viet Nam near the Cambodian border on November 13, 1966. He would have been 20 years old in two weeks. Potempa was survived by his parents and two brothers.

From a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Jim McIlhenney

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 13 November 1966 the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, was conducting search operations a short distance away from Landing Zone Lane in southwestern Kontum Province. In late morning Alpha Company encountered enemy forces and entered into a heavy exchange of fire. After a brief lull in the fighting Alpha 1/14 was engaged by a North Vietnamese Army battalion. Forced into a defensive perimeter, Alpha took heavy casualties before Charlie Company was able to come up, engage the NVA from their rear, and force the NVA from the area. Sixteen American soldiers are known to have died in the engagement:
  • A Company:
    • CPT Joseph X. Grant, Arlington, MA (Medal of Honor)
    • 1LT Terence D. O'Brien, Vicksburg, MS (Dist Svc Cross)
    • SSG Clarence L. Casto, Jefferson, OH
    • SGT Aaron Blanding, Manning, SC
    • SP4 Edward Carrola, Sacramento, CA
    • SP4 John R. Schultz, Naugatuck, CT
    • SP4 William F. Sperry, Augusta, GA
    • SP4 Donald C. Vaughan, Modesto, CA
    • SP4 Ralph O. Watts, Ayer, MA
    • PFC Robert W. Hatton, Hamilton, OH
    • PFC James R. Northern, Fullerton, CA
    • PFC Louis W. Potempa, Philadelphia, PA
    • PFC Terry L. Weber, Albion, IN
    • PVT Samuel D. Danna, Temple City, CA

  • C Company:
    • SP4 Fred R. Lider, Oakland, CA
    • PFC Mozie L. Cole, Canton, MS
A complete description of the battle southwest of LZ Lane can be found on the 1st of the 14th Infantry website.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 Nov 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009