James Arthur Randall

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
24 April 1946 - 30 April 1967
Somerville, Alabama
Panel 18E Line 127


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Arthur Randall

14 Nov 2001


by a friend.
E-Mail address not available
02 Jun 2006

San Antonio Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
"Hill 881 South"
by Gil Dominguez

San Antonio's Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated Nov. 9, 1986, in a ceremony attended by about 6,000 persons, including the former commander of ground forces in Vietnam, retired Army Gen. William C. Westmoreland. The war's top soldier said it was one of the most impressive and largest crowds he had seen. Westmoreland gave the keynote address at the event, stating that the memorial's unveiling represented a coming home for veterans. "Before, they were physically at home but didn't feel accepted -- now it's a reality," he said.

The memorial depicts a radio operator comforting a wounded comrade while anxiously searching the sky for a medevac helicopter. The bronze sculpture stands about 10 feet tall at its highest point and is 23 feet long and 12 feet wide. With a weight of more than 10 tons, it is the largest sculpture of its kind in the country. The memorial is located in front of Municipal Auditorium, in a portion of the facility's parking lot that has been transformed into the Veterans Memorial Plaza. A monument to Korean War veterans was added later at the other end of the plaza.

"Hill 881 South," as the memorial is officially called, was created by Scottsdale, Ariz., artist Austin Deuel who served as a Marine illustrator during the war. On April 30, 1967, the dramatic sight of radioman Donald Hassock helping an injured soldier inspired Deuel to draw the picture that 19 years later would become the model for San Antonio's memorial.

Businessman and Vietnam veteran John Baines, chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of San Antonio Inc., led the effort to establish a monument to honor the area's war veterans. In January 1986 Deuel and his staff in Arizona began working on the sculpture, and on May 2, 1986, the San Antonio City Council approved the memorial's construction plans.

But funds were still needed to pay for the sculpture and the surrounding plaza. So San Antonians went to work, taking part in a number of events to raise the money. A radio station held a radiothon and groups sponsored a Walk for the Vietnam Veterans, during which participants raised money by taking pledges for each mile they walked. Comedian Bob Hope performed at a benefit show held in the auditorium. These activities eventually raised the $600,000 that was needed.

On Nov. 4, 1986, the sculpture left Scottsdale on a flatbed truck and arrived in San Antonio three days later. It was dedicated on Nov. 9, just two days shy of Veterans Day. This is what is inscribed on the front of the sculpture's base:

"Permanently encased within the memorial is an air tight compartment that contains a complete list of the names, serial numbers, branches of the military and dates of service of the men and women from the San Antonio area who served in the Vietnam War. Over 60,000 fine young Americans from our community served in Vietnam. This memorial is a tribute to all of them."

On the other side of the base is a poem titled "Death at My Door":

Day is over and danger hastens,
Young Marines at their battle stations.
Instruments of war outline the sky,
Means of death are standing by.

Can it be true on this high hill
Forces will clash only to kill?
Silence fills the near moonless night
Restless thoughts of a bloody fight.

Endless memories for those awake
Meaningful discussions experience would make.
Though silent world in which we live,
Permit only God's comfort to give.

Somewhere through the darkness creeping
A date with death is in the keeping.
Alone I sit and question why
Life itself, to be born to merely die?

David Rogers
1st Lt USMC
April 30, 1967
Hill 881 South Republic of Vietnam

This article appears in several places on the Internet.
The original source is unknown.
Reproduced under 17 USC 107

From all reputable first hand accounts the fallen Marine depicted by the memorial statue is our M/3/3/3 brother James Arthur Randall who was KIA 4/30/67 at Hill 881s. Cpl Donald Hossack is the radionman figure kneeling over him and looking skyward for the medevac helicopter or for devine intervention. All reasonable attempts to find James Randall's parents and widow have failed to date. He will be remembered by many of his cohorts. He was joined by over two dozen of his fellow Mike Company Marines that day. A description of the fighting can be found here.

Doc Rod Hardin HM2

02 Jun 2006

If anyone knows of any surviving relatives... please contact me at sargecas@yahoo.com. We are in contact with many of the men who served with James and would like to share memories of him with them.

From the co-founder of www.thirdmarines.net.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

The "hill battles" around the combat base at Khe Sanh began in early 1967 and reached a crescendo in late April. The North Vietnamese commanders, remembering the victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu, decided that it could be replicated at Khe Sanh, and to that end positioned large numbers of North Vietnamese regulars in the mountains surrounding Khe Sanh - particularly on the high ground.

On 16 March 1967, Echo Company 2/9 Marines lost 18 Marines in an engagement; airborne FACs were reporting "an alarming buildup of fortifications and NVA activity on the hills overlooking the base"; and USMC Force Recon and Army Special Forces patrols reported similar build-ups in the area. However, the Khe Sanh base commander was convinced there was little or no NVA presence or activity.

On 24 April two platoons from Bravo 1/9 Marines were directed to recon a cave area on Hill 861. As the two platoons moved up the hill they were engaged by an NVA battalion holding the high ground - and lost 14 men in heavy fighting. The "hill battles" for Hills 881 North, 881 South, and 861 had begun in earnest.

On the 25th additional Marines were fed by Company into the increasingly fierce battle, a tactic permitted only by the commander's belief that the opposition consisted of a relatively few NVA troops who admittedly held excellent defensive positions. By day's end, four Marine companies were engaged - Bravo l/9, Kilo 3/3, Echo 2/9, and Kilo 3/9 - opposed by a North Vietnamese Army regiment which had placed a battalion of NVA regulars on each of the three hilltops.

By the 26th it was clear the NVA was present in force and intended to fight. The Commanding General, 3rd Marine Division, introduced the Special Landing Force (BLT 2/3) as reinforcements and later in the day replaced the tattered Bravo 1/9 with Mike 3/9 and Mike 3/3.

Hill 861 was taken on the 28th, and attention given to assaults on Hills 881 North and 881 South. Mike 3/9 lead the way, developing a heavy engagement on the hillside. Mike 3/3 moved around Mike 3/9's flank toward Hill 881 South, settling into a night defensive position northeast of the hill. During the 29th and the night of 29/30 April, the NVA commander inserted the fresh 95th NVA Regiment onto Hills 881 South and 881 North while withdrawing the shattered 18th NVA Regiment.

Thus, on the morning of 30 April fresh NVA troops occupied excellent defensive positions on the two hills, while battered Marines were on the low ground facing an up-hill assault. Mike 3/3 began their assault on Hill 881 South at 0800. The NVA defenders allowed two platoons to pass through their defensive positions and then opened up, trapping the Marines between two fires and initiating a six hour battle for the hilltop.

At day's end, the NVA withdrew from Hill 881 South, leaving over a hundred dead behind - but the Marines had lost 44 men with another 109 wounded. Mike 3/3 took the heaviest loss with 27 dead -

  • 2ndLt Joseph R. Mitchell, Alexander City, AL (Bronze Star "V")
  • SSgt Karol R. Bauer, Philadelphia, PA
  • SSgt John V. Chutis, Elizabeth, PA
  • Sgt Milton E. Prescott, Blue Island, IL
  • Cpl Bobby J. Ard, Tupelo, MS
  • Cpl William D. Early, Akron, OH
  • Cpl Douglas P. Hallock, Schenectady, NY
  • Cpl James Mines, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Cpl Robert J. Schley, Oregon, WI (Navy Cross)
  • Cpl Larry M. Smith, Martinsville, IN
  • LCpl Michael I. Colley, Birmingham, AL
  • LCpl Robert J. Kotik, Mc Kees Rocks, PA
  • LCpl Peter Mazzillo, Avenel, NJ
  • LCpl Michael R. Morgan, Bethpage, NY (Silver Star)
  • LCpl Francis M. Palma, Philadelphia, PA
  • LCpl Frank T. Roth, Philadelphia, PA
  • LCpl Marvin A. Schafer, Butler, KY
  • LCpl Charles Shiver, Wichita Falls, TX
  • LCpl James H. Whisenhunt, Crescent City, CA (Silver Star)
  • Pfc George B. Byrd, Orlando, FL
  • Pfc Charles H. Duty, Bluff City, TN
  • Pfc Jerry W. Hood, Cincinnati, OH
  • Pfc Randy N. McPhee, Long Beach, CA (body not recovered)
  • Pfc Peter R. Ommen, Central City, SD
  • Pfc James A. Randall, Somerville, AL
  • Pfc Ricky G. Smith, Gadsden, AL
  • Pfc Dorsey B. Williams, Johnson City, TN

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Doc Rod Hardin HM2

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 14 Nov 2001
Last updated 06/24/2006