Francisco Leo Samson, Jr

United States Marine Corps
07 May 1946 - 15 June 1967
San Francisco, California
Panel 21E Line 108


Purple Heart (2 awards), National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Francisco Leo Samson, Jr

25 May 2006

Back in high school in Berkeley, Frank, you were many things ... kind of a big-shot on campus, football letter, certainly popular with everyone ... but more than anything else, you were my friend. And I didn't have many of those, shy, weird kid that I was, and hanging with me never got anyone any points. I don't know that you gave that much thought at all. You were my friend.

I remember the year we double-dated for the prom - which I doubt any other guy in our class would've done. I remember that your birthday was May 7, and mine was June 8 - a month apart, plus a day. It's more than a month now, because on your last birthday in 1967 you turned 21 -- on June 8 (a month plus a day, remember?) this year, I'll turn 60. My God, how can that possibly be.

I don't think about you just once a year, Frank, but more like many times a month - as men and women continue to fight and, so sadly, to die, in wars -- in a world -- you wouldn't f'ing believe. I think about you because you were a man of honor, of such incredible honor, and so 'at home' in your skin that acting honorably, without fear of consequence, came naturally. I was, and am, honored by your friendship, and I'm sure I am by no means alone in that. You have a unique place in my heart, Mr. Samson, which will remain active and alive as long as I am. I honor you, my dear friend, my brother.

Jamie [Jim] 25 May 06
St. Mary's Class of '64

30 May 2006

Sammie, there hasn't a day gone by that I haven't thought about you and the other Marines in Echo 2/7. Whenever we get together or communicate your name is brought up. I can still see and hear you when I came back from being wounded. The loud "I am so glad to see you, Doc" and the pat on the back. You were respected and liked by everyone who came into contact with you. I just wish that I had been out on Operation Arizona with you, instead of being pulled back into the Battalion Aid Station. I might have made a difference. Anyway, Sammie, you were a remarkable man and outstanding Marine. Doc Matt

From a Vietnam buddy,
Verl H. Matthews

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 2/7 Marines' Command Chronology for June 1967 describes an action on 15 June as follows:
"... a platoon [from E Company 2/7] encountered an estimated reinforced company of enemy entrenched in the eastern part of Phu Long (1) (AT871517). The enemy employed two 50 cal machineguns and either a 57mm recoilless rifle or B-40 rockets. Employing an LVTH-6 [sic] the platoon inflicted 35 VC KIA (confirmed) and 15 VC KIA (probable)."
The 3rd AMTRAC Battalion Chronology also mentions the incident:
"At 151430H at coord 985604 an LVT in support of D-1/7 received approx 200-250 rnds auto and semi auto fire. One (1) KIA and one (1) WIA USMC."
Five Marines were killed in the action:
  • 2ndLt Walter J. Lyons, Jacksonville, AR, Echo 2/7 (Silver Star)
  • Cpl Francisco L. Samson, San Francisco, CA, Echo 2/7
  • LCpl Randy J. Glenn, Durham, NC, Echo 2/7
  • LCpl Stephen M. Henry, Hyde Park, MA, A Co, 3rd AMTRAC Bn
  • LCpl Jerry E. Metcalf, Delavan, IL, Echo 2/7
A week later, on 21 June, the wounded Marine from Alpha 3rd AMTRACs, LCpl Russell E. Page of Sulphur, Louisiana, died of his wounds.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 25 May 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009