David William Skibbe

Second Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps
22 October 1946 - 02 March 1970
Des Plaines, Illinois
Panel 13W Line 075


Navy Cross

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for David William Skibbe

01 June 1999

David was a classmate of mine from grade school through high school in Mount Prospect, Illinois. We attended the same church and were confirmed together.

I have often thought of him over the years as my husband's career in the Army carried us all over the world. His was a life cut far too short.

Loving thoughts to his parents.

Sharron Rosedahl

03 Nov 2005

Remembering a Marine's Marine:

I meet Dave Skibbe at Camp Upshur in Quantico, Virginia, on day one of our six months at The Basic School. Everyone was a brand new 2nd Lt., but this guy was different, this guy looked it, walked it, even sounded like a "salty" Marine, intense beyond intense.

When we moved down to the BOQ, his room was across the hall from mine and we became friends; trained, studied, (and drank some beer) and were essentially together 24-7. We teased him about having actually been a "poster Marine" - he was all of that and then some.

Following graduation, all of us Infantry types received orders to Vietnam, each with some California stops along the way. I began my drive to Camp Pendleton one Saturday morning and on that very afternoon, Dave and his fiancee came to my parents house in South Saint Paul, Minnesota, on their way to the North Shore, expecting to surprise me.

Obviously, I was long gone, but my mom and dad insisted that they come in and relax. That relaxing resulted in "beverages," dinner and, I believe they stayed the night prior to driving up north.

Some really close buds rallied up again at Pendelton a few weeks later, and then socialized whenever our individual USMC schedules allowed. Then, one by one, we set off to the RVN and I briefly found myself at 1st Recon, Dave's outfit, but missed him.

I was then assigned to A/1/1, and on a gray day staging atop a fire support base in the middle of nowhere in early March, some really bad news traveled amazingly fast.

Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of Vietnam, and very rarely do I not think about "Skib." I so often wish that I would have shared some of these feelings with his family when I got home, I didn't and I am sorry.

That special guy was a good as it gets...I miss him.


From a fellow Marine,
Jon Swenson

28 May 2007

Dave, It's Memorial Day 2007, 37 years since we went to Vietnam and we all lost you.
I miss you, Skib,

Jon Swenson
3717 Shepherd Hills Drive, Bloomington, MN 55431

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 02 March 1970 a recon team from C Company, 1st Recon Battalion, operating about 10 miles northwest of An Hoa, Quang Nam Province, engaged in a firefight with enemy forces. The team leader, 2ndLt David Skibbe, and another Marine were wounded in the action and Skibbe, whose lower right leg had been broken by gunshot, decided to call for helicopter extraction.

The team was located in a jungled area with a 40-foot canopy. When the extraction helicopters arrived they were unable to set down but instead lowered a jungle penetrator. The more seriously wounded Marine was attached to the penetrator and hoisted aboard the hovering helicopter without incident. The penetrator was lowered a second time and Skibbe was hoisted toward the helicopter. When Skibbe was about 80 feet, perhaps higher, the hoist cable broke and he fell. Because of the jungle canopy below the helo crew did not see Skibbe hit the ground.

The helo crew immediately radioed the patrol and through miscommunication each thought 2ndLt Skibbe was safe with the other. The helo lowered an extraction ladder, the remaining men of the patrol attached themselves to the ladder, and the extraction helos returned to An Hoa. On arrival they discovered 2ndLt Skibbe had been left behind. Skibbe's Company Commander, Captain Lavoy D. McVey, took a team back to the scene with the intent of being inserted to locate Skibbe - but during the insertion Captain McVey too fell, apparently to his death. The combination of dense jungle and enemy presence led to a decision against any further attempts to recover the two men.

Captain McVey was awarded a posthumous Silver Star for his unhesitating action to attempt the recovery of Skibbe's body. Skibbe was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during and after the firefight.

The President of the United States
takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

Second Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps

for service as set forth in the following


For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company C, First Reconnaissance Battalion, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 2 March 1970, while Second Lieutenant Skibbe was leading a patrol deep in enemy-controlled territory, the team came under a heavy volume of fire from a large hostile force. During the initial moments of the engagement, Second Lieutenant Skibbe observed a wounded man fall in a forward position, and unhesitatingly placed himself between the casualty and enemy soldiers to deliver intense covering fire which forced the enemy momentarily to break contact and enabled the Marines to move the wounded man to a more secure location. While the radio operator was requesting fixed-wing air support, the enemy launched a ground assault in an attempt to overrun the Marine position. Despite the hostile rounds impacting around him, Second Lieutenant Skibbe exposed himself to the enemy fire to direct the defensive activities of his men and, while thus engaged, was severely wounded in the ankle. Although suffering intense pain and unable to walk, he nevertheless skillfully directed the bombing and strafing runs of supporting aircraft with such accuracy that the hostile soldiers broke contact and retreated, thereby enabling a medical evacuation helicopter to come to a safe hover overhead. As Second Lieutenant Skibbe was being hoisted toward the aircraft, the hoist apparatus sustained a malfunction, and he was mortally injured when he fell to the ground. His heroic and determined actions throughout this mission contributed significantly to the defeat of the numerically superior enemy force. By his courage, valiant leadership, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Second Lieutenant Skibbe upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 01 Jun 1999
Last updated 08/10/2009