William E Soderstrom

Army of the United States
31 May 1942 - 06 May 1966
Albany, Oregon
Panel 07E Line 037

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Military Merit, RVN Gallantry Cross, RVN Campaign medals

The database page for William E Soderstrom

02 May 2006

Dear Dad,

I want you to know you should be very proud of your kids. All 3 of us graduted from college, are married with 2 kids of our own - your grandchildren; 1 handsome young man and 5 beautiful young ladies, who are all on the path to success.

Mom did a great job raising us without you. Yet, I want you to know that a day has never passed without me wondering who you were, what you were like, am I like you. The boys were almost 9 and 10 when you were killed but time has faded memories created in youth. As I was not even 2 at that time, I have no recall of any memories, which has me yearning just to know all I can about you. I eventually find you touching me in almost everything I do.

As I raise my children, we refer to you as Papa Sode. I tell them as many stories that were shared with me with them. It is very important to me.

At one time, I had thought that I had finally gone through all the phases of the grieving process, but with the Iraq War wounds that I once thought were healed have re-opened. I pray every night for those left to survive as I after a parent has been killed to have it easier and handle it better than I have. Lately, it has been more difficult. I would imagine Mom's passing from brain cancer this year has impacted my sense of security, as I am now only 42 with no parents and my children with no grandparents.

Be sure to to take care of Mom now that she has joined you. Remember that I love and have you in my heart always.

Your Daughter.
E-mail address is not available.

08 Jan 2008

Dear Bill,

I am 54 now and I miss you just as much as I did when we first lost you and I was only 13 then. They say it gets easier with time, oh how wrong they are. Now that you, Dad, Mom and Danny are gone I am the only direct survivor left of our parents.

I will always love you.


Stephanie D. Taylor

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Operation DAVY CROCKETT, a search and destroy operation, began on 03 May 1966. On 05 May the 2nd Bn, 7th Cavalry had a light contact in the area of Thanh Son (2), about 5 kilometers southwest of Tam Quan. The following day the 1st and 2nd Bns, 7th Cavalry found themselves heavily engaged with a VC battalion defending its base camp in the hills just west of Thanh Son (2). Additional forces were brought in by air assault, including elements from the 1/9 Cavalry.

B Troop, 1st Sqdn, 9th Cavalry, lost four men during their air assault on 06 May 1966:

  • WO Darwin H. Engman, Anacortes, WA
  • WO Charles R. Lawhon, Kansas City, MO
  • SGT William E. Soderstrom, Albany, OR
  • SP4 Stephen E. Thomas, Glasgow, KY
Warrant Officers Engman and Lawhon were killed when UH-1D tail number 63-12988 was hit in the cockpit by small arms fire in a "hot" landing zone; the aircraft crashed. WO Lawhon exited the downed aircraft and was hit and killed by enemy gunfire. According to the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association, 63-12988 was hit while inserting a search and destroy team.

SP4 Stephen E. Thomas is carried in the Army TAGCEN file as a helicopter door gunner, but the VHPA does not associate him with UH-1D tail number 63-12988 and no other Bravo 1/9 helo went down that day. Presumably he was hit in flight without an actual helo loss.

While The Virtual Wall cannot say with certainty, it seems likely that Sergeant Soderstrom was part of B Troop's Aero-Rifle Platoon.

A fifth man from Bravo 1/9 Cav died on 06 May - Staff Sergeant John H. Rego of Hoolehua, Hawaii, died of wounds, but the date he was wounded is not known.

1st Bn, 7th Cavalry lost 6 men in the day's fighting, while 2nd Bn, 7th Cavalry had the heaviest losses - 12 men.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 02 May 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009