Leavy Carlton Solomon
SP4 Solomon entered the Army at the US Army Reception Station, Fort Benning Georgia where he took his basic training with D Company, 9th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, US Army Training Center, Infantry. He was then sent to Advanced Indiviualt Training (AIT) at the US Army Medical Training Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas where he was trained as a medical corpsman in Company C, 2nd Battalion of the Center. During Infantry training, he was awarded the Expert Marksmanship Badge with Automatic Rifle Bar and a Sharpshooter marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar.
After AIT he was sent to Vietnam, starting his tour on September 2, 1968 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning). Most medics serve with a line company and most of the time, serve with the same platoon. They can, on any given day, if short of medics, go out into the field with another platoon or company (rare). After six months in the field, because of the hazards they are exposed to, they come into the battalion aid station to finish their time before leaving for home. SP4 Solomon became a medic in 3rd Platoon of C Company.
According to one member of SP4 Solomon's unit who knew him, most of the guys loved the medics (Docs) because, they were unarmed, and they would put their lives on the line anytime. "We lost a lot of medics while I was there. He [Solomon] was even tempered, polite, easy to get along with. He did his job well. He was only with us about 4 months" [Read his full story here].
SP4 and his unit was located near Trang Bang, northwest of Saigon, at FSB Pershing. Pershing was connected by a series of roads, 6 Alpha from Pershing to Trang Bang, then QL-1 which ran southeast to Cu Chi where the 25th Division base camp was located and on to Saigon. Supplied at first by helicopter, then the starting supplying via truck out of Cu Chi. The VC started to mine the roads. After a few trucks got blown up, the platoons/companies of the 2/12th had to escort the 65th Engineering Battalion every day to sweep the entire length of road every day.
Along the route between Pershing and Trang Bang (about 3 miles), the Battalion set up outposts, manned by 3 men. There was an outpost at the far end near Trang Bang, one in the middle and one closer to Pershing. Two foot patrols then would loop between the far end to the middle and return and the other patrol would start near Pershing, loop to the center and return. The VC jumped their far outpost on December 12th, killing SP4 Robert Leon Beltran, 1Lt James Allen Merrett and SP4 Ronald Stevens Stepsie.
In January, the VC started to place booby traps with trip wires along the routes. The patrols never walked in the exact same route, and would vary the distance from the road. This did not help. On January 11th, the patrol, including SP4 Solomon, works where the terrain is open and uncluttered. But out a little further, they begin to maneuver our way through the rubble of once stately brick and mortar houses. Along the way, "Doc" Solomon is doing some medcap work with local villagers.
The squad at point was several hundred meters ahead of the sweep team. It was slow going walking, then waiting for the engineers to complete their mine sweeping along each section of the red dirt road. They pause to wait when there is a loud explosion to their rear. SP4 Solomon was in the road on a medcap, serving the Vietnamese who came to road as the engineer's support vehicles followed behind the mine sweep team. He had stepped on a sandbag mine intended for a vehicle. His squad leader posed the question: "Why do the medic's have it so tough? He was a good kid who did his job without fear and reservation. Like all the good Joes, he will be missed by us." [Read more details from unit history here].
On Tuesday, January 14, 1969, local area papers announced the status of SP4 Solomon and others similar to:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Defense Department issued Monday a list of 26 servicemen killed in action in Vietnam. It included Sgt. Anthony C. Armbruster, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Armbrusler, 908 Cooper Dr., Orange.
Changed from missing to dead -- hostile: Army Spec. 4 Danny R. Scott, son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel E. Scott, 206 Koldine Lane, Fort Worth.
Missing as a result of hostile action: Army 1Lt. William I. Bouton Jr., 1Lt. Alan C. Gilles, WO1 Jon P. Roche, PSgt. John C. Fitzwater, SSgt. Gerald F. Apperson, Sgt. Thomas C. Mann, Spec. 4 Steven D. Bartman, Spec. 4 Robert D. Case, Spec. 4 William B. Offerdahl, Spec. 4 Leavy C. Solomon, Pfc. Lee R. Bruce Jr., Pfc. Martin R. Johnson and Pfc. Darrell E. Miller.
On January 27, 1969, Pacific Stars and Stripes changed SP4 Solomon's status from Missing to Dead - Hostile action - Army. Based on the eyewitnessinformation from the unit, it is unclear as to why the DoD or Army had placed him into a missing status. SP4 Solomon was the only man from his unit to be killed on January 11, 1969.
SP4 Leavy Carlton Solomon was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Willie G. Solomon, Blossom Street, Palmetto, Georgia. His unit historian believew Leavy was buried in the Ramah Baptist Church Cemetery in Palmetto, but that is unconfirmed at this time.
- - The Virtual Wall, September 10, 2014
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