Russell Albert Steindam

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
27 August 1946 - 01 February 1970
Plano, Texas
Panel 14W Line 088

25 INF DIV Medal of Honor 4TH CAV RGT

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Army Parachutist
Russell A Steindam

The database page for Russell Albert Steindam

02 November 2001

"It is better to have lived one day as a lion
than one thousand days as a sheep."

A memorial initiated by a fellow University of Texas ROTC graduate,
Bryan Dennis Bogle
02 April 2002

LT, I remember the night, just wanted to say that it was such a waste for you to die, when you had everything to live for. What a future you had.

In remembrance, Jack Noble

13 Oct 2002

Russell, I stopped by the Moving Wall and found your name again. I can remember the talks we had on the front slope of my tank that day you were called up by the Squadron Commander to lead the newly formed ambush patrol. We talked about how they offered it to all the other young LT's and then told you to get it done.

We talked about your wife, who was with child at the time. O how the look of joy that was on your face when you talked about home.

Then there was that night when you and (if I remember correctly) 11 other men of the ambush patrol walked right into an ambush. I remember how the company commander tried to get fire support on your position, and how he pulled all the tanks and APC's off the bunker line at the Fire Support Base and lined them up at the gate to leave. I remember how we just sat there doing nothing, because we didn't have clearance to leave the Fire Support Base.

I remember that trip out by the company early the next morning to pick up what was left of you and the rest of the ambush patrol. Russell, I missed your wisdom and wit, and your leadership. But most of all I missed your friendship. Russell, I hope that your child, who you never got to see born, knows that you were a great soldier. Thank you for making an impact on my life.

David C Finzel
SFC, US Army (Retired)
Platoon Tank Commander

05 March 2003

Hey Dad,

My wife found this site and I wanted to write something as well.

I never got to meet you since I was born 23 days after your death, but I'm very proud of you for your valor. I Thank You for being the extraordinary soldier that you were and I'm proud to be following in your footsteps as a soldier. I am an Infantry Officer leading a platoon with the 1/23 Infantry Regiment. You have three amazing grandchildren who are starting to learn and understand what a true HERO their grandfather was. I only hope that I can be at least half the soldier that you were and that I can make you as proud of me as I am you. God Bless You Dad. I Love You.

I want to thank everyone who has left a message here. I would especially like to thank you SFC Finzel for your message you posted, it was a pleasure to read and my wife cried as she read it along with me. I do know what a great soldier he was from the stories I have heard. Again, thank you.

1LT Russell Steindam Matthews
Fort Lewis, Washington

05 Jan 2006

Dear Russell or "Rut" as most of your friends in Plano remember you,

As you well recall, we were closest of friends in high school. We studied together, attended the same church, double-dated and occasionally played the board game "Risk" together. Your keen mind for military strategy was apparent even then. We were both very competitive. We even entered into a covenant for one of us to become the first male valedictorian in several years of the history of Plano High School. The friendly competition caused both of us to earn better grades than we likely would have otherwise. Although, I was fortunate to finish first in our graduating class, I still believe you would have had a clear shot if you hadn't received a "B+" in typing. We both applied for appointment to military academies. As I recall, you were chosen as an alternate to West Point and I was selected as an alternate to the Air Force Academy. We were both disappointed, but truly believed that God had other plans for our lives. You went off to the University of Texas in Austin and I enrolled in North Texas State University.

I never had the opportunity to tell you what a special friend you had been. Thank God for the countless hours we were able to spend together. I admired you then and I respect you now more than ever. You will always be one of my greatest heroes.Thanks for all of the fun times and the times of heartache we shared together. Not long ago I came across my senior high school annual. You had written the following,

"Well, old buddy, I guess the time has come for our high school days to finally end. It has been a long hard bitter stuggle, but it has been worth it. To tell the truth Charles, I guess I owe just about everything the last two years to you...You gave me the key to everything I've always wanted. Your competition, your driving, and most of all your friendship have lifted me to the heights I now stand at. For that I shall always thank you...To a guy whose the next thing to God to me, might I say don't ever fail me or my faith in you. Here's to a lasting friendship, Russell"

Well, Russell, you are the one who has been a great source of inspiration... your courage... your love of God, family and country and your unselfish sacrifice in behalf of your men. You must be awfully proud of your son who now serves this nation in the finest tradition of his father.

Ironically, I discoverd this web site tonight only minutes after the University of Texas Longhorns won the national championship in an unforgettable battle fought to the very end. What they accomplished on the gridiron pales by comparison to what you achieved on the field of honor in behalf of this nation. As my wife Corrie says, "A gift given in love is multiplied in the giving". The gift of your life has been multiplied many times over. Thanks for being my friend and role model in serving the needs of others. I have thought of you countless times during the nearly thirty years I have served as a pastor. I look forward to our reunion in heaven someday. May God bless your family always.

Your friend and brother in Christ,
Charles Dixon
First Baptist Church
305 East Third Street
Lancaster, Texas

05 Apr 2006

Hi Russell,

You don't know me and I don't know you. I am 16 and currently in the 10th grade. My history teacher gave us an assignment to find a Vietnam soldier to do a small report on. I was so moved when I read about your extraordinary service to our country. Then I read the letter that your son wrote to you and I immediately began to cry. With tears rolling down my face, I called my mom in to also read your story. She too began to tear up.

On Easter Break I am going to see the Vietnam Memorial. You can be sure that I will be looking for your name. I will never forget your story of extreme bravery and valor. Thank you for all you have done for our country. It makes me feel better to know that men like you are serving The United States of America. Thank you so much.

Katie Jones

03 May 2006

My name is Cadet Bierschenk. I currently am enrolled in ROTC at UT Austin. The ROTC building here on campus has been named after LT. Steindam.

Now that I have visited The Virtual Wall, it is apparent to me why Lt. Steindam has received such an honor. I never met Lt. Steindam, but he encompasses everything that I wish to be. I would sincerely like to thank him and his family for making the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Cadet Eric Bierschenk

10 Jul 2006

Dear Russell, we loved you so much.
From Jaquine and Rosemary

E-mail address is not available.

01 Nov 2006


I want to say that we are here because of what you've done. Not that you did it for us, but for your men to the left and to the right. It still matters. We have to be strong today, and I ask you to intercede on our behalf. I know you have a special place where the heroes congregate, and every so often you'll get brass through there. Just stop them and tell them we're holding on, but we could use some help. The flag still stands. And we won't back down. I'm tired and so are they. So if you got some help coming we could use it about now. I just wanted to say "Thanks".

Daniel Kearns
Austin, Texas

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother, be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
- Henry V, William Shakespeare-

16 Apr 2007

Russell, as your buddy in ROTC and roommate, I think back to when I signed up for ROTC - an ex-Marine who had already been in Vietnam for 18 months. I was so frustrated and wanted to quit and go to OCS. You took me aside and told me to stick it out. I did. You asked me about Vietnam many times, and I told you not to worry, you had the stuff to be a good EllTee ... and you sure had it, pardner. After your death, and during my next tour of duty there, I visited the area where you died. I visited your mom and sister after I left the Army, and have visited your gravesite several times when I returned to Dallas. Now, at 62, after many years of travel and facing my own demons, I am returning to Dallas for good. When I think of the terrible waste of good men, it is you who represent that loss. I miss you to this day, buddy. It was an honor, and I hope to stand at your grave and talk with you again. Sleep well.

Michael Weller
ROTC Infantry Battalion Cmdr 1969
USMC and 101st Airborne Division

23 Apr 2007

The Plano High School Class reunion of 1964 will be this weekend.

Again you will be missed and we will share our memories of you. I have never forgotten your friendship and times we spent in school and church activities together. I remember a church party during our junior high days when you were leading all the guys up and down all the halls marching as soldiers. Even then God had given you the gift of leading others as well as caring for others.

I have spent my life time since those days teaching elementary school. I can honestly say that every morning as we said the pledge to the flag I thought of you. You were also the person I would always name in front of my class every year at the beginning, telling them of you and your sacrifice for freedom. Hopefully, it was a voice of inspiration to teach them the importance of patriotism and pride in the USA. And that some classmates grow up and dutifully serve protecting the freedoms that we as Americans cherish.

Thanks again for your friendship and even more for your service to our great country.

I proudly leave this long overdue tribute to you and to the family you left behind.

Your friend,

Gail Skelton Graham

18 May 2007

I knew Russell when I was a boy in Renner Texas. He was kind and strong when many weren't. We were in the 4th grade together. We carried our books to school in old WWII Army packs. I hope my memory isn't faulty. I remember him telling stories about his father who was a flyer shot down in the war. His Mom was German. He was very level-headed and clear about things. A real sense of fairness. I had the honor of visiting his home a few times. His Mom was great and always gave me rides home and snacks. He had a younger sister who was quiet and thoughtful. To me Russell is American in a special way beyond any glory that we might try to bestow upon him. He is one of the best memories of my childhood. Because of knowing him the eternal is alive inside us all.

From a friend,
Mike Rivas

Medal of Honor
The President of the United States
in the name of the Congress
takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

First Lieutenant
United States Army

for service as set forth in the following


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1LT Steindam, Troop B, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, while serving as a platoon leader, led members of his platoon on a night ambush operation. On the way to the ambush site, suspected enemy movement was detected on one flank and the platoon's temporary position was subjected to intense small arms and automatic weapons fire as well as a fusillade of hand and rocket-propelled grenades. After the initial barrage, 1LT Steindam ordered fire placed on the enemy position and the wounded men to be moved to a shallow bomb crater. As he directed the return fire against the enemy from his exposed position, a fragmentation grenade was thrown into the site occupied by his command group. Instantly realizing the extreme gravity of the situation, 1LT Steindam shouted a warning to alert his fellow soldiers in the immediate vicinity. Then, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, 1LT Steindam deliberately threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the full and fatal force of the explosion as it detonated. By his gallant action and self-sacrifice, he was able to save the lives of the nearby members of his command group. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by 1LT Steindam were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

B Troop, 3/4 Cavalry, lost two men in the incident - 1LT Steindam and PFC Jose A. Santa Cruz of Glendale, Arizona. PFC Santa Cruz received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during the engagement.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 2 Nov 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009