Frank Levi Swinford, III

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
05 January 1948 - 06 September 1967
Sweeny, Texas
Panel 26E Line 019



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Frank Levi Swinford, III

25 Sep 2002

Sixth County Youth Dies In Viet Nam

The Daily Tribune received word today that another soldier from Matagorda County has lost his life in Viet Nam. The death is the sixth for [the] county in the war. Frank Swinford, the son of G. T. Swinford, of Bay City, died Sept. 6. It had been reported that Swinford's mother lives in Sweeny, however, no details were available at press time today.

The Daily Tribune, September 12, 1967
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Lee Swinford Killed in Vietnam Sept. 6

Cpl. Frank L. Swinford III, who spent most of his 19 years in Bay City, is the sixth Matagorda Countian to give his life for the service of his country in Vietnam. Cpl. Swinford was the son of Frank L. Swinford of Bay City and Mrs. Hollis Hairell of Sweeny. Swinford was killed in action Sept. 6 near Da Nang, South Vietnam, the Marine Corps reported Tuesday. Known as Lee to his friends, Swinford resided in Bay City most of his life. He attended Bay City Junior High and high school here, then later moved to Sweeny where he also attended school. Lee had been in Vietnam four months at the time of his death. In every letter the family received, Lee would say: "Everyday I'm closer to coming home." Swinford had received a promotion in rank just a week before his death. Lee was serving with the 1st Marine Corps Div., 1st (sic) Co., 3rd Bn. A Marine spokesman reported that he was killed by a mine explosion. At the present time Swinford's body is being shipped home. Funeral arrangements made by the Sweeny Funeral Home. In addition to his parents, Lee is survived by two sisters, Mary Lou Hairell of Sweeny and Polly Ann Swinford of Bay City, and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bradford and Mrs. F. L. Swinford, all of Bay City. He will be buried with full military rites. Lee is the second county youth to give his life this summer. On June 22 Army Specialist Four William Lloyd Hamlin of Palacios was killed while on a security mission. Hamlin was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Reagan Hamlin of Star Route, Palacios.

The Daily Tribune, Wednesday, September 13, 1967
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Placed by a member of the Matagorda County, Texas Historical Commission.
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Shortly before dawn on 04 Sep 1967 NVA and VC troops attacked US Marines in the Que Son Valley, beginning Operation Swift. As the battle escalated, both sides introduced additional forces. On 6 September two battalions of the 1st VC Regiment attacked the lead company of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Bravo Company was isolated and nearly overrun before artillery-delivered tear gas drove the enemy back. The nearby 3rd Battalion was heavily engaged a few hours later. When India 3/5 was dispatched to attack an enemy held hill, it was isolated and nearly overrun by the 1st VC Regiment's previously uncommitted 3rd Battalion. Kilo 3/5 was sent to relieve India and, though it eventually fought through, the two-company force couldn't move because of the many casualties. That night, two assaults were repulsed. In a night attack of their own Mike 3/5 broke through to the encircled companies, completing the disruption of the enemy force. By dawn on the 7th the NVA/VC had withdrawn into the surrounding mountains.

The following men from India and Kilo 3/5 died in the fight for Hill 43:

  • I Co, 3rd Bn, 5th Marines
    • SSgt Richard B. Jackson, Philadelphia, PA
    • Cpl William R. France, Garfield Heights, OH
    • Cpl Dale A. Gunnell, Winston-Salem, NC
    • LCpl Harold S. Bern, Powers, OR
    • LCpl Richard W. Crawford, Wallkill, NY
    • LCpl Sam T. Curiel, Abilene, TX
    • LCpl Patrick Herron, Sugar Notch, PA
    • LCpl Joseph S. Hume, Hamilton, OH
    • LCpl Reginald A. Jordan, Philadelphia, PA
    • LCpl Michael L. Langerio, Hershey, PA
    • LCpl George S. Spak, Akron, OH
    • LCpl Gregory L. Yeager, St Paul, MN
    • Pfc Robert D. Evans, Grand Prairie, TX
    • Pfc Jerry H. Heizer, Staunton, VA
    • Pfc Gary E. Hibbard, Dimock, PA
    • Pfc James B. Miller, Fernandina Beach, FL
    • Pfc James T. Pepper, Elk River, MN
    • Pfc Lewis H. Proudfoot, Elverson, PA
    • Pfc Jerry C. Royal, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Pfc Robert W. Swafford, O'Fallon, MO
    • Pfc Frank L. Swinford, Sweeny, TX
    • Pfc Jerry L. Thomas, Sherman, TX
    • Pfc Ralph P. Villegas, San Pedro, CA
    • Pfc Robert C. Wallace, Plattsburgh, NY

  • K Co, 3rd Bn, 5th Marines
    • Sgt John T. Carota, Milton, MA
    • Cpl Reid C. Arnold, Largo, FL
    • Pfc James H. Rust, Malone, NY
    • Pfc Robert G. Willow, Johnsonburg, PA

Over all, one hundred seven Marines were dead. The intensity of the fighting can be judged by the fact that three Medals of Honor and three Navy Crosses were awarded posthumously to Marines and sailors who died in the battle.

  • Bravo 1/5: 21 dead
  • Delta 1/5: 27 dead
  • H&S 1/5: 8 dead
  • India 3/5: 25 dead
  • Kilo 3/5: 4 dead
  • Mike 3/5: 17 dead
  • H&S 3/5: 4 dead
  • HQ Co, 5th Marines: 1 dead
  • 2/11 Marines: 1 dead (arty FO)

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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 Sep 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009