Donald Warren Tinney, Jr

Army of the United States
20 May 1949 - 14 April 1970
New York, New York
Panel 11W Line 004


Silver Star

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Donald Warren Tinney, Jr

17 Aug 2002


by his comrades in arms from
VVA Chapter 421

From another Vietnam veteran,
Lester Modelowitz

Sergeant Donald Tinney also is remembered by his brothers from
Fox Company, 75th Infantry
15 Feb 2005

I was born on April 14, 1970. In reading "Phantom Warriors", the story of Sgt. Tinney's death while serving our great country really touched me. I wear a black bracelet every day that bears his name, rank, unit and where he was killed. I would like to get in touch with his family to tell them that they are not the only ones who will remember him. If anyone knows his family please forward this to them. THANK YOU.

Joe Finazzo

Notes from The Virtual Wall

At 0700 02 Apr 1970 F Company, 75th Infantry, was alerted to provide a Ranger team to investigate enemy activity in the Renegade Woods (XT3032). At 0800, a 13-man Ranger element, led by 1LT Philip J Norton, boarded two D/3-4 Cav UH-1H helicopters. The insertion was accomplished at 0835 hours. Following standard operating procedures for Ranger insertions there was no preparation of the landing zone.

The Rangers deployed from the helicopters and began moving west toward known enemy structures. At approximately 0840 hours a light machine gun (LMG) opened fire on the lead men at a range of ten to 15 meters. Although the LMG was destroyed with hand grenades, killing its crew, the team began taking fire from all directions. 1LT Norton decided they should withdrew to the east and attempt to maneuver around the enemy. Suppressive fires were requested from the supporting helicopters and a reaction force was requested.

The Rangers split into two elements, Team 39 under 1LT Norton moving eastward while Team 38 under SFC Floyd provided covering fire. The supporting helicopters - one AH-1G, one OH-6A, and the two insertion UH-1Hs - also were divided, with the two UH-1Hs (CENTAUR 23 AND 24) dispatched to Cu Chi to bring out a reaction force.

The situation on the ground deteriorated rapidly. Team 38 had set up in a large bomb crater which provided the only cover in the area, but a combination of small arms and RPG fire killed SFC Floyd and SGT Michael Thomas and wounded SP4 Donald Tinney. Team 39 also began receiving heavy fire from small arms and two or possibly three LMGs and withdrew to the crater. 1LT Norton had dragged SP4 Tinney to safety within the crater before requesting a reaction force, gunship support, and MEDEVAC for the three men struck by the RPG. The on-scene Cobra expended the rest of its rockets and minigun ammunition in laying suppressive fire and the OH-6A expended 600 M-60 rounds before jettisoning extra ammunition in preparation for a MEDEVAC attempt. The UH-1H helicopters reversed course and returned on station.

By about 0920 hours the team had expended most of their ammunition and were taking small arms fire from all directions. The AH-1G and OH-6A had expended their ammunition and were making dry gun runs in an attempt to suppress the enemy fire. At 0922 hours CENTAUR 23 landed ten to 15 feet from the lip of the crater, and 1LT Norton gave his men the order to board. The UH-1H crew maintained suppressive fires while the eleven surviving Rangers boarded, and after 30 seconds on the ground the overloaded UH-1H lifted off with maximum torque and severe vertical vibration. SFC Floyd and SGT Thomas could not be recovered. All the helicopters were running low on fuel and departed for Cu Chi, arriving there about 1000 hours. CENTAUR 23 stopped enroute near Trang Bang to administer initial first aid to SP4 Tinney and to redistribute the passengers, some of whom were literally hanging on, before landing at the 12th Evacuation Hospital.

The Ranger mission had been an expensive success - the presence of a large body of VC/NVA and base camp facilities had been confirmed. Over the next five days, Companies A, B, and C, 2/27th Inf, and Companies A and B, 2/22nd Inf, conducted operations against a well-equipped, trained, and entrenched enemy, ultimately forcing them from the area while destroying the base camp facilities, capturing large quantities of supplies and weapons, and killing at least 101 VC/NVA soldiers. The enemy forces involved were the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 271st VC/NVA Regiment.

Eleven U.S. troops were killed in the action and 35 wounded (18 treated and released to duty). The difficulty of the fighting was reflected in the awards granted to the men involved:

  • 4 Distinguished Service Cross recommendations;
  • 22 Silver Stars;
  • 6 Distinguished Flying Crosses;
  • 84 Bronze Stars; and
  • 51 Army Commendation Medals.

Of the seriously wounded soldiers, one died of wounds received - Sergeant Donald W. Tinney.

The twelve men who died as a result of the Renegade Woods operations were:

  • 2nd Bn, 27th Inf Rgt
    • CPL Dwight H. Ball, Sardis, OH, A Company (KIA 04/03/1970)
    • SGT John J. Lyons, Yonkers, NY, B Company
    • SSG William T. Smith, Marshfield, WI, B Company
    • SGT Mickey E. Griffith, San Gabriel, CA, C Company
    • SSG Melvyn H. Kalili, Hauula, HI, C Company
    • 1LT Ronald V. Kolb, Washington, DC, C Company
    • SGT John E. Rarrick, Beaver Dams, NY, C Company (Dist Svc Cross)
    • CPL Severiano Rios, Oak Creek, WI, C Company

  • F Co, 75th Inf Rgt
    • SFC Alvin W. Floyd, Augusta, GA, (Dist Svc Cross)
    • SSG Michael F. Thomas, Louisville, KY
    • SGT Donald W. Tinney, New York, NY (DoW 04/14/1970)

  • B Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty Rgt
    • 2LT Orville E. Kitchen, Dayton, OH
From the after-action report compiled by the
18th Military History Detachment, 25th Inf Div

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009