James Glenn Upchurch

Second Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps
28 January 1944 - 25 March 1969
Ada, Oklahoma
Panel 28W Line 041


James G Upchurch
Dec 1968, Camp Carroll, Dong Ha, SVN

Bronze Star (2 awards), Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Glenn Upchurch

25 March 2001

Dear Jim,

Today 32 years ago changed our lives forever. There is never a day that I don't think about you, your courage, your love for your men, and me. I met 5 of your 2nd platoon last November at the 2/9 Reunion, and they spoke with such respect and sincere words. They were all like you wrote about - young babes serving their country. It was not easy to speak with them, but I did manage to talk with Doc Skip. He had such guilt about your death and wanted to come to your aid but was watching while Doc Dooley worked on you and prayed. Don Payton could hardly speak for emotions ran high those few days but Don, Bill, John G., and John H. all told just how proud you were of them and they appreciated my comments. Gee, it was so hard to see the tears and try to be brave for them. We still look for Douglas McConnell and Doc Duley Dooley but have not found them yet. Maybe one of these days they will pop in to a reunion and the hunt for them will be at peace.

Take care, my love, I miss you greatly especially today.
Love and Hugs,
Kathy Upchurch
widow of Jim Upchurch

26 December 2001

Dear Jim,

It is the day after Christmas and all of the family was here except Kris. She called three times to talk. We talked about a lot of things these past two weeks and I just kept remembering the last Christmas we all spent together. 1967 you were in OCS at Quantico and the weather was so bad they let you all go home for the holidays. Our 4th Christmas together and we didn't know it was going to be out last one. I found a little tree off of the Floyd's farm. Ben a former Korean Veteran and USMC helped me cut it and then he pulled me out of the mud. We had no money. I made candy for everyone and we had a quiet Christmas just looking at that little tree with popcorn and cranberries for decorations making our wishes for our next Christmas. The picture posted is the one you took in December 1968 just after Santa had visited you at Camp Carroll. We had a short precious talk looking forward to R&R coming soon in late March or early April.

I am proud of all of our accomplishments and your courage. You gave me some special gifts of courage, love, the ability to move forward in life with my head held high and my chin up. I think of you often and know you are at peace. Look over our young men and women who are fighting across the world and keep them safe. You are all angels up there and keep these youngsters as safe as possible. We have had quite a few months here and I know you are around cause I can feel you and sense you are there to let me know everything is going to be good for 2002.

God Bless and Love you, Kathy

12 Jun 2004

For my loving husband, Today would have been our 39th Wedding Anniversary and I have just been thinking about you all day and how blessed I was to have you in my life for 5 and half years. You are loved and never forgotten by me or your men.

Your men honored you last June 1,2003 in Lubbock Texas. I honored you with a brick on the new Veterans Memorial in Lubbock. I just want you to know your men say such wonderful things about and I have thanked them for you.

God Bless and Remember you are loved. Thank you for being my angel all of these years. It is hard to believe 35 years have passed.

Semper Fi, Kathy

28 Jan 2006

Dear Jim,

Today is your 62nd Birthday! I was thinking of you all day and wondering how we would have spent the day celebrating your speical day. I wanted you to know I did spend the morning with Third Marines AZ Chapter - I am their secretary. We had five 9th Marines there, outnumbered the other units. I was so embarrassed I left my money at home in my pocket including driver's license, credit/debit cards etc. I had worked the Mission for homeless last night and didn't want to leave important items in the car.

The Marines took me to lunch. They didn't kow it was your Birthday so at the end of lunch I thanked them for spending part of the day with me since it was your 62nd Birthday. They all gave me hugs and I cried which I don't do very often. I just missed you a lot today.

I went to the movie and then Mike called and met me and we saw another movie. The second movie was "Nanny McPhee" - it reminded me of the time we had driven all day to Lubbock and I wanted to see "Mary Popkins" so you took me. Had to smile at that.

I realized today for the first time that you are 2 years 9 months older than me. I just wonder all the time why 2/9 is always in my life. Maybe it is your way of reminding me you and your men are here for me. For today 1/28 (2/9 again).

Semper Fi, my love, I do really miss you. Mike - wow - 62 today. Hard to believe it has been so long ago. Thanks to Ken for getting me back signed up so I can post a note to you.

Love, Kathy

From his wife,
Kathy Upchurch

A Note from The Virtual Wall

At the beginning of March 1969 the 2/9 Marines were based at the Vandergriff Combat Base midway between Quang Tri City and Khe Sanh, responsible for both area and base defense. Their mission included aggressive patrolling of the entire area, which was subject to continuing incursions of NVA regulars from their DMZ sanctuaries.

Echo 2/9 initially was commanded by Captain J. D. Ward, who was relieved by 1stLt R. H. Morgan on 19 March; the following day command of Echo 2/9 went to 2ndLt James Upchurch. In the late afternoon of 23 March Echo 2/9 moved from Signal Hill to the Khe Gio Bridge, where Route 9 crossed the Cam Lo River west of Cam Lo. On the 24th, 2/9 was alerted to the presence of NVA troops moving into the area from the north and directed Echo and Fox Companies to prepare to move north on the morning of 25 March to intercept the NVA.

The two companies moved out before daybreak, using darkness and dense vegetation to conceal their movement from the NVA. At 1000 the Echo 2/9 point element encountered a group of NVA soldiers, taking them by surprise and killing four. At about 1330 the NVA opened fire on Echo's lead platoon with hand-held weapons, .50 caliber machine guns, and 81mm mortars. When 1stLt Upchurch was killed, and five Marines wounded, by a mortar burst, the Battalion's assistant operations officer, 2ndLt R. W. Ballard, was sent forward to take command of the company. Ballard arrived at about 1430, withdrew the lead platoon, and consolidated Echo 2/9 to form a blocking position. The NVA, apparently realizing that Fox 2/9 was moving around their right flank, chose not to continue the engagement but instead withdrew toward the DMZ.

1stLt Upchurch is the only Marine known to have died as a result of the Echo 2/9 engagement on 25 March 1969.

An article about Jim and Kathy Upchurch
appeared in the January 1999 issue of
Leatherneck Magazine

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his widow (wife),
Kathy Upchurch
25 Mar 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 01/29/2006