Thomas Valerio
Army of the United States
New York, New York
May 31, 1949 to March 07, 1971
THOMAS VALERIO is on the Wall at Panel W4, Line 32


17 Jul 2002


by his comrades in arms from
VVA Chapter 421

From a fellow Vienam veteran,
Lester Modelowitz

29 Nov 2003

I served with Tom while we were both stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was a young "shake and bake" sergeant and I a new "butter bar" Lieutenant. We pulled many duties together. Later, after he had served with the 11th Armored Cavalry he was transferred to the 1st Armored Cavalry, when the 11th was disbanded. I was the Executive Officer of C Troop, and met up with him again upon his assignment to C Troop. I made him the Troop Armorer in an attempt to keep my friend safe. Unfortunately, my efforts were in vain when he was hit while in the Troop rear area in Khe Sanh during the Lam Son operation. Thirty two years later I have not forgotten him, and never will.

From a friend who served with Tom in Vietnam,
Carl Wronko

29 Apr 2004

Tommy, I will always love you!!!
I never stopped.

From a friend,
Linda Belmonte
E-mail address is not available.

14 Mar 2005

Tommy was my nephew and we lived in the same two family dwelling on Caroline Street, Staten Island, N.Y., until 1953 when I moved to California. We saw each other many times in both places over the years.

My husband and I saw him last in San Francisco May 1970 when he was shipped to Vietnam, along with his buddy Bob Van Hyfte. Bob ended up accompanying Tommy's body home to Staten Island and I saw them both again at the funeral. Bob has since passed away from Lou Gherich's disease

In the last letter I received from Tommy he spoke of possibly getting an R&R.

His death was devastating to our family, and of course to his parents Mary (my sister) and Tom Valerio. They moved to Glendale, Arizona to get away from the memories of him at home. He was their only child and the only war casualty we ever had in our family.

Tommy achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. His favorite character was "Snoopy" , which he had painted on his red car and I think he also named his tank the same.

It still hurts to think about him.

From his aunt,
Mrs. Rose Haupt
E-mail address is not available.

29 Jun 2007

I am Tommy's cousin Laura Corebello. Tommy and I grew up in our grandparents' home in Staten Island. We lived on the second floor where the two apartments were separated by a door. We grew up as brother and sister rather than cousins. We would slip notes under the door or talk underneath the crack of the door until our parents would open it up so we could play. He was my big brother, who taught me stuff like how to put playing cards in the wheels of my bike to make noise, and how to tie my shoe laces. He took me trick or treating for the first time.

He liked to drink Olvaltine and playing with erector sets. His dad got him involved with the scouts and I went out to see him in Valley Forge at a jamboree. I saw him advance to Eagle Scout.

As a teenager, he loved Elvis Presley.

The last time I saw Tommy was at a dinner we had for him before he left for Nam. I remember what he ate! He liked spaghetti with ricotta cheese. I was going to college at the time as an art major, and he was off to a war. We wrote letters back and forth, in fact, I still have them. I had painted Snoopy on his car before he left, and then he asked me to send a painting of Snoopy the Red Baron to him in Vietnam where he put it in his tank.

It was a sad day when we heard the news of his death. I will never forget the pain I saw in my aunt's eyes. This was her only son. She was left with a Purple Heart and a flag. To this day, I have a fear of losing my own son from this experience as a young girl.

His mom and dad are still alive in Arizona, but their health is failing. In fact, I don't expect Tom's mom to be around too much longer. She is very brave and I know she will be much happier when she finally gets to be with her son again.

The only memories of the Vietnam War I have are the news clips we saw every night on TV. I couldn't imagine being in the midst of it. Tommy was a brave soldier and I am very proud of him. I wish that we could have grown old together.

From his cousin,
Laura Corebello


Notes from The Virtual Wall

According to the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, after action report for Operation Lam Son 719 two 122mm rocket bombardments on 06 March 1971 caused seven American deaths:
  • "Ham Nghi, 061120H-061145H, XD824422. Received approximately 21x suspected 122 rockets which impacted in the Brigade Trains Area. ... There were 2x US KIA, and 10x US WIA."
    Three men actually died as a result of this attack; all were assigned to C Troop, 1/1 Cavalry:

    • SP5 Stephen W. Burgdorfer, Vane, PA
    • SP4 Horace L. Burton, Texarkana, AR
    • SGT Thomas Valerio, New York, NY, DoW 03/07/1971

  • "QTCB, 062320H-062330H, YD302532. Received 5x 122mm rocket rounds which impacted within the perimeter. ... There were 4x US KIA and 12x US WIA ..."
    The four dead in this attack all were assigned to F Troop, 8th Cavalry:

    • SP5 Daniel W. Allen, Fort Worth, TX
    • SP5 Jerry Flores, Las Vegas, NM
    • SP5 Terry L. McClanahan, Chesapeake, WV
    • SP4 Harvey W. Wright, Laurinburg, NC
In a separate incident on 07 March 1971, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, lost its Commanding Officer when the OH-58A (tail number 68-16814) he was in strayed across the border and was shot down in Laos. Four men were aboard the aircraft; two survived:
  • CWO Randolph J. Ard, pilot, HHC, 1st Bde, 5th Inf Div (MIA/BNR; remains identified 03/01/2005)
  • COL Sheldon J. Burnett, HHT/1/1 Cav (MIA/BNR; remains identified 03/01/2005)
  • CPT Phil Bodenhorn, A/1/1 Cav (survived)
  • 2LT Saturnio Castillo, Arty F/O with 1/1 Cav (survived)

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