Donald Ray Wentz

Private First Class
Army of the United States
10 October 1947 - 21 November 1968
Drexel Hill, PA
Panel 38W Line 032


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Donald Ray Wentz

17 Dec 1998

Don was my brother's best friend -- when he died I was only 15 years old (am now 45) and I can remember the telephone call informing us of his death as if it were yesterday. Don was an only child and the last in his family to carry on the Wentz name.

Don, you are not forgotten!

From a friend,
Pamela Hickey

03 Feb 2002

Donald R Wentz

The photo and this article are from The Philadelphia Inquirer of 27 Nov 1968:

Last Letter


In his last letter home from Vietnam, the Haverford Township soldier told his parents he was preparing for a 10-day combat mission. "But don't worry," Pfc. Donald R. Wentz, 21, reassured them. "There's not supposed to be many Vietcong in the area."


Apparently there were not, but Pfc. Wentz was killed in the blast of an artillery shell fired by "friendly forces." His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ray D. Wentz, of 33 Treaty Rd., Havertown, received the letter the day after his death Thursday at Lai Khe, 25 miles north of Saigon. He had been on duty along the Cambodian border with the 1st Infantry Division.


Pfc. Wentz, a 1965 graduate of Haverford High School, later attended RETS Electronic School, Upper Darby, and was a technician with the Pennsylvania Bell Telephone Co. at King of Prussia until he was drafted last April. He was sent to Vietnam in September. He was an only child. His father is employed as an engineer at Bell.

From a native Philadelphian and fellow Vietnam veteran,
Jim McIlhenney

Memorial Day 2003

I grew up with Don Wentz. I lived across the street from him ... we spent many hours together playing football, basketball, baseball, and wiffle ball. He was, without a doubt, the nicest person I have ever met. That is not surprising given how nice his parents were.

When Don was in Vietnam, I was working at Ford Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio. I remember writing to him and saying that I was working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. He wrote back from Vietnam to tell me that my schedule sounded pretty good compared to what they were going through.

When growing up Don's favorite somg was "Duke of Earl."

When Don was in Vietnam, my brother was also there as a Company Commander in the 1st Infantry Division. That was the same division as Don, but my brother was in a different location. My mother (a former Army officer, as was my father) always kept a lookout through her living room window for the Army car that might arrive to tell her bad news about her son. One day it happened. She saw the Army car pull up and park right in front of our house. She told me she felt absolute dread as the two men got out. But then they walked across the street to Don's house. My mother said that her dread immediately turned into intense sorrow for Don and his parents.

In 1970 I entered the Army as an officer and spent 2 1/2 years. I thought of Don every one of those days. In fact I still think of him almost every day - not just today, Memorial Day, 2003.

Carl Eichenlaub

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