James Edward West, Jr

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
22 December 1947 - 31 May 1968
Norfolk, Virginia
Panel 62W Line 019


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Edward West, Jr

01 Feb 2001

I just want to show the world that they have lost a most wonderful human being. Our family has never fully recovered, though my parents have since joined you.

I am left here, the only one left from my "immediate" family, to remember you and know that you are with loved ones. I cannot imagine losing a child, grown or not.

But losing you, my little brother, has been devastating.

Your loving sister

June Austin
225 Robert Street, Chesapeake, Virginia

A Note from The Virtual Wall

At the end of May 1968 the 1st Bn, 1st Marines was preparing to be withdrawn from the Khe Sanh area, while 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines were conducting road clearance and security patrols along Highway 9 south of the combat base. On the night of 29/30 May Echo 2/3's night defensive position was attacked, and during the following day the company's patrols had several contacts. The 1/1 Marines were directed to detach a company to assist 2/3; Bravo 1/1 was selected for the mission.

On 31 May Echo 2/3 encountered a large entrenched NVA unit and Bravo 1/1 was directed to move to reinforce Echo 2/3. NVA practice was to establish ambushes along likely routes for reinforcements, and they did so on this occasion - Bravo 1/1 found themselves in a sharp fight with NVA troops dug in along the road. Instead of a single fight with two companies of Marines up against the original foe, there were two engagements separated by several hundred meters of jungle. The weight of US supporting arms gradually worn down both NVA elements, which withdrew toward the Laotian border several kilometers to the west. By the time the fighting stopped, the Marines had lost 25 men and had a considerable number of wounded. The dead were

  • B Co, 1st Bn, 1st Marines
    • Sgt Larry D. Pliler, Joplin, MO
    • Cpl Samuel Williams, Tampa, FL
    • LCpl Robert C. Allen, Reno, NV
    • LCpl Eric V. Dickson, Woodland Park, CO
    • LCpl Ralph Ferguson, Jackson, OH
    • LCpl Peter J. Kaulback, Webster, NY
    • LCpl Harry T. Moore, Chicago, IL
    • LCpl Charles L. Morgan, Rock Hill, SC
    • LCpl Donald R. Trantham, Santa Clara, CA
    • Pfc Henry J. Boye, Pine Hill, NJ
    • Pfc Leroy C. Haller, Birdsboro, PA
    • Pfc Wayman D. Morris, War, WV

  • E Co, 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines
    • Cpl Harold D. Gore, Houston, MS
    • LCpl William G. Gifford, Phoenix, AZ
    • LCpl Gary M. Martorella, Bayonne, NJ
    • LCpl James E. West, Norfolk, VA
    • Pfc Haydn Evans, Roselle, NJ
    • Pfc Ruzell Gray, Crockett, TX (Silver Star)
    • Pfc Squire N. Mayberry, Dayton, OH

  • G Co, 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines
  • H&S Co, 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines (with Echo 2/3)
    • Sgt George M. Ramos, San Francisco, CA
    • Cpl Norman E. Hicks, Baltimore, MD
    • Cpl Steven I. Olney, Lansing, MI
    • LCpl Harrell W. Johnson, Roseboro, NC
    • LCpl Robert L. Smith, Monroe, MI
There was one more casualty, although it wasn't immediately recognized. Lance Corporal Charles H. Gatewood, Bravo 1/1, from Chicago, Illinois, had been shot. He was immediately treated by a Corpsman, was directed to move back to a helo landing zone about 100 meters to the rear for evacuation, and was seen moving under his own power in that direction. It wasn't until several days later, when Bravo 1/1 was detached from duty with the 2/3 Marines and returned to their own battalion, that it was realized that no medical facility had reported receiving LCpl Gatewood for treatment. The two battlefields had been thoroughly swept beginning on 01 June and all known dead and wounded had been recovered; although no-one was looking for Gatewood specifically - after all, he had been wounded and evacuated - he had not been found during the sweeps. Simply stated, he had disappeared. Gatewood was classed as Missing in Action and was carried in that status until 23 Sep 1975, when the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death. His remains have not been repatriated.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 1 Feb 2001
Last updated 11/16/2010