Augusto M Xavier

First Lieutenant
VMA 311, MAG 12, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
26 May 1941 - 10 March 1966
San Jose, California
Panel 06E Line 001


A-4 Skyhawk

Silver Star

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Augusto M Xavier

26 Mar 1997

1LT Augusto Xavier, flying an A-4C SKYHAWK, was killed while flying close air support for the A Shau Special Forces Camp.

His body has never been recovered.

He is remembered by the men he served with, and the men he died supporting.

From one who remembers.
E-Mail address not available

10 Oct 2004

Your family misses you - we haven't forgotten you.

The Gosano family

8 Feb 2005

Lt. Xavier, you are not Missing in Action, God knows where you are. You sir will never be forgotten. You were a leader and I am sure that this poem comes to mind.


I wish I could do it over again
Maybe this time I would do it right.
I wish I could lead my men
Maybe this time they wouldn't have to die.

I wish I could tell each one how much he meant to me
Maybe this time they would believe it coming from me.
I wish I could have know then what I realize now
Maybe this time it would be different
And more would come back alive.

I wish I could have been older, wiser and more of a man
Maybe this time it would make a difference, maybe a better plan.
I wish I could stop time and revisit the sites
Maybe this time I would see the danger and miss all that death.

I wish I could know that they were all OK
Maybe as time goes by, they will forgive me this I pray.
I wish I could have stopped the death
Maybe this time I could saved each ones life's breath.

I wish I could hold on to each and every one
Maybe they didn't have to die, for they were all someone's son.
I wish I could do it over again
Maybe someone can tell me why.

I wish I could forget the death
Maybe I could forget but their faces haunt me yet
I wish they had all come home, sometimes that makes me scream.
Maybe that is just a endless dream.

I wish I could do it over again
Maybe just maybe there was something I missed
I wish I could do it over again
Maybe this time I would get it right.

©David R. Alexander
August 10, 2003

From a grateful admirer,
Raul Reyna
San Antonio, Texas

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Special Forces camp in the A Shau Valley was well located to monitor and interfere with North Vietnamese infiltration from Laos and for that reason drew special attention from the NVA commanders. In the early morning hours of 09 March 1966, the camp's defenders - 17 US and 375 ARVN troops - came under attack by an estimated 2000 NVA troops. Bad weather prevailed at the time, with cloud bases below the level of the surrounding mountaintops, severely limiting supporting air strikes. C-123 flareships could and did drop aerial flares through the clouds, thereby providing illumination for the defenders.

By mid-morning of the 9th the defenders were in dire straits, but the cloud bases had lowered to about 400 above ground. Despite the weather, an AC-47D (tail number 44-76290) of the 4th Air Commando Squadron managed to work its way below the clouds and commenced firing passes against the NVA troops massed at the camp's outer perimeter. On its second pass the AC-47D was hit by enemy fire, literally losing its starboard engine (which fell away from the plane) and developing a fire in the port engine. The AC-47D crash-landed on a mountain slope about 5 miles north of the camp. All six crewmen survived the crash but were taken under attack by NVA troops. Two men were killed and another wounded before an Air Force HH-43 arrived on scene. The HH-43 was able to rescue three of the survivors only because the fourth, 1st Lt Delbert R. Peterson, deliberately sacrificed himself in order to allow the others to be brought aboard the helicopter. A limited number of A-1s were able to work below the overcast and two C-123s were brought in for resupply drops.

The NVA renewed their attack on the night of 09/10 March. Early on the 10th an A-4 Skyhawk (BuNo 148518) from VMA-311 was lost while trying to work below the overcast. Later in the morning an A-1E from the 602nd Air Commando Squadron, tail number 52-133867 flown by Major D. W. Myers, was forced to crash-land on the abandoned A Shau runway; in a daring rescue, Major B. F. Fisher landed his A-1E while under fire, got Myers aboard, and took off again.

By the afternoon of the 10th, with half the fort in enemy hands and bad weather still a factor, it was decided to evacuate the fort by helicopter. Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 drew the job, using its 24 UH-34s beginning at about 1700. By the time the Marines were finished, they'd lost two helicopters (UH-34s 149340 and 149347) and 19 of the other 22 had taken heavy damage. In addition to the airlift, small groups of ARVN and Special Forces troops (and at least one downed Marine helicopter crew) exfiltrated through the NVA forces and were picked up over the next several days.

Nine Americans are known to have been killed at A Shau on 09/10 March 1966 - three Air Force crewmen from the AC-47D, one Marine pilot, and five Special Forces soldiers:

  • 4th Air Commando Squadron
    • Capt Willard M. Collins, Quincy, IL (Air Force Cross)
    • SSgt Robert E. Foster, Lockport, NY
    • 1stLt Delbert R. Peterson, Maple Plain, MN (Air Force Cross)
      (MIA/BNR. Presumptive finding of death on 09 Deb 1978)

  • Marine Attack Squadron 311
    • 1stLt Augusto M. Xavier, San Jose, CA (Silver Star)

  • 5th SF Group, Special Forces
    • SFC Raymond Allen, Rossville, GA
    • SSG Billie A. Hall, Sand Springs, OK (Dist Svc Cross)
    • SGT Owen F. McCann, Utica, PA
    • SP5 Phillip T. Stahl, Pompano Beach, FL (Dist Svc Cross)
    • SGT James L. Taylor, Nitro, WV

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index X
CA State Index . Panel 06E
VMA-311 Index

Contact Us

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