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Born on Oct. 20, 1948
Casualty was on Nov. 8, 1967

Panel 29E - - Line 48

Richard Duncan, Vietnam 1967
(picture courtesy of Bob Geraldo)

Cpl. Richard Duncan served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Mike Company. He was Killed In Action during Operation ESSEX trying to save his fellow Marines. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions, posthumously. His name stands proudly on the Mike 3/5 Wall of Honor alongside the Marines he fought and died with. Semper fi, Brother, we will never forget. 

Richard Duncan, 1967
(pictures courtesy of Bob Geraldo)

Cpl. Richard Duncan's Navy Cross Citation

"For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Machine Gun Squad Leader with Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in the Republic of Vietnam on the afternoon of 8 November 1967.

During Operation Essex, Corporal Duncan's company was attempting to seize a small but heavily fortified village in Quang Nam Province when it suddenly came under intense mortar and automatic weapons fire which killed the acting platoon commander and seven other Marines, and temporarily pinned down the lead platoon in a rice paddy. 

Quickly assessing the situation, Corporal Duncan displayed unusual courage, leadership and composure under fire, as he maneuvered his machine gun team across the open area to a position behind a dike. He directed a heavy volume of fire against the North Vietnamese Army force, suppressing its fire sufficiently to enable the Marines lying in the open field to move to relatively safe positions. As he was moving his team back to rejoin the platoon, he was painfully wounded. 

When a defensive perimeter was established and his squad was assigned to provide cover for the left flank, he ignored his own injury as he deployed his men and moved along the perimeter to insure their firing positions provided maximum security for their sector against hostile attacks. As darkness fell, the enemy force launched an assault but was repulsed by the extremely heavy volume of fire from Corporal Duncan's team. The enemy then commenced a grenade attack to destroy the Marines' firing positions.

Observing one of his men completely exposed to the incoming grenades, Corporal Duncan, completely disregarding his own safety and intense pain of his wound, moved to aid his fellow Marine. When a grenade landed nearby, he fearlessly used his own body to shield the man. He repeatedly exposed himself to the enemy's fire, as he moved into the open to deliver covering fire while the squad reached more secure positions.

After all members of his team had reached safety, Corporal Duncan was mortally wounded as he advanced to join his men at the new position. His bravery and daring actions throughout the engagement inspired his men to steadfastly maintain their position and repulse the fanatical enemy assault. By his courageous fighting spirit, bold initiative and unswerving devotion to duty at great personal risk, he upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

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Hometown funeral notice for Cpl. Richard Duncan
(Courtesy of Velda Solomon)

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Richard Duncan's Tracy High School Freshman
(Picture courtesy of friend and classmate, Velda Solomon)

I left the handwritten note, "died Vietnam at bottom of his picture", because I wrote it back in 1967, the day I learned of Richard's death. It is my connection to the time.~Velda Solomon

Former Classmates
Letter from Velda Solomon

It would be wonderful for my class to share with them what people knew and thought of Richard. I still remember his blond hair. He was so very young......many were. I am honored to know those he served with and want them to know how much it means to me to know more about Richard. We were so young then, but my Mom saved for me clippings of all those articles in our local paper about people I knew, births, weddings, and deaths. It was sad that my class lost several people, but we knew they died heroes, we just did not know much about it.

Velda Solomon
Class of 1966 Tracy High School, Tracy CA