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Born on Oct. 6, 1947
Casualty was on Nov. 8, 1967

Panel 29E - - Line 51

Donald Maurice Kretsinger
(picture courtesy of David Lee Zellars, nephew)

Cpl. Donald Maurice Kretsinger served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Mike Company. He was Killed In Action during Operation ESSEX. His name stands proudly on the Mike 3/5 Wall of Honor. Semper Fi, Brother. We will never forget.

Donald Maurice Kretsinger, Vietnam '67
(picture courtesy of David Lee Zellars)

LCpl. Ron Mercurio and Cpl. Donald Kretsinger (right)
(Picture courtesy of MSgt. Craig Sullivan, M/3/5)

Cpl. Donald Kretsinger

On the day Cpl. Kretsinger tripped the land mine, I was walking point for Mike Co. on Operation ESSEX. Cpl. Bill Vandegriff was my squad leader that day, as he had been since I joined Mike Co. on Operation UNION in May of 1967. 

Bill (with full gear) stepped off a paddy dike into a depression, and tore all the ligaments in his ankle. When they called "Corpsman up!" he had already set himself back up on the paddy dike and tightened the laces on his jungle boot. He wanted to go on. The corpsman told him to walk. That didn't work. They took him back to some Amtracks that we had just passed to be medi-vaced out. 

As the chain of command went, that brought Cpl. Kretsinger up as 1st Sqd. Leader, 1st Platoon. I had known Cpl. Kretsinger for a long time, and had a great respect for him because he was cool under fire and could read what was going on around him. A Sqd. Leader is most instrumental to his men for faith in his judgments in the heat of combat. I had that faith in him. He had proven himself many times before. We called him Krets for short. His smile still lives in my memory. 

To his family I say, "Respectfully yours, Jack Swan."

 Semper Fi
Jack P. Swan
1st Sqd., 1st Platoon, Mike Co. 3/5 1st Mar. Div.


Three Marines and a Torn Dollar Bill

Bill Little, Don Kretsinger and another guy named Jones were all from Illinois, and they were all killed during Operation ESSEX. They had a dollar bill torn into 3 pieces, and each had a piece. I remember Bill talking about how they were going to put it back together when they got back to the World, and have a beer to celebrate living through that nightmare. I believe they all went through boot camp together, and ended up in Mike Company.  If memory serves me, they were all killed in a short time span. Kretsinger was killed the next day when he stepped on a booby-trapped bomb. I am not sure about Jones, I believe he was shot.~Roger "Nick"Nicholson, Mike 3/5


Donald M. Kretsinger
September 21, 1967 on a one-week R & R
This photo was the last photo to be taken of Donald
(picture courtesy of David Lee Zellars)

Donald Kretsinger's gravesite in Silver Creek Cemetery
(picture courtesy of David Lee Zellers)

Donald Kretsinger Remembered in Leaf River, Illinois

Donnie Kretsinger is remembered by many in my home town of Leaf River, IL... You can walk the streets of Leaf River and mention his name to someone there, and in some way or another can manage to think of something that Donnie did or an experience about him... I am one of those people ! I have always known the Kretsinger family and am related in two diiferent ways, the first relationship (the closest) is Donnie's brother Richard is my Uncle by marriage, and Kathleen, Donnie's sister married my cousin Robert Zellers.

I was born in 1961 so I can barely remember Donnie, but what I remember is very vivid.. I was pretty much scared of the Kretsinger Bros. because they always would get hold of me and do little awnry things to me... Like Donnie threatening cut off my ear with a small pocket knife, I know they were just playing around and having fun, trying to toughen us kids up, because I still have my ear...

I can remember when Donnie came home from Vietnam, then he went back and came home in a diiferent way...we were all in the back yard at my uncle's house when the Marines came to the door at Grandma Jessie's to tell her of Donnie's death... she knew something was wrong earlier than their appearance at the front door. My mother wouldn't let us kids go to the funeral, we stayed with friends the day of Donnie's funeral. Best Regards, David Lee Zellers

Michelle Kretsinger, niece of Donnie, wanted me to send this poem to you, and gave me her expressed permission to give you permission to post it at your Combat Wife website... I am also going to make a spot for it at Leaf River Website Donnie's Memorial page... Thank You Best Regards, David Lee Zellers

Standing at the Wall

Standing at The Wall
I find his name.
Though it's all I have
I miss him just the same.

Brush back the tears
As the people gather round
And mourn with me
The name that I just found.

Touch his name
And my heart breaks.
I long to know him
And my hand shakes.

Everyone's quiet,
There's not a sound.
Just the gulp in my throat
And my heart pounding loud.

Thou there's thousands of names,
There's just one I see.
Donald M. Kretsinger
That one belongs to me.

He died for me
And he died for you.
This soldier, this hero
My uncle I never knew.

A young man
A brave man
A hero to this land.
He died so young but,
I still don't understand

Walk to the Wall
Time stands still.
Try to understand
But I never will.

Walk to the Wall
Cry for one man.
Walk to the Wall
Cry for them all.

Michelle Kretsinger
May 9, 2000

M Co. 3/5 Marines also Killed In Action on Operation ESSEX

Cpl. Richard Giebe Memorial
Cpl. Bill Little Memorial
Cpl. David Jones Memorial
Cpl. Pete Schrader Memorial
2Lt. Dale Loudin Memorial
LCpl. James Navarro
SSgt. Howard Rogers

Operation ESSEX