DONALD MAURICE KRETSINGER
on Oct. 6, 1947
From LEAF RIVER, ILLINOIS
Casualty was on Nov. 8, 1967
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Panel 29E - - Line 51
(picture courtesy of David Lee Zellars, nephew)
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.
Maurice Kretsinger, Vietnam '67
of David Lee Zellars)
Ron Mercurio and Cpl. Donald Kretsinger (right)
(Picture courtesy of MSgt. Craig Sullivan, M/3/5)
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.
(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.
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.
his family I say, "Respectfully yours, Jack Swan."
Jack P. Swan
1st Sqd., 1st Platoon, Mike Co. 3/5 1st Mar. Div.
Marines and a Torn Dollar 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
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)
Kretsinger's gravesite in Silver Creek Cemetery
(picture courtesy of David Lee Zellers)
Kretsinger Remembered in Leaf River, Illinois
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.
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...
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
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
at the Wall
at The Wall
I find his name.
Though it's all I have
I miss him just the same.
back the tears
As the people gather round
And mourn with me
The name that I just found.
And my heart breaks.
I long to know him
And my hand shakes.
There's not a sound.
Just the gulp in my throat
And my heart pounding loud.
there's thousands of names,
There's just one I see.
Donald M. Kretsinger
That one belongs to me.
died for me
And he died for you.
This soldier, this hero
My uncle I never knew.
A brave man
A hero to this land.
He died so young but,
I still don't understand
to the Wall
Time stands still.
Try to understand
But I never will.
to the Wall
Cry for one man.
Walk to the Wall
Cry for them all.
May 9, 2000
Co. 3/5 Marines also Killed In Action on Operation ESSEX
Richard Giebe Memorial
Cpl. Bill Little Memorial
Cpl. David Jones Memorial
Pete Schrader Memorial
2Lt. Dale Loudin Memorial
LCpl. James Navarro
SSgt. Howard Rogers