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Born on July 25, 1946
Casualty was on Sept. 5, 1967

Panel 26E - - Line 2

David Phelps
(Picture courtesy of Tom Phelps, younger brother)

"Doc" David Phelps served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Mike Company in Vietnam. He was Killed In Action on Operation SWIFT. His name stands proudly on the Mike 3/5 Wall of Honor alongside his Marines. Semper fi, Doc. We will never forget. Semper fi, Doc.

Operation SWIFT

"Doc" David Phelps with ARVN soldier
(picture courtesy of MSgt. Craig Sullivan, M/3/5)

My Brother

My brother was HN David Clayton Phelps, killed in action while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in Quang Tin, South Viet Nam. While Dave was really my step Brother, he was my big brother and my friend. Our oldest brother Bill, was eleven years older than I and had left home for college when I was seven years old. Therefore, when Dave came to live with us (my Step Dad, Mom and younger brother Tom), he became the big Brother that I had missed. Dave lived with us for about 6 years, in Williamstown, New York when he joined the Navy to become a Navy Hospital Corpsman. The years he spent with us will never be forgotten. We were always playing basketball, baseball, football and fooling around with old cars or chasing girls. Although we did have our fights (more of a fight for me than him), he would just hold me down until I would give in. No matter what I did or said to him at the time, he never laid a hand on me. He would just hold me down and laugh.

I was 15 years old that September when the Naval Officers came to our home to inform Mom and Dad of Daves' death. I didn't stick around to hear them....I knew why they were there. Dave had talked to Dad via radio phone on his birthday in July. During that visit, Dave told Dad that he knew that he would never make it back from Nam alive. The news saddened everyone in our small community and school. Dave had been special to many of our teachers and was a basketball star for the school. Everyone loses a little piece of themselves when they lose someone as special as Dave. He will always be dearly missed and never forgotten in our hearts. I LOVE YOU DAVE. May God forever keep you and all those you served with.~Your Brother, Jim



I'd like to add more information about our Big Brother Dave. I am the youngest member of the family, when Dave was killed, I was just starting 6th grade, Dave was the most important person in my life, he was my Hero! He was so Cool. Dave was ten years older than me but he always tried to keep me involved with things. My Brother Jim was right when he said that Dave would just hold him down, I remember many times when Dave would hold Jimmy down on the couch with his knees in Jimmy's back bouncing up and down all the while Jimmy would be attempting to ask me to help him, Yeah, Right, Like I could have ever done anything to help him. Dave had also attended Camden New York High school for a few years and made quite a few close friends there. He also set the Tri-Valley scoring record for basketball.

Dave was an outstanding basketball player, 6'4" he was just a pleasure to watch, and while at Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School he helped the school take the Oswego County Championship.

David was the first from Williamstown New York to be killed in Nam, we were told he was bringing in one of his Men, wounded from the field when he was hit by sniper fire, the wounded man survived and was able to tell the story. The Williamstown Legion Post # 1128 dedicated a memorial to David at their Memorial site on route 13 in Williamstown for all to see and enjoy. I will take a picture of it to add to the web site.

My Brother Jim and I have the opportunity to feel pride all the time because of David, I run into his old friends quite often and they usually make comments about how much they liked Dave and what a great guy he was. I don't think he had ANY domestic ememies, everyone liked him.

Myself, I spent 4 good years of my life in the Marine Corps and as you could probably guess, I always had a lot of respect for our Corpsmen. Semper Fi Big Brother, I love you Man, you have been one of the Best Parts of my whole life, and counting.~Little Brother Tommy


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Cartoon drawing by David Phelps before he went to Vietnam
(Courtesy of Tom Phelps, younger brother)

Uncle David

I never knew David as I was born in 1975, but everyone from the area where he grew up always has nothing but great things to say about him. We usually converse during St. Patrickís Day at the Williamstown Legion with the locals. His name always comes up in conversation. There is a memorial placed in the center of town in Davidís memory. I live about ten miles from Williamstown, New York. I played basketball for the same high school that David graduated from (Altmar-Parish-Williamstown). His coach (Dick Foertch) was my principal for some time. We have a basketball award at the school now named the David C. Phelps Award. It is an award handed out to the senior that shows the most improved skills on the team at the end of the year. I won the Most Improved Player award as a sophomore. David was highly regarded as one of the best players in the area in the late 60ís. Some say that he could have gone far in basketball. He may have touched more lives with his military duty by the sounds of things!

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I would love to communicate with anyone who knew David to learn more about his life. I donít know why and Iíve never believed in strange happenings but I have always felt a strong interest towards the Vietnam Era and the man that I always called Uncle David.~Jim Poindexter, Jr.


Remembering HN David Clayton Phelps

This is posted in honor of David Clayton Phelps, HN, killed 9/5/68. Dave was one of my corpsmen at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA. He became a good friend, and died on my birthday. I still remember the day I heard the news. I was heartbroken. After so many years, I still remember the kind, sweet young man he was. His frequent talk of his family, especially his brother, and his upbringing in New York State, entertained us all.

I was unable to make my first visit to the Wall until 1994...I was not able to make my peace with the War until I went, though. Dave's name was the first one I searched for. When I saw it, everything came rushing back...I wondered about his brother...and I see that his brother has a son. Dave would have liked that...being an uncle. I hope his family has found peace...with two sons and a daughter of my own in the military, I wonder how they survived the heartbreak. They must be so proud of him, and rightly so. While the war was horrible, the men who fought so bravely were and are my heroes.

The night before the guys left Portsmouth for their Marine training, we had a party at my house. I remember hugging Dave and wishing him Vaya con Dios...he smiled that sweet smile and wished me the same before he walked out of our lives forever. Vaya con Dios, Dave. I think about you often.~Scherlie Faulkner Devine


For David

I never knew David Phelps. He was the uncle of my son-in-law. My son-in-law never knew his uncle either, but there is a very strong bond between them. David, we are both very proud of you and what you did for our country. May you rest in peace.~Jackie Horning