JOHN BEN VALDEZ
on Feb. 8, 1948
From ROCKY FORD, COLORADO
Casualty was on Aug. 13, 1969
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Panel 19W - - Line 35
John Ben Valdez served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines,
India Company. His name stands proudly on the India
3/5 Wall of Honor alongside the Marines he fought and died with.
Semper fi, Brother Marine.
Go Walking in the Park
Valdez was my platoon Sgt. in Vietnam in '69. And a braver man has
never walked the face of the earth. You were on your second tour,
and you really knew your job. You brought us through many battles
untouched and unharmed. Your platoon was the best in the company.
When a job had to be done, they always called on us. But they never
told us just what we were up against that day. The day you were killed,
when we were walking in the park.
that we were to assist 1/7. Little did we know that when we got on
line to search and clear, that we were being put directly in line
with the heart of the 90th NVA Regiment. The battle lasted seven hours,
and five Marines were KIA and thirty three were wounded. 1/7's Battalion
commander was also with us when he was KIA. We killed 255 NVA soldiers
that day, and broke their hold on the area.
don't know why the good Lord chose you instead of me that day. I guess
he needed a tough Marine Sgt. to guard the streets of gold. But I
really miss you Sarge, and I'll never forget you or that day. I carry
you in my heart each and every day. And as long as I live, you will
live too. And I will never let this country, the country that you
loved, forget the price you paid, brother. And I will never stop telling
your story, the story of a brave, courageous Marine warrior, who was
not afraid to go walking in the park. I will see you again someday.
So until then, may you rest in peace.
Fi, Brother Marine
Sgt. Jimmie L. Christy
India Co. 3/5
was a verifiable hero. While his middle name is Ben, I would have
thought the initial "B" stood for Bravery. He died trying
to help my pinned down gun team. He lived his life enthusiastically
and often at odds with society. He died a noble man, a man of legendary
he had returned to the "World" the depth of his character
would have been recognized by a superficial society. The intensity
of his regard for the lives of others and his willingness to sacrifice
would have been lost on a society that places values on conformity
versus character. I miss him terribly. Richard Williams
President of the United States takes pride in presenting the
SILVER STAR MEDAL posthumously to
JOHN B. VALDEZ
STATES MARINE CORPS
service as set forth in the following
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving
with Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine
Division in connection with combat operations against the
enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 19 June 1969, Company
I was conducting a search and destroy operation eight miles
east of An Hoa. When the point man discovered and enemy base
camp, the enemy immediately opened fire with a machine gun
and wounded him.
Quickly moving to a position fifty feet from the casualty,
Sergeant Valdez threw several smoke grenades to screen his
actions and advanced through the intense enemy fire to the
wounded manís side. Placing his comrade on his shoulder, he
then carried him to a relatively safe area where medical assistance
could be provided. Although wounded twice during this selfless
mission, he ignored the pain of his injuries as he aided the
platoon commander in leading the unit through dense jungle
and precipitous terrain to envelop the hostile position.
the platoon successfully maneuvered into position behind the
enemy, Sergeant Valdez, although in intense pain, joined an
assault through the enemy position which resulted in three
North Vietnamese soldiers killed and the capture of several
weapons, including two submachine guns.
his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and steadfast devotion
to duty at great personal risk, Sergeant Valdez inspired all
who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the
Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
F. CHAPMAN, JR.
OF THE MARINE CORPS
Killed In Action 13 August 1969
LCpl. James "Spanky" Norris
James William Davis
Cpl. James William Castor