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Born on Feb. 8, 1948
Casualty was on Aug. 13, 1969

Panel 19W - - Line 35

Sgt. 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.

Don't Go Walking in the Park

John 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.

Only 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.

I 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.

Semper Fi, Brother Marine
Sgt. Jimmie L. Christy
India Co. 3/5
RVN 1969


Val 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 proportions.

 If 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

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL posthumously to



For service as set forth in the following


For 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.

When 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.

By 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.

For the President,



Also Killed In Action 13 August 1969

LCpl. James "Spanky" Norris
India 3/5

Pfc. James William Davis
India 3/5

Cpl. James William Castor
India 3/5


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