Frederick John Burns

United States Marine Corps
11 June 1949 - 02 January 1969
Merrick, New York
Panel 32E Line 056



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Frederick John Burns

25 Nov 2006

Fred was separated from his ten-man patrol on Christmas Day of 1967. The next day he was captured by a Viet Cong patrol. He would suffer the next year in a jungle POW camp until starvation and disease ended his young life at the age of nineteen. Other POWs who knew Fred state that he never cursed nor smoked and remained a devout Catholic throughout his captivity. Fred Burns, you are not forgotten. Semper Fi!

From one who remembers,
Jeff Vadzemnieks

11 Feb 2007

Rest in Peace

You died before I was born
During a time when the country was torn
You answered your nation's call
But sadly your name is on the Wall.

America still cries
Everytime a soldier dies
I pray that you have found eternal rest
Forever you'll be among the best.

Now a shining star in the sky
There is no more need to cry
You did what was right
Never again you'll have to fight.

In Heaven there is no war
or any of its terrible gore
Just good things
Every time an Angel sings
"Rest in peace, young Marine!"

From one who remembers,
Jeff Vadzemnieks

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines' Command Chronology for December 1967 has several entries regarding Lance Corporal Burns:
"252330H [11:30 pm, 25 Dec] - A squad size patrol from Company H returned to its PDP and discovered one member of the patrol was missing. An immediate search of the area and patrol route commenced."

"260600H [6:00 am, 26 Dec] - Initial search for MIA from Co H terminated. A two-platoon size sweep in search of the MIA commenced with the assistance of aerial observers in Grids BT 0765, 0766, 0767, 0865, 0866, 0965, 0966, and the western half of 1065."

"270700H [7:00 am, 27 Dec] - Co H continued search for MIA."

"271800H [6:00 pm, 27 Dec] - Co H terminated search for MIA to resume patrolling the Rocket Belt."

281400H (2:00 pm, 28 Dec] - Co F and a seven LVT [Landing Vehicle, Tracked] reaction force dispatched in reaction to intelligence reports placing the Co H MIA in the vicinity of THI AN (2), coordinates BT038673."

"282000H [8:00 pm, 28 Dec] - Co F reaction force operation in search of MIA terminated by 5th Marines in order to reconstitute a reaction force."

The POW Network biography for LCpl Burns contains the following unattributed and undocumented statements regarding his loss:
"Marine LCpl. Fred Burns was just over 18 and had been in Vietnam a very short time when he was sent out his first mission - a patrol southwest of Da Nang. While on patrol, Burns reportedly dropped a grenade, and dropped back to find it. Fred Burns was captured by the Viet Cong and moved about among the prison camps in South Vietnam.

"At least one returned POW provides further information on LCpl. Burns. Fred evidently had difficulty adapting to Vietnam service, and felt unliked by his patrol members. He told at least one fellow POW that he had fallen asleep and the rest of the patrol had moved out, leaving him behind purposely. He also told fellow POWs that, a devout Catholic, he had attended Notre Dame on a scholarship. Fred, described as a baby faced young man with light brown hair, neither smoked, drank or swore.

"... on January 2, 1969, Fred Burns died at age 19. He was buried by fellow POWs near the POW camp in Happy Valley, Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam near other POWs who had died before him. Fred, according to other POWs, never lost his gentle manners."

LCpl Burns was carried as Missing in Action, and promoted while in that status, until his name appeared on a VC "Died in Captivity" list. At that time he was declared Died in Captivity, Body not Recovered. His remains were repatriated on 04 Oct 1994, with identification announced on 13 Apr 1995. He is buried in Site 1210-A, Section D, Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who remembers,
Jeff Vadzemnieks

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 25 Nov 2006
Last updated 07/13/2007