Kenneth William Claire

United States Marine Corps
08 November 1946 - 25 February 1968
Redwood City, California
Panel 41E Line 018


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Kenneth William Claire

25 May 2001

Best Friend since grade school ... both of us left for in-country at the same time. Part of me is still there. Ken was the hero along with over 58,000 heros. I still feel guilty that I came home.

Lest We Forget

21 Dec 2007

All gave some, you gave all.

From his best friend.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

06 May 2006

Highway One, Spine of Memory

Before you left for Vietnam
you came by
on the motorcycle
to ask if I'd go for one last ride.

We forgot to wear helmets
to cross the Pacific Coastal range
Sequoias blanched in light
reaching for us
we thought, but did not say.

Only the wind we heard when we left the groves
for San Gregorio, Half Moon Bay
where the waves continue, today
revising this shore
and the sandpipers persist, today
stitching the ocean's hem.

From a friend.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

27 Feb 2008

In memory of you Kenny, I am your sister-in-law that you never met although I feel that I know you. I am compelled to say this in behalf of your brother, he does not like computers.

Your brother Kevin misses you every day of his life. When he learned you would not come home 40 years ago, his life was shattered, his heart ripped from his body, an empty soul, he survives with your memory always with him, the tears never stopped. 40 years later, I too can feel his pain... We both are proud of you and keep your memory alive in us and in our 5 grandchildren, until we meet in heaven...

From his sister in law (married to Kevin Claire 37 years),
Evelyn Irene Ramirez-Claire
for Kevin Claire
942 5th Avenue, Redwood City, Ca 94063

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 1/26 Marines Command Chronology for February 1968 contains the following entry:
At 9:15 AM, 25 Feb 3rd Plt, Bravo 1/26, a platoon minus security patrol, was taken under automatic weapons fire and was also receiving grenades fro bunkers and trenches at XD849409. Artillery and mortar fire was called to assist in withdrawal. Support elements moved into position to provide cover by fire. The enemy force was estimated to be a Company of larger. Contact resulted in 24 friendly MIA, 17 friendly WIA, and six friendly KIA.
The patrol was about 1 kilometer south of the Khe Sanh Combat base when it came across an NVA observation post. The Marines opened fire on the NVA troops, who withdrew south. The Marines pursued the NVA and in so doing entered an ambush zone. The NVA allowed the Marines to approach within 15 feet before opening fire from concealed bunkers, spider holes and trenchlines. A reaction platoon was sent as reinforcements, but when it attempted to outflank the enemy position the platoon leader realized that his unit was being outflanked and sandwiched between the NVA position and additional enemy troops.

The best the platoon leader could do was to provide covering fire for the remnants of the patrol as they withdrew, bringing out their wounded and six of their dead - but 24 men, most of them known to be dead, could not be brought out. Three of the 24 were able to evade the NVA on their own and made their way back to friendly lines. The 27 Americans who died in the action were

  • 2ndLt Donald Jacques, Rochester, NY
  • SSgt George McClelland, Passaic, NJ
  • Cpl Frederick A. Billingham, Trenton, NJ
  • Cpl Michael J. Brellenthin, North Bergen, NJ
  • Cpl Kenneth W. Claire, Redwood City, CA
  • Cpl Bruce E. Jones, Rockland, MA
  • Cpl Donald E. Whitaker, Durham, MO
  • LCpl Ronald P. Akins, Akron, OH
  • LCpl James R. Bruder, Allentown, PA
  • LCpl Jerry L. Dodson, Collinsville, IL
  • LCpl Charles G. Geller, East St Louis, IL
  • LCpl Phillips Hayes, New Orleans, LA
  • LCpl Michael J. Laderoute, Boston, MA
  • LCpl Richard W. McKenzie, Oxnard, CA
  • HN Lloyd W. Moore, Wilmington, NC
  • Pfc Michael B. Baptiste, Tampa, FL
  • Pfc Joseph C. Battle, Houston, TX
  • Pfc Doyle G. Clay, Chicago, IL
  • Pfc John A. Lassiter, Slidell, LA
  • Pfc Henry McDonald, Philadelphia, PA
  • Pfc Kim E. Meads, Chicago, IL
  • Pfc Arnold J. Rivera, El Paso, TX
  • Pfc Willie J. Ruff, Columbia, SC
  • Pfc David C. Scarbrough, Marietta, OH
  • Pfc Walter F. Skinner, Soledad, CA
  • Pfc Douglas W. Smith, Fort Worth, TX
  • Pfc Clayton J. Theyerl, Racine, WI
The Marines returned to recover their dead, but found that many of the bodies had been badly mutilated by mortar and artillery fire. On 16 March 1973 one Marine thought to have died in the engagement returned - Sgt Ronald L. Ridgeway of Houston, Texas had been captured.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister-in-law,
Evelyn Irene Ramirez-Claire
942 5th Avenue, Redwood City, Ca 94063

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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 May 2001
Last updated 05/06/2008