Francis Gerald Corcoran
During the Vietnam War there was no overriding reason to keep close track of names of the men and women who died as a result of military service in the war zone. A decade after the withdrawal of US forces, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was approved for construction. The service branches went back through their records to identify our dead by name.
Inevitably some men who should have been named on the "Wall" were not. Over the years additional names have been inscribed on the Wall - some were men who died after the war as a result of wounds received in the war or from disease or illness, and others were men whose names were overlooked in earlier years.
The Department of Defense approved having his name etched on the Wall during May 2015, along with 7 other names. His name was etched as close to the names as possible of those who died the same day, which in his case was January 26, 1968 at Panel 35E, Line 41 where space was found to add his name.
Master Sergeant Francis Gerald Corcoran, also known as Buddy, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Corcoran graduated from Nativity B.V.M., and later attended Northeast Catholic High School, leaving before graduation to enlist as Active Duty Army on November 15 1946.
Early in service photo of
MSG FRANCIS GERALD CORCORAN
He met his wife, Betsy, at Nativity. The pair married when they were 22 and went on to have eight children. The family moved frequently to United States and overseas bases; every time they couldn't accompany Francis on an assignment, the Corcorans re-turned to Port Richmond.
Corcoran rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming a Green Beret.
During his final tour of Vietnam, the following article was published in the 25th Infantry Division Tropic Lightning News, Vol 2 No. 17, May 1, 1967
VC Hit CP
Soldiers of the 1st Bn., 35th Inf. and the 2nd Bn., 9th Arty. had the scare of their lives when a Viet Cong mine detonated in the center of their forward Command Post (CP).
Although the command-detonated mine blew a hole five feet deep and 10 feet wide and sent shrapnel flying throughout the CP, scratches and bruises were the only injuries taken. Men of Alpha Btry., 2nd Bn., 9th Arty., who were bunked on top of the bomb, had been called to their posts for a fire mission seconds before explosion occurred.
The 250-pound bomb and 105mm rounds - believed to be U.S. ammunition which failed to explode when it was dropped into a nearby VC stronghold a week earlier - had been buried prior to the "Cacti Green's" arrival in the landing zone. MSgt. Francis G. Corcoran, who traced the wire leading from the bomb to where it had been detonated, said the VC had taken great pains to conceal the wire and bombs.
MSG Corcoran's name was also unveiled in a special ceremony at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial (PVVM) on Monday, May 30 at 12:30 p.m. It's the first time in over 13 years that a name has been added to the memorial.
MSG Corcoran, the son of Luke F. Corcoran (19011947) was survived by his mother Mrs. Mae Corcoran ( Mary Mae T. Coll Corcoran (1903-1982)), his wife Elizabeth "Betsy" Anna S. Corcoran, Philadelphia, Pennsylvanis; brother Luke James Jr (19321987), and sister Mary (1927-1993). Buddy, as he was know, was also survived by his children: Francis G. Jr, Elizabeth A (Lisa), Michael, Patricia, Thimethy (Tim), Lawrence, Mary, and Anne.
His wife was with him at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. when he died of the acute hepatitis he contracted while on a tour of duty in South Vietnam. He had served almost 21 years in the armed forces. He is buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
August 7, 1969, page 1, The Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Generosity extended by several area residents enabled the family of Mrs Corcoran to visit the grave site of their father, MSgt. Francis G. Corcoran a Vietnam veteran who is buried in the National Cemetery here. The family, along with a Park Service guide posed for a photo during a visit at Mayor William G. Weaver's office late Wednesday morning. Standing in the back row, from left, are Lisa, 14, oldest of Mrs. Corcoran s daughters: Mrs Russell Saum, who accompanied them on their tour; Mrs. Corcoran and Mayor William Weaver. Standing in the front row are Patricia, Anne, Mary, Tim, Larry and Michael Corcoran. (Times Photo)
You can read the entire article on the front page here.
- - - The Virtual Wall, May 29, 2016
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