Russell G. Garrison
Specialist Four
Army of the United States
Elmer, New Jersey
December 16, 1945 to September 08, 1967
RUSSELL G GARRISON is on the Wall at Panel 26E, Line 34

Russell G Garrison
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Warrant Officer Gaylord Westbay had just turned 29 years old when he landed in Vietnam in August, 1967. Considered to be an "old man" by other soldiers over there, he had trained to be a helicopter pilot and got along with everyone. Westbay had been in Vietnam for 3 weeks when this incident took place.

Attached to the 4th Infantry Division, WO Westbay was assigned as the 2nd Brigade pilot. As battles ensued, he would fly over the area with senior officers to command and control the infantry troops, air strikes, and direct artillery into point of contact. His 'bird' was an OH-23G helicopter.

On September 7, the Brigade had been informed of an enemy attack. WO Westbay was to get the Sergeant Major of the Unit out to a remote base to lead some troops into action. Along with them that day was a young Military Policeman (MP), SP4 Russell G Garrison. They lifted off and started to proceed to Plei Mrong in the Pleiku Province in the central highlands.

Plei Mrong was a fairly large base camp that housed the elite Special Forces group of the Army. Located at the tri-borders of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, these soldiers were responsible of crossing over the borders to locate and kill enemy forces that swarming into South Vietnam. It was also the location of the tribal Montagnards. These 'mountain people' trained to fight with the Special Force groups and were known to be quiet, deadly, and extremely loyal to the US efforts.

While enroute to the base camp, the helicopter suddenly lost power and went down and crashed in a stream bed about 9 miles west of Pleiku. (It was later determined that some of the gauges were faulty, and it ran out of gas!). Westbay and the MP were pinned inside. SGM Jack Honeycutt, although wounded, managed to get out and went to find help. He encountered 3 'Yard' villagers north of the craft and persuaded them to return with him. As the small group neared the helicopter, they sighted several VC in the vicinity of the aircraft. Several attempts to sneak around them proved unsuccessful. With darkness setting in, the SGM spent the night holed up beneath the thick underbrush of a hillside.

After eluding several more enemy patrols, he finally made it back with the help of the Yards. Leading a rescue team back to the crash-site, their worst expectations became true. Both of the men had been shot, and the helicopter had been ransacked and pilfered. No one will ever know just what happened to these brave soldiers as they awaited help.

Permission to use unknown author's information granted September 23, 2012 by Martha A Crosley Graham, State Coordinator, California GenWeb. Read Full Article Here

The two men who were killed in this incident are:

SP4 Russell G Garrison, Elmer, New Jersey
WO Gaylord Lee Westbay, Hanford, California

Below is Russell G Garrison Memorial Park sign in Woodstown, New Jersey and photo of 2012 Re-dedicated Memorial Stone with new names added.



The Russell G. Garrison Memorial Park is located in Woodstown, New Jersey. It was originally dedicated to local Vietnam veterans from the community who passed away during the war. The memorial was small, unnoticeable, neglected, and looked uninviting.

According to Councilman Joe Hiles, the monument was installed in the late 1960s, along with a single flag pole. Since then, only two names, Garrison and Marvin L. Watson, were engraved on the monument.

The Girl Scouts thought the veterans deserved more respect and care than shown in photo at their website. See story, photos, and videos here.

The Girl Scouts needed a silver project to do and thought this was the perfect opportunity for expanding the memorial, and improving the landscaping to spice it up a bit.

On October 31, 2012, the Girl Scouts had completed the work on sprucing up the monument grounds and placing the new monument. Read full story and see photos here.

On November 12, 2012, a re-dedication ceremony was held for the recently beautified Russell G. Garrison Memorial Park. Local Girl Scouts Meagan Kirsch, Natalie Williams, and Gabby Scardino, revealed the newly added names to the Russell G. Garrison Memorial Park monument. Read full story and see photos here.

Hear interview with sisters of Russell Garrison about Russell and Park history.

The names engraved on the monument now include:

Interviews with members of the Watson and Garrison families can be found here. Click on "Veteran/Family Interviews" at top of page on Menu Bar for drop down list.

-- The Virtual Wall

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