Dennis Wayne Hammond

Staff Sergeant
CAP ECHO-2, CA CO ECHO, 2ND CAG, COMBINED ACTION, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
26 April 1946 - 07 March 1970
Detroit, Michigan
Panel 38E Line 029

III MAF COMBINED ACTION
POW Medal

Bronze Star, Purple Heart (2 awards), National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Dennis W. Hammond

The database page for Dennis Wayne Hammond

24 July 2001

In memory of Dennis Wayne Hammond

Thirty three years later we still wait for you to be brought home.

We shall never give up. We honor you today and always.

A memorial initiated by
Sue Szafranowicz



20 Jun 2004

Dennis,

Our prayers have been answered. You are home.

It's been a long time. Now you can rest in peace.

Sue

From
Sue Szafranowicz
lucky-lady1@comcast.net

24 April 2004


Christmas 1967

Front is Dennis Hammond with two of his dogs; I'm directly behind him. To the far left is Greg Gifford, to the far right is Pete Cruz. The man without the shirt is Ed Palmer. The other two men are unidentified. My sister had sent us the Christmas tree and we had just finished decorating it. Don Talbot took the picture.





Dennis Hammond feeding one of his three beloved dogs at Echo 2.



Photos courtesy of
Mike Readinger
CA Company ECHO
readincn@ma.rr.com
8 May 2004

My name is Andrea Cwynar (Kowalski). I have your original bracelet from your Mother. We went to school togther and we were close friends. I still keep your pictures and feel you are watching over me. I'm overjoyed to hear that your remains have been found after all these years, and am also sad that I cannot be at your memorial. May you rest in peace until we meet again.

Love always, Andrea
andrealynn7890@aol.com

10 May 2004

Dennis, I went to Washington D.C. in 8th grade with my class. I knew I'd be visiting The Wall, so I made a memorial poster to put by the panel that your name is on, along with an angel statue. When asked who you were by my teachers and friends, I simply told them you were my Grandfather, not knowing that could actually have some truth behind it. You're a true hero and will never be forgotten. May you rest peacefully and hopefully I'll meet you someday when my time comes.

E-Mail will be forwarded by the
Webmaster@VirtualWall.org

17 May 2004

Dennis, Finally you're coming home! I will always be sad that I never got the chance to know you, and that my mother never got to see you again. You are always in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers. May you rest in peace.

Love,
Kristen Weaver
krisnnick8888@aol.com

31 May 2004

Since 1971, I've worn your original bracelet and have worked as an associate member to the National League of Families as a concerned citizen in accounting for your remains. You knew my significant other who died before you were taken as a prisoner of war.

It is with joy and peace on this Memorial Day to know that your family has finally found closure.

May God hold you in the hollow of his hands and may you finally rest in peace forever.

Keep the Faith

Sinead (Jeannie)
santabousa@netzero.com

1 Jul 2004

Dennis,

Yesterday I volunteered to assemble the mobile Vietnam Memorial, along with my Uncle. My reason for doing this was to somehow honor you in my own way along with all the others who gave all. After completing the task of the assembly I decided to seek out any information I could about you. It was only today that I have found this site and the Memorial to you and your return home. I shared my joy with my new wife and now have a face to put with my thoughts of you. I will be attending the opening ceremony of the mobile Wall tomorrow with my uncle, who along with myself was also a Marine. He returned home safely from Vietnam so that I always had a father figure in my life. Now you are home and we can all celebrate together. Semper Fi, and God speed I will meet you face to face some day.

Cpl Charles Thomas Puhl Jr.
U.S.M.C. (Veteran)

From a Bracelet holder since 9/22/89,
Charles Thomas Puhl Jr.
2320 Scott Rd, Swanton Ohio 43558
uscustomscycles@msn.com

8 Sep 2004

Dennis,
Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
God Bless You. May you rest in peace.

From
Kristen
faynicholas@aol.com

15 Oct 2004

Dennis
I have worn your bracelet since you were captured and prayed for you each day. I remember the times at Hanneman and Chadsey and the baseball and hockey we played. I think of you all the time.

To know you are home where you belong gives me peace. Love ya bro!

From a friend,
John Wojcik
6761 Chesley Road, Dublin Ohio 43017
jcw@consortiumcommunications.com

11 Nov 2004

Dennis,
Today on Veterans Day, I wanted to say "Thank You and God Bless you for your sacrifice". You are in my thoughts and my prayers every day.

Love, Kristen
faynicholas@aol.com

24 Feb 2005

This is Don Talbot and it has been 37 years since I went on the reactionary force with Dennis. It took 36 plus years to find out what happened to him. I was shocked to find out what happened over that time. I am sure sorry for all the pain and suffering the family and friends went through. It was good to see all the help from strangers and friends like Mike (Tiny) the family received.

I was with Dennis for about 6 months at Echo 2 and like to remember the good times we had tossing a football around, playing basketball and just talking. I was 19 years old at the time and I remember talking with Dennis about how to order drinks in a bar. We both were under age when we left the states and wondered how it would be to sit in a bar. I knew he was going to have a new Corvette waiting for him when he got home. I am so sorry he never did. I am proud to have known Dennis and very proud of the reactionary force we went on.

Semper Fi

From a friend,
Don Talbot
dtalbot9629@Sbcglobal.net

13 Mar 2005

Dennis,

I bought your bracelet when I got out of recruit training in November 1989. To be honest, at the time I really didn't know a whole lot about what it meant. I purchased your bracelet because I too am from Michigan. I now participate yearly in the Rolling Thunder parade in Washington D.C. and now fully understand what the bracelet and the cause means. Now that I know that you are back home, I will be bringing your bracelet to the Wall and leaving it this year.

Semper Fidelis

Gunnery Sergeant K. R. Weeks
E-Mail will be forwarded by the
Webmaster@VirtualWall.org

25 Jan 2006

As we go through our lives, living from day to day, we are met with those who will never grow old. We hope to never become so caught up in our lives that we forget those who have given their all so we may be allowed the luxury of becoming complacent and apathetic.

As Marines, we all know the likelihood of being forced to lay down our lives is a very real and constant thing. Those of us who have faced the beast realize that we always thought it could never happen to us. How superfluous is the importance we gave to our being ... what the hell, we were only nineteen!

The Devildogs Motorcycle Club had the distinct honor of escorting his remains from Dallas-Fort Worth airport to Bremond. The next day we attended the funeral (standing room only) and Andy (President) presented the family with the MIA bracelet he had carried for so many years.

Welcome home, SSgt Dennis Hammond. A man is not dead until he is forgotten and you will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service.

From a brother in arms,
Jim Rooth
jrooth@devildogsmc.org

15 May 2006

I was honored to be with you during your final travels.
Escorting you to your final resting place along with my fellow Marines still warms my heart.
Having fought in the exact location ... along the same bridge and river as you ... has brought your memory closer to my heart.
To now know that you were there, not far from my unit during those trying times in the jungle,
How much I wish we had known ... could have tried to get you out...
but it was not to be.
You are my true hero among men
Trying to escape,not once, but many times... a true Marine
Until I meet you there... your presence will always be felt
Semper Fi, Marine... and Rest in Peace.

Steve Thompson
2421874, USMC
Alpha 1/1
1st MarDiv, RVN 1968-69
austinman99@yahoo.com

19 Nov 2006

I was just trying to find how many Hammonds were out there so I typed my husband's name in. I was very surprised when I found this memorial and a bit shaken up as well! You see my husband is 30 years old, a Marine, SSgt D. Wayne Hammond from Bremont, Texas. I am so amazed to find that there ever existed two wonderful men who share these things in common! I am glad that you finally got to bring your loved one home! My husband is taking a platoon over to Iraq in January and I'm very scared for him! Do not misunderstand me though, I could never be more proud of him! He is my life, my love and what our country needs to survive. Men like yours and mine kept, keep, and will continue to keep the ones who love them safe! God bless you all, I love every one of you!

From a Marine wife,
April R. Hammond
Okinawa, Japan
apriluvnz13@yahoo.com

Notes from The Virtual Wall

There was heavy enemy activity in the vicinity of Danang Air Base during the first days of the Tet Offensive at the end of January 1968, continuing into early February. Combined Action Company ECHO, part of the 2nd CA Group, had small units in place in several villages covering the southern approaches to Danang. One of those units, CAP ECHO 4, was in Lo Giang hamlet, just south of the Cam Le Bridge over the Cau Do River. Early on 08 Feb 1968 ECHO 4 was taken under attack by a mixed NVA/VC force seemingly intent on attacking the Danang Air Base ... ECHO 4 was unfortunate enough to be in the path of a regimental-size unit.

While part of the NVA/VC force laid siege to ECHO 4 the bulk of the force moved north to and forded the Cau Do River east of the Cam Le Bridge. A second Combined Action unit, CAP ECHO 3, was in place on the northern side on the river; it too was directly in the NVA/VC regiment's path. Fortunately for ECHO 3, the delay at ECHO 4 caused the NVA/VC to reach the river after sunrise, allowing a pair of A-1 Skyraiders the opportunity to disrupt the attack and force the enemy to disperse.

Meanwhile, ECHO 4 was getting desperate - they were running out of ammunition, supplementing their limited supplies with AK-47s and ammunition from dead NVA/VC soldiers. The ECHO Company Commander, Captain Howard L. Joselane, had directed formation of a relief force drawn from his other platoons. A 17-man force, led by Captain Joselane, departed ECHO Company headquarters at Hoa Vang by truck, crossed the Cam Le Bridge, and started on foot up the dirt road toward the ECHO 4 compound. As the relief force approached a tree line surrounding Lo Giang hamlet, it came nose-to-nose with 250-300 NVA/VC troops - a situation with only one possible outcome.

Captain Joselane and his Marines fought valiantly, but they were hopelessly out-numbered and out-gunned. Captain Joselane's last radio reports to the ECHO headquarters at Hoa Vang were

"... we're getting chewed up ... we're not going to get out ... there are too many ... they're all over us ... no way out. Don't send anyone else in here ... Tell my wife I love her..."
Fading daylight, uncertainty with respect to the exact location of the relief force, and limited manpower caused the 2nd CA Group headquarters to decide against sending in further forces before sunrise on the 9th. One survivor of the ambush made his way back to Hoa Vang. When the second reaction force went in, they found one badly wounded survivor, twelve dead, and three missing.

One of the missing Marines returned to friendly control; he had been captured but was able to escape his captors during the chaos of the fighting. The other two were gone. The final disposition of the 17 men who had set out to relieve ECHO 4 follows:

  • Killed in action:
    • Capt Howard L. Joselane, Chicago, IL, Commanding Officer, CA Co ECHO
    • SSgt Frank Ramos, Youngstown, OH
    • Sgt Michele Basso, North White Plains, NY
    • Cpl Pete F. Cruz, Chualar, CA
    • HM3 Gregory A. Gifford, Billings, MT
    • Cpl Lee C. Kinney, Welch, MN
    • LCpl Johnnie B. Jackson, Fort Worth, TX
    • LCpl Arthur W. Lamorte, Baltimore, MD
    • LCpl Jimmy A. Metcalf, Dallas, TX
    • LCpl John R. Murphy, Yorktown Heights, NY
    • LCpl Daniel E. Sirianni, Buffalo, NY
    • HN Charles E. Johnson, Toledo, OR, recently joined from Golf 2/7

  • Captured - died in captivity:
    • SSgt Dennis W. Hammond, Detroit, MI
    • SSgt Joseph S. Zawtocki, Utica, NY

  • Captured - escaped and returned to US control:
    • LCpl Don Talbot

  • Survived ambush:
    • Sgt Ed Palmer, evaded from ambush area 08 Feb
    • Cpl Greeno, wounded, recovered 09 Feb
By late afternoon the ECHO 4 Marines had been lifted out of their compound by USAF helicopter; although all 11 Marines and their Popular Force comrades were wounded, none had been killed.

Carl "Mike" Readinger, who was manning the radios at Hoa Vang on the 8th and who went in with the second reaction force on the morning of the 9th, has prepared a description of the action as he remembers it ... you can read his story of the ECHO 4 Reaction Force



As noted above, Dennis Hammond and Joseph Zawtocki had been captured, and both died in captivity. SSgt Zawtocki's remains were repatriated in 1985.

In 1993 a reporter by the name of Jim Six obtained from Vietnamese shopkeepers some 450 dog tags. While the manufacture and sale of counterfeit dogtags is common in present-day Vietnam, the ones obtained by Jim Six appeared to be old and there were no duplicates among them. One of the tags carried Dennis Hammond's name and service number. In the spring of 2001, Mr. Six was able to deliver the dogtag to Hammond's sister, Mrs. Carlene Tackitt.

On 22 April 2004 The Virtual Wall was advised that Staff Sergeant Dennis Hammond's remains have been recovered, repatriated, and positively identified. According to the information received, SSgt Hammond will be buried in Bremond, Texas, beside his mother and father, on 22 May 2004.



The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend and comrade-in-arms,
Mike Readinger
readincn@ma.rr.com



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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 Jul 2001
Last updated 01/03/2007