Donald Ralph Hamrick

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
26 January 1950 - 11 March 1971
Shelby, NC
Panel 04W Line 038


Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Donald Ralph Hamrick

05 Nov 2003

Donald Ralph Hamrick was born January 26, 1950, to Hoyt and Ruth Hamrick in Shelby, North Carolina.

He was a very happy little boy who talked non-stop and was filled with curiosity and a great imagination. He was the second grandchild in the family of Ralph and Gertrude Hamrick. He was named for this beloved grandfather.

Donald's favorite uncle was Ted Anthony, who taught him, among other things, to swim. They enjoyed being together as much as possible. Later, after Donald's death, Ted was the only family member, other than his parents, to receive the telegram regarding his death. Donald had arranged for this in the event of his death.

His first year out of high school, Donald attended Gardner-Webb College. The second year, he attended Atlantic Airline School in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was preparing for a career in air traffic control. Because this school was not a nine months school, he was eligible for the draft. The raging Vietnam War was the primary thought in the minds of every young man in the country. His number was drawn but he decided to volunteer for four years, with the stipulation he would be allowed to return to the airline school at the end of the four years. This was not to be.

After training, he was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he received training in Combat Engineering. From there he was sent to Vietnam. Approximately one month before he was to receive his R & R, he was mine sweeping with five other young men in a helicopter landing zone, when he was killed in action on March 11, 1971.

Donald R. Hamrick Specialist Four, US Army, Company B, 26th Engineer Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division, received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, and the RVN Campaign medals. He qualified for the Automatic Rifle marksmanship badge. He received a medal from the Republic of Vietnam, sent separately to his parents with a commendation letter stating that very few were awarded this honor.

Donald was my nephew whom I loved very much. In March, 2003, I wrote the following:

Donald Ralph Hamrick
"Forever in Our Hearts"
January 26, 1950 - March 11, 1971

Among God's richest blessings are those family members He allows us to love and to enjoy as we journey through this life together. We expected things to stay the same in our family and never dreamed that the little blessing named Donald, who entered our family in 1950, would ever leave us. He had a sweet, gentle disposition, a fun loving nature, a heart full of kindness, a sweet smile and a twinkle in his eyes that, as long as there is breath in our bodies, we will never forget.

He was the first to break the circle of our family when he left us for a "higher calling", March 11, 1971. We cherish the memory of Donald today, as we remember and honor his life and his death in Vietnam, March 11, 1971.

It is important to us, his family, that the life he gave be remembered with merited honor and highest esteem. May he be remembered at this time of war and conflict, both on foreign soil and in the minds of those in America who may have forgotten the "price of our freedom". Donald paid this price, as have so many others over the past two hundred plus years, and the price many of our soldiers are paying today. We salute you, our soldiers, and may God's richest blessings be with you and with your families. We salute you, Donald, and we, your family, will always love you.

Submitted by
Nancy Hughes
1214 Donna Drive, Shelby, NC 28152

Please contact me if you knew Donald. Thank you.

08 Nov 2003

Donald also had a brother and a sister who loved him very much. Our brother, Phil Hamrick, was four years older than him and I was ten years younger. Donald was my best friend. He wasn't like other teenagers, when he got ready to go out and "ride the strip" at night he took me along. How many guys want their little sisters along when they are out on a Saturday night? We would stay up late watching black-and-white horror movies, I would fall asleep, and he would put me to bed. Everywhere he went, I went. The age difference didn't seem to matter. He was very special and he treated me very special. I didn't have much time with Donald but the time I did have with him was all wonderful. It was enough to last a lifetime. He still lives in my heart and the memories are with me every day. My brother was a very caring person and is missed by many. This world lost a special soul March 11, 1971.

From Donald's sister
Tammy Mulholland
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

A Note from The Virtual Wall

SP4 William J. Flood, Jr, of Randolph, Massachusetts, died in the same incident.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his aunt,
Nancy Hamrick Hughes
1214 Donna Drive, Shelby, N C 28152 
6 Nov 2003

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 11/09/2003