Fred Joe HayesStaff Sergeant
H&S CO, 1ST BN, 27TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
07 September 1942 - 13 April 1968
Walnut Creek, California
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The database page for Fred Joe Hayes
I served with SSgt Fred J. Hayes in 1st Battalion, 27th Marines. He received the Silver Star posthumously in 1968 while serving in 1/27 in the Hue area east of the City. He is documented in Dr. Gary Jarvis's history book "Young Blood: A History of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines Vietnam 1968".
Staff Sergeant Fred Hayes is not forgotten.
Fred Hayes had been promoted to Staff Sergeant several weeks before his death but hadn't received word yet. Some still remember him as "Sergeant" Hayes but he was a Staff Sergeant when he was killed. I remember him with respect and admiration.
I was Sergeant Hayes' Platoon Commander for some period of time prior to his death on April 13, 1968. My initial dealings with Sergeant Fred Hayes were not the most pleasant. He was a recently returned veteran of a tour in Vietnam where he had been decorated for combat actions. I had to put my foot down, hard, several times, to let him know who was the boss. The fact is that both of us were pretty salty, as I was a Mustang officer with service in Korea and Vietnam, and he a combat veteran.
On the day I was promoted to First Lieutenant, I and other salty LTs immediately mustered at the Officer's Club to toast our own wonderfulness. I had no sooner settled into my first beer when a frantic phone call was received telling me to get back to the Platoon area, something was up, and get moving on the double. When I asked what was going on, no one would tell me.
When I arrived in the area, there was my Platoon, in formation, and right in front was Sergeant Hayes with a bright, shining Officer's Sword. Sergeant Hayes had made arrangements with the entire Platoon to chip in and buy the Sword for presentation on that day long ago. To me that Sword is a treasure.
As the Tet offensive of 1968 blew up in everyone's faces, the Battalion was ordered to Vietnam. I was pulled into a Rifle Company (we were Recon types) and Sergeant Hayes was assigned to the S-2 Section as a Scout. On April 13, 1968, we were conducting a multi-company, reinforced, operation against NVA forces left over from the battle for Hue City. We all knew that the battle was to be joined very soon.
I glanced over to my left, saw Sergeant Hayes on the other side of a canal, spoke briefly to him, told him to keep his head down, and waved goodbye to him. He was attached to Company D for the operation. Within minutes he would be dead. Our lead elements came under tremendous enemy fire from small arms, automatic weapons, some RPG fire and we took a rash of casualties immediately. Seeing several of my men lying in the open, and in need of help, Sergeant Hayes waded, no dashed, though the chest deep canal into the open rice paddy in an effort to save my men. He was hit hard by small arms fire. His last words I am told were, "Tell my wife and kids I love them".
His last actions were FOR others and his last words were OF others. Greater love hath no man! I evacuated Sergeant Hayes and the other brave Marines who died that day, and he now rests in peace, either that or is giving the Officer of the Day some grief at Heaven's Gate.
As long as the Marine Corps can produce Sergeants like Fred Hayes, this nation should fear no evil ... ever!
Semper Fi, Marine! I shine the Sword and keep it ship-shape to this day! God Bless!
I never knew SSgt Hayes. I was asked to "adopt" him by a Vietnam Veteran when the Moving Wall came to Melbourne, Florida. I never really knew, until now, how SSgt Hayes died, but am proud that that Vet asked me to go and see him at the Wall. I plan to make the trip this February to see him.
From a grateful soldier,
12 Feb 2006
I was asked to "adopt" Staff Sergeant Hayes by a Marine who is alive today because of him. I think it was the Marine mentioned in his citation. I am honored that he thought to have me adopt SSgt Hayes.
SPC(P) Jon Scotton
I served with Fred in the 27th Marines, Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii, in 1967. His bracelet found its way to me via a high school girl while I was driving a school bus here in Pittsburgh, PA. The girl found the bracelet, but for years was afraid to wear it because she thought she would get into trouble wearing it. She had no idea what she had.
I did not know Fred personally but I believe Fred was killed trying to save the lives of Marines from A Co 1/27 at Hue 4/13/68. It was like getting hit with a hammer when I received this bracelet. I would give the bracelet back to his wife or daughter should they want it.
Howard B. Matthews, Jr.
A Note from The Virtual WallOn 13 April 1968 the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, fought a bloody battle with elements of the North Vietnamese Army east of the city of Hue. The fight cost the Marines dearly - 26 dead, even worse than Sergeant Garza remembers, and 46 wounded - but killed at least 62 enemy soldiers and helped to clear the area of remaining NVA/VC forces. The dead were
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 14 Sep 2001
Last updated 07/07/2006