The database page for Billy Randolph Jefferson
Corporal Jefferson was assigned to C Battery 6/11th Artillery as a gunner. He volunteered to be the radio operator with an Artillery Forward Observation Team attached to C Company, 4/21 Infantry. Forward Observation was a hazardous assignment requiring the team to adjust artillery fire on enemy targets at extremely close range. I was the FO, and Billy replaced my first RTO.
He had been with us for only a short time when we were crossing a river in Quang Nam Province just south of Da Nang. The river was shoulder-deep with only our heads and weapons above the water. I remember the current being very strong. We were all struggling to cross when Billy was swept away. He was carrying the heavy PRC-25 radio, and all of us were burdened with extra M-60 machine gun ammo. We searched till nightfall, but found nothing. Being in hostile territory, we were ordered to abandon the search. His body was found some weeks later near the coast by local fishermen. I was assigned the unpleasant task of collecting his personal effects back at the battery and sending them to his home.
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24 Nov 2005
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/13/2010