Stephen Douglass JoynerFirst Lieutenant
L CO, 3RD BN, 4TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
26 October 1943 - 15 June 1968
La Habra, California
Panel 57W Line 027
The database page for Stephen Douglass Joyner
Steve was killed on 15 May 1968 near Khe Sanh. Acting Company Commander of Lima Company at the time, when he was killed he was leading a night counterattack against an overwhelming enemy force of NVA regulars that had overrun the company's position.
Steve and I had met when we attended Marine Corps Embarkation School together in Okinawa in March 1968.
A poster Marine, Steve Joyner was completely committed to the men he led. I am honored to have known him. Had he survived Vietnam, Steve would had a successful career in whatever field he chose. Conscientious, earnest, thoughtful, and unselfish, he represented all the virtues one might expect in a Marine Corps officer and an American.
Steve, your friends and colleagues salute you.
20 Apr 2008
Lt Joyner was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V for his heroic actions in helping save the lives of seven wounded Marines during combat action near Khe Sanh in January 1968. The Bronze Star was presented in his behalf to his mother, Mrs. June Joyner, during a presentation ceremony on November 18, 1968 at Marine Corps Air Station, EL Toro. Lt Joyner earned the medal for his actions during the week of 7-15 January 1968 while serving as platoon leader with Lima Company. He was cited for heroism while helping evacuate seven wounded Marines who had been wounded in action during a combat operation conducted near the hills overlooking Khe Sanh combat base.
A 1966 graduate of San Diego State College, Lt. Joyner played linebacker on the football team. At Fullerton Junior College, where he attended prior to enrolling at San Diego State, Lt Joyner was named to the first team all-American team as a defensive end.
From a brother-in-arms,
From a friend and colleague,
I was a Girl Scout in 1968. Our troop, under my mother's leadership, sent care packages to the soldiers in Viet Nam. My package went to Lt Stephan Joyner, I didn't know how lucky I was that it went to him. He sent me the kindest thank you note I have ever received. He told me about himself and about his plans. We found out he had been killed a few weeks after I received the letter. It broke my heart and had a profound effect on me. I still have the letter and often wonder what would have become of him. He was really a good man.
From the recipient of a kind letter,
A Note from The Virtual WallThe 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines began June 1968 with its four rifle companies garrisoning several hilltops in the vicinity of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. However, it had been decided that the Khe Sanh Combat Base should be evacuated and to that end operations were planned to disrupt the North Vietnamese Army's infrastructure in the areas surrounding Khe Sanh so the NVA would be less able to interfere as the combat strength at Khe Sanh was drawn down.
The 3/4 Marines were assigned responsibility for sweeping a known NVA base area located to the southeast of Hill 678, about 13 kilometers south of Khe Sanh - and they left their hilltops to make a combat assault into the valley on 11 June. As it happened, the selected landing zone was almost on top of a large NVA bunker complex, and the first company to land - Kilo 3/4 - found itself fighting from the start. There were continuous contacts during the platoon and company-size patrols on 12, 13, and 14 June, but the operation seemed to be successful - the NVA did not seem willing to stand and fight but rather withdrew as their base camps and supply caches were found and destroyed.
That changed at 0530 on 15 June. The 3/4 defensive perimeter, located about a kilometer north of Lang Up (2), was attacked by the reinforced 4th Battalion, 66th NVA Regiment. The NVA succeeded in breaking the 3/4 perimeter in the Mike Company area, but by 0730 the breach had been eliminated and Kilo Company was sweeping in front of the Mike 3/4 lines. Sporadic fighting continued until midafternoon. The attack and its aftermath left 16 Marines and sailors dead, 58 wounded evacuated (one of whom died), and one man from Kilo 3/4 missing (found dead on 16 June). The NVA left 158 bodies and 13 POWs behind them. The Americans who died in the attack were
During the 16th and 17th the 3/4 Marines again experienced only sporadic contacts, and were advised they would be lifted out of the area beginning at 0900, 18 June. That didn't happen.
At 0600 18 June elements of the 88th NVA Regiment attacked the Kilo 3/4 defensive positions, once again breaching the perimeter. By 1030 the perimeter had been restored and the Marines were sweeping in front of their positions. This attack caused the deaths of 15 Marines, but another 129 NVA bodies were found in and around the 3/4 position.
At 1515 the helo lift began. Although the NVA hit the position with more than 100 mortar rounds and 90 rounds of 152mm artillery from the NVA guns at Co Roc during the lift, there were no further US casualties.
Overall, the 3/4 Marines and its supporting engineer element lost forty Marines and sailors during the period 11-18 June.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
a friend and colleague,
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 18 May 2007
Last updated 11/13/2010