Gerald Eugene King

United States Marine Corps
06 February 1948 - 10 May 1968
Knoxville, Tennessee
Panel 58E Line 010



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Gerald Eugene King

30 Jul 2005

"Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if
they have ever made a difference in the world ...
but the Marines don't have that problem."
-- Ronald Reagan --

We called him Jerry. He was the oldest of four sons of Ebb King Jr. and Joetta May King. His brothers were Dennis, Kenneth and Terry. Jerry's parents are deceased now. His younger brother Dennis lives in San Diego while Kenneth and Terry still live in Knoxville where they all grew up. He was very loving and devoted to his family and would always put the needs of his family before his own.

He joined the Marines because he thought they were the best. That's the way he did everything. The best he could. He was very proud to be a Marine and often wrote about the Marines he served with. He said they were like his brothers away from home. I know the feeling of brotherhood he was talking about. I was a Marine myself.

We found out on June 23, 2005 that after a little over 37 years his remains had been recovered and identification had been made. We are planning a burial service some time in September. I know my family will be able to give some kind of closure to this. My thanks go out to all the people involved in this recovery and my heart is with others who share in the same grief.

I can't begin to say what a true honor it is for us to be his brothers. Not just now. This is something we always knew and felt. He was our world.

Dennis King
8057 Deerfield Street, San Diego, Ca. 92120

23 Jan 2006


Tonight as I watch the sun set
I can see a picture of your face among the clouds.
It's so beautiful, yet so sad,
Because I can't reach high enough to touch you.

As I watch the sun sink beneath the horizon
A smile comes to my face even though there are tears in my eyes,
Because you have shown me that one of these sun sets
We will walk side by side as we did so many times before.
Only this time it will be forever more.
I love you, my brother, with all of my heart.

06 Feb 2007

Happy Birthday, big brother. Wish you were here. Love and miss you always.


From his brother,
Dennis King
27 Aug 2005


When I left that day in '68,
I assured you "I will come home"
I knew I had a job to do,
A very important one at that
Nervous I was, but afraid not
I knew what I needed to do
If my leaving allowed you to stay,
I knew I had to go
Dear brother, don't frown, don't be sad
For I promise you....
"I will come home"

I could not come home yet
As the time was just not right
Thus I depended on you dear brother
For Mom and Dad, they needed you
To be strong and see them through
What was sure to be some painful days
But dear brother, do not frown,
For the time will come, when
"I will come home"

Many years passed but
The time still was not quite right
Mom and Dad, they joined me instead.
And all these years, we've watched
With proud hearts, the man you've become
How you never lost faith that
"I will come home"

Then slowly my *brothers* and I realized
Our job was coming to a close
A new dawn had arrived, it was time
For those who never gave up the wait
For those who always cared
For those who always said
"They will come home"
It was time to do just that.

The time had come, we were tired and worn
We need the warmth of our loved ones near
When I left I said "I will come home"
I never said when, as I did not know
It wasn't up to me, nor anyone else
It was always up to HIM, it always was.
He heard your prayers, he set us free
So brother dear, my promise fullfilled
Dry those tears for you see
"I am coming home"

From a virtual POW/MIA adoptee,
Cathy Keating

17 Oct 2005

Welcome home, Marine. It took a very long time for you to get here but you finally made it. Your family and friends were at the airport to meet you on September 13, 2005 at 1:39pm when you got home from your journey. You have never been forgotten and never will. You left your mark on our hearts forever. You are a true hero.

Your family laid you to rest next to your parents on Sept. 17, 2005. You were honored not only by family and friends but many former Marines who heard about your story and know all too well, that once you're a Marine you're always a Marine. Semper Fi, my brother. You made us proud to wear the uniform. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

From a former Marine who wore his MIA bracelet.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

04 May 2006


My friend, My hero, My love

I can't believe it has been 37 years. I will never forget the day Dennis called to tell me you had been killed. At first I thought someone was playing a cruel joke on me, but when he repeated those words my heart broke. I remember looking at my mother and holding the phone out to her as I was going to the floor. I remember our friends coming to the house to ask if it was really true. Everyone was in shock.

The day your picture and word of your death was in the paper I remember crying all day long. Even though in my heart I guess I knew it was true, I still could not accept it. Your family had a memorial for you and as much as I wanted to go I could not... You were not there. I still wanted to believe you would come home. Days and weeks went by and I remember sitting outside, looking up at the sky and wondering if you were really gone.

People who didn't even know you have paid tribute to you in so many ways and I want to tell all of those people what a special person you were.

For many years we were best friends. You were always there for me. There are so many things I don't remember, but I do remember the special bond we had. I always wanted the very best for you. Time went by and you joined the Marines. What was I going to do without my best friend?.. The person who was always there for me. We wrote letters and when you came home on leave it was so good to have you back on my front porch.

The last time you came home you were going to Hawaii. I don't remember how you asked me out, but I will never forget how special that time with you was. I realized that bond I had with my best friend was much more than that. What I felt was the beginning of a new phase in our life, turned out to be a very beautiful and special way for God to let us say goodbye. When you left it would be the last time I would ever see you. You ended up in Vietnam.

37 years later I remember turning on the TV as I was getting ready for work. They said that a Marine was coming home and talked about his remains but I wasn't really paying attention until I heard them say your name... My heart skipped a beat and as I turned toward the TV that part of the news was off. I remember calling my husband when he got home from work to see if he had heard anything. You were a very dear friend of his so he called the TV station and they confirmed what I had heard. The first thing I did the next morning was go out for the newspaper. After all I felt something would be in the paper to give us a little more info. Little did I know that your beautiful picture would be on the front page, that same picture that I saw 37 years ago. I just sat down in the floor and cried. It was as if it had just happened. The pain was so fresh.

Through Dennis and Kenny we were able to find out that you would be coming home in September and they would have a service for you. This time I would be there. God had given me a second chance to pay my respects to you and your family and there was no way I would miss it.

What a beautiful tribute it was. You would have been so proud. Your family did a wonderful job, because if funerals can be beautiful, this one was. It was the best for the best.

Jerry, you were a very unique person. You had a heart like no one I had ever known and you will always have a special place in my heart.

I am happily married now and have a wonderful family that I love very much. I married the person who joined the Marines with you. The three of us had a very close relationship. A relationship that caused a Marine who sheds very few tears to cry when he came home from Vietnam and we discussed your death. Believe me when I say that those tears were not from a Marine who was upset that you and I had dated. He was hurt because his best friend, the one he joined the Marines with, the one he came home with from boot camp, the friend he fought with in Vietnam (although not together but you were there at the same time), the friend he had great respect for, had been killed. Those tears were for you, Jerry.

To your brothers Dennis, Kenny and Terry... There is a song that I would love for all of you to hear. It is called "The Dream" and it reminds me so much of Jerry. It talks about someone who is hurting because they have lost someone dear to them. It tells how much they miss that person and wonder why God would take them at such a young age. Then he has a dream and God allows him to see his loved one. As they walk the streets of heaven this person says "Please don't cry for me because I am walking with the one who died for me." I think that it is what Jerry would say to all of us. I have comfort in knowing he is in the arms of Jesus. He would want us to remember all the good times and as long as we have those memories and each other then he will always be with us.

Thank you all for allowing me to be there this past September and thank you for sharing things with me that I will always hold close to my heart. Know that your brother Jerry was loved.

He was my best friend, My hero, My love.


From a friend,
Pat Wilson

10 Jul 2006


It has been nearly a year since you came home and we said our final goodbyes at Arlington. There has never been a day since 10 May 1968 that I, along with your fellow Marines who knew you and served with you, have not thought about you and the others of Delta Xray. It was an honor for me to have known you, and to be involved with the work that eventually brought you home in 2005.

I know that if I, instead of you, were one of the unfortunate brothers we had to leave at Ngok Tavak, you would not have rested until I and your fellow Marine brothers were found and returned to our familes. Welcome home, my brother! Finally, welcome home!

From a fellow Marine in Vietnam,
Tim Brown

06 Feb 2007

Dear Jerry,

Your homecoming has been so bittersweet. I first want to thank God for your return to our country and being buried next to your parents in a place you can rest in peace. It is a very beautiful place and we all come to visit, it is a very peaceful place that we escape some of the daily stress of life and feel so close to your soul. We know you are watching over us.

It has been a year now and so hard to believe. I am sorry I wasn't able to attend your memorial and funeral, but your coming home was at a time that our family was in turmoil. Our beloved father was in the last weeks of his life here on earth and I was traveling back and forth from Knoxville and Georgia dividing time with my dad and my family in Georgia. Like yours, my family was my priority. Please know you were in my thoughts and prayers as was your family.

I know in my heart that God brought you home when he did for a reason. You came home on the day my loving mother passed away 23 years ago. God knew we needed you for so many reasons and you being here is such a blessing. We have renewed our friendship with your brothers and have become as close as we were when you were growing up. You would be so proud of them. They have kept your memory alive!

Although I was unable to be there Pat, Ken and Dennis have shared with me just how beautiful your funeral was. You were indeed given the military honors you so deserved. They had a video celebrating yoor childhood. The video brought so much back of our fun times growing up. There were so many people stopping traffic along the miles of those in the procession on the road to the gravesite to show respect for you. The Marines in their dress blues were there being strong and being brave. The Marines were unashamed to shed tears for your loss. Your dear brother Dennis and your best friend Jamey, both of whom were Marines as well were also there. They loved you as did everyone.

The honors are over for now and our lives go on with tremendous pride. Though there is grief in our hearts for your family and no words can take away their pain. For now, God will grant us the strength to once again smile at a memory of you rather than have tears flow so easily.

It is so difficult to be proud of you and so thankful you were finally brought home, yet at the same time so saddened by the mix of emotions. You will never be replaced in our hearts and never be forgotten. Your loving heart will sustain you. You were a courageous Marine and are now an angel in heaven matching over us along with your parents and mine. we find ourselves missing you but will always remember the years, months, days and hours that we shared in your presence. That is one thing no one can ever take away from us. You were an angel on this earth. Your homecoming and my dad's journey into heaven with you has completely transformed so much I will never be the same. I am so filled with extreme admiration for the sacrifices you and all that have gone before have made. I was still a kid when you joined the Marines, but I remember that you were the kind of person that your friendship was a bond for life.

Your parents bestowed so many values in you and your brothers. You were such a loving person who never met a stranger. You made friends everywhere you went and touched so many lives along the way. You were a hero long before you became a Marine. Your brother Dennis said to me that there isn't possibly one person here on earth who could have anything bad to say about you. He is right - you are absolutely perfect. You were that one special person I will never forget. There aren't enough words to describe the kind of friend you truly were. We could count on you no matter what the situation. You were gentle, kind, compassionate and had a heart of gold (even to spoiled little brats like me). You were my big brother, the one I always dreamed of. You were my hero. It was your decision to join the Marines to make a better life for your parents and a better world for all of us. In other words you died doing what you thought was right. We can all learn from you by helping others and always lending a helping hand.

I know you are in heaven looking down on us and hopefully you are proud of us as well. we all take so much granted always thinking we can put off what needs to be said or done until another day. But your loss has shown so many of us that there may be no tomorrow and we should live our lives as if today could be the last and speak from our hearts. I thank God for every day we shared with you on this earth and for every memory we have of you. The ones growing up were especially memorable; you always being on our front porch. I will cherish those times forever. I only wish you could have came back home to your family, friends, and the girl you left behind. You deserved so much happiness. There is no way to bring you back, but know you are loved and thought about every day. We will never escape the sorrow of your loss, but the memories we made are our roots of the past. I know you left this earth knowing how much you were loved by my family and yours. Though not all of us got a chance to say good-bye I know we will meet again in heaven. Our families are looking out for each other and will continue to do so. We were all so very proud of you. You were one of the few and proud... You were our hero..!!

From a friend,
Linda Underwood Hankins
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In the spring of 1968 the North Vietnamese Army's 2nd Division was enroute to South Vietnam, moving down the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. By early May, the division's advance regiments - the 1st and 2nd Regiments - had entered South Vietnam using the French-built Route 14 which passed by the old French fort at Ngok Tavak. The NVA commanders decided that Ngok Tavak and the main Special Forces camp at Kham Duc had to go.

Beginning at about 0300 on 10 May 1968, Ngok Tavak came under heavy attack by a North Vietnamese Army infantry battalion, an element of the 2nd NVA Regiment. In a pitched battle, the small force of defenders staved off immediate defeat, but by noon on 10 May it was clear that Ngok Tavak would have to be abandoned. Surrounded on three sides by the 2nd NVA Regiment, it was clear the withdrawal would have to be by foot moving to the north - the attacking force had made a helicopter evacuation impossible. After destroying equipment and supplies which could not be carried out, the survivors began the move to the main camp at Kham Duc, proceeding along a lane flanked by near-continuous air strikes. They were picked up by helicopter midway to Kham Duc, arriving at the camp at about 2100 (9 PM) on 10 May. The defending force at Ngok Tavak had incurred numerous losses in both known dead and missing soldiers and Marines:

  • HMM-265, MAG-16, 1st MAW:
  • D Btry, 2nd Bn, 13th Marines, 1st MarDiv:
  • Det A-105 (Ngok Tavak), C Co, 5th Special Forces Group :
    • SFC Thomas H. Perry, Canton, CT
    • SGT Glenn E. Miller, Oakland, CA
The bodies of the two men marked with asterisks above were brought out during the retreat from Ngok Tavak; the other 14 Americans could not be recovered.

In a sense, the survivors of Ngok Tavok jumped from the frying pan into the fire - Kham Duc itself was under heavy attack. What happened next is covered on The Virtual Wall's Kham Duc memorial.

The following text is exerpted from the 2nd Bn, 13th Marines' Command Chronology for May 1968; it addresses the D Battery detachment sent to Ngok Tavak:

Several pages further on is a list of the 43 Marines and one Navy Corpsman in the detachment; of the 44, 13 were dead (11 not recovered); 18 wounded had been medevaced by helo; and 13 moved out by ground with the other survivors. The detachment was recommended for a Meritorious Unit Citation; a portion of the text notes that "During the helicopter evacuation, members of the Detachment voluntarily remained on the ground to provide security until the rest of the survivors had been extracted and the last helo was ready to depart."

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

No. 820-05
Aug 10, 2005


Twelve MIAS from Vietnam War are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today the identification of the remains of 12 U. S. servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War. Five of those identified are being returned to their families for burial, and the remaining seven will be buried as a group in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D. C.

The men who were individually identified are: Cpl. Gerald E. King, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Lance Cpls. Joseph F. Cook, of Foxboro, Mass.; Raymond T. Heyne, of Mason, Wis.; Donald W. Mitchell, of Princeton, Ky.; and Thomas W. Fritsch, of Cromwell, Conn., all of the U. S. Marine Corps. Additional group remains are those of: Pfcs. Thomas J. Blackman, of Racine, Wis.; Paul S. Czerwonka, of Stoughton, Mass.; Barry L. Hempel, of Garden Grove, Calif.; Robert C. Lopez, of Albuquerque, N. M.; William D. McGonigle, of Wichita, Kan.; and Lance Cpl. James R. Sargent, of Anawalt, W. Va., all of the U. S. Marine Corps. Additionally, the remains of U. S. Army Sgt. Glenn E. Miller, of Oakland, Calif. will be included in the group burial.

The Marines were part of an artillery platoon airlifted to provide support to the 11th Mobile Strike Force, which was under threat of attack from North Vietnamese forces near Kham Duc in South Vietnam. On May 9, 1968, the Strike Force had been directed to reconnoiter an area known as Little Ngok Tavak Hill near the Laos-Vietnam border, in the Kham Duc Province. Their base came under attack by North Vietnamese Army troops, and after a 10-hour battle, all of the survivors were able to withdraw from the area.

Six investigations beginning in 1993 and a series of interviews of villagers and former Vietnamese soldiers led U. S. recovery teams in 1994, 1997 and 1998 to specific defensive positions within the large battle site. Additionally, maps provided by American survivors helped to locate some key areas on the battlefield. Three excavations by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in 1998 and 1999 yielded human remains, personal effects and other material evidence.

JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother,
Dennis King
8057 Deerfield Street, San Diego, Ca. 92120

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 Jul 2005
Last updated 09/20/2007