Phillip Anthony Lotta

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
12 June 1947 - 25 February 1966
Sacramento, California
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Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Phillip Anthony Lotta

09 Apr 2006

Phillip Anthony Lotta, the older of two sons of Italian immigrant Antonio Lotta and Nina Christiansen, was born June 12, 1947 in Sacramento County, California. His younger brother was named Michael. Phil attended El Camino High School his freshman year, La Sierra High School his sophomore year, and Encina High School his last two years. He left school the month before his 1965 graduation to enlist in the US Marine Corps.

Phil was sent to the South Pacific in November and to Vietnam in January where he was a Private First Class with the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. At age 18, on February 25, 1966 near Da Nang, Phil was killed by "friendly fire". He and a buddy had been guarding a bridge during night patrol. When noises were heard coming from the other side of the river, Phil crossed the bridge to assess how many Viet Cong were there and what equipment they were moving. On his way back, his buddy mistook him for the enemy and shot him in the chest, killing him instantly. Realizing his horrible mistake, the buddy carried Phil�s body many miles back to his platoon. (It is said that the young man eventually suffered a nervous breakdown and was discharged from the service.)

Phil was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star posthumously. Burial was at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Citrus Heights. Besides his immediate family, Phil was survived by his fianc�e Kathileen Holman.

From a schoolmate,
Kathie Kloss Marynik
Granite Bay, CA

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 2/9 Marines S3 Operations Log for Feb 1966 contains three entries regarding the accidental shooting of Pfc Philip Lotta:
  • 252127 [9:27 pm, 25 Feb] - Golf to S3 2/9: Sustained 1 WIA. Req Med Evac - accidental shooting details to follow.
  • 252145 [9:45 pm, 25 Feb] - Golf to S3 2/9: Med evac completed.
  • 260900 [9:00 am, 26 Feb] - S1 to S3 2/9: Golf's med-evac of 252145 died.
No further information was found in the 2/9 Command Chronology.

The Virtual Wall is unable to find any record of the award of the Silver Star to Pfc Lotta ... but that in no way detracts from his service or the tragedy of his death.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 09 Apr 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009