William Walker McConnellSpecialist Five
HQ CO, 1ST BN, 501ST INFANTRY, 101 ABN DIV
Army of the United States
02 July 1941 - 14 March 1968
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The database page for William Walker McConnell
Several of us were transferred during the summer of 1967, from the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, NC. We met in Fort Campbell, KY, struck up friendships, and began training for the upcoming deployment of the Second and Third Brigades of the 101st Airborne Division to Vietnam. Our airlift (December, 1967) took us from Fort Campbell to Fort Lewis, WA, then to Anchorage, Alaska; Yokota AFB, Japan; and finally to Bien Hoa, RVN. Next day, we were transported to Cu Chi where we set up base camp and begin acclimatization and training. We spent the Christmas and New Year holidays there. I was part of a rear detachment unit when our brigade moved up north to the Hue/Quang Tri area. MSGT Moniz later came down to pick us up (PFC Hofer and myself) and we rejoined our unit after the TET offensive.
I ran into McConnell in some muddy and dreary landing zone camp; he informed me that Greg Evans had being killed February 18, 1968. Everyone was very sad. McConnell then told me his good news of his early departure - his tour was shortened to six months. He had plans to return to his Physical Education teaching and coaching job, interrupted by having being drafted into the U.S. Army when he lost his marital deferment. Over the holidays he had shown us the Christmas cards from school co-workers and friends who were looking forward to having him back. He asked to borrow an Instamatic camera so he could take a lot of pictures before he left.
McConnel was going to wait for us in San Francisco when we all returned from our tours in December, 1968. He was going to be in a convertible full of girls and we were going to party! One week before he was to return to California, McConnell volunteered to go out with a patrol. They engaged the NVN regulars in a firefight and while administring medical aid and an I.V. he was fatally shot in the chest.
Forty years have gone by but your buddies will never forget you.
From a friend.
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Apr 2008
Last updated 08/10/2009