Carl Delane Nagengast

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
27 October 1941 - 20 May 1967
Long Beach, California
Panel 20E Line 068


Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Carl Delane Nagengast

04 Feb 2006


Carl was born on October 27, 1941, in Howells, Nebraska, to Carl George and Angeline Limbach Nagengast, both now deceased. He had one older sister, Lois Nagengast, born around 1936.

He was raised in Long Beach, California, and was graduated from Saint Anthony's High School in 1959. Carl was employed by North American Aviation (now Boeing Corporation) between 1961 and January 1963. While there he met Lea Denise Gole, also an employee of North American Aviation.

Lea was born in Ontario, California, but grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she attended Holy Family School and was graduated from Will Rogers High School in 1960. After graduation she returned to California in September 1960 to attend Long Beach City College. In 1962 Lea was employed by North American Aviation.

Lea and Carl were married on January 4, 1964 at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Long Beach.

Carl's hobbies included rebuilding and restoring cars - he belonged to the Shields Car Club of Long Beach - and bowling. He was on the Long Beach Elks Lodge league team and the Businessmens' Bowling Team, maintaining a 200+ average ... several men from the Elks Team and other teams thought Carl would become a Pro Bowler.

Instead, he was drafted into the U. S. Army on January 4, 1966 at the age of 24 and left Long Beach for Fort Carson, Colorado, two weeks later, on January 25, 1966. He served at Fort Carson until deploying from San Francisco to Vietnam in January 1967.

Carl Nagengast was killed in action on May 20, 1967. He is buried in Space 3, Lot 1296, Church Yard section, of the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cypress, California.


Carl was a very special man and an inspiration to us all. He was truly loved by everyone who had the fortune to know him. He was considered a blessing to everyone in our family and was never timid about showing his love for all of us - sweet and gentle, yet strong and determined - he was, in addition to being our beloved Husband, Son, Brother and Friend, our "rock" - always there to support all of us in times of need. He was very handsome and easily recognized by his beautiful smile and friendliness.

Carl was beyond his years in maturity - which was obvious in his sense of responsibility and commitment to doing the best he could do at anything he approached in life, regardless of any adversity he might encounter along the way. He worked and saved for what he wanted to own and made sure he remained close and true to those he loved (including what we used to refer to as our "first child", Bitsie! Bitsie was a small Terrier dog that Carl picked up one day on his way home from some place). He took meticulous care of what he did own and loved doing it. Carl and I set dreams and goals for our life together before we were married and we started down that path to achieving what we dreamed of, from day 1. We worked and saved together and were able to purchase a new car and owned our own home within our first year of marriage.

Our short but blessed life together was full of amazing experiences - We loved and enjoyed each other as well as our families and friends. We liked to entertain and to be entertained. We were very "playful" together and felt we could conquer it all!

Carl was very good at Accounting and had set a goal for after his return home to start College Courses in Finance.

It seemed so certain to our friends and families that it was God's will for Carl and I to meet and marry. I'm sure our story will convince you of the same...

From his wife,
Lea Denise Fairchild

After Carl's death I received the following letter from Company Commander Luis Barcena:

June 8 1967

Dear Mrs. Nagengast,

I want to extend to you my deepest and most profound sympathy on the loss of your husband. Specialist Four Carl Nagengast was killed in action on 20 May 1967.

On 19 May 1967, our company was on a search and destroy operation just north of the coastal city of Duc Pho and west of Highway 1 when we made contact with a large enemy force. We drove this force from its base camp and then late that night set up a perimeter defense. Your husband volunteered to serve at a listening post in front of our perimeter to give us early warning of any impending attack. At 4:00 A.M. the enemy approached our perimeter. They were within feet of your husband when he took them under fire. This early warning gave the entire company time to get in their foxholes, which saved many lives. Fragments from an enemy rifle grenade mortally wounded your husband and he died moments later. It must be of some comfort to you that he did not endure any prolonged suffering.

Your husband�s death was a shock to everyone in our company. A natural leader and recent graduate of the Non-Commissioned Officers Leadership School, he was just beginning to utilize his leadership in control of a fire team. He was very much respected as a good soldier and extremely well liked as a person. His courage and self-sacrifice will long be an example for all of us.

A memorial service will be held honoring your husband at our forward base camp, near Duc Pho. Carl�s personal belongings have been collected and will be sent to you. I hope they reach you in good condition and without delay.

Once again on behalf of the officers and men of this company, please accept this letter as a token of our sympathy and for the deep regret we feel over your tragic loss. Our prayers will be with you forever.

Sincerely Yours,
Luis C. Barcena
CPT, Infantry

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 19 and 20 May 1967 nine men were killed in actions near Vinh Hien, about 5 kilometers northwest of Duc Pho:
  • A Co, 2nd Bn, 35th Infantry:
    • SP4 Carl D. Nagengast, Long Beach, CA
    • PFC Rudolph R. Corona, Pacific Grove, CA
    • PFC Carnell E. Watson, Houston, TX

  • C Co, 2nd Bn, 35th Infantry:
    • PFC Gary M. Killian, Hazel Park, MI
    • PFC Joseph Ledesma, San Jose, CA
    • PFC Roland E. Rush, Kensington, GA

  • C Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cavalry:
  • C Btry, 2nd Bn, 9th Artillery:
    • 1LT William H. Farmer, Fayetteville, NC (WIA 05/20; DoW 05/29/1967) (Silver Star)
1LT Farmer was an Artillery forward observer with C/2-35; he was wounded in the night engagement in which SP4 Nagengast and PFC Corona were killed.

The 35th Infantry web site has an extract of the After Action Report which describes the fighting at Vinh Hien.

Carl Nagengast is remembered by his fellow soldiers of the

35th Infantry - the Cacti Regiment

Photo courtesy of the 35th Infantry Assn

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009