Jerome John PediconePrivate First Class
A CO, 2ND BN, 12TH CAVALRY, 1 CAV DIV
Army of the United States
13 October 1944 - 16 May 1968
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The database page for Jerome John Pedicone
Jerry and I shared some common history. We were both originally from Chicago. We got drafted at about the same time. Our army serial numbers were very close. We both did basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and Advanced Individual (infantry) Training at Fort Polk, LA. I first got to know Jerry at Fort Polk. He was a member of "barracks cadre". This status entitled him to a semiprivate room while the rest of us shared a common area. Although Jerry was one of us, he did hold sway over the other men, at least to the extent that he could break up fights and kept the rest of us from tearing the place up. The powers apparently saw leadership potential in Jerry.
Jerry and I arrived in Cam Ranh Bay within a day of each other, about February 14, 1968. We spent a few days together while we got vaccinations and received orientation. We found out we would be assigned to the same unit, 2/12, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). I would be assigned to C Company; Jerry went to A Company. We ended up on the same transport to An Khe, the First Cav's rear HQ in the Central Highlands of II Corp Tactical Zone. We were issued weapons and ammunition at An Khe. We learned to rappel, and spent several days on perimeter duty. Eventually we flew to north to an airstrip at a place called Camp Evans, near the city of Hue in I Corps. Camp Evans was the field HQ for the Cav. From there we took our first trip on a "Huey" to an outpost called Landing Zone Jane. Jerry and I parted company at that time, but we would look each other up whenever our companies linked up at an LZ or FSB, which would be every few weeks or so. Jerry was Roman Catholic. He was married to a woman of the Jewish faith. I regret that I do not remember her name. We would often stay up into the wee hours talking about people we knew from our time in training. We talked about life in the 'hood and pondered questions of faith. Those were good times.
On May 16th 1968 the battalion boarded helicopters to make a combat assault in eastern Quang Tri Province into an area of noncontiguous rice paddies. The plan was to hump out about eight kilometers and link up to form night FOBs. Jerry's unit was in the first drop; we were right behind. The drops were uneventful. These were typical rice paddies; controlled swamps surrounded by four foot berms. One could never be sure what awaited on the other side of those berms. We knew from radio chatter that A Company had cleared their paddy and was on the move. As my squad approached the berm we heard a loud, muffled explosion. Several minutes later it came back that medevac had been called. After medevac cleared the PZ, word came back that the radiotelephone operator for A Company's CO had contacted a tripwire and had been killed. The CO was badly wounded. I knew Jerry had been the "6" RTO for a few weeks. Still I prayed that somehow a mistake had been made. I found out that evening there was no mistake. Jerry, mercifully, had died instantly.
I think about Jerry to this day. Somehow I feel sure that we would have remained lifelong friends if things had turned out differently. We are anyway.
Jerry Pedicone was not responsible for hitting a trip wire. The booby trap was command detonated. Most of 1st Platoon had walked over or past (narrow passage way) the booby trap. The Company CP then followed 1st Platoon. The Captain, his RTO, the FO RTO and another RTO were in the kill zone when the booby trap exploded. Those of us in 1st Platoon knew the booby trap was command detonated, because we did not set it off. The radios were the best target for the bad guy and he took it. There is about 8 of us who were there and we are still in contact, and this is the way we all remember the event. This note is submitted to acknowledge that what happened that day was not Jerry's fault.
From a fellow soldier there with him,
I was only 12 when Jerry passed. I know it was very difficult for his parents. I cannot remember his wife. They did not say a lot about any of this in front of me. I just remember his kindness. His parents' house was broken into, I think a year later, and the medals and flags were stolen. Thanks so much for keeping his memory alive.
From a cousin,
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 23 May 2000
Last updated 08/10/2009