James Paul Perrone, JrSpecialist Four
A CO, 2ND BN, 35TH INF RGT, 25 INF DIV
Army of the United States
31 May 1947 - 12 March 1967
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The database page for James Paul Perrone, Jr
"Head and Shoulders Above"
Specialist Fourth Class (SP-4) James P. Perrone was a man and a soldier that truly stood out from his peers. Though he actually was the tallest man in A Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, Jim stood �head and shoulders above� the rest of us not because of his great physical height. He was �head and shoulders and above� because of the immense strength and depth of his character.
Jim grew up in the Bronx and, as is typical with so many New Yorkers, was quite animated and vocal. He was also fiercely protective when it came to those members of his �family�, A Company and especially the 2nd Platoon. Every man in the company knew him and respected him, both as a soldier and as an individual. Even those few who may not have liked him gave him respect. In truth there were very few that disliked Jim and those, only because he constantly challenged them by his actions to be better soldiers and individuals.
Feeling a deep sense of patriotic duty, Jim enlisted in the Army in 1966, after his family moved from the city to Ringwood, New Jersey. His long time Bronx buddy, Carl Schwarz, was drafted shortly thereafter and both were sent to serve their country in Southeast Asia. Carl was assigned to the Ninth Infantry Division in the South while Jim went on to the Central Highlands settling into the Second Platoon of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Inf. Division in Pleiku. Before departing the Bronx, the friends made plans to get together during R&R later in their tours. Unfortunately Jim was not able to make that R&R rendezvous with Carl.
While life in the Second Platoon was far from idyllic during those last days of 1966 and early months of 1967, there was a wonderfully pervasive sense of personal regard for one another. Though everyone seemed to contribute to that feeling in one way or another, it was Jim�s contribution that was huge. Not only did he always carry considerably more than his share of the combat equipment load, he often volunteered to walk �point�. Though his tall, lanky frame may have been a bit of a liability for his own personal safety, we all felt very comfortable while Jim was leading us through those thick jungles in the mountains of the Central Highlands. Jim truly approached his duty as a soldier with an extraordinary level of professionalism, particularly for a man of his age and experience. We always knew that if Jim said it was safe, it was. If he said there are NVA close, they were there. He had excellent powers of observation and paid attention to the smallest details.
Though Jim carried out his soldiering duties as a true professional, he also had a fantastic sense of humor. Just listening to Jim engaged in an ordinary conversation with a buddy often brought smiles to the faces of those other listeners nearby. He had an uncanny ability, a gift really, to see and portray humor in nearly everything. He was a true delight to be around. Endowed with so many positive character traits, it is hard to pick the �one extra special� part of Jim�s character. He often talked about home, his family and friends. He was also continually helping those around him in countless little ways. His generosity was truly extraordinary. While others may have hoarded bits of �care packages� from home, Jim always shared his �packs� with the platoon. To this day I can still taste the Italian Salami that his Mom would send him from time to time. To me though, it was his expression of deep love and heartfelt concern for the well-being of his family, both at home and his �adopted family�, A Company. He was some kind of man and one that I will never, ever, forget.
I had the honor of being Jim�s Platoon Leader from December 1966 through March 12th, 1967. Early on that March day A Company, operating alone, encountered what the records say was a regimental sized unit of North Vietnamese Regulars. They were well dug in and prepared. Within a short period of time two A Company platoons became heavily engaged. It was not long before one platoon ran dangerously low on ammunition and sent out two men to effect a re-supply. I remember, as if it were yesterday, that when it was time to send the ammunition back to that heavily engaged platoon it was Jim that stepped up to me and said selflessly, �I�ll go�. Sadly the return trip proved deadly and all those brave men were either killed or wounded prior to reaching their objective. They were courageous men, selflessly giving of themselves in an attempt to help others. They were, and are, real heroes.
Specialist Fourth Class James P. Perrone was a true patriot, a fine soldier and an outstanding human being. I know that all those he was around, so many lives, were enriched in such a wonderful way. I will be forever honored to have served with this fine young man. He was, and will forever be, �Head and Shoulders Above�.
A Note from The Virtual WallA Company, 2/35th Infantry, lost seven men on 12 March 1967:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009