Arnold PinnPrivate First Class
D CO, 2ND BN, 503RD INFANTRY, 173 ABN BDE
Army of the United States
31 December 1943 - 20 November 1967
Jamaica, New York
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The database page for Arnold Pinn
God bless you, Arnold Pinn. In your short-lived life you made the ultimate sacrifice. You are remembered by all Pinns, and related families, as a true family hero!
Lionel Pinn, Jr.
29 May 2006
Memorial Day 2006 - I just got off the telephone with a Vietnam Veteran, Sgt George Lantz of Arlington, Washington. He called to share his personal story with me about the final hours he spent with my cousin PFC Arnold Pinn.
It was November 20, 1967, (Hill 875) Sgt Lantz and his RTO Burnake were heading up a trail near Kontum Vietnam when they stumbled onto PFC Arnold Pinn and another unknown soldier. The two had dug a foxhole about "6 foot high and the width of three men". Sgt Lantz liked the location of the foxhole and decided to join the two men in order to "keep an eye on the trail in both directions." Even thought they spent about 12 hours together in that foxhole there was no small talk about families back home. "There were mortars flying all around us we did not have time to do anything but get ready for the next wave of mortars and think about staying alive."
Sgt Lantz was serving as a forward scout for A Co, 4th Bn, 503rd Infantry. He noted that he remembered Arnold as a young baby-faced man; he saw D Company, 2 Bn, 503rd Infantry badge and E4 ranking on his shoulder along with his name "Pinn". Sgt Lantz noted that they decided to run shifts. Two men would stay on guard duty while the other two slept. At some point it was decided that the foxhole needed some cover so Sgt Lantz and PFC Pinn volunteered to go and get some "bamboo to use as cover for the foxhole." Both men had a machete and their weapon in hand. According to Sgt Lantz they had only gotten "about 20 yards away from the foxhole" when they heard the distinctive "thump thump" of mortar shots and then they heard the other two men in the foxhole yelling "In-coming!" Lantz and Pinn immediately turned and headed back to the fox hole, when they dove in they both tossed their machetes aside and landed on top of the other two men in the hole. Within a couple of minutes a mortar went off "just on the edge of the foxhole". When the dust had cleared Sgt Lantz had taken a piece of shrapnel in his leg. He looked around the foxhole and found PFC Pinn covered in blood. It was apparent that he had been hit a lot worst. "He had several shrapnel wounds on his upper chest area." According to Lantz they did try to revive him but he was dead. Lantz noted that Arnold "did not make a sound." Sgt Lantz is positive that by him and PFC Pinn diving into the foxhole and landing on top of the two other men, they saved their lives. Both men on bottom had no injuries.
RTO Burnake was killed in an ambush later on and the other man was never identified. Sgt Lantz was transported to a military hospital to recover. He was wounded once again before he left Vietnam in 1968. Sgt Lantz is now in a wheelchair suffering from cancer of his spine, which has paralyzed him. He is certain it was from the exposure to Agent Orange. "My uniforms were soaked with the stuff." He also noted that "friendly fire" was responsible for a lot of US deaths. When they (US) dropped the big bomb in there it landed right on top of us.
I ask him why he picked Memorial Day to call, he noted that his son had found my name as a point-of-contact on The Virtual Wall and thought that his Dad would like to talk to someone in the family. It has been over 40 years but he wanted to share those last moments with someone from Arnold's family in hopes of bringing some closure and some peace. The Pinn family thanks you and salutes you, Sgt. George Lantz.
From a cousin,
Lionel Pinn, Jr
A Note from The Virtual WallPFC Arnold Pinn died in the bitter fighting for Hill 875. Two Medals of Honor, three Distinguished Service Crosses, and numerous Silver and Bronze Stars were awarded the men who fought there between 19 and 23 November 1967 - but at least 127 Americans died there as well, with hundreds more wounded.
A summary of the battle and a listing of the men killed
The "big bomb" mentioned by Sergeant Lantz was a 500 pound Mark-82 which hit in the vicinity of the C Company, 2/503rd Infantry, Command Post at about 1850 [6:50 pm] on 19 November. The weapon killed three US soldiers and wounded a number of others. The three dead were
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 Aug 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009