Howard Samuel PontuckFirst Lieutenant
ADV TEAM 56, MACV
Army of the United States
02 October 1943 - 08 March 1968
New York, NY
Panel 43E Line 058
The database page for Howard Samuel Pontuck
I remember Howie!
We started as young kids selling icecream on the beaches of Brighton and Coney, located in Brooklyn, New York. This was a tough and thankless job. We worked for 15 cents on the dollar. No salary, just commission.
In the summer of 1961 we were both promoted to Stand Managers. I was at stand 3 in Brighton Beach and I believe Howie was at stand 4 in Coney Island.
The last weekend of the summer season, it rained on Labor Day. We were at my stand and discussing what the future would bring. Howie stated that he was accepted at West Point. I informed Howie that I was proud of him and wished him well.
I told him that I was going to push up my selective service number and become eligible to be drafted earlier. I also wanted to serve my country. The Berlin Wall was being erected and America was preparing to protect West Berlin. All the radio stations were playing marshal music.
I was drafted, went off to serve in the Army, assigned to the Army Security Agency in Germany.
In 1968 I was in the New York City Police Department and a friend of mine, fellow Police Officer Paul Seedman, recalled that I had once told him that I had sold ice cream for Good Humor at the city's beaches. He inquired if I had ever known a Howard Pontuck. Paul knew Howard from his old neighborhood and High School in Brooklyn.
I answered yes, and Paul informed me that Howie had been killed in Vietnam. I was shocked and saddened by the news of Howie's death. A nice, gentle, fine person was Howard Pontuck. I will always remember his smile, decency and concern for others.
I would like to add that Howie and I had a great role model in our head of concessions for Good Humor, our boss Warren Brady who gave us the opportunity to be managers. Mr. Brady often told us of his military career in World War 2 where he attained the rank of Major in the Army, having seen action in Italy. I recently spoke to Mr. Brady, now 83+, and told him of Howie's sacrifice.
Notes from The Virtual WallHoward S. Pontuck was a skilled gymnast during his high school years (Lincoln High School, Brooklyn) and continued in that sport as a U. S. Military Academy cadet. Following graduation with the Class of 1966, 2nd Lt Pontuck was trained as an Infantry officer. In Vietnam he initially was assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry, which served as a general reserve force in the Central Highlands (II Corps) area. The photo below is of the B Company officers; Lt Pontuck is in the center background.
Photo from the 1/50 Infantry site
He requested a transfer to MACV as an Advisor and was assigned as a Military Assistance and Training Team Leader with MACV Advisory Team 56. His training team was based at Phong Dien, Phong Dinh Province, south of Saigon. Although the casualty database states that he was killed in Kien Hoa Province further north, a friend and fellow officer who was present states unequivocally that he died while disarming perimeter mines outside the Phong Dien MAT compound, in Phong Dinh Province.
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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