William Charles Prchlik

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class
United States Navy
01 December 1947 - 06 August 1970
Knox, Indiana
Panel 08W Line 089


Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for William Charles Prchlik

06 Aug 2005

William Prchlik was my friend, a close brother. He was the only son of his parents. He wanted of all things, to be a mortician. The closest thing in the Navy was a Corpsman. We went to Corpsman School together and served together. I asked him once ... Why a mortician?

"It's my way of honoring and helping the family, with respect due a hero"

He was a big ox with black rimmed glasses. He worried about all his guys and never himself. I still can remember his smile. They have it down on paper 8-6-70... It was 8-6-69, I was there, brother, and I'll never forget. It's been 36 years and I still miss you.

HM-3 Timothy C. Sutter, U.S.N

06 Nov 2006

I was there during Bill's final moments. Bill and Ronald E. Samuelson, Golf 2/1, were killed in the same incident. It was 1970, just as the records indicate, just a little more than a month before I left country. I was in the squad that reacted to the incident, arriving less than 10 minutes after the action began. I heard it all on the radio and was there for the clean-up.

Bill was a friend to all of us in Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. But he was more than a friend. There is hardly a day that goes by I do not think of him, his humor, his kindness, his understanding. I did not have my father or family to talk to, but I had him. He was my closest friend during that time so far from home.

I have seen the Wall in Washington, seen his name there. It brings me comfort to know that long after I am gone, after all who knew him are gone, he will still be remembered as long as the Wall stands. I wonder who remembers him as I do. I still cry over his loss, 36 years later.

If any of his family or friends would care to talk to me, I would be happy to share my memories of him. It would comfort me to know that he is in others' memories as well as my own.

From a friend and Marine in his unit,
Bob Latham

25 Nov 2007

Dear Bill,

I was saddened to see your name on The Wall on the 25th Anniversary of its dedication. You were one of the 12 guys from Corps School Company 6804 assigned to the Marines after graduation from Great Lakes in April of 1968.

You were affectionately referred to as the "Bug Man" by your classmates because of your interest in entomology prior to enlistment. I always wondered over the years who survived "the cut" between Viet Vet and Viet Era Vet; I was one of the lucky ones.

I don't remember all the guys in the Company, but you were one of the good ones. I kept my Graduation Program and you made the Honor Roll; no surprise. My class standing at the base of the "academic pyramid" made it possible for you smart guys at the top to excel!

Rest in Peace, Bug Man, you served your Country well and with honor - God Bless you.

David E Reilly
Master-at-Arms, Company 6804
Great Lakes, Il
(Middletown, RI)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Virtual Wall staff usually doesn't argue with someone who was there, but in this instance all available evidence points to the 06 August 1970 date of death:
  • All available records indicate Petty Officer Prchlik arrived in Vietnam on 26 Feb 1970.
  • The 1993 and 2003 DoD casualty files indicate Petty Officer Prchlik died on 06 Aug 1970.
  • Records from the Bureau of Naval Personnel show date of death as 06 August 1970.
  • There are no recorded 2/1 Marines deaths during the period 04 through 08 August 1969.
  • There are two recorded 2/1 Marines deaths on 06 August 1970 - HM2 Prchlik and Pfc Ronald E. Samuelson, Golf 2/1, of Wymore, Nebraska.
The Texas Tech Vietnam Project archives have produced the 2nd Bn, 1st Marines, Command Chronologies for August of 1969 and 1970 and they confirm what's stated above. The evidence indicates Petty Officer was killed in action on 06 August 1970 while serving with the 2/1 Marines in the field with Golf Company.

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
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Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 06 Aug 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009