Robert Stephen Ruch

United States Marine Corps
18 April 1937 - 30 October 1965
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Panel 03E Line 007

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

The database page for Robert Stephen Ruch

02 May 2002

I love you, dad.
I miss you, dad.
How can I say goodbye,
when I never got the chance to say Hello?

My father, Robert (Bobby) Ruch was a proud Marine who served his country for 10 years until he was killed in Vietnam. I don't know much about him, except that he could be a hellraiser. Dad, wish we could have a beer together.

I love you, and will never let the world forget you.

Your daughter,

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On the evening of 27-28 October 1965 the VC struck the newly built Marble Mountain helicopter facility on the Tiensha Peninsula and the Chu Lai SATS field. In the two attacks the VC caused considerable damage to aircraft parked on the flight lines, killed three Marines and wounded 91 others - but left 32 dead, 4 wounded, and 4 captured behind.

Two days after the airfield attacks, the Viet Cong attempted another probe of the Marine defenses, not at the Danang base areas but against the defensive perimeter on Hill 22, south of the Tuy Loan River. There were 154 men on Hill 22, primarily from Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.

The action began shortly after midnight on 30 October when 10 to 15 VC walked into an Alpha 1/1 squad ambush about a kilometer south of the hill. The Marines opened fire and killed three of the enemy, but were unable to notify their company commander of the contact due to a radio failure. All was quiet for about two hours, when a larger force enveloped the Marine squad, killing three and wounding six.

Immediately afterwards Hill 22 and a separate position two kilometers to the west manned by Mike Company, 3/4 Marines, came under mortar fire. The Mike 3/4 position suffered one Marine killed and two wounded, but direct fire from a 3rd Tank Battalion M48 tank silenced the mortar. At Hill 22 some 300-400 VC attacked the Marine positions from the northwest. Enemy troops, supported by two recoilless rifles, were able to destroy three defensive bunkers and an ONTOS (a tracked recoilless rifle vehicle) and penetrated about a third of the northwestern perimeter.

The Marines rallied and were able to eject the VC, restoring the perimeter by 0330. By the time three UH-34s landed munitions and a 13-man squad from C/1/1 on the hill at 0345 the VC had withdrawn and the fighting was reduced to sporadic exchanges of fire. During their withdrawal the VC removed a considerable number of their dead and wounded, but left 47 dead and one wounded within the Alpha 1/1 perimeter.

The attacks on the ambush squad, Mike 3/4, and Hill 22 resulted in the deaths of 15 Marines and one sailor, with 45 others wounded. The American dead were

  • A Co, 3rd Engineer Bn:
    • Cpl Robert S. Ruch, Bethlehem, PA
    • Pfc Seymour P. Sadberry, Boston, MA
    • Pvt Ronald V. Bacca, Magna, UT

  • A Co, 1st Bn, 1st Marines:
    • Sgt Frank A. Gagliardo, Deer Park, NY *
    • Sgt Marcos Hernandez, El Paso, TX
    • Cpl Richard A. Cesar, Corydon, IA
    • Cpl Philip M. Sens, Newark, OH
    • Cpl Dennis Smith, Columbus, OH
    • HN Gerald L. Feltner, Carroll, IA
    • LCpl Robert P. Jordan, New York, NY
    • LCpl Harold H. Schock, Mamaroneck, NY *
    • LCpl Richard D. Sharp, Dayton, OH
    • Pfc Richard A. Crawford, Godfrey, IL *
    • Pfc Gary E. Elford, Newport, OR
    • Pfc Rayes C. Flores, Abilene, TX

  • H&S Co, 1st Bn, 1st Marines:
    • Cpl Grant L. Clark, Pocatello, ID
LCpl Jordan and Pfc Elford were killed at the ambush site, but the identity of the third man is not known. Further, we know that one of the three men marked with an asterisk actually was the Mike 3/4 Marine killed in the mortar attack on their position - but we do not know which one.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his daughter,
Carol Scharkan

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 2 May 2001
Last updated 01/18/2007