John O'Neal Rucker

United States Air Force
17 March 1951 - 27 January 1973
Kilgore, TX
Panel 01W Line 113


John O. Rucker

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John O'Neal Rucker

On January 27, 1973, the same day the Paris Peace Accords
were signed ending U.S. involvement in the war,
Sergeant John Rucker and Colonel William Nolde
died in a rocket attack on Danang Air Base.

The two men were the last Americans killed by
ground action in the Vietnam War.

Memorial at the Cass County Courthouse
Photo courtesy of KTBS TV (Channel 3, Shreveport, LA)

Monument at the Cass County Courthouse, Linden, Texas, honoring all veterans.


Close up of the monument
Photo courtesy of KTBS TV (Channel 3, Shreveport, LA)

Close-up of the monument shown above.

"There's not a day goes by that we don't think about him. ... He was a good boy. And he was proud to be in the Air Force. He enlisted, and he told us, 'Dad, I'm going to make this my career.'"
- John Rucker - A2C John O. Rucker
Photo courtesy of KTBS TV (Channel 3, Shreveport, LA)

"You never forget to think about him, never. He's always there."
- Mae Rucker - John and Mae Rucker
Photo courtesy of KTBS TV (Channel 3, Shreveport, LA)

John's parents, John and Mae Rucker, 2003.

posted: 01-27-2003

Today is the 30th anniversary of the cease fire that ended America's main involvement in the Vietnam War.

But that cease fire came a few hours too late for John O'Neal Rucker, who grew up in Linden, Texas and was the last enlisted man killed in action before the Paris Peace Accords were signed.

Rucker's parents, John and Mae Rucker, are still haunted by what happened to their 21-year-old son. And they remember it like it was yesterday.

"They say time heals all wounds," Mr. Rucker said. "But that's a bunch of bull. It'll be there from now on."

Their son, an Air Force sergeant, was killed Jan. 27th, 1973 -- just hours before the fighting stopped -- when a rocket hit his barracks at DaNang airport.

John O'Neal Rucker was born in Kilgore and was 10 when the first U.S. support troops arrived in South Vietnam. Before the war was over, 58,000 Americans were killed in the first war the U.S. lost.

"Our boys gave their lives, for what? Nothing that I could see," Mrs. Rucker said.

Rucker is buried at Center Hill Cemetery near Linden. A monument to him and other veterans stands outside the Cass County Courthouse in Linden.

The Ruckers are still concerned about the 1,300 men still listed as missing in Vietnam. An MIA flag still flies outside their home near Jefferson -- right above a monument to their son.

"We know where our son's at," Mrs. Rucker said. "There are so many of those people that don't."

Copyright 2003
KTBS TV (Channel 3, Shreveport, LA)
Used with permission.

23 Feb 2003

I am so very pleased to see the pictures of my cousin O'Neal.

Seems as though it has been a lifetime ago since I last saw his picture, but I would never forget the good and bad memories of all of our lives as one huge family! Thanks again to Margie for refreshinging my memories, with all my love, ya'll are always in my prayers just wish we could all get together again soon.


31 Mar 2003

My thoughts and prayers continue for our loss. It has been so long ago yet as though it were yesterday. Neal had a bright future ahead of him. His presence has been greatly missed over the years. At least there are many memories to hold close.

Georgia Dulaney Brummett
6922 Ordway Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46815
24 Mar 2003

This fine young man was named after my brother, Staff Sgt Earrol O'Neal Holland, killed in World War Two.

From a cousin,
Orvis Lavelle (Bo) Holland

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister,
Margie Manning
E-Mail may be forwarded via the
26 Jan 2003

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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 04/02/2003