William James SchusslerPrivate First Class
CAP 1-3-8, CACO 1-3, 1ST CAG, 3RD MAF
United States Marine Corps
03 January 1950 - 24 October 1969
Panel 17W Line 114
The database page for William James Schussler
"Not for fame or reward, not for place or for rank,
A memorial initiated by a friend,
The photo and following article is taken from The Philadelphia Daily News, special supplement entitled 'SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY,' October 26, 1987. The special supplement was issued in conjunction with the dedication of the Philadelphia Viet Nam Memorial.
SEMPER FIDELIS, MARINE!
From a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Schussler, 19, was a Marine poet who wrote just before he died in October 1969
"America the beautiful, land of joy.
I was 19, and just 'in-country' for two months as an Army Gun Boat (PBR) Coxswain in the Delta when Schussler tripped a land mine up in Da Nang. While I did not know him personally his poetic and haunting verse expressed most of 'our' questions and feelings about 'our' plight at the time.
His sacrifice, a noble example of the "Greatest Love Of All", did not go unnoticed by me. I was moved to pen a response from the bobbing deck of a fiberglass gunboat while patrolling the Song Dong Nai and wrote, "BRAVE MARINE, DEAD MARINE."
While I have never forgotten Schussler, "BRAVE MARINE, DEAD MARINE" (with a lot of other stuff) ended up in a trunk up in the attic over the garage. After thirty years, I brought the trunk down and realized with the clarity and humility that comes (thankfully) with age, how Schussler's life and words cause us to reflect, ponder and assess not only the ever reaching rippling effect of the Viet Nam War but the importance of accepting and understanding the consequences of our choices and how they WILL effect our neighbor.
No, I did not forget...
From another 'Nam Vet,
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 03 Jul 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009