Jonathan Edward Sykes

United States Marine Corps
11 January 1947 - 06 February 1968
Trenton, New Jersey
Panel 37E Line 071



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Jonathan Edward Sykes

15 May 2005

Toughest Day Of Tough Job
By Robert Yaeger
Staff Writer

Robert Sykes Jr., of 124 Burton Ave., has a tough job. But it was even tougher last Tuesday.

He's been employed by the federal government for 22 years as a communications equipment operator at the Philadelphia Naval Base. It's his job to notify the families of servicemen killed in Vietnam action.

Sykes went to work on Tuesday. It was a typical day.

"I was working at the ticker-tape machine," Sykes said. "Then this garbled message came over. A fellow employee asked me if the Marine on the tape was any relation to me because the name looked like Sykes.

"Then the wording began to get clearer, and there it was, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Edward Sykes, 21, Trenton, N.J. killed in action at Quang Nhon (sic), South Vietnam. My son.

"I was dumbfounded. I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I went to get a cup of coffee to clear them up. But that didn't help."

'Close Eye'

Sykes said he had been keeping a "very, very close eye" on Vietnam developments.

"I'd come home from work, rush through my supper, and then head straight for the TV set to hear and see what was going on with the war over there. I had heard they (the Marines) had been pushing pretty hard, and I knew that John was right in the thick of things."

Sykes recalled that he and his son had some humorous dicussions about the Marine Corps and the Army.

"I was an Army First Sergeant during World War II, and John couldn't see where there was any connection or resemblance between the two services. A soldier was a soldier, and a Marine was a Marine as far as John was concerned," Sykes laughed.


Sykes said his son enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Trenton Central High School in June, 1965. He was assigned for Vietnam duty in May, 1966. He was a member of the 7th Marines Division (sic).

"John served 13 months over there, and then became eligible to return home. After coming home on a 30-day leave in August, he re-upped for Vietnam again," Sykes explained.

Sykes said his son felt that it was his "personal duty to his country, and that his country owed Vietnam a commitment."

In addition to his parents, Cpl. Sykes is survived by his mother, Mrs. Dorothy Burman of Baltimore, Md.; a sister, Mrs. Judonna Barnwell, and two brothers, Lawrence and Edward, both of Trenton.

Funeral arrangements are being completed by the Anderson Funeral Service, 188 Pennington Ave.


From a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Jim McIlhenney

22 Nov 2005

Now that they both are gone my father can't thank Jonathan but thanks to him my dad was able to live to have 4 children as well as adopt me at age 2. When I was 16 he passed away. He refused to talk about the war but he would always tell me about how Jonathan had saved his life. My dad was able, thanks to this angel of mercy, to go on to be one of only five medics to survive his third tour and thanks to the Army refusing to let him re-enlist he was the only one out of the five to never serve a fourth tour. I hope that Jonathan's family reads this. On behalf me and my family I want to thank you and please, every year place a rose on his grave for us.

Chris Davis

08 May 2006

I am the niece of Jonathan Edward Sykes. I am the first-born daughter of his only sister Judonna Sykes Barnwell. For some reason I happened to put my uncle's name in Google and to my surprise this is what came up. I would just like to let everyone know that I never had the opportunity to meet Johnny, I was born in July 1968 after he was killed. He and my mother were extremely close and he told her that if she had a girl to name her Sunnetta and so she did. I'm sad to report that my mother passed away on March 25, 1998, two days after her 49th birthday, leaving three daughters and two grandchildren at the time to mourn her loss. She would now be the proud grandmother of 9 grandchildren. On January 5, 2006 I alone was there for my grandmother (Johnny's mother - Dorothy) who departed this life as well. His loving step-mother passed in 2002. My grandfather although not in the best of health still survives.

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to acknowledge my uncle and his contribution to this country that he served faithfully and with pride alongside his fellow Marines!!

May God bless and keep everyone!

Sunnetta Slaughter
niece to Jonathan E. Sykes

A Note from The Virtual Wall

By 06 Feb 1968 the Tet Offensive was in full swing, with heavy fighting throughout South Vietnam. In Quang Nam Province, the 1/7 Marines were deployed against NVA/VC forces attacking the Danang/Marble Mountain complex.

The Communist forces began the second phase of their Da Nang offensive on the night of 05/06 Feb . 1/7's involvement began at 2000 05 Feb, when Charlie 1/7 engaged an NVA force south of the Tuy Loan River. Fighting continued throughout the 1/7 area of responsibility, and 24 hours later had resulted in the deaths of 17 men from 1/7 Marines:

  • A Company:
  • B Company:
  • D Company:
    • 2ndLt Henry A. Wright, Oakland, CA
    • Sgt Glen T. Lunsford, Danville, VA (Navy Cross)
    • LCpl Ronald E. Morris, Sandston, VA
    • LCpl Phillip L. Salinas, Leoti, KS
    • LCpl Gary L. Tallentire, Cincinnati, OH
    • Pfc Joe W. Greene, Canton, OH
    • Pfc Robert H. Taylor, Birmingham, AL

  • H&S Company:
    • HM3 Larry W. Stull, Fostoria, OH (Corpsman with Delta 1/7)
    • Cpl Jonathan E. Sykes, Trenton, NJ

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 May 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009