Neal Robert Thalin

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
24 April 1947 - 02 June 1967
Dedham, Massachusetts
Panel 21E Line 039



Bronze Star (Valor), Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Neal Robert Thalin

01 Jun 2001

For Neal,
one of the SEVEN,
God Bless

From one of the Seven Friends,
James F. Todd
12 Jan 2006

My name is Bruce Manns and I too was one of the 7 from Dedham, Massachusetts. We lost Neal one month after we lost Robert J. Todd [M.I.A.]. I was with 1st Antitank [ONTOS] and was wounded 8 June 68 in Operation NEVADA EAGLE. We miss you, Neal, and Toddsie every day. We had a reunion this summer up by your headstones and Ricky took some great photos. He came out from California to be with us. It was the first time we were virtually all together in a long time up there on Veterans' Hill. Well, my eyes are swelling up and I'm not sure if I'm doing this right. I hope you both are with St. Michael in the ARCH Angel's troop now. GOD bless and SEMPER FI, BRO'S ... Bruce Manns [one of the 7 from Dedham]

From a friend, brother, and one of the "7",
Cpl. Bruce Manns
P O Box 4154, White River Jct, Vermont 05001

02 Dec 2006

My name is Howie Howe, and I am another of the brothers who call themselves the "Seven from Dedham". Neal is buried on Memorial Hill in Brookdale Cemetery, Dedham, MA, right next to a memorial stone for our other brother Bobby Todd, origanlly classified KIA, but later changed to MIA since his body was not recovered. They were both killed within thirty days in Nam in 1967.

Every group, gang, or clique had people that you could best describe by relating them to others as contemporary TV characters. We were a diversified group for sure, and Neal was our Fonzie. Just like Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie, Neal was thin in body type, if dressd in a suit you would ahve mistaken him for a nerd, but what Neal lacked in physical structure, he made up for in character. He loved motorcycles, especially Triumph Bonneville TT's, a dream he hoped to acquire after the war, and he loved cars, always building and souping up older Oldsmobiles. And Neal was courageous, never the type to back down from a fight. This can be clearly evidenced by the fact that he was posthumously awarded a Bronze star for his actions on the day of his death.

Almost forty years after his loss, we still have very vivid and loving memories of our brother Neal that we will never relinquish. Members of the Seven have already committed to being cremated upon our deaths, and our remains placed on the Hill with Neal and Bobby for our final rest, and the Town of Dedham has granted us the authority to do this, though now we are scattered all over the country.

Neal, your spirit will remain with us for the rest of our lives, and in death we plan on joining you. Semper Fi, and Love, Bro!

Howie Howe
525 Wilson St, Manchester, Nh

12 Jan 2007

Neal, The love of my life, still in my heart to this day.
You are loved and missed by all who knew you.
May you be there to greet me when my time has come.
Sister to the "7", still loving you each day.
I pray you are at peace.

From his love,
Joyce Bowen

02 Jun 2007

Forty years have passed since you died ... a lot has changed in the world.

The gap left by your death still hurts ... that will never change.

You will never be forgotten - and I know that you know that. There's so much I wish you could have shared - my memories are all your nephews know of you - but they stood tall and proud at the Wall while I wept.

If anyone who remembers him reads this, please send me an email. Thanks and Semper Fi

From his sister,
Leslie Hoeffleur-Thalin

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 5th Marines conducted Operation UNION II in the Que Son area between 25 May and 05 June 1967. The Marines expected to find the 3rd NVA Regiment, some 2,000 well-trained troops - and they did. The Marines conducted search and destroy missions with only sporadic contacts through 01 June. Things changed on 02 June, when Delta 1/5 and Fox 2/5 ran into separate concentrations of NVA troops as they closed on the Vinh Huy Village complex in the Nui Loc Son Basin.

Although only a mile or so apart, on opposite sides of the village complex, Delta 1/5 and Fox 2/5 fought separate battles, but both faced well-entrenched and well-disciplined troops. Both battles were bloody in the extreme. As the afternoon progressed, Alpha 1/5 (the 2/5 reserve) was committed to the northwest of the village with instructions to move east to contact with Fox 2/5 ... but they too were stopped by entrenched NVA. By nightfall, two other companies - Echo 2/5 and Delta 1/7 - had been airlifted in and set up an NDP in preparation for further fighting on 03 June.

The situation at midnight 02/03 June was as follows:

  • A severely battered Delta 1/5 was in an NDP on the southern side on the village complex. They had lost 18 men killed and 22 wounded.
  • An even more battered Fox 2/5 was in an NDP on the northeast side. Fox 2/5 had lost 32 men killed and 39 wounded.
  • Alpha 1/5 was in an NDP on the northwest side, with 5 dead and 10 wounded.
  • Echo 2/5 and Delta 1/7 were in an NDP on the south-southeast side of the complex. They lost four men in a post-midnight attack but were otherwise unscathed.
About 600 NVA troops had been killed in the actions, many by supporting arms but no small number during in-close fighting. When dawn broke and the Marines began to sweep toward the village center the NVA were gone, apparently having withdrawn through the gap in the Marine lines to the west of Vinh Huy Village.

The 17 men from Delta 1/5 who were killed in action on 02 June were

  • 2ndLt Larry V. Chmiel, Baltimore, MD
  • SSgt David L. Dixon, Marion, IN
  • Cpl Donald R. Christy, Yuba City, CA
  • Cpl Alejandro F. Fierro, Los Angeles, CA
  • Cpl Fidel Ramos, San Antonio, TX
  • Cpl Ralph E. Smith, Conyngham, PA (Silver Star)
  • Cpl Ray L. van Zandt, Austin, TX (Silver Star)
  • LCpl Kenneth R. Endsley, Sacramento, CA
  • LCpl Joseph S. Escobar, Fresno, CA
  • LCpl Joe Montez, Austin, TX
  • LCpl Joe Moya, Bloomington, TX
  • LCpl Fred G. O'Malley, Farmer City, IL
  • Pfc Philip O. Parrish, High Point, NC
  • Pfc Joseph J. Seller, Winsted, MN
  • Pfc William A. Sinchak, Natrona, PA
  • Pfc Neal R. Thalin, Dedham, MA (Bronze Star "V")
  • Pfc Harold F. Werle, Roscoe, IL
The 18th loss was one of the four Navy Corpsmen who died that day - but we cannot determine which one it was.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 1 Jun 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009