John Francis Ward

Private First Class
Army of the United States
31 October 1948 - 06 October 1969
New York, New York
Panel 17W Line 046

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air medal, Army Commendation, Good conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Francis Ward

20 Mar 2005

Dear John,

I'll never forget the great times we had together shooting pool and winning all night at the Starlight Club, and our double dates together with some great girls. We signed up to join the Army together to serve our Country. We had great times in basic and and advanced infantry training. We flew to the Nam together and that's where we split up ... you to the 1/327th and me to the 2/502nd regiments of the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Eagle in July 1969. We brothers-in-arms, we two Nam grunts. I remember our parting looks and our "in-country" letters to one another. I thought I saw you once during a major redeployment on Highway 1, just north of Phu Bai ... I screamed your name but you never heard it over the din of choppers and deuce-and-a-half's.

The next I heard you were killed in action, and I was extracted from the boonies because your father arranged for me to escort your body home.

I was so sad, it was a long sad trip. I still miss you, John. You were my best friend. We were like brothers.

You gave your life in service to your country. There is no greater sacrifice. You are a hero, a warrior, and a patriot. You will never be forgotten. You will be loved forever. Your memory will be with me in my heart til I catch up to you in the after-life. I salute you and all the Nam KIA's.

God Bless you, my friend,
God comfort and rest your soul
Bill Nelson
2/502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne, Nam 7/69-9/70

John Ward is remembered on the
327th Infantry site

29 Apr 2005

A Vietnam Veteran's Tribute

Soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guard, Marine,
From all across the land they came, every race, every creed.
As their fathers and forefathers before them, when their country called they stepped forward.
Albeit at a time when the nation was embroiled in bitter discord,
At the prime of their young lives, they did not shirk from the specter of war.
Caught up in a political maelstrom not of their making,
They were hurled onward to a rendezvous with hardship and strife.
Everyday, ordinary American men.

This monument now stands before us,
Its bold and imposing beauty bespeaks a solemn and silent tribute.
But no structure, no matter how great, truly pays just tribute,
To the honored dead whose names are inscribed there.
To the maimed, the disabled, the emotionally scarred, the missing in acton,
The scar of the Vietnam War will never heal.
To the young lives barely lived, to the young loves hardly loved,
To the what might have been that we will never know,
Dear God, let their hallowed memory forever burn bright.
Let there be meaning and purpose to their death,
For without it, this monument will never be anything more than cold stone and mortar,
An empty symbol without sense or meaning.
Let us Americans everywhere, dedicate us, to giving it meaning and purpose.
Let it mean that never again, will this nation shed its young men and women�s blood in a cause without resolve.
Let it mean that we will devote special care and attention to disabled veterans from all wars.
That we will pay whatever the price, give whatever it takes, to help them ease their burden.

The "why" of Vietnam may never be answered, the sacrifice never vindicated;
But let no one dare question the fiber of the men and women,
Who answered the call of the uncertain trumpet.
They risked and lost life and limb to serve their country.
They are the mark and caliber by which great nations are measured.
Let us never demean those who have carried this country's banner into battle.
They gave to us their very lives and their futures,
We could never hope to repay to them their just due.
May the day never come, when the country calls, and the call goes unheeded.
Let us all now join hands as united Americans,
And as one voice reach out and loudly and proudly proclaim:
"WELCOME HOME - at last together we will heal the wound"
And in a spirit of love and thanksgiving, embrace these,

Don Buzney USMC 1967-71

1 May 2005

Dear John,

The 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war is upon us. Do they remember ... do they care??

I think it's only us old warriors who care to remember ... or can't forget the experience of being a "Grunt" with the 101st Airborne. Me and you together at Camp Eagle ... choppered out to our first hump in the boonies ... a long time ago.

We were brothers in arms, my best friend. We were like true brothers. You were part of my family and I was part of yours.

We were friends from The Bronx, and we served together. I still miss you, John, after all these years.

I've made sure my children know you and what the war was like. You were a hero and will never be forgotten by me or my family or our friends. We talk of you often. You will always be in our hearts.

God bless you. I'll be with you soon ... save me a spot at the bar and we can shoot pool as the team we always were.

I love you, my friend.


2/502nd Infantry
101st Airborne

17 May 2005


Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul ... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.

Bill Nelson and your Vietnam Brothers-in-arms

From a friend,
Bill Nelson
2 May 2005


It would have been an honor to know you. My father told my brother and I so many stories about all the times you shared together. I can just imagine you two playing pool together. I can hear you down the hall in the game room, the rolling of the balls, striking of the sticks and laughter of friends together. You mean so much to my dad, you were his best friend. Thank you for the sacrifice you made for our country. I will never forget you.


From his best friend's daughter,
Tani Nelson

11 Aug 2005

A good friend gone but never forgotten

John, Good friends are a blessing, they give our lives meaning and depth. When we lost you, it made me realize how much of a good friend you really were. This was a very sad time for all of us, we miss you and your happy smile.

We always talk about the good times at the Starlight Club and the Cue Lounge, the special memories will never be forgotten.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with you always.

In fond Remembrance, Your Good Friend
Bobby Nelson

22 Nov 2006


Dear John,

I can only imagine the courage that it must have taken you to join the army, especially knowing that you'd be sent off to war. My dad has told me stories all about you, and how together you decided to join under the buddy system. You have made an incredible sacrifice, and although I never had the honor of meeting you, I will never forget what you have done for this country.

from your best friend's son,
John Nelson

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 20 Mar 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009