John William Whisenant

Army of the United States
17 October 1946 - 29 July 1969
Venice, California
Panel 20W Line 074

Combat Medic

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

John W. Whisenant

The database page for John William Whisenant

27 Aug 2000

John W. Whisenant (Bac Si) was the team medic of the A-team at Tra Cu in Military Region III. While out on patrol with James Amendola and John F. Murphy in the team's area of operations, the patrol encountered a large NVA force infiltrating north.

Caught in a cross fire from a superior enemy force, the above members of the A- team were quickly wounded or killed. One team member coordinated operations and directed air support until overcome by a mortal wound. Several additional team members were severely wounded and evacuated.

From those of us that were not directly involved in the operation, but were on the team: we never knew braver men.

Your memories are permanently etched in our minds and we shall never forget your camaraderie, humor and friendship.

David Siciliano

19 Jan 2004

Attached is a photo of John William Whisenant, killed July 29, 1969. John was my first boyfriend. He went by the name of Johnny when he sent me this picture. I believe it was his high school graduation picture. I will remember him for the rest of my life.

Cathy Chamberlin St. John
E-mail address is not available.

29 Feb 2004

Johnny was my husband's brother. There were 13 years between them and Jeff adored his older brother. He was 10 when Johnny died. At the time of his death Johnny was engaged to a girl named Leslie (last name not remembered). Our son is named for him. He will never be forgotten.

I would have been his sister-in-law,
Jolana Whisenant

7 Apr 2004

Johnny was my fianc´┐Ż. We met at high school in Waco, Texas. We were going to get married in November after he came home. Our hopes and our dreams never came true but he left me with wonderful memories. I know he would have been a great husband and a father. He was a very proud Green Beret who believed in what he was doing. He made a difference in this world. He will always be in my heart.

Forever and Always, Leslie

From his fiance,
Leslie (Dowdy) Warner

23 Apr 2004

My name is David Runner. I was serving as senior medical advisor at Camp Duc Hue in 1969, just north of Camp Tra Cu. Since the medical training in Special Forces was the longest of any specialties we were chronically short of people. When John was close to going home, a "short timer", he called and asked if I would cover for him at Tra Cu as he wanted to go on one last combat mission. Since I finally had another medic in my camp I agreed. Most people avoided risk when they got short, not John, he went out of his way to get into it. I remember sitting in the commo bunker listening with horror to our guys go down. We had very litte information until another American unit went in to help them. Apparently several of them were killed and wounded trying to get to ours. I never really learned the details of the fight since only the surviving Vietnamese knew what happened and I was quite busy filling John's shoes until I was relieved by another medic shortly after. Perhaps you can understand the guilt I have even after all these years for "helping" my friend. It was our culture, it's what we did. I've waited over thirty years to apologize to John's family. I'm sorry.

From a friend,
(SGT) David C. Runner
5th Special Forces Group (Abn) RVN 1969

13 May 2004

Hi. John was my uncle's brother. Even though I didn't know him, he still has a place in my heart, because I have heard stories about him from my family. I think that he was a good man, and it would be really cool if he could be around. I feel like he is still here, because he is, in our hearts, and minds, and spirits. He will never be forgotten.

Amie Boemeke

1 Jun 2004

I was Jeff Whisenant's best friend at the time Johnny died. I was spending the night at his home in Venice, California, when I heard the tragic news about his brother. I'll never forget how it affected Jeff and how he spoke so highly about his brother all the time. I never knew Johnny, but always felt I had a closeness to him because of my friendship to his brother Jeff. I think about Jeff and Johnny from time to time. I even took my family to the Wall to look up the name of John Whisenant. God bless you Johnny.

I haven't seen his brother Jeff for 35 years and will always remember him as a good friend and a good person. And for John Whisenant, I will always remember you as the brother Jeff and his family loved. I miss you both so dearly.

God bless you and your family.

From a friend,
Tom Brassard
Canyon Country, Ca

09 Feb 2005

I was the senior medic at Camp Duc Hue when this happened. It was a tragic day as we listened to the action in the commo shack. The Wolfhounds did everything they could. If memory serves me right, the Special Forces soldiers were pinned down in a bomb crater, wounded or dead. I remember the Wolfhound company commander dying as they tried to rescue them. Vietnam was just one of the many hot battles fought during the cold war. We won that war.

From a fellow SF soldier,
CSM Clifford Gissell, US Army (Retired)

13 Feb 2005

I never knew John, and only had a chance to meet Jeff and his wife Jolana about a dozen years ago. I somewhat remember how upset my father was at the news of John's death, being nine years old at the time.

I wish I could have gotten to know John.

From a cousin,
Jim Whisenant
Grafton, Ma

03 Nov 2005

I am Jeff Whisenant and I live at Dalton, Georgia.

From a friend,
Jeff Whisenant

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The action described above took place about 6 kilometers west of the Special Forces camp at Tra Cu. Nine American soldiers died, three from the Special Forces patrol and six from the infantry company inserted to assist the patrol:
  • Det A-326 (Tra Cu), A Co, 5th SF Group
  • D Company, 2/27th Infantry
    • CPT James C. Kotrc, Omaha, NE (Dist Svc Cross)
    • SFC Stephen D. Gleckler, Salem, OR
    • SGT Larry L. Riddle, Minneapolis, MN
    • CPL Randall M. Denton, Lawrence, MA
    • CPL John E. Hisey, Marysville, OH
    • SP4 Kris E. Shaw, Rockford, IL

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009