Johnnie Paul Winfrey

Private First Class
Army of the United States
01 June 1945 - 18 September 1965
Bay City, Texas
Panel 02E Line 090


Johnny P Winfrey


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Johnnie Paul Winfrey

25 Sep 2002

Johnnie Winfrey, 20, Killed in Viet Nam
Paratrooper Dies During Heavy Action

The war in Viet Nam suddenly seemed much more real to Bay City and Matagorda County today. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis F. Winfrey of [Bay City] received a telegram Sunday morning that their son, Johnnie, was killed "as a result of hostile action" while serving with the 101st Airborne Division, the famous "Screaming Eagles," in Viet Nam. The Winfrey's received the telegram from the Department of The Army at 11:30 a.m. It was signed by Major General J. C. Lambert, Adjutant General of the U.S. Army. Funeral services for Winfrey, at a time yet to be determined, will be in St. Paul's Methodist Church here with Rev. Preston Dumas and Rev. George Townley officiating. Interment will be in Forest Park Cemetery, near Webster on the Gulf Freeway in the Greater Houston Area. Johnnie entered the Army on May 6, 1963, completed his basic training at Camp Polk, La., completed paratroop training at Fort Benning, Ga., special forces school at Fort Bragg, N.C., and then transferred to the 101st Airborne at Ft. Campbell, Ky., on June 18. He arrived in Viet Nam July 28 as a member of the 101st. He was a PFC. The wording of the Army telegram said "Winfrey was killed as a result of hostile action while with his unit engaged in search and destroy operations. The unit engaged a hostile action group in small arms ground fire. Complete circumstances are unknown." Johnnie was a member of the Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, and the Woodmen of the World. Survivors besides his parents include his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mary Patton and paternal grandmother, Mrs. Rebecca Carr of Houston. A representative of the Commanding General of the 4th U.S. Army will accompany the body and will asist the family in making arrangments. Taylor Bros. Funeral Home is in charge of the services. [NOTE: Johnnie's body was later moved to Roselawn Memorial Park in Van Vleck, Matagorda County, Texas.]

The Daily Tribune, Monday, September 20, 1965, Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Full Military Rites Tuesday for Winfrey

Funeral services for Private First Class Johnnie Winfrey, killed in Viet Nam combat about one week ago, will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Paul's Methodist Chruch. Rev. George Townley and Rev. Preston Dumas will officiate. Interment will be at 3 p.m. in Forest Park East, south of Houston near Webster. There will be no procession from the church. A full military funeral will be held. Pfc. Winfrey's body arrived in Houston from Viet Nam at 8:02 p.m. Saturday. His body is lying in state at Taylor Brothers Funeral Home with military guard.

The Daily Tribune, Monday, September 27, 1965, Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Lebanon Grim Reminder of Vietnam to Couple

[NOTE: Information about Johnnie Paul Winfrey abstracted from article]

Sunday will mark the 18th anniversary of Johnnie Paul Winfrey's death. Johnnie was the 197th American soldier, and the first of over 20 Matagorda Countians who lost their lives in the conflict. Young Winfrey, a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles division, was killed in a search-and-destroy mission on Sept. 18, 1965. He was only a few months past his 20th birthday and had been in Vietnam since the end of July of that year. Winfrey had eight more months before his current term of enlistment was due to expire. The Winfreys will honor the memory of their son this weekend by flying the American flag in front of their home. The Winfreys said their son often spoke of the fact in his letters home that American soldiers were not allowed to shoot until shot at and that the U.S. was unclear in its motives for being in the country. "He often said he never was really sure who the enemy was and I think that the situation in Lebanon is similar," Mrs. Winfrey noted. Johnnie Paul's presence can still be felt in the Winfrey home. One corner of the immaculate living room has many of his pictures and mementoes he sent from Vietnam adorn several shelves. Winfrey, though not born in Bay City, grew up here and was active in school football, Future Farmers of America, the Civil Air Patrol and Boy Scouts. At the age of 18 he enlisted in the army, transferring first to the Green Berets and then the 101st Airborne. The Winfreys said their son was strongly devoted to his country and believed it was necessary for Americans to go to Vietnam. "Johnnie refused to take the exemption from serving that he could have taken because he was our only child. He said he thought the situation over there would not last long," Mrs. Winfrey said.

The Daily Tribune, September, 1983, Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Placed by a member of the Matagorda County, Texas Historical Commission.
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 18 September 1965 the recently arrived 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division launched Operation GIBRALTAR, an air assault aimed at VC and North Vietnamese units headquartered at An Ninh, a tiny village located about 28 kilometers east-northeast of the Brigade's base at An Khe. A summary of the action and a list of the US servicemen who died as a result of it can be found on The Virtual Wall's "Battle of An Ninh" memorial.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 25 Sep 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009