Jerry Ross Woodall

United States Marine Corps
15 May 1940 - 31 January 1968
Mount Dora, Florida
Panel 36E Line 043


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Jerry Ross Woodall

21 Nov 2001

Jerry was the 3rd Combat Engineer communications officer. We shared a GP tent along with several other officers at Gia Lia combat base. I was the S-4. On the last day of January 1968 the combat base came under heavy rocket, mortar, artillery and a ground attack. I had pulled the duty as the Combat Operations Officer of the day on January 29th and was to be relieved by an Army 2nd Lt. who was too nervous and "green" to be left alone with the duty on the 30th. He asked if I would stay on and show him the ropes as he hadn't stood duty like this before. I agreed only to be awakened at 3AM with all hell breaking loose. I turned the compressed gas on the siren to put the troops in the holes and manned the radios. This was the start of the Tet Offensive. We were about 5 to 7 miles southwest of Hue City.

It was quite a morning and around 9AM I got a call saying the Army Motor Transport Company that had just moved in the night before had a KIA'd US Marine Captain they needed identified. Things were pretty quiet and the posted Army officer had the duty so I left the bunker and moved to identify Jerry. This was the first death I witnessed. It appeared to me that he had been blown up by one or more rockets as his body was located close between two craters.

Jerry had been burned as a child and his arms were scarred but he was very strong. He was quiet and stayed pretty much to himself but was so looking forward to getting home so he could get married. His death came not long after his R and R in Hawaii where he spent his time with his fiance whom he loved dearly.

He was sent toward the Army unit during the attack in an attempt to establish communications as they were so new to our combat base and our Camp Commander wanted them in the communications loop.

A memorial from a friend,
Lt. Col. William Ray Ford, USMC (Ret)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

"CAPT J R WOODALL" is the first of 72 names engraved on a plaque which hangs in the Company command post of Combat Engineer Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3d Marine Division on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan. CEC was Company C, 3d Engineer Battalion, and is the only part of the Battalion which has not been deactivated. The crest at the top of this page is derived from the emblem on that plaque.

Captain Woodall is buried in the Woodlawn Memorial Park, Greenville, South Carolina.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Lt. Col. William Ray Ford, USMC (Ret)

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 Nov 2001
Last updated 11/13/2010