Kentucky honors Vietnam fallen on Memorial Day

Kentucky National Guard Staff Report

Soldiers from the 138th Field Artillery Brigade present the Colors at a Memorial Day ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., May 27, 2019. The Kentucky National Guard’s annual Memorial Day service focused on the Vietnam War casualties from the 138th 50 years ago this year in Vietnam. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard hosted its annual Memorial Day observance on Memorial Day, May 27, at the Kentucky National Guard Memorial in Frankfort.

Three new names were added to the memorial, bringing the total number of names on the Memorial to 272 men and women who have fallen in the line of duty since 1912. Those fallen whose names are being added to the Memorial are: Capt. Samuel Edward Gipe, 39, of Daviess County, (Oct. 24, 1916); Pvt. Ross L. McCord, 18, of Christian County, (Oct. 25, 1922); and Horseshoer Eddie Stafford, 31, of Calloway County (Oct. 14 1918).

2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the return of Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery Brigade from Vietnam following a 12-month tour of duty.  This year’s ceremony highlighted Guardsmen who fell in the line of duty during the Vietnam era.

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Vietnam-Veteran Col. (R) Jerry Cecil, a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Kentucky was the keynote speaker. Cecil reminded guests of the relevance of our memorials and why the last Monday in May is so important.

“While Memorial Day is a sad day, we should not forget or overlook the joy we gain from the people we remember so honorably today on this memorial.”

Soldiers with the 138th also presented the Colors and fired a cannon salute during the memorial service.

Kentucky Thunder in Vietnam

The 2/138th units in Louisville, Bardstown, Elizabethtown and Carrollton, were ordered to active duty and completed accelerated training at Fort Hood, Texas. Advanced elements of the battalion departed Fort Hood, Texas Oct. 11, 1968. The final elements of the organization arrived in Vietnam two weeks later. On November 13, 1968, at 2 p.m., Brig. Gen. Allan G. Pixton, XXIV Corps Artillery Commander, pulled the lanyard on Number 3 piece, Battery A, and fired the first 2-138th Field Artillery round into the mountain range south of Phu Bai, Vietnam. During the tour in Vietnam, the battalion had a primary mission of reinforcing the fires of the 101st Airborne Air Mobile (AM) Division Artillery and frequently supported the 1st Army of the Republic of Vietnam Division as well as regional and local militia. During the period, 2/138th Field Artillery Battalion fired approximately 150,000 rounds.

Senior Commander in Vietnam, General Creighton Abrams, said the 2nd Battalion 138th Field Artillery, was “one of the best trained, and absolutely the best maintained battalion-sized unit in Vietnam.”

The fallen from the Vietnam Era — February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 — on the Memorial:

KYNG fallen serving in Vietnam:

-Brown, Harold SSG Army Bullitt County Battery C, 1st Battalion, 82nd Artillery Americal Division VN 11-Jun-1969

-Carr, Bertram SGT Army Jefferson County Battery B, 2/138th FA BN, 24 Corps in VN 1-Jun-1969

-Chappel, Luther 1SG Army Carroll County Battery C, 2/138th FA in VN 19-Jun-1969

-Collins, David SP4 Army Nelson County Battery C, 2/138th FA in VN 19-Jun-1969

-McIlvoy, Joseph PFC/SP4 Army Washington County Battery C, 2/138th FA in VN 19-Jun-1969

-Moore, James SSG Army Nelson County Battery C, 2/138th FA in VN 24-Jun-1969

-Simpson, Ronald SP4 Army Nelson County Battery C, 2/138th FA in VN 19-Jun-1969

-Williams, Billy MAJ Army Crittenden County Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Advance Team 3 in VN 6-May-1970

-Wray, James SGT Army Jefferson County Battery B, 1st Bn 40th Artillery, 108th Art Grp in VN 2-Jul-1969

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KYNG fallen elsewhere during the Vietnam Era

-Brown, Lanny PFC Army Wayne County TNG in Kentucky Battery C, 1st Battalion of the 623rd Field Artillery 15-Jul-1970

-May, Martin CW4 Army Daviess County TNG at Ft Hood HHC, 2Med Tank BN, 123rd Armor Other 14-Mar-1975

-Powell, Glave SGT Army Mercer County TNG in Kentucky SVC Battery, 2/138th FA BN Other 12-Jan-1975

-Sanders, Roger Capt Air Jefferson County TNG in Kentucky 165th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron 14-Sep-1971

-Sawyer, Robert Capt Air TN County AD in Missouri 165th Tac Recon Sq Other 5-Aug-1968

-Smith, William LTC Army TX County AD in Korea formerly Battery C of the 138th Field Artillery Battalion VN 27-Nov-1968

-Uhl, Timothy PFC Army Fayette County TNG in Kentucky SVC Battery, 2/138th FA BN Other 12-Feb-1975

Click here to read biographies of our fallen.