Editor’s note: I’m indebted to Chickasaw County Veteran’s Service Officer Kenneth Nichols, William D. Sykes Post 7149 (Houston) Post Commander Frank Pemper, and Houston Attorney Rex Sanderson and his late wife Sharyn (nee: Adams) Sanderson BSRN, 1/Lt. Tennessee ANG, all of whom provided the following information about these men.

For more information, go to honorstates.org

HOUSTON -- With Vietnam Veterans Day was Monday, March 29, it’s a fitting time to remember the 10 young men from Chickasaw County who died in that war.

All who took part in that long, costly, divisive conflict from 1964-1975 in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos gave some, but 58,220 Americans gave all.

Those who died including eight women, who were all military nurses, and the war’s youngest American combat death, a 15 year old U. S. Marine from North Carolina who had lied about his age to join up, records indicate.

Here’s a list of the Chickasaw County men who were among 637 from Mississippi killed in that conflict.

The names of those men are also listed on a plaque at the Chickasaw County Courthouse.

The names follow:

Leon Vincent Fox

In December, 1966, Leon Vincent Fox of Houston became the first casualty from Chickasaw County in the Viet Nam War.

He was born on May 9, 1946 in Chickasaw County.

He was drafted into the Army and began his tour on May 30, 1966. Fox had the rank of Private First Class. His military occupation specialty was Field Artillery Basic. He was attached to 1st Cavalry Division, 6th Battalion, 16th Artillery, C Battery.

He was killed on December 18, 1966 in Binh Long Province in South Vietnam while firing a 144 mm. howitzer when the breach blew open and hit him in the chest.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

He is honored on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington D.C. His name is inscribed at Vietnam Memorial Wall, Panel 13e, Line 58.

He is buried at Macedonia Cemetery in Houston.

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Lucien Gillespie, Jr.

He was born on July 23, 1946, the son of Lucien and Mary Snow Gillespie of Egypt, Mississippi.

He served as a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps in K Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. He was a machine gunner and was wounded August 20,1967, on night patrol in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam of fragmentation wounds to head, arm, and chest.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon.

He died on August 21, 1967, at Da Nang, Vietnam, at 21 years of age.

His name is listed on Panel 25E, Line 23 of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Zion Spring Cemetery, Okolona.

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Harold Douglas Gore

He was born on March 11, I948, the son of Samuel (Buddy) and Virginia McQuary Gore of Houston, Mississippi. He worked at Simmon's Service Station.

He volunteered for duty and was inducted at Memphis, Tennessee. He took his boot training at Paris Island. He served as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division as a Mortarman. His tour of duty began on February 1, 1968. He handled A-1 millimeter mortars. He saw quite a bit of action. He was wounded March 18, 1968, but returned to front line action. He was 1 of 8 from the E Company who died on the same day. He was killed in the vicinity of Quang Tri by a gunshot wound to the head from hostile rifle fire.

He was awarded two Purple Hearts, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He was killed in action on May 31, 1968, at 20 years of age.

His name is listed on Panel 62W, Line 009 of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

His body was accompanied by his brother, Billy Mack Gore, also serving in Vietnam with the Army Engineers, 4th Army.

He is buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Chickasaw County.

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Allen Avery Griffin

He was born on September 17, 1939, the son of James Sidney and Mildred Helen Easley Griffin of Houston, Mississippi.

This was the second Army "hitch" for Griffin. He was inducted into the Army for two years, received his basic training at Fort Pope, and then was sent to Fort Sill for about two years. He served a year in Germany. He was mustered out of the service in 1965 and remained out of uniform for about two months. Then he re-enlisted for six years. He went back to Fort Sill, stayed there about a year and was then was sent to Germany for two years, then returned to the U.S. and was assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky for about a month. On June 20, 1968, he left for Viet Nam. He served as a Specialist 4 in Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, Ist Cavalry Division in the U.S. Army. He was killed in the Quang Tri Province of Viet Nam by rocket or mortar fire fragments to the chest. He was admitted to a military hospital and later died.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He was killed in action on August 27, 1968, at 28 years age.

His name is listed on Panel 46W, Line 041 of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Macedonia Church Cemetery, Chickasaw County.

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Jimmy Wayne Hamby

He was born on February 10, 1947, the son of Warren E. (Pete) and Mattie Lou Griffin Hamby of Houston.

He enlisted around October 1,1965, and volunteered for duty in Viet Nam. Prior to arriving in Viet Nam, he trained troops at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for about a year and a half. He found time during this period to receive his high school diploma through the Army. He served as an E4 with the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division in the U.S. Army. He was one of three soldiers killed during hostile action when their armored personnel carrier ran over a mine near Lal Kal, in the Binh Duong Province in Viet Nam.

He wrote the following prayer to the mother of a young private who had trained at Fort Knox and had been killed in action. "Since I can't find words to explain why your son died here in these forsaken jungles, I'm sending a 'Prayer for Peace' that I want you to keep until I return. If I don't return, please keep it always":

" Our Father in Heaven, hear this fervent prayer; May the people of all nations be united in Thy care. For earth's peace and man's salvation can only come by Thy grace, and not through bombs and missiles and quest for outer space. For until all men recognize that 'The Battle is the Lord's,' and that peace on earth cannot be won with strategy and swords, we will go on vainly fighting as we have in ages past, finding only empty victories and a peace that cannot last. But we've grown so rich, so mighty, and so arrogantly strong we no longer ask in humbleness, 'God, show us where we're wrong.' We have come to trust completely in the power of man-made things, unmindful of God's mighty power, unmindful that He is 'King of Kings.' We have turned our eyes away from Him to go our selfish ways. Money, power, and pleasure are the gods we serve. And the good green earth God gave us to peacefully enjoy, through greed and fear and hatred we are seeking to destroy. Oh, Father in Heaven, stir and awaken our sleeping souls. Renew our faith and lift us up and give us higher goals. And grant us heavenly guidance. For, more than guided missiles, all the World needs is guided men."

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He was first reported missing in action. He was killed in action on May 21,1968, at 21 years of age.

His name is listed on Panel 64E, Line 14 on the Vietnam Wall, Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Chickasaw County.

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Fred Lee Hampton

He was born on February 7, 1947, the son of Sam L. and Ozella Hampton of Houlka.

He entered Viet Nam in April 1968. He served as an E2 in Company 1, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in the U.S. Marine Corps as an Antitank Assaultman. He was one of 12 soldiers killed in the same "event" in Quang Tri Province, South Viet Nam. They were providing security for tractors and bulldozers working to clear the area. He was killed by hostile sniper fire while on patrol and died outright.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.

He was killed in action on May 31, 1968, at 21 years of age.

His name is listed on Panel 62W, Line 10 of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Sunset Gardens of Memory, East St. Louis, Illinois.

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James Edward Hill

He was born on December 16, 1944, the son of Mr. Lee Hill and Mrs. Inez Hill Stokes of Okolona.

He served as a Private First Class Infantryman, Reconnaissance Platoon, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Division in the U.S. Army. He died from multiple fragmentation wounds caused by an exploding grenade near the Cambodian border in the Binh Long Province. Thirty-four Americans died in this encounter with the Viet Cong near the Loc Ninh Rubber Plantation.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He was killed in action on June 11,1966, at 21 years of age.

His name is listed on Panel 08E, Line 036 on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Union Baptist Memorial Gardens, McCondy.

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Johnny Ray Holloway

He was born on July 14, 1945, the son of the late Anderson (Coy) Holloway and Mrs. Loane Bevill of Okolona.

He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on August 1,1962, in Memphis, Tennessee. He served as a Corporal in the H&S Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. He was part of Operation Utah, when his Company met with two Battalions of the North Vietnamese Army. The first wave of Marines were taken under fire but managed to secure the landing zone and begin to move toward their objectives. Advancing in a general easterly direction, the Marines pushed forward for a few hundred meters before they were taken under heavy enemy fire. Company G penetrated the enemy positions in two places but couldn't take advantage of these minor gains because of the lack of reserves. Company H on the right made some progress until the North Viet Nam Army counterattacked in force. The attack was repulsed with the use of 81 mm mortars on the NVA troops pouring across open rice paddies. The NVA then struck Company F with a heavy volume of fire; casualties were piling up from the devastating enemy fire for all the Marine units battling the hardened enemy troops they encountered in the open paddies, in the hedgerows and tree lines. The NVA attack was finally repulsed by air strikes, using bombs, rockets and napalm that were dropped on the NVA until the Marines reached their night defensive positions near the hamlet of Chau Nhai. He was one of 42 Marine casualties from the 2nd Battalion. He was killed by enemy gunshot wound to the abdomen near Chau Nhai, near the South China Sea.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Compact Action Ribbon.

He was killed in action on March 4, 1966, at 21 years of age.

His name is listed on Panel 05E, Line 104 on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Lee Memorial Park, Verona.

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Eugene Hunt

He was born on April 16,1950, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Eustace J. Hunt of Okolona. He is survived by his wife Linda Wagoner and a daughter, Becky of Glendale, Arizona.

He served as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, an E4 in H & S Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. He died in Quang Tri Combat Base of fragmentation wounds to the head and body from hostile rocket fire. He was one of three casualties of this encounter. Quang Tri was the scene of some of the fiercest ground fighting in the war from 1966 until the war's end. Latin descriptions on the 3rd Recon's badge translated into "Swift-Silent-Deadly." In 1966 at Da Nang, a sign in their mess hall read, " We lead the Division, where the Division goes, we've been."

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.

He was killed in action on August 31,1969, at 19 years of age.

His name is listed on Panel 18W, Line 015 of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Lee Memorial Park, Verona.

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George Michael Wall

He was born on December 5,1944, the son of Ervin Connie and Kathleen Roebuck Wall. He was survived by his wife, Brenda K. Wall (secretary to Chancellor Woodrow W. Brand, Jr.) all of Houston. He was a graduate of Houston High School and received his BS degree in chemistry from Mississippi State University.

He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He was commissioned in1967 upon his graduation from Officer Training School at Lackland AFB, Texas and completed survival school at Fairchild AFB Spokane, Washington. He began his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1969 as a pilot in the 362nd Technical Electronic Warfare Squadron, 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 7th Air Force, flying out of Pleiku, Vietnam. His squadron flew EC-47s, called the "Electronic Goon," a World War II era aircraft that had been retrofitted with special electronic intelligence equipment. The squadron's job was to fly reconnaissance missions in hostile areas, gathering much needed intelligence for the Army and Air Force. He was on just such a mission on April 22, 1970. The EC-47 took off at 3:30 AM with a mission flight time of 6 hours. There were eight crew members aboard, and Wall was the aircraft commander. He was the pilot that day as he and his crew flew over the border between Laos and South Vietnam. The territory beneath them was swarming with Viet Cong soldiers. He and his crew had almost completed their mission when their aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. His first option was to turn the plane back to the east and make it to their base. But the plane was too badly damaged to make it, with one engine already out. The second option was to land at a nearby airstrip, but it was reported that the airstrip was controlled by the Viet Cong. The last option was to abandon the plane and jump out, but the plane was far too low. Wall ordered everyone to their seats and prepare for a crash landing in the jungle. The rugged mountainous terrain made it impossible to find a spot suited for a landing. The entire crew went down knowing the jungle they were about to hit was thick with the enemy. The EC-47 went in hard, losing its left wing after it clipped a tree. Wall and the radio operator Mike Conner died on impact. The rest of the six crew members escaped the crash with injuries. Within minutes a rescue helicopter showed up on site to pick up the survivors. Air Force aircraft and Army gunships also showed up to keep the Viet Cong away from the crash site due to the classified equipment inside. After the survivors were picked up and the bodies of Wall and Conner were taken out, the crashed EC-47 was blown up and completely burned.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Air Medal.

He was killed in action on April 22, 1970 in Thua Thien Province, Hue, Viet Nam at 26 years of age just 86 days before he was to have completed his assignment.

His name is listed on Panel 11 W, Line 039 on the Vietnam Wall, Washington, D.C.

He is buried in Houston Cemetery, Houston.

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