From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Gary Holtzclaw '67

Date of birth: November 17, 1944

Date of death: May 2, 1969

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

From the 1967 Lucky Bag:


From Find A Grave:

In Vietnam, 1stLt Gary Holtzclaw was assigned to and served with Company F, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d MARDIV (Rein) FMF.

At the beginning of May the Battalion was participating in Operation PURPLE MARTIN in northern Quang Tri Province. On May 2, during the movement of Company F troops a mid-air collision occurred between a CH-46D from HMM-262 and a UH-1H, with the CH 46D crashing west of FSB Russell in the vicinity of Dong Tien Mountain and the damaged UH-1H managing to land. There were no survivors in the CH-46D; twelve passengers and crew died.

From the September-October 1969 issue of SHIPMATE:

1/Lt. Gary E. Holtzclaw, USMC, died on 2 May in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, as the result of a mid-air helicopter collision. Services were held in the First Christian Church of Corbin, Kentucky, followed by graveside services in the Cumberland Memorial Gardens of Lily, with military honors.

Born in Corbin, 1/Lt. Holtzclaw was a member of various activities and clubs at Corbin High School and attended Western Kentucky University. He was a member of the Ninth Company at the Naval Academy and was graduated from the Academy in June 1967. Commissioned into the Marine Corps. 1/Lt. Holtzclaw completed Basic Training at Quantico and in November 1968 arrived in Vietnam where he was attached to Company F, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division (REIN), Fleet Marine Force.

He is survived by his widow Patricia A. Holtzclaw of 111 Sixteenth St., Corbin, Ky. 40701; his parents Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Holtzclaw of 303J4 Fifth St., Corbin, Ky. 40701; a sister Mrs. Janice Hamlin of Corbin, and two brothers Robert Jr. of Covington and Gene Holtzclaw of Glasgow.

More details on the collision are here.


From Wall of Faces:

Gary and I were boyhood friends growing up in the mountanious town of Corbin Kentucky. We rode bikes together, played ball together, fished hiked and most all other things boys do. I never really got to tell him how much I cherished our friendship and growing up years. Nor, did I ever get to tell him goodbye. At this time in my life it is pretty late to say goodbye, but I will say until we meet again. BILL SHOTWELL, 11/2/01

I can still vividly remember Gary and I pedaling our bicycles around Corbin as I accompanied him on his newspaper route after school. I still smile as I recall jokingly calling him "Einstein" for being the brainy "scientist" of our class.

I was in the Army in Germany when I received the devastating news about Gary through a newspaper clipping from my Mom. I returned home in October that same year. Exactly forty years have passed since Gary and I went our separate ways, but I still think of him.

Gary, you're a hero. I'm always proud of you and for your ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. You're always in my thoughts and prayers. I miss you, man!

Your buddy,

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant Gary E. Holtzclaw (MCSN: 0-101637), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Commanding Officer of Company F, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 10 April 1969, during Operation PURPLE MARTIN, Company F, while conducting a search and destroy operation, came under intense fire from a well-entrenched, heavily fortified North Vietnamese Army company and sustained several casualties. Without hesitation, First Lieutenant Holtzclaw advanced to the point of heaviest contact and began to direct the fire of his men against the enemy. During the ensuing fire fight, he repeatedly disregarded his own safety as he moved from one position to another, encouraging and directing his men in coordinating supporting fire on hostile targets. When the enemy attack subsided, First Lieutenant Holtzclaw supervised evacuation of casualties, reorganized his company, and continued to pursue the enemy. His unflagging determination and bold fighting spirit inspired all who observed him and contributed immeasurably to the accomplishment of his unit's mission. By his extraordinary courage, superb leadership and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Holtzclaw upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: 10-Apr-69
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: Company F
Battalion: 2d Battalion
Regiment: 4th Marines
Division: 3d Marine Division (Rein.), FMF


Gary is among those names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. As his loss was not due directly to hostile action, though, he does not appear in the Vietnam War section of the Killed In Action panel in Memorial Hall.

Related Articles

Alfred Mcglothlin '67 and Kenneth Norton '67 were also in 9th Company.

Class of 1967

Gary is one of 34 members of the Class of 1967 on Virtual Memorial Hall.