THOMAS J. WEISS, 2LT, USMC
Thomas Weiss '67
Date of birth: March 25, 1945
Date of death: May 18, 1968
From the 1967 Lucky Bag:
From the September-October 1968 issue of Shipmate:
2nd Lt. Thomas J. Weiss, USMC, was killed in South Vietnam 18 May by enemy rifle fire while on patrol near Quang Nam. Solemn Requiem Mass was held at St. Denis Church, Havertown, Pa., with interment in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery.
Lt. Weiss was born in Washington, D. C, and attended the University of Pennsylvania one year before entering the Naval Academy, where he was a member of the crew. Following graduation in 1967 he completed basic training at Marine Corps School, Quantico, Va., and was attached to M Company, 3d Battalion, 27th Regiment, 5th Marine Division. He had been wounded in action in Vietnam last April, and was awarded the Purple Heart.
He is survived by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. William A. Weiss, 309 Edgehill Drive, Havertown, Pa.; three brothers, Capt. James W. Weiss, USA, of Ft. Bliss, Texas; Donald J. Weiss, who attends Villanova University, and Robert D. Weiss, a cadet at the Military Academy. Also his paternal grandfather, Anthony N. Weiss, and his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Agnes T. Wertzberger.
From Find A Grave:
The Philadelphia Inquirer - 30 May 1968
Marine Officer Killed by Sniper in S. Vietnam
A Marine officer who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy less than a year ago was killed by rifle fire on May 18 while on patrol near Quang Nam in South Vietnam.
He was Second Lt. Thomas J. Weiss, 23, Edgehill dr. near Winton, Havertown. He was attached to M Company 3rd Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division. He was wounded in action in Vietnam only last April 8 and was awarded the Purple Heart.
Lieutenant Weiss was graduated from Waldron Academy in 1958. He was a member of the rowing and swimming teams at St. Joseph's College High School, from where he was graduated in 1962. He also rowed for the Vesper Boat Club and was a member of the Llanarch Country Club swimming team. He was a freshman rower at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied one year on a Navy Reserve Officers Corps scholarship, and a rower at the Naval Academy where he matriculated in 1964.
Surviving are his father, Dr. William A. Weiss, a physican; his mother, the former Agnes Elizebeth Wertzsberger; three brothers, Capt. James W. (USA), Donald J. and Robert D. a West Point plebe; his paternal grandfather, Anthony N. Weiss, and his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Agnes T. Wertzsberger.
From the Class of 1967 50th Reunion Yearbook, courtesy of William Belden '67:
Tom attended a high school in Philadelphia and excelled in rowing on the Schuylkill River. After winning an NROTC scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, he decided that the Navy and rowing was what he wanted to pursue. He entered the Naval Academy and enjoyed success both in fun and rowing. He completed Airborne training during one summer and found time to visit his older brother, Jim USMA ’62 and his wife Rainey in Germany while on summer cruise. Tom decided to choose the Marine Corps because of the outstanding example that his Marine tactical officer had set. Also, during his first class year he had a 750cc Triumph motorcycle parked in town and rode it as often as he could to include going across our great country.
Upon graduation, Tom completed Marine Officer training and during Tet ’68, he boarded a ship and went to the Republic of Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division arriving in country February 17, 1968. After being wounded on April 8th and going back into combat, he was killed by hostile fire on May 18, 1968 having died outright in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam while serving as Platoon Commander with Company M, Third Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device and the Purple Heart (2d Award) posthumously. Tom was interred in Saint Peter and Paul Cemetery in suburban Philadelphia with full military honors.
From Wall of Faces:
Tom was my classmate and company mate at the Naval Academy. He was courageous and a man of great integrity. He and his two roomates stuck together like brothers. I miss Tom. He was a big, lovable guy. BARRY POLLARA, 10/4/01
Tom graduated from Waldron Academy in 1958. Coming from a somewhat large family, Tom and his three brothers attended St. Joe’s Prep School. He was a member of the rowing and swimming teams at St. Joe’s Prep where he graduated in 1962. Tom also rowed for the Vesper Boat Club and was a member of the Llanarch Country Club swimming team. During his high school years he taught his younger brother how to drive, row and smoke.
Tom attended college at the University of Pennsylvania for one full year on a Naval Reserve Office Corps scholarship. He then changed schools and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. At Annapolis, he tended to bend the rules; Tom owned a corvette and a motorcycle and according to his brother, participated in crazy carnival events such as wrestling an orangutan. Following graduation in 1967 he completed basic training at Marine Corps School in Quantico, Virginia.
Tom wrote letters to his family expressing how he had believed that the U.S. should have always been in Vietnam. From January ‘68 to May of that year his letters questioned how people were treated in Vietnam. He wrote to his family back home that he felt he was never coming back and that he was going to be killed in the war. This was after he had been wounded and had been awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for “Valor”.
Tom Weiss perished in the service of our country on May 18, 1968. He was killed by enemy rifle fire while on patrol near Quang Nam. His short life is an extraordinary tale of love, bravery, and tragedy all at the same time. He may be gone physically yet in reality, he will forever live in the hearts of those who knew him.
Today a new generation of high school students learn about Tom Weiss as they learn about the Vietnam War at Upper Darby High School. We remember his service to our nation and his courage. We honor his memory. Semper Fi Tom DAVE TATUM, DAVETATUM@AOL.COM, 2/5/04
Unable to find the citation for the Bronze Star mentioned in his obituary.
Alan Kettner '67 was also in 28th Company.