WILLARD D. MARSHALL, CAPT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Willard Marshall '61

Date of birth: November 10, 1937

Date of death: June 11, 1968

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1961 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From Virtual Wall:

The Marine Corps Interrogator Translator Teams Association web site contains the following text:

"WILLARD DALE MARSHALL was born on November 10, 1937 in California. He was a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Class of 1961. He was serving as Team Commander of the 19th ITT. While on patrol to obtain information of intelligence value, he was ambushed by a vastly superior force of Viet Cong soldiers on June 11, 1968. He was Killed in Action during the ensuing firefight in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam. Captain Marshall was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic action."

Captain Marshall was with the ITT team at Headquarters, 27th Marines during Operation ALLEN BROOK. The 27th Marines' Situation Report for 11 June 1968 reports a single death on that date as follows:

"Found cave at AT997637. Threw M-26 in cave, received grenades in return. 4 VC fled, pursued by 4 men from patrol. 1 USMC tripped SFD [a surprise firing device, i.e., a booby trap]. 1 USMC KIA, 1 USMC WIA (minor), 1 VC KIA, 1 VC POW, 1 detainee."

Ten Marines died in Quang Nam Province on 11 June 1968. Nine of them can be firmly associated with specific units and events as reported by those units. Only one incident remains unassociated with a specific Marine ... the booby trap incident cited above. Captain Marshall's casualty record says that he was killed by an "explosive device". While the Marine killed by the device is not identified by name, the unavoidable conclusion is that Captain Marshall died in the incident reported by the 27th Marines.

From the September-October 1968 issue of SHIPMATE:

Another one of our finest classmates has fallen in battle in Vietnam. Capt. W. Dale MARSHALL, USMC, was killed in action in Quang Nam Province, south of Da Nang, on 11 June while serving as team commander of an ITT team attached to the 27th Marine Regiment. Dale, doing more than his share, was killed on his second tour "in country," the first being in 1965 with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, where he was wounded in action. Prior to his second tour in Vietnam, Dale attended the Vietnamese Language School in Washington, D. C, where he distinguished himself as an outstanding student.

Interment was held at the El Toro Cemetery, El Toro, Calif., on 26 June with full military honors. Dale's wife Marie, and his sons, Rod and Rowland, are presently residing at 34336 Calle Naranja, Capistrano Beach, Calif.

Remembrances

From Wall of Faces:

Willard Dale Marshall was my father. I was only 7 months old when he gave his life for our country but I still miss him all the same. My mother said he was a good man and that he lead by his men by example. I never got to meet any of the men he served with but hope to someday so that I can learn more about him. If he can see me I hope he is proud of what he sees. ROWLAND MARSHALL, 8/20/00

Although I never knew Dale, he was my husband's (Lt. Col. George K. Eubanks, USMC retired) best friend. George has always told me what a fine person Dale was and that he would love to get in touch with someone in his family. We went to the Wall six years ago and I made a rubbing of Dale's name. May God bless all of Dale's family. We keep you and him in our prayers. SARA JOINER EUBANKS, MOONSHADOW1007@GMAIL.COM, 5/7/09

From TOP Vietnam Veterans:

On a 1999 Tour of Peace, Mr. Le Sinh, from DaNang, approached TOP representatives with a personal effect. Mr. Sinh, an ex-ARVN staff sergeant, served the Marines as an interpreter during the green burlap sandbagwar. We met in Hoi An, and he brought with him an old green burlap sandbag with an aging green vinyl rain poncho folded up inside. Mr. Sinh informed us the poncho belonged to his "best friend," Marine Captain Willard Dale Marshall. He vividly recalled Captain Marshall dying in his arms on June 11, 1968. Mr. Sinh described an explosion. Captain Marshall, wearing the rain poncho, appeared hit. Mr. Sinh removed the poncho, searching to for the wound, but saw no injury. He removed more clothing finally discovering the mortal wound. The bleeding was severe. "He died in my arms," Mr. Sinh said tearfully, reaching out his arms as if still holding him. He presented us with the poncho, Captain Marshall's ponchoand asked us to take it back to America, find Captain Marshall's family, and return it to them. "There's not a day that goes by that I do not think about my friend."

TOP began a long and exhaustive search for surviving family members. We received a reply from Captain Marshall's oldest son. He explained how he was only four years old when he lost his father, and that loss had a great effect on his life. In his letter he wrote, "I would like my father's poncho. I have very little else to remember him by anymore. It helps to know my father did not die alone." In January 2001, after 33 years, Captain Marshall's poncho came home; along with Mr. Sinh's account of his death, and poignant story of friendship. This article of clothing, worn at the time of Captain Marshall's death, stored in a simple burlap sandbag was returned to the family with the highest respect for Captain Marshall, and the sacrifice he made.

In response:

Dear TOP Vietnam Veterans:

I did receive my father's poncho and I thank your organization again for its return to the family.

To Mr. Sinh I would just wish to express my gratitude. It is because of his caring and patience that something which initially had no inherent value now does. It is because of his trust in your organization that I now have this thing. I cannot imagine how it must have felt for him to hold on to this item for so many years... the attachment he must have felt to my father... and then to be able to give it up, just for the chance that it could be returned to the family. I don't know that I'll ever be able to understand how he could do it.

I don't actually have any questions for Mr. Sinh. It's obvious he valued my father as a friend, and I think his actions have answered the question of "what kind of man was my father" better than anything else could. Apparently he was the kind of man that others respected and called friend. Enough so that one of them held on to what would have otherwise been a worthless piece of vinyl for over 30 years, and then gave it up in the hopes it would reach my father's family.

The poncho is still just a poncho. That's all it ever was, or will be. But, the care that it was given, the trust in which it was kept, and the patience that was shown by Mr. Sinh tells me what kind of man he is. That he would do these things as a remembrance of my father gives me an idea of what kind of man he was. That is what brings tears to my eyes.

If you have the chance to talk to Mr. Sinh please tell him that it's not so much the poncho that mattered, but his friendship with my father, which so obviously remains to this day.

Sincerely yours, Rod Marshall

From Virtual Wall:

Dale was only in Vietnam four months when he was killed. His tour started February 17, 1968, and ended June 11, 1968, when he died in Quang Nam, South Vietnam.

He was a great guy and I miss him.

A memorial from his friend, George K. Eubanks, LTC, USMC, Retired, gkeubanks@ellijay.com, 23 May 2001

Other

From Wall of Faces:

We are trying to locate any relatives of Dale to invite them to a Memorial dedication. Our Assn. will dedicate a memorial at Quantico to honor the Marine Athletes who gave their lives in Vietnam. Dale, as a member of the 1962 Quantico Track team, along with 10 other Quantico Athletes, will be honored. We have tried for months to locate his wife and sons without any luck. Please contact us if you can help. ED CONTI, VIPPRINTING@ENTER.NET, 11/14/06

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Robert Graustein '61 was also a member of 21st Company.


Class of 1961

Willard is one of 23 members of the Class of 1961 in Memorial Hall.