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05-19-09, 07:51 AM
May 19, 2009

"Happy go lucky" Marine loved to sing gospel music

Xochitl Peņa
The Desert Sun

Eddie Paul Austin grew up the youngest of five boys.

The “happy go lucky” Marine loved to sing gospel and had lots of friends, said his mother Pauline Austin, 94.

Eddie Austin, a corporal in the Marine Corps, served one year and died on April 21, 1967, in Quang Nam, South Vietnam.

“There were a lot of kids from the valley that went in and never made it back,” said Butch Austin, 64, Eddie’s older brother.

Butch and Eddie Austin were the closest in age and had a few years together in high school.

Eddie Austin graduated from Coachella Valley High School in 1965 and them immediately signed up for the Marines.

He did his basic training in Camp Pendleton and was a “radio man,” said older brother Butch Austin.

“He was nut. He liked to joke all the time,” he said.

At the same time, Eddie Austin was an avid Christian and tried to help the guys in this unit as much as possible.

His mother remembers Eddie Austin’s voice.

“He loved to sing. He loved gospel songs,” she said.

One of his favorites was: “I was Born to Praise the Lord.”

Pauline remembers her youngest son died on a Friday.

“We were expecting him home. He wrote us and said he was going to be home,” she said.

Had he returned from Vietnam, he would have married his then girlfriend and together become missionaries.

“He was going to go to Oral Roberts University and they were both going to be missionaries,” said his mother.

“He had bought her a ring in Vietnam. He never did get to give it to the girl.”
Additional Facts
Eddie Paul Austin

Age: 20
Born: Dec. 2, 1946
From: Coachella
Length of service: 1 year
Tour began: (Didn’t say)
Casualty: Apr 21, 1967
Where: Quang Nam, South Vietnam
Cause: Hostile ground casualty, small arms fire. Body was recovered
Where his name is: Panel 18E - Line 55
Comments: "Eddie, I think of you every year, on your birthday and remember, all the good times, we had as kids. Now we are, in our mid 50s and I think, we would still be, the best of friends. I miss you," Paula, Sonora, Calif.


Photo taken April, 1967, just days before his death, while at Nui Loc Son, south, of Da Nang. Eddie is in the center. On the right, is Tony Wagner and on the left, is Denny Grall. Eddie was part of the Forward Observation team, providing artillary support, for Foxtrot, 2/1 and was sent, to Nui Loc Son in January of 1967. He was an experienced and respected Marine who had served with 2/1 while Foxtrot was still at Phong Luc in the Da Nang area. He was one of two radio operators on the FO. team; I was the other. Eddie was a dedicated Marine and wanted to make a greater contribution to the war effort. He requested traning as a FO and left Nui Loc Son about March, 1967 to be trained as a FO. He returned to Bravo Battery on 1/11 for training. He returned to Nui Loc Son just days before this photo was taken and died just days after. This picture was provided by Denny Grall. (Photo courtesy The Virtual Wall, www.Virtual)