I recently met a woman in my area who lost a brother in Vietnam. Their parents died shortly thereafter, leaving maybe six teens to fend for themselves. The Marine's name was Cpl James B. Rice or "Hank", a vehicle mechanic, from Eureka Mo, based at Hill 65, from Aug 68 to Feb 69.

She, an 11 year old at the time, was home alone that fateful day that staff car arrived to deliver the horrible news. Portions of the paperwork her mother was given by the 'Corps were blacked out. They were given conflicting stories on how he'd died. This has lead the family to spend the last 54 years believing it wasn't their son/brother the buried.

Being a veteran myself and having my wife see a staff car pull up to the house the day I was injured, I decided to try to help sort through it all. I've requested his DD-214, SRB and medals. I've looked over his DD-1300, Report of Casualty, and translated it all into English.

I was able to pull up a Sitrep sent out shortly after his death. It listed two Marines killed that night, 23 Feb 69. In researching the second Marine, an artillery hydraulics mechanic named John S. Shoemaker, I found a note left by an officer who had spoken to him as he waited for the medivac that night. I contacted that officer, and he filled me in on the events of that night.

He had never met Hank Rice, but gave me the name of another officer who was performing buddy care on him during or after the attack. I've reached out to him but completely understand if I never hear from him.

Am trying to find any other mechanics who may have known Hank, either at Hill 65 or elsewhere. Am trying to heal the wounds of the family without reopening too many wounds in the vets themselves. Am hoping in this case to find guys he knew and hung out with, trying to leave her with memories other than his death. Any info on the motor pool being destroyed that night would be helpful as well.

Finally, I thank you all for doing all you have done for this great nation. You all have been, and always will be, my heroes. We owe you a debt we can never truly repay.

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