Previous Next

CLYDE MATHEWS JR

  • Wall Name:CLYDE MATHEWS JR
  • Date of Birth:10/27/1944
  • Date of Casualty:3/30/1967
  • Home of Record:WHITEFACE
  • County of Record:COCHRAN COUNTY
  • State:TX
  • Branch of Service:MARINE CORPS
  • Rank:PFC
  • Panel/Row:17E, 73
  • Casualty Province:QUANG NAM

ROBERT LEE MCGEE

  • Wall Name:ROBERT L MCGEE
  • Date of Birth:2/21/1945
  • Date of Casualty:3/30/1967
  • Home of Record:CLIFFORD
  • County of Record:LAPEER COUNTY
  • State:MI
  • Branch of Service:MARINE CORPS
  • Rank:LCPL
  • Panel/Row:17E, 74
  • Casualty Province:QUANG NGAI

WILLIAM JOSEPH MCDOWELL


is honored on Panel 17E, Row 74 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

WILLIAM JOSEPH
MCDOWELL
SUBMIT PHOTOS
Leave a Remembrance

REMEMBRANCES

  • Ground Casualty

    Posted on 1/19/17 - by wkillian@smjuhsd.org
    On March 15, 1967, communist mortarmen shelled the Cu Chi base camp of the 25th Infantry Division, 20 miles northwest of Saigon in Hau Nghia Province, RVN. The Viet Cong attacks utilized 82mm mortar shells. Two Americans died in the attack and another 20 were injured. SP4 William J. McDowell, an aircraft maintenance apprentice with the 269th Aviation Battalion, was critically injured after suffering fragmentation wounds from one of the falling shells. He died 15 days later. SFC Robert V. Crain, an aircraft maintenance senior sergeant, succumbed to cardiac arrest in the base camp during the attack. Crain was 35 years-old. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org and “North Viets Rush Out of Cambodia, Hit GIs.” The Chicago Tribune, March 16, 1967]
    MORE
  • Our future belongs to God

    Posted on 1/7/15 - by Retired First Sergeant Basel A. Wheeless bawheeless44@att.net
    Some people may argue that God has nothing to do with our future, it belongs to us with may-be some luck thrown in; however, I truly believe that every person placed in/on our path is there for a reason. I would like to tell you about one young man who made a difference in my life.
    During my first tour in Nam, our unit lost a young 18-year-old radio operator to RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) fire. In 1966, prior to traveling across the Pacific Ocean aboard a troop ship to Southeast Asia, the army began forming our combat aviation battalion headquarters at Fort Bragg, NC. Mac, a radio operator assigned to me, approached me in the barracks one evening and asked, “Sergeant Wheeless, what will it be like in Vietnam?”
    Instant fear flashed across my eyes and through my mind the moment he asked that question. Though I could not describe it, a vision came to me about the young man. It was as if a bolt of lightning penetrated one side of my body and exited out another part of me. But I felt no pain, no aftershock, and I know it was no bolt of lightning. To this day, I cannot actually describe that sudden panic running through my mind and body. The question from Mac and the response from a power far greater than what I could ever imagine consumed my entire being. What I saw was a brief glimpse of what was to come. I did not know what it was, but I knew the boy would not return home alive. The image of us standing just inside the entrance of my bar-racks room and talking still remains quite vivid today. His face has faded from my mind, but his youthful frame has not. To this day, I wonder if Mac saw the panic exhibited in my expression.
    I did not tell him what I had envisioned just a moment earlier, but provided a comment that was still truthful. “I’ve no idea what Vietnam will be like, Mac. I’ve never been there, I’ve never been in a hostile environment. We’ll just have to take it a day at a time.” Those may not have been my exact words, but they are close enough.
    But I still could not remove the unfamiliar image from my mind. I invited the soldier to sit a while and we talked only about general topics, nothing specific; mostly, what needed done on our part to help prepare the unit for movement, when we thought the battalion would receive movement orders, would it be after Christmas or before, and about the rumor concerning us transporting to Nam via a troop ship. To my regret, I did not ask him about his childhood, his family, his education, his future, or about his relationship with God. In fact, the vision haunted me so much that what I really wanted was for Mac to leave my room. I was uneasy and could not bear looking at him or even think anymore concerning that indescribable image about his pending death.
    Within a couple of days, I forgot about Mac and my vision. I was back to my old self… business as usual packing crates, boxes, and Conex shipping containers for movement to Nam. Eventually, there was little to do but wait until movement orders came down. Still, with time on my hands, I was not concerned about the young man of my vision. I only spoke casually to him in passing.
    Once our unit arrived to Vietnam, besides establishing a combat role, we began construction of a battalion headquarters building and our operation’s center. The communications sergeant erected a tall telephone pole to mount radio antennas, and even placed a red light on top of it so our helicopters would see it at night. That pole became an aiming stake for Charlie, the Vietcong, and after our first aerial attack, the commander had the light removed immediately. All Charlie had to do was to fire an aerial weapon toward the red light, and destruction would occur.
    We encountered that first mortar and RPG attack on the night of March 15, 1967. (Every time I think of that date, it takes me back to my high school days when we studied Julius Caesar… “Beware of the ides of March,” says the soothsayer to Caesar.) I fractured a foot that night scrambling for cover – as for Mac, an explosion ripped him apart below the waist. I visited him every day while he was in the base camp hospital taking him candy bars and comic books I purchased from the small Post Exchange. Then, the time came when the medical personnel placed him on a medevac aircraft headed for Japan, and he was gone. Later, news came that the young boy from California died aboard that freedom flight. Sometime ago, I read something a fellow soldier wrote about him, “Mac was the kind of boy you would want your kid sister to date.” He was innocent. Though not much younger than me, Mac was still much too young to die. Why did he have to die in a war the American people did not want?
    But, that night Mac received his severe wounds, which led to his ultimate death, I gazed upon a mangled mass of a boy lying on the ground with fellow soldiers all around. Though it was definitely not our last, it was our first hostile aerial attack – our first glimpse of war. At about nine or ten o’clock at night, on March 15, 1967, Vietnam became very real to all of us. Everyone standing there was in awe, not just at the sight of seeing Mac, but frightened for his own safety and wondering who might fall as the next victim to Charlie’s rockets, mortars, or RPGs.
    Mac was not crying, he was not moaning, and I’m not sure if he was even in shock, though the medics were treating him as such. It was too dark to see what was happening as the medics hovered over his frame working feverishly. The dim glow of flashlights held by bystanders was their only source by which to see. They toiled in earnest to save the lad’s life. When a body is bleeding as profusely as Mac’s was, it is almost impossible to stop the river of life from flowing. But the medics did an excellent job and got as much under control before a quarter-ton (jeep) vehicle arrived that transported Mac to the hospital on our base camp. I felt we were fortunate to have a field hospital at Cu Chi, providing Mac a fighting chance. He died some two weeks later.
    To this day, I still don’t know the answer, but maybe Mac died so that others might have a better perspective about life. As for me, I have to answer to God when I come unto His judgment. I never asked Mac about his relationship with the Lord. I could have done more for him, no, not while he was on that hospital bunk at Chu Chi, but before we boarded the USS General Walker… back before we flew out of Fort Bragg for San Diego. God showed me a sign, and, yet, I ignored Him. I never told Mac about Jesus. The Bible describes God as loving, kind, and gracious, and I would like to think that my Lord welcomed that young innocent soldier-boy into His arms on the day of his death, March 30, 1967. When I get to Heaven, I want to see Mac. I have to know he is there.
    MORE
  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 12/3/13 - by Curt Carter ccarter02@earthlink.net
    Dear SP4 William Joseph McDowell, sir

    As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

    May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

    With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

    Curt Carter
    MORE
  • Los Angeles County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway

    Posted on 5/4/10 - by wkillian@smjuhsd.org
    A portion of Sepulveda Boulevard/State Highway Route 1 in El Segundo near Los Angeles International Airport has been dedicated to the residents of Los Angeles County who served in Vietnam. This section of highway is now designated the Los Angeles County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway. Adopted by the California State Legislature in 2000, the highway honors the more than 350,000 California veterans who served in the Vietnam War, including the 5,822 killed or missing in action. Los Angeles County has the largest number of Vietnam veterans in California and 1,857 of its residents were killed or missing in action during that war. This memorial corridor provides a fitting and proper way for the residents of Los Angeles County to express their gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices these Vietnam veterans have made for their country.
    MORE
  • Wm J McDowell

    Posted on 11/25/05 - by Robert Sage rsage@austin.rr.com
    Remembered
    MORE
1 2

The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.

All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.