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WILLIAM DAVID HOWSA RAGIN


is honored on Panel 1E, Line 62 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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REMEMBRANCES

  • Final Mission of CPT William David Howsare Ragin

    Posted on 4/19/17 - by Mark Coonrad mcoonrad78@gmail.com
    On August 20th, 1964, CPT Byron Stone, 1LT James Coyle, 1LT William Ragin and SFC Tom Ward accompanied two under-strength ARVN Ranger companies and two regular ARVN infantry companies responding to a Viet Cong attack on an ARVN outpost and village near Phu Tuc in Kien Hoa Province, South Vietnam. As the ARVN force made its way along a major highway, the VC launched a vicious ambush characterized by constant bugle-and-bayonet charges into the ARVN positions. As the ARVN units collapsed around them, the four Americans stood their ground and attempted to rally their ARVN counterparts. 1LT Ragin was last seen firing his machine gun into the fourth and final VC assault. His body, shot in the cheek and neck, was found near a stream. SFC Ward was severely wounded and voluntarily proceeded to the location of the battalion advisor to support the defensive operation. He covered the ARVN Ranger withdrawal until succumbing to his wounds. His mortal wounds included gunshots to the upper and lower chest and bayonet stabs. CPT Stone remained in an exposed position defending friendly units and repelling the enemy, and held his position covering the withdrawal until he too was mortally wounded by a gunshot to the head. 1LT Coyle suffered a severe wound and sought cover in a ditch temporarily. He then ignored his own wound and climbed the bank and continued to unleash lethal fire on the oncoming VC troops. His body, with a lethal wound to his upper chest, was found next to CPT Stone’s.

    Outnumbered at least two to one, ARVN casualties from the approximately 360 soldiers in the field that day were reported to be 81 killed in action, 64 wounded in action and 61 missing in action. The bodies of the four American advisors were recovered by a small American tactical unit the following day and flown by helicopter back to Tan Son Nhut. After a memorial service on August 25th, these brave men made their final flight home and laid to rest.

    Captain Byron Stone, from Houston, Texas, was a Ranger Qualified Infantry Unit Commander assigned to BDQ (Biet Dong Quan) Advisory Team TD 41, Special Detachment 5891, Headquarters, MACV Advisors, MACV. A 1960 graduate of Texas A&M University, Stone had already completed one tour in Vietnam and had been awarded a Bronze Star for valor. He was 26 years old when he died and posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

    First Lieutenant James Coyle, an “Army Brat” born at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, was a Ranger Qualified Infantry Unit Commander assigned to Special Detachment 5891, MACV Advisors, MACV. A 1961 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point , Coyle was married and the father of two children. His second child was born just eight days before his death on August 20, 1964. He was 25 years old when he died and was posthumously promoted to Captain and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

    First Lieutenant William Ragin, from Palatka, Florida was a Ranger Qualified Infantry Unit Commander assigned to BDQ (Biet Dong Quan) Advisory Team TD 41, Special Detachment 5891, Headquarters, MACV Advisors, MACV. A 1961 graduate of The Citadel in South Carolina, Ragin was married and the father of two daughters. He was 25 years old when he died and posthumously promoted to Captain and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

    Sergeant First Class Tom Ward from Cincinnati, Ohio was an Infantry Senior Sergeant (Instructor) assigned to 41st ARVN Ranger Battalion, Special Detachment 5891, Headquarters, MACV Advisors, MACV. A 38-year old married father of one son, Ward had over 15 years of service. He was 38 years old when he died and posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

    [Taken from coffeltdabase.org and Fournier, Richard (2014, August). Bloodiest 60 Minutes of Fighting In South Vietnam. VFW Magazine,. Retrieved from digitaledition.qwinc.com]
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  • Distinguished Service Cross Citation

    Posted on 8/20/14 - by A Grateful Vietnam Vet
    William David Howsa Ragin
    Date of birth: 17-Oct-39
    Date of death: August 20, 1964
    Home of record: Palatka Florida
    Status: KIA

    William Ragin graduate of the Citadel and his wife was the daughter of the Commandant there.
    AWARDS AND CITATIONS

    Distinguished Service Cross

    Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

    The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Captain (Infantry) William David Howsa Ragin (ASN: 0-94420), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Captain Ragin distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 20 August 1964. Captain Ragin was serving as an Advisor to a Ranger Battalion of the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam when the friendly forces were suddenly ambushed by hostile elements. Undaunted by the extremely heavy gun fire, Captain Ragin completely disregarded his own personal safety, took a lead position, and encouraged the friendly forces to defend themselves. During the ensuring engagement in which the enemy gun fire was concentrated on his position, he demonstrated fortitude and perseverance by retaliating with the utmost accuracy and succeeded in annihilating a great number of enemy troops during a battle that lasted for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Despite overwhelming onslaught, he covered the withdrawal of the Rangers with outstanding effectiveness and continued his courageous efforts until mortally wounded. Captain Ragin's conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroic actions are in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.
    General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 2 (February 5, 1965)

    Action Date: 20-Aug-64

    Service: Army

    Rank: Captain

    Company: American Advisor

    Battalion: 41st Ranger Battalion (ARVN)

    Division: Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
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  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 10/16/13 - by Curt Carter
    Dear Captain William David Howsa Ragin, 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
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  • IN REMEMBRANCE OF THIS FINE YOUNG MOST HEROIC ARMY OFFICER WHOSE NAME SHALL LIVE FOREVER MORE

    Posted on 6/13/13 - by CLAY MARSTON CLAYMARSTON@HOTMAIL.COM


    CAPTAIN



    WILLIAM DAVID HOWSARE RAGIN



    WAS A GRADUATE OF



    THE CITADEL



    THE MILITARY ACADEMY OF THE SOUTH



    IN THE CLASS OF 1961



    WHO LATER ON BECAME



    A POSTHUMOUS RECIPIENT OF



    THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS



    He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his extraordinary heroism in Vietnam on 20 August 1964 while serving as an Advisor to a Republic of South Vietnam Ranger Battalion.



    On that day his unit was suddenly ambushed by a large enemy force.



    Captain Ragin completely disregarded his own personal safety, in taking a lead position, encouraging the friendly force to defend themselves.



    During the ensuing engagement in which enemy gunfire concentrated on his position, he retaliated with accuracy and succeeded in annihilating a great number of enemy troops during the 1-hour 40-minute battle.



    Despite the overwhelming onslaught, Captain Ragin covered the withdrawal and survival of friendly forces at the sacrifice of his own life.



    Captain Ragin's conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroic actions are in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.




    THE PROUD YOUNG VALOR THAT ROSE ABOVE THE MORTAL,



    AND THEN, AT LAST, WAS MORTAL AFTER ALL




    YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN



    NOR SHALL YOU EVER BE




    R E M E M B R A N C E



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  • Remembrance

    Posted on 9/19/12 - by

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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.