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DAVID LEE ZYWICKE


is honored on Panel 31E, Line 62 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance

REMEMBRANCES

  • Final Mission of LCPL David L. Zywicke

    Posted on 8/3/17 - by wkillian@smjuhsd.org
    PFC James E. Burns and LCPL David L. Zywicke were members of 2nd Platoon, H Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. On December 7, 1967, they were killed in an attack on their overnight position during a combat patrol in Quang Tri Province, RVN. The following is a personal account of the incident by Mike Donawick: I was a squad leader in the Weapons Platoon of H Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. I served with that unit from October 1967 through April 1968, when I was wounded near Khe Sanh and was ultimately transferred to Great Lakes Naval Hospital. I was responsible for the two M60 machine gun teams assigned to the one of the company’s three rifle platoons. PFC James E. Burns was the machine gunner in one of those teams. His team leader was LCPL David L. Zywicke. On December 6, 1967, our platoon was sent on a routine overnight patrol near our battalion fire base in a small village near Quang Tri City in the I Corps TAOR (tactical area of responsibility). It was customary for one gun team to follow the first squad in the column. The other team was between the second and third squads, along with the platoon sergeant. Team leaders did not want to be near the front of the column, which was often in the kill zone of an ambush, so they alternated. I was supposed to be with the first team in the column so I could be near the platoon leader. On this patrol, my squad was short one man, so I intended to attach myself to that three-man team. Unfortunately, it was not this team leader’s time to be at the front of the column. I did not have a particularly good relationship with this team leader—a Lance Corporal whose name I cannot remember—because he was already in-country when I arrived and would have become the squad leader had I not been a newly-arrived Corporal who outranked him. When I told him that he needed to follow the first squad, he was adamant that it was LCPL Zywicke’s turn to follow the first squad. I then told LCPL Zywicke that he should reassign (for this one patrol) one of his new men so that I could be with his team. He insisted that I not break up his team. This discussion took place as we were putting on our gear. As this was a routine patrol and we would reach our position within an hour, I decided it was not worth getting into an argument with one or both of my team leaders, so I decided to stay with the three-man team at the end of the column. We left our fire base in late afternoon, and set up on a small hill in an area largely covered with short grass. The Platoon Leader, 1LT Bishop, positioned each rifle squad team and machine gun team as they arrived on the hill. He asked me if I approved of his positioning of my gun teams, and I told him I had no objections. After eating chow and sending out a two-team ambush along a trail a few hundred yards from our position, the platoon settled in for the night. We were on 25% watch that night, meaning one man out of each four-man position had to be awake at all times. My watch ended at 2:30 AM, and I woke up the team’s machine gunner, PFC Felicia. I remember looking at my watch before I lay down; it was 2:34 AM. No sooner had I lay down when I heard a tremendous explosion on the other side of the perimeter, about 15-20 yards away. My guess was that a claymore mine had been set off. This blast was immediately followed by a series of more explosions and automatic weapons fire. Unbeknownst to us, the Viet Cong had seen us set up and knew the location of both machine gun positions, so both positions were likely targets. I used up all my grenades and multiple M16 magazines. I cannot recall how many 100-round belts of M60 ammunition we used. The firefight seemed to go on for more than 30 minutes, but it was probably a much shorter period of time. 1LT Bishop, whose position was directly behind mine, was on the radio almost immediately calling for illumination. After the flares came in, it seemed as if almost everyone stopped firing at once. That is when I heard Jim (Burns) repeatedly screaming he was having trouble breathing. That seemed to go on forever, but his cries became less frequent and then stopped altogether. We later learned that he had suffered an open chest wound. I heard 1LT Bishop call for a medivac. He radioed there were two KIAs and two wounded. The two KIAs were PFC Burns and LCPL Zywicke and the wounded were the other members of their team. Zywicke had been killed in one of the blasts. When the medivac arrived, the helicopter, relying upon the light from a burning piece of C-4 explosive, almost landed on top of us. At daylight, we got up and started policing our position. We found AK-47 magazines and other VC gear inside our perimeter, evidence they had breached our lines. We also found chunks of human flesh outside the perimeter in front of our position. When we returned to our fire base, there was concern about whether we had recovered all the weapons from my team members. I remember that one of the M16s was nothing but twisted metal, no doubt the result of a satchel charge or grenade. After December 7th, I always carried twice the number of M16 magazines and extra grenades, to specifically include illumination grenades. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org and information provided by Mike Donawick (June 2017)]
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  • God Bless You Brother

    Posted on 3/26/17 - by Tom Osieczanek superzanek@msn.com
    You were a great friend growing up. We had a lot of fun together for many years. I was in Vietnam in the south when you died and it hit me hard. It was an unbearable loss. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you and say a prayer for you. God bless you Brother. All my Love to a Special Brother.
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  • In Memorial for Your Brave & Proud Service for Our Country

    Posted on 2/16/15 - by Karyn Joy Kleinfeldt karynjoy6@yahoo.com
    May God bless you for your service & sacrifice for our country.
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  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 11/9/13 - by Curt Carter ccarter02@earthlink.net
    Dear LCPL David Lee Zywicke, 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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  • Photo

    Posted on 5/31/13

    Rest in peace with the warriors.

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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.