DOUGLAS E AYERS
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HONORED ON PANEL 4W, LINE 72 OF THE WALL

DOUGLAS EDWARD AYERS

WALL NAME

DOUGLAS E AYERS

PANEL / LINE

4W/72

DATE OF BIRTH

05/03/1949

CASUALTY PROVINCE

QUANG TRI

DATE OF CASUALTY

03/24/1971

HOME OF RECORD

PLAINVILLE

COUNTY OF RECORD

Hartford County

STATE

CT

BRANCH OF SERVICE

ARMY

RANK

SGT

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Contact Details

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR DOUGLAS EDWARD AYERS
POSTED ON 5.31.1999
POSTED BY: James D. Ronan, Jr.

A gentle man of courage

I served with Sgt. Doug Ayers in Vietnam from August 1970 until March 24th, 1971 when he was killed leading a small patrol in the mountains north of Khe Sahn. Our platoon was split into two large squads and each squad was conducting search and destroy missions. The squad Doug and I were a part of had been following a ridgeline up into the mountains the day before where we had seen evidence of consideralbe NVA activity. It was hot and clear sunny day. Tensions were high since we all knew there was NVA in the area. The mountain trail meandered through the jungle and then broke out and followed across the tops of three hills surrounded by elephant grass. Visibility on the trail at that point was very good up to the crest of the hill--good both ways. At the top of the first hill the day before the ambush that killed Doug, we found several foxholes and dug in fortiifcations. On our way back down the trail later that afternoon we set out claymore mines in this area in an effort to keep it from being occupied after dark. We moved back down into the jungle and that night set up our night defensive position on the trail. We set claymore mines out on both the trail coming up the mountain and the trail coming back down the mountain. As I recall there were ten of us. The next morning Doug took a patrol out to retrieve the claymore mines. We heard explosions and the rattle of machine gun fire, both M-16's and AK-47's. We grabbed our M-16's and began to run up the trail, leaving two men behind with the rest of the gear. I remember running out from under the junle canopy and seeing NVA soldiers advancing across the crest of the hill where we believed doug and the others were pinned down. Apparently the NVA believed that a larger force than just the three of us was coming out of the jungle because they stopped advancing and moved back into defenesive positions. There was continuing AK-47 automatic weapons fire and NVA grenades were being thrown over the crest of the hill at the squad pinned down there. As we arrived it was clear that the squad had been hit hard. Someone, I don't recall who, said that Sgt Ayers, Pichon (Herman E.), Ramos (Bernardo Kealoha), and Wright (Michael D.) had been running point and were hit up the trail across the crest. I crawled up to see if they were alive. Doug apparently had been killed after the inital ambush attempting to reconoiter the NVA and checking on the point and slack man killed during the initial fire fight. Four men died in the initial few minutes of the firefight. Most of the rest of the squad was wounded durng the next several hours. I was unable to bring Doug, or the others, back to our perimeter at that time becasue of intense small arms fire and grenandes. No one was left there, however. Although our squad suffered four dead, and throughout the rest of the battle all but one or two wounded, in the end the wounded and dead were brought out by helicopter.

I spent many nights talking with Doug in the hills of Quang Tri Province north of Khe Sahn. I both respected him, and liked him. He was a man of honor, courage, and thoughtfullness.

On March 24th, 1971 the small patrol he led faced a much larger NVA company. It is to his credit that not more lives were lost.

James D. Ronan, Jr. [email protected]
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