JERRY W POFF
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HONORED ON PANEL 21W, LINE 53 OF THE WALL

JERRY WAYNE POFF

WALL NAME

JERRY W POFF

PANEL / LINE

21W/53

DATE OF BIRTH

06/30/1948

CASUALTY PROVINCE

BINH DUONG

DATE OF CASUALTY

07/03/1969

HOME OF RECORD

DE LAND

COUNTY OF RECORD

Volusia County

STATE

FL

BRANCH OF SERVICE

ARMY

RANK

SP4

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11/10/2022 at 8:34am

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REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR JERRY WAYNE POFF
POSTED ON 12.23.2001
POSTED BY: Tom Padden

Jerry we miss you

Jerry Poff was an infantryman with Charlie “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry of the First Infantry Division-The Big Red One. I was a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer and acting Commanding Officer of Charlie Company. Jerry was in the third platoon known as the November “N” Platoon. Jerry’s platoon leader at the time of his death I believe was Lieutenant William D. Hamblen of Virginia. Bill Hamblen is currently a Circuit Judge in Prince William County Virginia. I was never Jerry’s platoon leader, but as I mentioned above did serve as his CO for a short period in May 1969. Our CO Milton Menjivar was wounded and hospitalized and I took over for Milt while he recovered from his wounds. Milt was wounded when he attempted to diffuse a grenade’s blasting cap, which turned out to be an instantaneous fuse and blew up causing damage to his hand and arm.

It was during the period I served as CO that I became acquainted with Jerry Poff. He was a spunky soldier who was fearless and had a quick wit. He had a certain way that he wore his helmet that made him stand out. He also had a southern accent that was quite distinctive. He was one of the key individuals of the platoon and was always outspoken but respectful. I remember when he and some other men of the November platoon came to me to tell me that they were on guard duty but had fallen asleep on ambush. The Viet Cong had walked up on the platoon and was within the platoon’s perimeter when they were some of the men were awakened by the noise and whispering of the Viet Cong. The men stayed quiet till the VC left the area. The VC never realized they were within the platoon’s area but were obviously looking for the platoon. Jerry and the men believed that if they had fired on the VC that they would not be effective and may have hit other members of the platoon. I asked them if they had told Lieutenant Hamblen about the incident, as he was also asleep. They said they hadn’t as Bill Hamblen would have gone ballistic.

They wanted to mention the incident to me in confidence in order to discuss what they should have done. I was proud that they would confide in me even with the fear that I might discipline them, which I didn’t. I think they wanted me to know before Bill because it might negate Bill’s wrath when he discovered that his Commanding Officer already knew about the incident. Anyway Jerry wanted to do the right thing after making the mistake, which I believe was commendable.

Soon after the ambush thing I was temporarily transferred to another unit who had lost a lot of officers. I came back to the 1st of the 18th in mid-June of 1969 and was made the Commanding Officer of HHC of the 1st Bn, 18th Infantry under the command of Karl Lange. It was while I was in this assignment in the Battalions rear that I learned that Jerry had been killed by a booby trap while on patrol. I was very disturbed by his death as he was one of the Battalions top soldiers.

I hardly knew you Jerry but my memories of you have stayed with me. Rest In Peace good soldier.

Tom Padden
Santa Monica, CA


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