THOMAS D STEELE
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HONORED ON PANEL 6E, LINE 104 OF THE WALL

THOMAS DONALD STEELE

WALL NAME

THOMAS D STEELE

PANEL / LINE

6E/104

DATE OF BIRTH

08/28/1945

CASUALTY PROVINCE

PR & MR UNKNOWN

DATE OF CASUALTY

04/11/1966

HOME OF RECORD

KINGSTON

COUNTY OF RECORD

Luzerne County

STATE

PA

BRANCH OF SERVICE

ARMY

RANK

PFC

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR THOMAS DONALD STEELE
POSTED ON 7.31.2017

Final Mission of PFC Thomas D. Steele

The Battle of Xa Cam My was fought over two days during April 11–12, 1966, 10 miles south of the village of Cam My in Phuoc Tuy Province, RVN. Originally planned as a U.S. search and destroy mission intended to lure out the "crack" Viet Cong D800 Battalion, Charlie Company, U.S. 2/16th Infantry Battalion soon found itself fighting for survival in the rubber plantations of Cam My village, approximately 42 miles east of Saigon. During this battle, 134 men of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, were ambushed by the Viet Cong and 80 percent became casualties. Major General William E. DePuy, as commander of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division, planned to lure out the Viet Cong by using Charlie Company as a bait. As Charlie Company moved through the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, they encountered sporadic fire with Viet Cong snipers attempting to knock the Americans off one by one. The sporadic fire allowed the Viet Cong to maneuver around the outnumbered Americans. By 2:00 PM, VC officers were spotted around the positions of Charlie Company, directing the encirclement of U.S. positions. By that time, it had become clear that the Viet Cong had taken the bait. However, DePuy's gamble on other rifle companies arriving to assist was thwarted by the thick jungle. To minimize casualties and break the ambush, Charlie Company formed a circular perimeter with interlocking fire. The situation deteriorated as Charlie Company found itself increasingly isolated with only a distant hope of reinforcement. This was made worse when misdirected artillery fired upon Charlie Company instead of the aggressive VC forces. The fighting continued well into the night, with the desperate Charlie Company throwing all it had at the determined Viet Cong. However, their efforts were not enough to stop the Viet Cong from breaking through their lines. Through the night, small units from the Viet Cong D800 Battalion breached the American perimeter, retrieving their own casualties and killing American wounded. After five hours of brutal fighting, what was left of Charlie Company formed a tight perimeter, protected by a barrage of artillery fire which came down at a rate of five or six rounds per minute. By 7:00 AM on April 12th, the Viet Cong had disengaged from the battle before other U.S. units could arrive. American losses numbered 37 killed and 70 wounded, while the Viet Cong left 41 dead on the field, and more than 80 killed and wounded were removed. Two posthumous Medals of Honor were awarded in connection with this battle, SGT James W. Robinson Jr. and A1C William H. Pitsenbarger, the latter awarded in December 2000. The other lost Americans included PFC Marion F. Acton, SP4 Howard C. Blevins, PFC Carl D. Buckley, PFC Andrew J. Campbell, SGT William H. Causey, SSGT Ralph Coleman, PFC John A. Davis, SP4 Donald E. Dermont Jr., PFC Dennis A. Desco, PFC Philyaw Fee, SP4 Eugene Garrett Jr., PFC Edward L. George, SSGT Bozy Gerald, PFC David A. Hammett, PFC Charles E. Harvey, PFC Norman L. Hawkins, PFC Robert A. Johnson, SSGT Philip A. Jones, PSGT Everett E. Langston, SGT Richard J. Manley, PVT Emmitt Mays Jr., SP4 Charles D. Oglesby, SP4 Randall B. Prinz, PFC Edward W. Reilly, SGT Ronald J. Seasholtz, SP4 Henry A. Shiver, PFC J.C. L. Short, PFC Joseph F. Smith, PFC Thomas D. Steele, CPT George C. Steinberg, PFC Deane S. Van Dyke Jr., PFC Daniel E. Walden, PFC George H. Ward, PFC John W. Watkins, and SGT Irving M. Wilson Jr. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org and wikipedia.org]
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POSTED ON 3.7.2014
POSTED BY: Jerry Richmond

We Remember Battle of XA CAM MY

Thomas was an Infantryman with C CO, 2nd BN, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Div. He was only in country for 13 days when his Company formed the ill fated spearhead in the Battle of Xa Cam My, 11 KM NE of Binh Kia in the Courtenay Rubber Plantation. He died along side 36 of his fellow soldiers during a two day battle defending their position. RIP Tom, your bravery, courage and dedication to your country will never be forgotten.
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POSTED ON 12.15.2013
POSTED BY: Curt Carter [email protected]

Remembering An American Hero

Dear PFC Thomas Donald Steele, 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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POSTED ON 10.30.2011
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Thomas is buried at Oaklawn Cemetery, Hanover TWP, Luzerne,PA.
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POSTED ON 4.7.2006
POSTED BY: Garnet Cooke

Your song

April 11, 2006
Dear Thomas,
I can hardly believe it's been a year since I went to Viet Nam to play "Run Through the Jungle" in your honor at what I'd hoped was the Abilene battlesite. I will never forget my sadness over the loss of the jungle and the way you and the guys made it seem like one for me with the undulating roar of the cicadas alternating with the songs of the invisible jungle birds. I found myself chuckling through my tears, and my guide said he'd taken biologists into the national parks and had never heard anything like that.
While I wasn't exactly at the battlesite, I was where I was directed to be...to enable that local man to approach and tell us about the 5 American graves located in front of where I sat to play the songs for the men of Charlie Company and Wm H Pitsenbarger. So now I wait to hear the outcome from JPAC on their findings.
I will not forget you or your sacrifice. Thank you for an amazing journey!
Respectfully,
Garnet
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