The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SP4 Gary Stephen Edwards, who died in the service of his country on January 20th, 1967 in Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Grenade. At the time of his death Gary was 21 years of age. He was from Hammond, Indiana. Gary is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 14E, Line 54.
The decorations earned by SP4 Gary Stephen Edwards include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
I was Gary S. Edwards girl before he left for Vietnam - we talked about marriage when he got back home, but he died about a month before his tour was up. The one thing Gary said to me and his family was how much he missed us and snow - the day Gary's body arrived it was very warm and humid, thunderstorms, rare for that time of the year. The next day Chicago got one of the worst snow storms ever - 23" of snow, the date was January 26th, 1967. Because the roads were so bad and it was difficult to get to the funeral home, basically it was just his family and my family that came the first day. I am married, over 40 yrs. and have two beautiful grandson's, but Gary is always in my heart, even after 45 yrs. RIP Gary, you are gone, but certainly not forgotten.
Cindy -- St. John IN USA -- 03/09/2012
Gary won a Silver Star for actions on the day he was killed. The citation reads in part,
"Moving up the hill through dense foilage, the platoon made contact with an NVA force occupying fortified positions. During the course of the battle, the platoon began to receive an intense volume of automatic fire from a concealed machine gun to their front. Sp4 Edwards located the gun and immediately began an assault on this position. In the initial moments of his assault, Sp4 Edwards was wounded. Refusing to be evacuated to safety, he maintained his assault, continually exposing himself to enemy fire. With his ammunition expended, Sp4 Edwards mounted a new assault on the postion using white phosphorous and grenades. Just as he succeeded in destroying the enemy machine-gun postion, he was fatally wounded."
Gary's Dad owned a filling station in the Hammond,In area and always kept Gary's citation over the entry way.
(From the "Chicago Tribune" January 24, 1967)
A 21-year old soldier from Hammond, who read Army manuals since he was a child and whose request to go to Vietnam was turned down three times, has been killed in action, his parents learned yesterday. SP4 Gary S. Edwards, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold K Edwards, of 4911 Ash Ave, Hammond, was killed by an enemy grenade.
"He wanted to be in the Army since he was a little boy," said Mrs. Edwards. "His only hero was McArthur. He enlisted right out of high school."
Edwards, who graduated from Hammond Technical High School in 1964 was sent to Germany after Basic Training. "He wanted to go to Vietnam but was refused a transfer three times," Mrs. Edwards said. "Finally, after a year and a half, they told him he could go if he were discharged and reenlisted. So that is what he did."
Edwards told his mother he was going to Vietnam because someone had to. "I would rather fight over there than here," he told her, "and if I have to die, I am willing."
Edwards his also survived by a sister, Mrs. Donna Dalka, and a brother Kenneth, 16.