The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Donald Jerry Evans, who died in the service of his country on May 28th, 1966 in Pleiku Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Donald was 18 years of age. He was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Donald is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 07E, Line 118.
The decorations earned by PFC Donald Jerry Evans 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.
Donald J Evans
Haddington Street, West Philadelphia
The soft-spoken Evans loved music and singing and always could be counted on to help at family functions, parties, and picnics. He enlisted in the Army in September 1964 and was sent to Vietnam in January, 1966. He was awarded the Silver Star. Survivors include his mother.
The following news story was taken from the Philadelphia Inquirer from the June 1, 1966 edition. (Note of explanation: Our Cacti KIA Donald Evans was KIA 5/29/66. I searched an archived copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer on microfilm for dates following this to try and find a story and an obit for Donald Evans. I never found one. But I ran across a news story about Donald Taylor. He too had the first name of Donald. He too was 18 years old. He too served with the 25th Infantry. He too died on 5/29/66. All these things were too much of a coincidence for me so I took a Xerox. I also searched further for an obit for Donald Taylor to see where he was buried but never found one.
When I returned home I checked a worksheet that Dick Arnold had generated from work done at the LBJ Presidential Library years ago. This worksheet provided Next of Kin info for our KIA's who had died in Vietnam during Johnsons time in office. As it turned out the next of kin for Donald Evans was Mr. and Mrs Robert Taylor who lived at the same address given in the Donald Taylor news story. So Donald Evans and Donald Taylor are one and the same.
Two More Phila. GI's Die in Vietnam
The lengthening list of Delaware Valley war dead rose to include a young infantryman who wanted to "help young people find themselves" and a young cavalryman who had a premonition of death in Vietnam.
The 25th Division Infantryman, Donald Taylor, 18, son of Robert and Lorraine Taylor of 5797 Haddington St sent a friendship ring to his girlfriend, Donna Freeman, 17, of 5606 Media St., from Vietnam.
She received it in the mail Tuesday. On the same day his parents got word from the Department of Defense that their son was dead of enemy gunshot wounds suffered Sunday.
Mrs. Taylor told a reporter she got a letter from her son last week telling her he was studying law by correspondence and hoped to dedicate his life to helping young people.
The youth attended Overbrook High School, enlisted in September, 1964, was last home at Christmas that year and went to Vietnam last January. He made squad leader five days before his death. He had planned to marry Miss Freeman on his return from Vietnam.
In addition to his parents Taylor was survived by a brother Lawrence, 10, and a sister, Angela, 5.
PFC Donald Jerry Evans
Silver Star Medal
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Private First Class Donald Jerry Evans, United States Army, for gallantry in action. Private First Class Evans distinguished himself on 29 May 1966 while serving as a mortarman in Company B, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, during a search and destroy mission in the central highlands, Republic of Vietnam. When his company perimeter was attacked by an estimated two Viet Cong battalions at 0128 hours, Private First Class Evans continually exposed himself to the intense hostile fire to provide effective mortar support to the rifle platoons. Although he was seriously wounded in both legs during the ensuing battle, he continued to man his position until he was assured that his comrades had taken cover from the incoming Viet Cong fire. He then waited for medical evacuation and continued to direct and encourage his comrades. Private First Class Evans died three hours later as a result of his wounds. Private First Class Evans' extraordinary heroism in close combat against a numerically superior hostile force was in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.