35th Infantry (Cacti) Regiment Association

Back    KIA Index    Search

  PFC William Steve Illman    In memory of our fallen brother

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother"

Bravo Company
2nd Battalion
35th Infantry Regiment

Vietnam War

"Not For Fame or Reward
Not For Place or For Rank
But In Simple Obedience To
Duty as They Understood It"

National Defense Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal

The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC William Steve Illman, who died in the service of his country on January 2nd, 1968 in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death William was 20 years of age. He was from Oroville, California. William is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 33E, Line 19.

The decorations earned by PFC William Steve Illman include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star with V, 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.

Pfc. William Steven Illman

April 5, 1947;Jan. 2, 1968


The eighteenth local boy to die in Vietnam had roots that stretched back to pre-Columbian times. Steve Illman, a quiet, bashful kid who played football for Las Plumas High School was a Maidu Indian.

Born in Chico, Illman was raised in Oroville.He was quite a little drum player said his sister, and graduated from Las Plumas High in 1965.

Illman attended Yuba College after high school, but was drafted in February 1967.

On July 7, 1967, just five months after his induction, Illman was shipped to Vietnam.

For six months he survived the war. Then on Jan. 2, 1968, his platoon of the 35th Infantry entered a village in Quang Ngai Province.

According to Illman's posthumous Bronze star citation, North Vietnamese regulars in reinforced bunkers opened up on the men. The Americans withdrew and called in air strikes.

After the strikes, the Americans again attacked the bunkers. Illman led the point in a flanking movement and detected enemy movement. As he signaled his men to take cover he was hit with small arms fire and grenades.

Las Plumas High School later enacted a Steve Illman Memorial Award, to be given each year to a quiet, serious, studious football player.