The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SGT David Eugene McLemore, who died in the service of his country on March 21st, 1967 in Kontum Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Multi-Frag. At the time of his death David was 20 years of age. He was from Fort Worth, Texas. David is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 17E, Line 9.
The decorations earned by SGT David Eugene McLemore 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.
HE WAS ONE HELL OF A SOLDIER and AN EVEN GREATER INDIVIDIUAL
Sgt. McLemore was one sharp soldier. He had excellent Situational awareness while on the move or while in contact. During the debriefing after the firefight going to Company A's assistance the week before our fight, McLemore was able to give a clear, concise, and extremely accurate account of what took place from initiation of contact until evacuation of all casualties.
As mentioned by S.L.A. Marshall, he had a prodigious memory. He made it a mental exercise to learn the names of every new soldier assigned to the company, as well as the names of their wives and children. The fight mentioned in Marshall's "West To Cambodia" was to him on Christmas Eve, 1966, at the 4th Division's base camp. As various individuals told their portion of the story, McLemore is the one who put everything in its proper time frame as relates to the sequence of events.
He was surprisingly soft spoken and possessed an excellent command of the English language. Even as a SP4, he exhibited a command presence. The members of his squad instinctively looked to him for leadership and he was made a squad leader right after I took over the company on 4 December 1966. He was then assigned to the 3rd platoon because of the paucity of leadership in that platoon.
He was, in my estimation and opinion, a superb young soldier who had won both the confidence and respect of both the senior NCOs and the lower grade enlisted men in Charlie Company. I discussed with him the possibility of attending OCS upon completion of his tour on at least two occasions. He did not reject the thought out of hand, and said he would consider it as a viable option. In the four months that I observed him, I never saw him slack off in the absence of orders from Lt. Alverado. He took the initiative and made sure his squad dug proper fighting positions every night, put out left and right aiming stakes, properly sighted their Claymore mines and had clear fields of fire. His squad had the cleanest weapons on a daily basis, and I never had a single problem with any member of the squad.
I never heard Sgt. McLemore complain about any assigned task, though he did say that he was never going to climb a mountain again once he left the Central Highlands. Even during the monsoon season when we were continually wet, he would tell his squad to quit complaining because once the dry season came they would be complaining about the heat and humidity. He figured you had two choices--be soaked and muddy from the rain, or be soaked by sweat and filthy with dust during the dry season. Like everything else, he simply took it in stride.
He moved effortlessly through the triple canopy jungle, with an agility that amazed everyone who watched it and tried to emulate it. He constantly helped others climb the mountains often going part way down to help the machine gunners and RTOs, who had a heavier load.
I think the most amazing thing about McLemore was his upbeat, positive attitude, and the constant smile that he always displayed. He was confident in his abilities and as such, was a natural leader who led by example. His own personal standards were of the highest order and he instilled that pride in his squad. As a leader, it was a joy to watch him work his magic on both the squad and the platoon.
With both his platoon leader and platoon sergeant wounded, Sgt. McLemore assumed command of the 3rd Platoon. He was killed while directing the fight against the NVA advancing against the front and right flank of the platoon. Of all the casualties suffered by the 3rd Platoon, it is my personal belief that his loss was the one that had the greatest impact on the platoon's performance that day, and that loss, in fact, spurred them to hold the line against much superior numbers. Nobody wanted to be the one to let him down!
That is my synopsis of Sgt. David McLemore. My epitaph for him, "He was one Hell of a Soldier and an even greater individual."
C, 2/35 Commanding