The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SP4 John William Odierno, who died in the service of his country on March 21st, 1967 in Kontum Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death John was 20 years of age. He was from Farmingdale, New York. John is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 17E, Line 11.
The decorations earned by SP4 John William Odierno 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.
John is buried at Long Island National Cemetery, Section 2H, Site 3950
(Silver Star Citation)
For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Four Odierno distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 21 March 1967 while serving as squad leader during a Search and Destroy mission in the highlands of Kontum province. As the company moved through the thick jungle terrain, it received intense machine gun and rifle fire from an entrenched North Vietnamese battalion. Specialist Odierno was trapped in an exposed forward position with his squad. He fearlessly engaged the numerically superior enemy and consolidated his beleaguered unit's position. Within twenty minutes, every squad member had been wounded by the increasing enemy fire. Disregarding his wounds, Specialist Odierno secured a machine gun, stood face to face with the enemy and delivered a devastating barrage of ordinance into the hostile ranks. Although he was hit several times by North Vietnamese fire, he courageously held his position to allow his unit to reload and throw hand grenades. Specialist Odierno was mortally wounded during this extraordinary display of heroism. His undaunted actions were singularly responsible for the preservation of the lives of countless friendly soldiers. Specialist Odierno's gallantry in action, at the cost of his life, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.